Farewell Old Friend08 November 2011
This day last week I bid my final farewell to an old friend of mine -- a certain orange-haired vampire who went by the name of Larten Crepsley! On November 1st I did my final bit of editing on Brothers to the Death, the fourth and final book in The Saga Of Larten Crepsley. Although the book won't be released until late April 2012, because of the way publishing works, I always have to deliver my final draft several months before a book sees print. It's all done and dusted now -- I've gone through the page proofs which my British and American publishers sent me, spent a few days carefully going through them looking for any mistakes and making a few very minor final tweaks, and that's that!!
This series took just under four years to complete, but of course I've been living with the character of Larten Crepsley a lot longer than that. In fact, by the time Brothers see print, I'll have lived with Mr C for 15 years! I wrote the first draft of Cirque Du Freak back in May 1997, which is when Mr Crepsley first entered my life. I didn't know much about him in the early days. I thought he was going to be a good guy, but that wasn't set in stone -- he was very mysterious and brooding in the early books (for reasons which the new series explain) and there was a possibility that he could have become the villain of the piece. But as I got to know him over the writing of the next couple of books, it soon became clear that he was to be the moral compass of the series. I think the books worked so well because of the relationship between Darren and Mr Crepsley. Without that, I don't think they would have had the heart and soul that they did.
Mr Crepsley has easily been the most fascinating character I've worked with, certainly in my books for children and teenagers. I always loved writing his scenes. He was a stuffy old bat, but that was part of his appeal -- it made his rare happy and warm moments all the more affecting. I've never smiled as much writing as I did when describing humourous scene sinvolving Mr Crepsley -- and, similarly, I've never felt as moved emotionally as when I've been writing scenes in which he suffers. He was a joy to write, and has been a large part of my life for the last decade and a half. I was even thinking about him in the gap between the end of Sons of Destiny and the start of Birth of a Killer. I hadn't planned to write a prequel series, but Mr Crepsley wouldn't get out of my head. I kept thinking about his past, how he became a vampire, what had happened to him in the 200 years before he met Darren. And eventually I was drawn back into the world of vampires and started to tell his story.
I'm sad to be leaving Mr Crepsley behind, but at the same time I'm proud to have done him as much justice as I hope that I have over the past fifteen years. And although I won't be writing any more books about him, I'm sure he'll never be that far from my thoughts. There will always be a bit of Mr Crpesley alive within me going forward, and I hope that a little bit of him will live on in you guys too. Even in death, he WAS triumphant!!!