Power in the Blood
Author Ben Wolf is breaking new ground in Christian fiction with his latest release, Blood for Blood. He dares to ask the question: Can a vampire be saved? As soon as I heard the premise and saw the cover, I knew this was a book I had to get my hands on. I dove in and I was not disappointed! Ben crafts a tale that is not for the faint of heart. It is riveting, honest, and entertaining. He writes in such a way that even those not normally drawn to the darker side of fiction will be swept away and find themselves unable to put the story down.
Blood for Blood is set in Northern California, circa 1885. A vampire, Raven, stumbles upon a tent revival while looking for his next victim. Instead, he finds much more than his next meal. He meets the Reverend Luco Zambini, who takes him in and teaches Raven about redemption, forgiveness, and the idea that no one, even a vampire damned for eternity, is too far gone to be restored by the power of the blood of Christ. Raven finds himself wanting to believe and at the same time reticent, unable to grasp that God would ever accept one such as himself. As he gets closer to accepting Christ, he begins to fall for the minister’s daughter, Calandra, much to the dismay of her vampire hating fiancé, Garrett. All of them are caught up in a chain of events that will change their lives forever. Blood for Blood takes the reader on a wild ride and illustrates beautifully that no one is beyond the reach of the power in the blood of Jesus.
Once I had read the story, I simply had to speak to the author and find out more.
First, I asked Ben to tell us a little about his literary career: Ben is the founder and executive editor of Splickety Publishing. They publish three separate flash fiction magazines. Havoc is geared for the speculative fiction fans, Love is their romance publication, and Prime is the flagship of Splickety. Aside from writing, Ben is a freelance editor in high demand, and is the unofficial co-director of the Realm Makers, a writing conference that focuses on the Christian speculative fiction genre.
One question that begged to be answered was: where did the idea for Blood for Blood come from? He laughs as he says he stole it from a friend! At a conference in 2009, he and his friend engaged in a conversation about a crazy idea. How funny would it be if a vamp got saved and what would that look like? They discussed how ironic it would be if said vampire went to a tent revival, got roped into helping out, and was handed a wooden stake and a mallet. “How awesome would it be for him to be looking at them and thinking: these are used to kill me and here I am using them to help further the Kingdom of God.” He pitched it to his agent Julie Gwen and she loved it. Since he wasn’t able to sell it to a traditional publisher, the book was self-published and released on Halloween 2014.
When I heard that traditional publishers weren’t ‘biting’, I asked if he had encountered a lot of resistance to his novel and the idea behind it: He said, “I haven’t actually, but I’m hoping to encounter more!” The primary resistance from publishers has been because of the vampire angle. They tended to shy away from the touchy subject. Which he could understand. If Blood for Blood was placed in the average Christian bookstore, the fact that the cover shows a bloody vampire holding a stake might turn some people off. The widely held belief is that Christians and vampires do not mix. Ben says: “The key element of the story is blood. The blood of Christ is the foundation of our faith. So, I’m thinking, why not? A vampire was once human, therefore Christ came to die for him as well. ” We discussed how if we say God can’t redeem a vampire, we are limiting God. The main question, according to Ben is, “Can God redeem someone who’s soul is already lost, forfeit? The soul is damned, but they’re still walking around as the cursed. They can still make choices, so why couldn’t they choose Christ? We serve a God who can do the impossible, so why not? The takeaway here is that no one is beyond hope.”
I was so intrigued by this line of thought, I asked Ben to expound on the messages wrapped up in the fictional world he had created and what he wanted people to think about when the story was over: “First, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, Jesus can still save you. God can still redeem you and you can have a relationship with Him. All sin is equal, only the consequences are different. He wants a relationship with all of us and is willing to go to great lengths to have it. He made a way for you to get out of it and turn to Him. Second, a lot of Christians treat certain types of people pretty badly.” We need to think about “…how do we treat people who are different, look different, and have different beliefs? No one is a Christian upon entering the church. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to work in them in a transformative way. And you see that throughout the course of the book. The treatment of Raven by one character manifests in horrible ways because of what the character believes about him. Sadly, there were some horrible things I’ve been a part of in the past so now my focus is on showing what Jesus is doing in me and what He can do in others in a very powerful way.”
With the popularity of vampire stories set in modern time, I wanted to know why he chose to write Blood for Blood as historical: He had just come away from writing an historical action/adventure western story and the time period was fresh and he had extensive research. “To take it back there was a natural thing. In order to have the big tent revivals and those were a central part of the entire concept. Had to be there and fit. They didn’t hit their main swell until the early 1900’s, so I predated it a bit. I was more comfortable with that earlier time period.
As I’m sure most fans are, I am anxious to read more of Ben’s creations and I was curious what else he has in the works: He responded that like most of us writers, he always has something going on. He’s written five novels, one that will never see the light of day! (All that did was pique my curiosity, but he was tight-lipped.) Splickety is always keeping him busy and right now they are working on a flash fiction how-to book. He started a new novel for NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month), and has set it aside, considering doing a crowd-funding event for it. He’s also extremely busy editing, booked well into the summer. He says to keep apprised of anything new or upcoming is to sign up for his newsletter, (info below). It’s the best way of keeping readers updated and in the know. Also on a final note, “The most important for any author, buy the book!”
I ended the interview with a question I ask of all the authors I speak with. What is your favorite verse and/or quote for inspiration? Psalm 23:4 is the theme verse for the book, namely focusing on ‘He restoreth my soul’. “We don’t have to fear evil if we have God on our side, the God of the universe walking next to us, protecting us. Whatever happens in this physical life, we have Him with us.” His personal favorite verse is Romans 8:28. ” It promises that if we love God and are called according to His purpose, He’s gonna take care of us. So really, the only thing we have to worry about is loving God. The second is already done, we don’t have any choice because God calls everyone to do something for Him and ultimately, something that will fulfill us as well. This reassures me when I have doubts and struggled.
I would like to thank Ben for allowing us a peak into his process and giving us a lot to devour. I hope that all of you will pick up a copy of Blood for Blood and remember to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other site you typically use. If you want to follow Ben, you can find him hanging out on Facebook or at his website: BenWolf.com While you’re checking out the site, be sure and sign up for his newsletter. Not only are you sure to be kept in the loop, but there are some terrific free gifts. Two issues of Splickety publications featuring Ben’s stories and other freebies, yours just for joining. Don’t miss out, because seriously, who doesn’t love freebies?
Contest!! Leave a comment below telling us what your thoughts are on this subject and your email address, and be entered to win an e-book copy of Blood for Blood! Winners will be chosen at random. Drawing will be held on Friday, February 13th. What a great way to bring some good luck to the day!