Me: Well, Amos, when I created you, I fully expected you to stay in the pages of my novel. What prompted you to “come out” so to speak?
Amos: That’s a good question, Sara. And I don’t want to be disparaging here, but it seems to me that a lot of authors think they create us “characters.” Surely you realize that there’s something larger at work here?
Me: It seems there’s always something larger. But you haven’t answered my question.
Amos: Very good! I see there’ll be no getting past you, eh? (chuckling) But first, let me pose this question to you. Why have you decided to write a novel series with vampires?
Me: I’m still working on the second book--I don’t think it qualifies as a series yet. Anyway, I had this idea when I was 24 years old and I wrote a not-very-good novel framing it. I put it on my shelf after numerous rejections. I figured that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer of novels. So I continued with poetry, journaling and went to school to become a teacher. Twenty years later, I’d left Chicago and was living in Phoenix, Arizona, when suddenly one of the characters from that first, poorly written, novel woke up and kicked me right in the middle of my thoughts.
Amos: Ah, that would be Paul?
Me: No, actually it was Lauren.
Amos: That makes sense. Paul probably didn’t want you to write about him. But I interrupted. Go on, please.
Me: Well, Lauren was quite different from how I imagined her in my first novel. I figured that two decades of life experience opened my eyes to developing a stronger character.
Me: So I took three characters from that first novel and wrote a completely different one.
Amos: Have you ever asked yourself why you felt you needed to?
Me: Because I’m a writer, I suppose. Can I point out that you still haven’t answered my question? After all, I am supposed to be interviewing you.
Amos: Touché. (He smiles now, and I find it a bit disturbing.) You have written me as a priest who has experienced a vampire. Paul first came to me because he was feeling troubled about all the killing he does… yet, you’ve not written him as a bad man now. Have you?
Me: No. I guess I just thought that a story about a vampire would provide an intriguing framework for addressing certain issues in society.
Amos: This is the idea of something larger at work. Think about that.
Me: You’re not the first person to mention this.
Amos: See now? You’ve called me a person.
Me: I feel like you’re messing with me. Can you please just tell me why you’ve come out of the book?
Amos: There is a need in our society, Sara. People are disenfranchised--disconnected--discontent… horrible injustices are committed against those who feel powerless. In fact, you think you’ve created a story that may give a platform to some of these issues. But it’s not a story, Sara. We’re real.
Me: (I just look at him. He seems more confident than I imagined.)
Amos: You, yourself, have said that “there is probably a lot more to this world than we can comprehend. I believe that we need to question our concept of truth and reality. . . it might be a good idea to consider the possibility that what we thought impossible is, in fact, perhaps, probable.”
Me: So you’ve read my web page.
Amos: Of course I have! I wanted to know what drives you to write about vampires and those who know them. And it gave me some ideas.
Me: Yes, you’ve created your own web page. Is that why you came out of the pages? (For those interested, it is live and the URL is http://www.wix.com/amossand/vampiresandfaith.)
Amos: Aside from the fact that I was already “out of the pages?” (He smiles benevolently.) It seemed to me that if you were going to be including some of my sermons and observations in this next novel, that it would not be complete. I wanted a place to explore these ideas more fully. After all, this is why I left the Episcopal Church to start my own.
Me: The Church of the Greater Vista--a fancy way of saying “the church of the bigger picture.”
Amos: I thought you’d pick up on that.
Me: I thought I came up with it.
Amos: I’m not going to challenge you, if that’s what you need to believe then please do. But it is important to me. Quite important. I want people to understand that vampires do exist; that they do kill people--malefactors, but people nevertheless. I feel the human race deserves a fair warning.
Me: How does Paul feel about that?
Amos: (He wags a finger at me.) Oh no, I’m not going to let you push me into that corner.
Me: You mean he doesn’t know?
Amos: You tell me… you’re the one writing the book.
Me: It seems like you’re contradicting yourself. I mean, if you’re real, then you already know.
Amos: I won’t fall for that one either. (He smiles again and again I’m a bit uncomfortable.) There are many things I already know; but I think you need to make this journey on your own.
Me: I suppose writing a novel is like taking a journey.
Amos: It’s much more than that.
Me: What do you mean?
Amos: You’ll figure it out. But there are a few things I need to take care of right now. I hope you’ll check my web page… I’m somewhat behind on my journaling there, but it’s all in my notebook. I’ll be catching it up. I need to respond to some of those comments as well.
Me: I’d like to talk a bit more…
Amos: We'll meet again. But you really need to get back to writing, don’t you? I believe you’re running behind.
Me: Uh, yeah… I am.
Amos: You’ll find your answers. When we look for truth and answer our own questions honestly and without prejudice, that’s when we find it.
Me: (I nod.) That’s pretty good advice for writing.
Amos: And life.
I watch him shake a cigarette out of the generic brand he pulled from his pocket. He lights it, looks at me and shrugs, then pats my shoulder lightly and leaves. The dogs never even woke up.