Hi everyone! My name is David Lee Summers and I'm the author of four science fiction novels, a vamprie novel, and a vampire flash fiction collection. I also edit a science fiction and fantasy magazine called Tales of the Talisman. In addition to that I have a "day" job operating telescopes at one of the country's foremost research facilities, Kitt Peak National Observatory.
There is an old saying, write what you know. As editor of a science fiction magazine, I see a lot of stories and it quickly becomes clear that the ones that don't work are ones that don't feel "real." So, how can you "write what you know" when you're writing science fiction and fantasy? Well, that's actually one place where my day job has come in handy, and believe it or not, it has come in just as handy for my vampire/paranormal fiction as for my science fiction.
You see, about a dozen years ago, when I first worked at Kitt Peak -- I was there, moved on to another job and am recently back -- those of us who worked the telescopes at night, referred to ourselves as the "vampires" of the mountain. I began to ask myself, what would it be like if a vampire really did operate telescopes at Kitt Peak. The following short excerpt shows some of the result:
"It was sunset and I was groggy, barely awake. I sipped a cup of coffee, trying to stimulate the old blood in my veins. I needed new blood, but it’d be a while before I could partake of my 'night lunch.' Instead, I dutifully stepped into the console room of the 2.1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona and sat behind a computer console. I began my ritual of preparing the telescope for observations. At the other end of the room sat a visiting astronomer. He controlled the camera and I controlled the telescope.
"Using the computer, I opened the observatory dome and pointed the telescope to the first star of the night. It all appeared on my screen like a video game. Even now, I long for the past when I used ropes and pulleys to open the dome, then sat on the cold, lonely observing floor pushing the telescope by hand. Now, astronomers sit in a room apart from the telescope. The observatory engineers are afraid that body heat will disturb the frail air around the instrument. Little do they know that the only heat I generate comes from the coffee I sip and the new blood I drink. Both sources of heat dissipate rapidly. No wonder I had been one of Percival Lowell’s best observers at the beginning of the 20th century."
You can find out what happens in Vampires of the Scarlet Order available from LBF Books. For more about me and my writing, you can visit www.davidleesummers.com.
Thanks so much Ginger for inviting so many of us to drop by this week! I hope to drop by again, later this week if my schedule at the observatory allows. Best wishes to all.
David Lee Summers