1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I started writing stories in my twenties, but actually tried to sign up with the Famous Writers School by mail when I was 14 years old. They rejected me because of my age, but I later went on to get a master’s degree in creative writing at San Francisco State University.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
Several vampire stories I read, all in 1978, inspired me: “Clarimonde,” by Theophile Gautier (1836), “Carmilla,” by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu (1871), Dracula, by Bram Stoker (1897), “The Spider,” by Hanss Heinz Ewers (1915), and Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice (1976). I recently subscribed to Weird Tales magazine. One of my favorite novels is The Girl in a Swing, by Richard Adams (1980). It’s a ghost story and romance.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The Vampire Girl Next Door?
The stories I just mentioned were a starting point and then I just imagined what it would be like if the story centered around a guy who falls in love with the beautiful, but quirky girl next door, not realizing that she’s a vampire who killed his last neighbor.
4. Will we ever see any of the characters again in the future?
Absolutely. Most of them will be in the sequel—except for the ones who are killed in the first novel.
5. What would you do if you were in Mark's situation?
Pretty much what Mark does. Sylvia is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. She seems to be crazy about him and he feels love at first sight when he meets her. So despite warnings from friends and a priest, and mounting evidence that Sylvia is dangerous, he ignores most of that and follows his heart.
6. Were any of the characters personalities?
No, no celebrities or famous characters in the novel.
7. You've written and published some short stories. What genre were they and what other genres would you like to try your hand at?
The other stories would also fit into the category of paranormal romance. I think most stories in the future will probably be in the same genre. I have some ideas for other novels. One of them will be a ghost story, but also with a romantic angle. My short story, “The Enchanted Doll,” was just published in the October, 2014 issue of the Mensa Bulletin.
8. What are your personal feelings about religion?
Now there’s a complicated question. I went to the United Church of Christ as a teenager, met the original inspiration for Sylvia at a Buddhist meeting (her name was Sylvia, looked like the novel character, but was not a vampire), met Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan) in San Francisco, practiced magic with the Temple of Set 35 years ago when I was writing the first draft of my novel, and later had a friendship with John Allee, who, with Lillee Allee, wrote the book, Right and Left of Center: Finding Balance in Your Mundane & Magical Life. In my novel, Sylvia recommends their book to Mark on the first page of Chapter 13. On the cover of my novel, the number on Sylvia’s apartment door is 13. Often, art imitates life.
9. Why vampires and Satanism?
Partly because of my own background in magic that I just mentioned. But also, since Sylvia’s parents were murdered for witchcraft and because Sylvia has eternal life through being a vampire, she’s not looking for eternal life through salvation.
10. Would you like to see The Vampire Girl Next Door in theaters or on TV? If so, what actors would you like to see play your characters?
I would love to watch it in the theater or TV. I can’t see it as a TV series like True Blood or The Vampire Diaries because my novel does have an ending to it. But with the sequel, there could be two movies or a mini-series. HBO could do a TV movie since they don’t seem to censor their movies or their series. It could not be a movie on a regular network as the theater rating would be either R or NC17. If I could be 33 again, I would love to play Mark, but 33 is long gone and I don’t have the acting experience. For Sylvia, I would imagine the French actress Mathilda May at about 25 or 30, but with an English accent. If you watch her romantic movie, Only Love (1998), that is how I would imagine Sylvia.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
A couple more novels published, hopefully also made into movies. If everything went well, that’s how it would be. And it would be nice if I met someone just like Sylvia (except she wouldn’t be a vampire).
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
My other hobbies include going to the gym, ice-skating (racing), bicycling, and I studied kung fu on and off. I also go to arts events and the theater. As far as work that is not writing fiction, I’ve sold advertising for years.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
Yes, I’m working on the rewrite of the sequel to The Vampire Girl Next Door. It’s set in London and should come out in 2015.
Find Mr. Arbib online via:
Official site (has links to all social media)
Read my review for TVGND here.