Friday, November 2, 2012

Talk to the Hat: Travis Luedke

JD  Our guest today is Travis Luedke, author of ‘The Nightlife: New York’. Hi Travis, welcome to our Dubai dungeon.

TL  Thanks, John. Can I ask is it strictly necessary for me to be strapped to this chair?

JD  Yes, sorry Travis, health and safety and all that.

TL  It’s not really connected to the mains electricity though, is it?

JD  Well, let’s test it. Let me press this button.

TL  Ouch!

JD  Yes, it is. Don’t worry, I’ve got the voltage turned down low. At least for the moment.

TL  That’s comforting.

JD  I think this is your first trip to Dubai. So, what do you think of our dungeon?

TL  It’s a bit dank.

JD  I thought you would appreciate that. Your being a creature of the night and so forth.

TL  I’m not a vampire.

JD  No?

TL  No, I just write about them.

JD  You look a bit like a vampire.

TL  No I don’t. I have a Texas tan. Ouch! That hurt!

JD  I turned it up a tad. We’ll get along a lot better if you don’t disagree with me. So, Travis, you’re a vampire?

TL  (Pause) Yes.

JD  Glad we got that cleared up. Now, your first book in ‘The Nightlife’ series was set in New York. What was the reason for that?

TL  When I began this series, I envisioned vampires traveling from one metropolitan area to another, seasonal nomads.  They weave in and out of all those shady elements of the nightlife, feeding off the masses in nightclubs, playing the ‘prostitute’ role at times.  These creatures thrive off their anonymity among the masses.  The New York nightlife corruption is the perfect feeding ground.  And it would’ve been hard to pull off these things in a small town.

JD  I enjoyed the book, as you’ll know from my review. But I’m curious as to why you decided to make the female vampire, Michelle, French. The French eat a lot of garlic, right? A bit dodgy for a vampire, I’d have thought.

TL  I was originally inspired by two novels by Stephen Clarke, ‘A Year in the Merde’, and ‘Merde Actually’.  Both were riotously funny.  Clarke speaks of his personal experiences as an Englishman trying to function in the corporate maze of Paris.  He dates several Parisian ladies while bumbling through an attempt to launch a British tea parlour business.  His discovery of French culture and women inspired me to create ‘Michelle’.  I also happen to love that particular song by the Beatles, ‘Michelle, ma belle …’ (I feel a film soundtrack coming on).
And so began my research into French language, lifestyle, culture, thought processes.  Michelle, on occasion, has been known to cuss like a sailor, in French.  I must confess, I thoroughly enjoyed learning those phrases.  I find it’s enlightening and even useful to cuss fluently in multiple languages, especially if you’re in jail, or a dungeon in Dubai.  Perhaps I’ll pick up a few more choice phrases down here.

JD  That’s highly probable. Now, your concept of vampires is not about reanimated dead people.  Why didn’t you go with the coffins and graveyard stuff?

TL  Undead, fundead, redead, all that’s been done to death, and it kinda bores me to death.  I thought a more realistic take on this scenario was something viral, and yet not documented or understood by modern medicine.
What we discover is that Michelle feeds her blood to Aaron, and in doing so, passes on the blood-borne pathogen making him what she is, a vampire.  A whole mess of unintended consequences follows her act of compassion.  There’s a deeply intimate psychic bonding between them creating a Master/Slave kind of relationship.  She can literally order him to act involuntarily.  She enjoys that a little too much.
The ‘undead’ thing is a common mistaken assumption made back in the day because of certain unique characteristics of their physiologies.  These creatures are very much alive.  Strength, speed of movement, the five senses, all greatly enhanced.  They regenerate rapidly from injury.  The downside?  Extreme photosensitivity.  They sleep like the dead all day, comatose, hence the ‘undead’ rumours and propaganda.

JD  OK, I get it. And Book Two in the series is set in Las Vegas. That’s just coming out now, right? I presume it continues the adventures of Aaron and Michelle, the paranormal romance at the heart of the first book?

TL  Yes and no.  Did I mention this is a paranormal romance, urban fantasy, suspense, thriller with a splash of erotica?  A little cross-genre zig-zag.

JD  You didn’t, but you have now.

TL  Vegas is a fairly wild romp compared to New York.  Our odd couple are together, happy, still very much in love, but there’s a third element introduced, as Michelle calls it, ‘un ménage a trois’.  They decide to bring the food home with them, adopting a pet.  Their pet, Anastasia, has a laundry list of personal issues.  This is partly her story, how she sees and interacts with Aaron and Michelle in their love-triangle thing.
Without divulging too much of a spoiler, here’s a quick rundown:  strippers, gambling, drugs, mafia, Columbian Cartels, Jell-O wrestling, death, murder, mutilation, mayhem and sex aplenty.  The Nightlife Las Vegas begs the question:  What happens when vampires use heroin?

JD   And where else in the world is the series going?

TL  After Vegas we move on to Paris, to learn the truth of Michelle’s dark past, and to face further consequences of their actions in Vegas.  They were followed by a private investigator as they fled the US.  Paris brings a drastic change to Aaron and Michelle’s relationship.  A new power player comes along, this fallen angel sinks her fangs into Aaron and won’t let go.
Next we move on to London, where Aaron and Michelle are forced into an unlikely union with a pair of not-quite-human Interpol agents.  They must work together to track down another vampire who’s been extra naughty, robbing banks and stuff.  The group doesn’t mesh well, but they team up in the final face-off.  Our fallen angel from Paris begins to show her true colours as she pulls strings, manipulating Aaron and events to suit her own agenda.
And from there I have plans for Moscow and Hong Kong.  We all know how wild the nightlife can be in those places.
I have two standalone novels coming soon as well.  They are not exactly in ‘the Nightlife Series’.  The first, coming out in January, is called ‘Bloodslave’ and another one planned for mid to late 2013, ‘The Nightlife San Antonio’.  These novels have no connection to Aaron or Michelle, but the underlying premise and vampiric lifestyle is more or less the same.  I am building off the unique mythology created in ‘The Nightlife’ series.

JD  I’d describe some of your writing as hovering on the edge of erotica, but without actually tipping over into it.  Is that fair?

TL  Are you going to electrocute me again if I disagree?

JD  Depends how much you disagree.

TL  My diplomacy is put to the test.  Okay, here we go. In 'New York', I skated the edge of erotica.  From Vegas on, it’s debatable whether or not I’m writing erotica.  My thoughts on the subject:  “Write it dirty, edit out the anatomical references, and call it romance.”

JD  But there IS some shagging in ‘The Nightlife: Las Vegas’, right?

TL  Shagging galore.  They shag till they can’t walk.  Seriously.

JD  Great. Sounds like my kind of book. And it will be available as an ebook soon, where exactly?

TL  Amazon and Smashwords initially.  As soon as Smashwords gets off their duff to do their job, it should be available in Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel etc.

JD  OK, I think we’re done. Digby, you can unstrap Mr Luedke.

TL  (Looking at Digby) Is this thing human?

JD  Most of him is. I’m experimenting with different brains. He currently has the brain of a mongoose.

TL  Sounds like this girl I once dated.  Where’s his original brain?

JD  In a jar on my desk.

TL  Nice.

JD  Let me show you Dubai. I’m afraid the beer is rather expensive here, but I’m not worried about that because you’re buying.

TL  Gee, thanks.  I was hoping your henchman with the mongoose brain might foot the bill.
Hey, while we’re at it, you think we can check out some of the local cathouses?  Do some hands-on research for ‘The Nightlife: Dubai’?

JD  Don’t see why not. Although I think they’re called ‘camelhouses’ here. That’s probably indicative of the quality of services offered. And in the interests of accuracy – because our wives will probably be reading this – we’re only going there for research purposes, right?

TL  Yeah, right.

JD  Why are you smiling?

TL  For the same reason you’re crossing your fingers.

JD  I love mendacity.

TL  Me too. I’ll get my jacket.

JD  And you’re sure you’ll be alright in the sunlight?

You can learn more about Travis Luedke and his writings by clicking on the links below. Note the first book in 'The Nightlife' series, 'New York', is currently available FREE at and

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Twitter    or @TWLuedke


  1. Love it, I can't stand a boring interview. I look forward to being one of your victums.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Angella. We'll have to get you on here sometime. It's OK, I have a comfy sofa for the ladies.

  3. The interview with Travis Ludke was hilarious, one of the most innovative I've seen...makes me wonder whether or not I would do a lot of stuttering when we interview. However, it's my happy conviction that you would supply the needed add-ons and levity to make it brilliant. And, indeed, I sign over that power to you...
    Really, John, it was most enjoyable. I'M A FAN!

    Billy Ray

    1. Thanks Billy Ray. Don't worry. Most people stutter when the voltage starts going through them. Nothing to be worried about.

  4. Very nice. Funny and well written. Joining the email. Thanks. Miriam

    1. Thanks, Miriam. I'll try to make the blogs entertaining. Just for you.

  5. I enjoyed this. Not saying I'll buy the book - sorry - but the interview was good. Have I really got to sit in that chair, John? Or can I bring my own sofa?

    1. It's OK, Lesley, I've got some comfy chairs too. For the ladies only. Guys get the electrodes. It's only fair.

  6. Thanks, Diane. We folks from Houghton-le-Spring have a rather weird sense of humour, don't we? Have you seen the other interviews? :-)

  7. OMG I have tears running down my face. Too funny.

    1. Glad to have been of service, ma'am :-)