TAEM- We last spoke with Charles on November 14th, 2013 (see the article by clicking on here). It is hard to believe that it took place so long ago. Charles and I have been in contact constantly on Facebook and I have been privileged to witness his many advancements in both writing and his art work in there.
Charles, tell us about some of your written work after the 2013 issue.
CB- After we last spoke, I completed several more books on the horror film genre, all available on Amazon across the globe. Vampires Everywhere: the Rise of the Movie Undead, Vampires under the Hammer, Werewolves the children of the full moon and Vampires; the Final Hunt. I’ve also upgraded my original book The Romance of Dracula to Dracula; the ultimate Romance last year. I’m still wrestling with a book on the films of Frankenstein, but have been side-tracked – very pleasantly – with a lot of comic book work.
TAEM- I have always been a huge fan of your work. You’ve written extensively on the subject of Dracula. Tell us about your passion for this subject.
CB- Dracula started everything for me when I picked up my first comic book in a doctor’s waiting room. It was Marvel’s Dracula Lives, issue #2! When I saw that cover and looked at the images inside, I knew right there that this character was going to influence my life in a big way.
TAEM- Tell us in detail about the books that you’ve written about it and its connection to the belief in the world of vampires.
CB- It is less about a connection to vampires as it is more a passion for the characters and the films that inspired my life’s course. I was weaned on the Hammer and Universal horror movies screened on Friday and Saturday nights respectively. This was in the days before video, DVD and the Internet wasn’t even on the radar. We had three TV channels in the dark 1970s and still suffered blackouts with electricity. I watched Hammer films on a black and white television and they scared the living daylights out of me! Christopher Lee’s Dracula had me hiding behind the sofa! I wanted to capture those reasons why when I wrote my books, particularly the first one. Everyone on the planet is interested in the fantastic in some way and these films really sparked my interest.
TAEM- Tell us about the fan base that you have garnished from your work and how well received it has been.
CB- I can’t really decide if I actually HAVE a fan base. But my books do sell at times and I am very grateful to anyone and everyone who has pressed on my links and bought one. I have received excellent feedback on Amazon from customers and I have to mention people like Don Weiss who always gives his well thought out reviews on there and Australian Steven Smith who buys several copies and has had originals placed in the State lending Library of Australia! He even sent me the receipt here in the UK! There’s also Theodore Trout and Anthony DP Mann, both gifted indie film makers who took a chance and agreed to let me watch their movies and review them in my books. In fact, Anthony was the first connection I made several years ago when he flew from Canada to interview me in York. I only realized I was global a few weeks ago! That actually gave me a weird feeling. I try not to think of my books being on other people’s shelves internationally. Keeps me grounded I think.
TAEM- You have expanded on this subject to include other characters that have captured the imaginations of those fans in the world of horror movies and writings. Please tell our readers about these subjects as well.
CB- I am in the process of writing and illustrating my own take on a sequel to Stoker’s Dracula. It is titled Dracula; the Unearthed Chronicles. Written and drawn in several sections, the first being Dracula Reborn which sees the Count coming to England in the present day to finish his revenge on the descendants of the Harker and Van Helsing families. Another section deals with Vlad Dracula receiving his ‘gift’ of vampirism. Yet another tells a ‘what if’ tale concerning the infamous Spanish Language Dracula at Universal and is titled ‘Carlos’ All these stories are in production as we speak, but they will take years to complete. Dracula Reborn issue #1 is on kindle and has been for about a year. Andy Boylan gave it a very honest and promising review on his recommended Taliesin Meets the Vampires website.
TAEM- In our last interview mentioned above , which our readers can refresh themselves with your work, you made a detailed list of where they can witness these subjects for themselves. How has your popularity grown from them since?
CB- I don’t know if it has actually grown, but I have done a lot of things that I wouldn’t normally see myself completing had I not published The Romance of Dracula in 2011. Let’s see, I’ve written for and being asked to interviews on many blogs and websites. Author Kelly Matthews approached me to illustrate the cover of her charity horror anthology book Madame Movara’s Tales of Terror. Mark Williams invited me to sell my art at the Bram Stoker Dark Arts festival at Whitby where I met other excellent artists and talked to Dracula fans from around the world! I also had a short story read on the Youtube series Fragments of Fear from iconic Hammer actress and childhood crush, Caroline Munro! Actress Susan Penhaligon who played Lucy in the 1978 Louis Jourdan Count Dracula mini series granted me an interview for the Ultimate Romance in exchange for one of my art pieces. I still haven’t coalesced all this in my brain!
TAEM- Has any of the new characters overtaken your original vampire stories, or is it still the popular favorite ?
CB- Vampires will always be the popular favourite with the fans I think. Because, like me, Dracula speaks to our unconscious mind, whether it be as the sleek European in the Lugosi mold or the down-at-heel loser seeking his redemption. The misguided nobleman in search of his lost love or even the invading animalistic satyr of Stoker’s original tale. It will take more than a lump of wood through the chest to keep Dracula down.
TAEM- In your series of books you have written about the many character actors who played roles depicting those subjects you wrote about. Please tell us about your research and some of the interesting finds that you made.
CB- My research generally begins simply by watching the movies, always fun. I then consult my own volumes written by the masters to recall their take on the film in question – or, I used to! Today, all I need to do is scan the internet to pick up any surprising tid-bits of information. One major fact was that Dracula AD 1972 didn’t film in the original Cavern Club in Liverpool! A section of Vampires under the Hammer states that it did and I kick myself in the shins everytime I read that! So I make public apology about it here. I also have to admit to becoming extremely lazy in the writing field as my comic book work has taken me over in the last two years.
TAEM- We also have a keen interest in the art work you have shown on Facebook. Tell us how you started in this field and how you became interested in it.
CB- I was blessed – or cursed – with natural drawing talent. As a child I was in and out of hospitals with an unspecified illness that later came to light as hiatus hernia. I underwent major surgery three times between 1968 and 1999. These pauses in my life left me alone to concentrate on fantasy through movies and comic books. I wrote and drew my first book to blend the two mediums together.
TAEM- Have you always accompanied your writings with your original art work , and when did you first apply it to them?
CB- I always illustrate what I write. It is now like an unspoken law, which is weird as I originally intended my first book to have photographic depictions of the films I was writing about. My brother suggested I illustrate the book and it just progressed from there.
TAEM- We have also noticed that your work has expanded to include super hero characters. With the new popularity of this genre are you preparing to work more closely with publication producing them?
CB- Superheroes came through my love of the original Marvel comic line that fired my interest in Dracula in the 1970s. I collected all their publications at that time from 1974 – 1976. When Lou Ferrigno appeared on TV as the Hulk I started another collection of comics from 1979 – 1984! In the last year, I have been tracking down those comics again and hope to buy the full collections of the British Marvels I used to own. As for how this works for me, I was inspired to advertise myself as a freelance artist. I now illustrate independent comic books for clients and have completed quite a few. My latest, Mike DeStasio’s Holy Wars, for YEET magazine published by COPComics, has just been released and I got my cover printed on a T-Shirt! I was well-impressed with that. I want everyone to know that I’m always in the market with the fairest prices. Any story, regardless of genre. I’m not just an illustrator of horror.
TAEM- Is there a possibility that you are planning new characters in this genre, and if so when can our readers learn about this?
CB- As stated, I’m in the market to draw anything and everything with prices that won’t break the bank! I don’t publish, but I do pencil, ink, letter and even colour your comicbook for an agreed price. At the moment, life is good and I have scratched the surface on seeing some dreams realised. I have to thank you personally for giving me air space in The Eerie Digest several years ago, It was a big boost. And I think I owe it all to The Romance of Dracula.
TAEM- Charles, I want to thank you for your time with us and I’m sure that our readers will be thrilled with your success. I hope that you will keep us informed of any new developments with your work as we have many readers who have great interest in these genres and stories. I do hope Hollywood can catch wind of your work and propel your name into a legend.