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P.N. “Pat” Elrod, best known for The Vampire Files and the Jonathan Barrett: Gentleman Vampire series, co-edited Time of the Vampires, and has stories in several other anthologies. A great fan of Forever Knight, she collaborated with actor Nigel Bennet (LaCroix) on Keeper of the King and His Father’s Son. She is currently working on a new set of toothy titles and branching into the mystery and science fiction genres.
P.N. Elrod Interviews P.I. Jack Fleming
Author Pat Elrod tracked down vampire P.I. Jack Fleming from “The Vampire Files” at his night club, Lady Crymsyn, which is one of Chicago’s newest hot spots (or at least it was in 1938.) Through the magic of time travel, she found herself in Mr. Fleming’s favorite booth just before opening time.
Elrod: So, Jack, how long have you been a vampire?
Fleming: Hey, I was a perfectly normal human being for 36 years before I was bumped off, what about that?
Elrod: Uh, okay, so tell us about your human life.
Fleming: It was pretty much the same as what I’ve got now, just a different kind of drinking was involved.
Elrod: Yes, you mentioned in Cold Streets that you liked a tipple now and then.
Fleming: Don’t sugarcoat it, Doll face, I was a drunk newsman. I was really good at both jobs, too.
Elrod: Doll face…!
Fleming: Don’t get on your high horse, it’s a compliment. I’m a man of my times.
Elrod: Clearly. Now about your life as a vampire…?
Fleming: Versus being a regular guy? Eh, it’s not so different. I stay up late, but Chicago’s got a lot of all-night movie shows. I miss stuff that goes on during the day like baseball. Reading about a game in the papers just isn’t the same as watching one. I miss a lot of my favorite radio shows, especially in the summer since the days are longer.
Elrod: You’re not at all active during the day?
Fleming: When the sun comes up, I’m dead to the world. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Elrod: How did you get to be a vampire?
Fleming: It’s a long story. I tell about some of it in Bloodlist.
Elrod: That would be your first book. You don’t give the whole story there?
Fleming: I give enough of it. I was pretty busy in Bloodlist. First I wake up dead on that beach, then I can’t remember how I got there or who had killed me. Then this guy hits me with his car—busy. Yanno?
Elrod: Busy. Got that.
Elrod: So—you’ve got a new book in “The Vampire Files” series coming out this September?
Fleming: Sure do! Dark Road Rising. Your pal Rachel Caine liked it plenty.
Elrod: She did. I think she liked it better than my books. You sure you didn’t hypnotize her?
Fleming: I’m taking the fifth.
Elrod: What about your romantic life?
Fleming: Hey, a gentleman doesn’t talk about things like that!
Elrod: Sorry, but many of the lady readers are…curious about how you go about things.
Fleming: They’ll have to ask my girlfriend. She’s never complained.
Elrod: That would be Miss Bobbi Smythe, the chanteuse?
Fleming: She’s more than that—she sings, dances, acts, and can swing a blackjack better than Capone.
Elrod: I thought he favored baseball bats.
Fleming: She can swing one of those, too. Better believe it that I stay on her good side! Don’t get me wrong, she’s the best, I’m lucky to have her. What she sees in me I don’t know, but I hope she keeps seeing it.
Elrod: There is also your human partner in your PI business, Charles Escott. He’s originally from England and is now a private detective—
Fleming: Private agent. Don’t call him a gumshoe, it puts him in a mood. He doesn’t do divorce cases is all.
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