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Vampire mythology with a new twist

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

ALBANY -- Gabriel Madison had a career path pretty much mapped out for himself.

After completing American International University art school in Atlanta, the 1996 Westover High School graduate planned to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker. Somewhere along the way, though, Madison's love of storytelling overwhelmed his cinematic fantasies, and he started writing down the complex tales that were becoming increasingly insistent.

Now, the 30-year-old is a published author, his recently realeased "Dayling" offering a fresh spin on a topic that had seemingly been drained: the vampire mythology.

"I've always loved vampire stories, but as their lore has become more and more popular, the mystic part has been all but taken out of the mix," Madison said over coffee during a recent conversation. "I had a different take on the mythology, and that's what I wrote about in 'Dayling.'"

Madison's young adult urban fantasy novel follows the lives of two very different kinds of vampires: "Daylings," vampire offspring who are very much like humans until they turn 18 years old, and "Nightlings," who are more like the traditional blood-suckers of the Anne Rice variety.

"My final project (at AIU) was a 10-minute vampire movie that was received well," Madison, who has returned to Albany to help care for his ailing mother, said. "One of my professors told me once there are only so many vampire stories left to be told, but I wanted to explore the idea of vampires being born instead of made.

"Daylings can go out in the daylight like humans until they're 18 years old; in fact they're pretty much like humans until they become Nightlings."

Madison, who had earlier written the fiction fantasy "Three Seeds," said he is much more pleased with his "first official book."

"I've always been able to tell stories, but I needed to work on the writing process," he said. "What I'm excited about is that I've grown with everything I've done. ('Dayling') is 10 times better than anything else I've ever written."

Despite his early infatuation with film, Madison said he fell "out of love" with the medium because of its tedious technical requirements.

"It's always been about the story with me," he said. "When I did my (film) project (at AIU), I loved the story, but hated dealing with the sound and the lighting and things like that. Not to sound cocky, but I was told by many of my professors 'you have IT,' whatever it takes to succeed in film.

"But as I grew away from film, I fell in love with the writing process. Storytelling is just part of me. The change was something of a difficult process; I had to adjust to the pace, the format. But now I know (writing) is what I've been meant to do all along."

Madison devoured the works of his favorite authors -- Rice, Nancy Holder, Richelle Mead -- and found inspiration from another artistic source as well.

"It sounds funny, but I'm inspired (in my writing) by the music of John Lennon and Tupac," he said. "It's a different medium, but in their songs you find humor, serious matter, stories ... everything you get in a book."

"Dayling" has been published by the small Florida-based Whimsical Publishing Co., and the book -- as well as "Three Seeds" -- is available at a number of outlets.

"One of the biggest things I learned from ('Three Seeds') to ('Dayling') is how important editing is," Madison said. "Writing the first book was a good experience because of all it taught me about the publishing business. I actually like the story, but it was edited horribly.

"I learned my lesson."

With "Dayling" only recently making its way into bookstores, Madison has not waited around to see how it fares. He's completed another fantasy ("Ariel," due in 2011), and he's working on three other projects, including a sequel to "Dayling."

"I got off to a false start with the film stuff, but I'm on the right track now," he said. "This is what I want to do. I want this to be my career."