Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I’m a humor writer, a fan of vampire books, and thought the vampire genre was ripe for parody since Twilight and other romances had de-fanged vampires and made them romantic figures. Jewish vampires just seemed silly enough to appeal to me.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires (or insert the paranormal creature featured in your book here instead), that fascinates you so much?
I fell in love with vampires in the 1980’s when I read Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. The language, the romanticism, the concept of an entire vampire society who lived for centuries and were cursed with having to kill to live was enthralling. The sexiness of Rice’s vampires also made them irresistible. What red-blooded American fan of paranormal romance doesn’t fantasize about being ravished by Lestat?
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Sheldon, the Jewish Vampire, was the most difficult since I’ve never understood the romantic fantasies of men, and above all Sheldon is a guy who adores Rhoda. Also I had to create romantic tension by making Sheldon somehow hard to get, although madly in love and that was difficult as well.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Yes, Fannie, because she’s based on my mother, so she was easy. :Also Hedwig, the drag queen, because I’ve always loved camp and outrageous gays.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
My favorite scene is when Fannie is turned into a vampire and she inadvertently attacks a trucker, so Rhoda has to take her dentures away.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
Yes, I did a lot of research into Jewish folklore and found all kinds of interesting things, like there actually is an complicated process for de-activating a golem, and that Jews believe in vampires, they call them “estries.”
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
In Sheldon’s world there are 12 step groups for vampires, called B.A. or Bloodaholics Anonymous where vampires go to meetings to curb their cravings.
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
Yes, my main character, Rhoda, is based on me when I was a younger, single woman looking for love. She’s overweight, insecure, and ready for fall for a vampire, as long as he’s Jewish.
What was the last amazing book you read?
I love Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin I’ve read all five volumes and am impatiently awaiting the next installment.
Where can readers find you on the web?
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
We stopped at the first gas station we saw. Tess got out to pump.
“Shouldn’t I do that?” Sheldon asked. .
“I’m a vampire, not a little old lady. I can pump gas,” Tess huffily replied, grabbing the hose and stuffing it into the tank.
“Hurry up, why dontcha,” a beefy man with a ponytail yelled from his pickup behind us. There was only one pump and we were at it. He turned to the blonde next to him and sneered, “This old broad is going to take all week to finish pumping gas.”
I heard a growling from the back and then the door opened and Mom flew at the man, yanking open the door of his truck and instantly latching onto his neck with her teeth. She clung to him and I heard a sucking sound.
“Mom!” I yelled. “Get back in the car.”
Sheldon looked horrified and went after her and grabbed her so quickly I barely saw him move. The man held his neck with an expression of horror and disbelief, staring at Mom. I’m sure he had no idea what hit him.
“Tess, let’s get out of here quick,” Sheldon yelled.
Tess moved fast, pulling the hose out of the tank and jumping back into the van. Luckily she’d used a credit card.
We zipped back onto the road and Sheldon turned to Mom. “Fanny, what were you thinking?
“I wasn’t thinking. I’m so tired of being put down by young people. They think we’re dirt. It was automatic. Plus I’m hungry.”
“Geez, Mom, you have to control yourself. You could get into a lot of trouble.” I said.
“You could get us all into trouble, Fanny,” Tess said. “We try to fly under the radar, metaphorically that is.”
“I’m so sorry,” Mom said, sounding truly remorseful. “I’ll try to control myself from now on. It’s just so strange being in this body. I have impulses I never knew existed.”
“You’ll learn, Sweetie,” Tess smiled at her. “Just follow what I do.”
“Mom, give me your dentures. That should make you pretty harmless.”
She obediently handed them over. I asked Tess, “Do dentures grow fangs? What if you’re a toothless vampire?” I’d noticed that Sheldon’s incisors turned into fangs when he was excited. He hadn’t plunged them into me … yet.
“We have vampire dentists who make retractable fangs for dentures. When they’re in the vampire’s mouth dentures act like real teeth, but they’re removable. It’s very handy.”
“Live and learn.” I grimaced. “Or rather die and learn.”
Mom settled down but still looked pretty unhappy. I held her hand, which seemed to help.
“Hope you’re not going to go after me, Mom,” I said, trying to make a lame joke.
“Rhoda, don’t be ridiculous. You’re my daughter. I would never hurt you. I didn’t know what I was doing back there. It was like there was a monster inside me. I wasn’t myself at all. This whole vampire thing isn’t going to be easy.”
Interview with a Jewish Vampire
by Erica Manfred
The last thing zaftig middle-aged journalist, Rhoda Ginsburg, expected when she signed up for JDate was to fall in love with a vampire. But when she meets drop-dead gorgeous Sheldon, a Hasidic vampire, she falls hard. She rationalizes that he may not be alive, but at least he’s Jewish.
She learns that back in the nineteenth century Sheldon was a rabbi who was turned into a vampire by Count Dracula, an anti-Semite who got his kicks from turning Orthodox Jews into vampires because then they’d have to drink blood, which isn’t kosher.
Soon after she meets Sheldon, she discovers her beloved mother, Fanny, is terminally ill, so she comes up with the crackpot idea of getting Sheldon to turn Fanny and her friends, known as “the goils,” into vampires.
Once she becomes a vampire, Fanny tires of her boring life in Century Village, Florida, and, seeking thrills, she goes clubbing and disappears into the nightlife of South Beach in Miami. When Fanny and her goil posse “go rogue” and start preying on the young, Rhoda and Sheldon must track them down to keep them from killing again.
Interview with a Jewish Vampire turns vampire lore on its head, proving that not all vampires are young and beautiful and it IS possible to be undead and kosher.
About the Author:
Erica Manfred is a freelance journalist, humorous essayist, and author. Her most recent book is the novel, Interview with a Jewish Vampire. She’s also authored two non-fiction self-help books, including most recently He’s History You’re Not; Surviving Divorce After Forty. Her articles and essays have appeared in Cosmopolitan, The New York Times Magazine, Ms., New Age Journal, Village Voice, Woman’s Day, SELF, Ladies Home Journal, and many other publications. Erica lives in Woodstock, New York with her Chihuahua, Shadow, and her daughter, Freda. Brought up by Jewish parents who spoke Yiddish but avoided religion, she got her Jewish education at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation which welcomes Jews from all backgrounds, from atheist to Orthodox, to vampire. Her website is www.ericamanfred.com, or visit www.jewishvampire.com