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Q&A with Sarah Jane Stratford

author of The Millennial Novels

First, congratulations on the upcoming release of your first novel, The Midnight Guardian!

Thank you so much! I still don't believe it.

Has it always been a dream of yours to become a published author?

Absolutely. I was making up stories at age 4 and writing a few years later – I think I started in crayon. But I also wanted to be an actress and that dream put up a big fight. Then I had a mad impulse to explore academia, which fortunately went south with alacrity. I've been writing screenplays, stage plays, and short stories – sort of staging a sneak attack on long form. The joke was on me, cause it was Brigit who attacked and told me what to do.

Sarah  Jane Stratford
Sarah Jane Stratford

What led you to the vampire fiction genre? Have you always been interested in vampires?

My vampire interest came about via 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'. A roommate was a huge fan and persuaded me to watch an episode with her. It was the classic game of resistance, resistance, reluctant agreement, instant passion. But I didn't actively start writing vampire fiction then, nor did I plan to. I just got interested in Brigit and before I knew it, I'd written upwards of 30 pages. And there was a lot more to tell, so I sat down and went to work finding that story. It was a daily revelation.

Why did you choose WWII as the time period for The Midnight Guardian?

Well, I'm not sure it was entirely my choice, because Brigit told me some of what she was up to, but it's a period I've always found fascinating – humanity at its most monstrous and yet we also see so many ordinary people rising up to be bigger and better than they might otherwise have been in order to fight the horror. What I was excited to explore was the juxtaposition of the perceived evil of vampires vs. the true evil of the Nazis. How do you define humanity under such circumstances? Maybe the state of being a homo sapiens is not enough to be called "human"? War shows man at his most shameful, so it was quite enthralling to observe that aspect of ourselves through non-human eyes.

Other than the main character, Brigit, who is your favourite character and why?

ACK! I love them all for different reasons! And sometimes it depends on my mood and who I'm writing about. When I was telling the backstory of Eamon, Brigit's partner, I just fell in love with him because he's so loving and strong and proud and sensual. And, of course, an amazing musician. Otonia, the leader of the British tribunal, intrigued me because she's so intelligent, powerful, and mysterious. And any time I wrote anything about Mors, it was a total blast – what's not to love about a sexy, take-no-prisoners, fun-loving vampire?

Do you have an overall plan in mind for The Millennials series, or will you be taking it one book at a time?

Well, I want to see what happens with them as the war progresses. I'm finishing the second book right now, and it's looking interesting. As a former would-be historian, I'm having a wonderful, and bizarrely educational, time balancing the essence of true stories through this supernatural prism. I've been congratulated by one of my former professors – although he hasn't read the book yet, so we're leaving him space to recant.

Who are some of your favourite vampire fiction authors?

Funny you should ask. Aside from my love of Buffy, I haven't actually been immersed in the vampire world. I've just always loved writers who delve humanity, sometimes using complex metaphors – Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood. Jane Austen doesn't go terribly dark of course, but she does go deep. I love to read anything that explores the human condition – especially if it has a slightly absurdist take on the world.

Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it and so do my website visitors.

You are very welcome – it was my pleasure! Thank you so much for your interest!

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