A Vampire Diptych (GUEST POST)

by Mauro Corso

Mauro Corso is a journalist, writer, and actor who lives between Rome and Berlin. As a special contributor to MartinLastrapes.com, Corso has written a series of Guest Posts about vampires in popular culture. This is PART 1 of 4…

Mauro Corso

As an avid fan of Inside the Outside, I was thrilled to learn that Martin Lastrapes’ next novel was going to be about vampires.

It seemed to me like a logical evolution, as vampirism is the supernatural equivalent of cannibalism; and, of course, there would seem to be some common ground between blood-sucking vampires and flesh-eating cannibals—at the very least, in the powerful drive to hunt.

Of course, Timber Marlow (the protagonist cannibal of Inside the Outside) didn’t have an eternity to live, as is the case with vampires, which is an important difference. While, at the end of the day, there are more differences than similarities between vampires and cannibals, the “man as prey” concept is both a powerful and central theme for both.

In the last few years vampires have been all the rage and, while I was excited to find out Lastrapes would be trying his hand at the vampire genre, I couldn't help but think, "Aren’t there already too many fanged demons already?!” Lastrapes displayed masterful craftsmanship in Inside the Outside, so my concerns weren't about his writing or storytelling ability.

The Painter's Last Stroke by Nico Whittaker

I just worried that it might be difficult—if not impossible—for him to write a story capable of distinguishing itself amongst the over-saturated world of vampire literature.

These were the thoughts that went through my mind as I prepared to read Lastrapes' two Vampire Shorts, “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter,” which, respectively, will be the first two chapters of his forthcoming novel: The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl. I am very happy to report that, upon reading the Vampire Shorts, all of my doubts and fears faded away.

In “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter,” I found the same compelling writing I was so enthusiastic about in Inside the Outside; that intensive style that brings the reader into what's going on in a highly sensorial level. I also found and enjoyed Lastrapes' distinct ability for building and developing characters, which was a strong trait of Inside the Outside.

Between the two shorts, we meet the three main characters: Adam, Olivia, and Jesus. In "Adam & Olivia," we meet a vampire on the prowl and the girl who has no idea she is being hunted; in "Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter," we meet a young man named Jesus, who is one of the few people that not only knows vampires exist, but has dedicated his life to hunting and killing them.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Lastrapes' Vampire Shorts is they can be regarded as a diptych. Traditionally, a diptych is two different paintings tied to one another to tell a complete story. In this way, I think “Adam & Olivia” and “Jesus the Mexican Vampire Hunter” are a very interesting experiment in and of themselves.

Their very nature demands a multi-faceted approach from readers. Individually, both stories effectively stand alone, each with an engaging narrative and strong character development. Together, however, these Vampire Shorts conspire to tell an even richer story, which leaves me all the more excited for the publication of the completed novel.

Check out all of Mauro Corso's articles in this series: 


Inside the Outside: Globetrotter

Back in the summer of 2011, when I was a few deep breaths and a mouse click away from publishing my debut novel, Inside the Outside, I found myself consumed with insecurity.

What if nobody cared about my book?

I worried that I was setting my novel off into a big, loud, busy world, where it would get lost amongst all the hustle and bustle of life and cars and jobs and sports and movies and Facebook and Justin Bieber.

When, during it's first week of publication, Inside the Outside made it into Amazon.com's Bestseller List, I felt like I was in the middle of a dream. When it started collecting overwhelmingly positive reviews from readers and reviewers alike, I felt like I needed to pinch myself.  And when Exciting Writing named it the best indie book of 2011, I felt like things couldn't get much better.

So when, just a few days ago, Mauro Corso, an Italian journalist, writer and actor, gave Inside the Outside it's first foreign language review on his website Attore e Scrittore, I felt, perhaps, the most gratifying sense of accomplishment since it's initial publication.

And it's not so much what Corso said about my book (though he was very complimentary of it), but what his review represented. Where once I feared that nobody would care about or even notice my book, it is now traveling to parts of the world where I've never been myself, being discovered and enjoyed by readers who speak languages I might never understand.

Corso, in addition to writing a review of Inside the Outside, asked if I would do an interview, which I was only too happy to do. Below you will find the links to both the review and the interview (in English and in Italian).

REVIEW: Scrivere di Canibalismo

INTERVIEW [ITALIAN]: Intervista a Martin Lastrapes, Autore di Inside the Outside

INTERVIEW [ENGLISH]: Interview with Martin Lastrapes, Author of Inside the Outside