(Professor Artemis Theodore LaGungo is known worldwide as an author, scholar, mystic, entrepreneur, and the proprietor of Professor LaGungo's Exotic Artifacts & Assorted Mystic Collectibles, a quaint shop filled with second-hand horrors and near-new abominations. He was first encountered by the world in a poetry collection by Mark McLaughlin entitled – what an incredible coincidence!
Professor LaGungo's Exotic Artifacts & Assorted Mystic Collectibles.
Professor LaGungo is one of the world’s most renowned experts on … well, practically everything, from antiques to Egyptology to vampire lore. He is also a fictional character who has appeared in stories by that McLaughlin guy and his collaborator, Michael McCarty. The Professor hasn’t written anything in a while – he’s too busy being a fictional character – so he decided to return to the world of authorship by interviewing his old friends, Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin.)
PROFESSOR LaGUNGO: Welcome, gentle reader, to Professor LaGungo's Exotic Artifacts & Assorted Mystic Collectibles. I am Professor LaGungo, and today I will be interviewing my creator, Mark McLaughlin, and his frequent collaborator, Michael McCarty. I will now let them introduce themselves.
MICHAEL McCARTY: I’m Michael McCarty.
MARK McLAUGHLIN: I’m Mark McLaughlin.
PROFESSOR LaGUNGO: Well, that was easy! I’ll be talking with them about their story collection, Dracula Transformed & Other Bloodthirsty Tales, published by Wildside Press as a trade paperback, and also as Kindle and Nook ebooks.
Gentlemen, be sure to talk into this tape recorder so I can accurately capture each sacred word, each pearl of wisdom that falls from your lips! Now let me see, where did I put my interview questions?
MIKE: Maybe in that notebook? The one you’re holding in your hands? The one with the words INTERVIEW QUESTIONS on the cover?
LaGUNGO: Oh yes, so it is! I’ll try to get this interview wrapped up before my favorite soap opera starts. It’s the one about that witches’ coven – All My Cauldrons. Now, is Dracula Transformed your first vampire book?
MIKE: It’s the first vampire book that Mark and I have written together. I’ve written the solo vampire novel Liquid Diet & Midnight Snack, which is actually composed of two short novels. I also co-authored the Bloodless series with Jody LaGreca: Bloodless, Bloodlust and Bloodline. They are available as trade paperbacks, as well as ebooks published by Simon & Schuster.
MARK: I haven’t written a solo vampire book yet, but I did write a collection of zombie stories entitled Beach Blanket Zombie: Weird Tales of the Undead & Other Humanoid Horrors, from Wildside Press.
LaGUNGO: What was your favorite story to write in Dracula Transformed?
MIKE: That’s a tough question, because I like all the stories in Dracula Transformed. I really liked writing all the collaborations with Mark: “Dracula Transformed,” “Lucy Transformed,” “Incident in the Back of a Black Limousine,” and “Dracula Has Risen From The Sofa.” I also enjoyed writing my solo stories, “Dracula, Inc.” and “Wanted: Undead or Alive.” But I can’t pick just one story. They’re like potato chips, you can’t have just one!
MARK: Like Mike, I love all the stories. But if I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be “Dracula Transformed,” since it presents an incarnation of Dracula that the world has never seen before. In the story, Dracula has been brought back to life by a Greek witch, who has given him some astounding new powers, straight out of ancient mythology. I’m half-Greek, so I’ve always been enthralled with those classic myths and monsters.
(Michael McCarty as Count Mike-ula)
(Mark McLaughlin seeing red)
LaGUNGO: What are some of your favorite Dracula movies?
MIKE: I’m a big fan of Dracula, so it’s a big list! I enjoy Dracula (1931), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), and Dracula (1979). I’m also a big fan of Christopher Lee’s Hammer films about Dracula: Horror of Dracula, Dracula Princess of Darkness, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Dracula AD 1972, Scars of Dracula, and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. I also like Nosferatu and Nosferatu the Vampyre. For laughs, I like Love at First Bite and Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula.
MARK: I love all the movies Mike mentioned, but I have to say, I’ve always been especially amused by John Carradine’s quirky portrayal of Dracula in Universal’s House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula. He’s so polite and charming, and also so tall and skinny! And he has a mustache. Doesn’t he worry that he’s going to be walking around with blood in his mustache? Sometimes I get soup in my mustache. The struggle is real!
LaGUNGO: I have forty-seven other in-depth topics listed here, but it’s about time for my soap opera, so this is going to be my last question. Who is your favorite character in Dracula Transformed – besides Dracula, of course?
MIKE: That would be you, Professor LaGungo! You’re the one who helped the Greek witch in the beginning of the story, “Dracula Transformed”! If it weren’t for you, Dracula couldn’t have returned to the world of the living, to terrorize and slaughter innocent souls!
MARK: Yes, I would also have to say you, Professor LaGungo! You did a great job of betraying the human race – for cash!
MIKE: Thank you, Professor LaGungo, for doing this interview! It was certainly very thoughtful of you to– Hey, where did he go?
MARK: He’s in the back room, watching his stupid soap opera. Let’s sneak out and go get a drink!
MIKE: Sound good to me!
DRACULA TRANSFORMED & Other Bloodthirsty Tales by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty.
Introduction by The Amazing Kreskin. Afterword by C. Dean Andersson.
DRACULA TRANSFORMED & Other Bloodthirsty Tales’ features eleven vampire stories by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Mark McLaughlin and Bram Stoker Award finalist Michael McCarty. In these stories, they reveal many of the secrets of the bloodthirsty dead. The novella ‘Dracula Transformed’ is a modern-day sequel to Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, in which the vampire is brought back from beyond the grave in a manner that gives him startling new powers. Using these powers, he begins a bloody campaign of vengeance. In ‘Lucy Transformed,’ you will learn of the relationship between Dracula and his daughter Zaleska, as well as his growing fondness for Lucy Westenra … a fondness that will seal Lucy’s doom. Even more vampiric horror awaits you in the remaining nine tales.
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