Vampires of Camelot

by: Joanne Padgett

We met at the Cato Family Diner, in the small CNY town where Joanne Padgett was born and raised. She had told me that I would recognize her by her "red hair and cowboy hat," but while it was red hair only on this particular day, the woman herself would stand out in any crowd.

From a farming family, Joanne moved to Nashville and "fell into" a career as a speech writer and public relations associate for a senator, but decided at the ripe old age of 29 that she wanted to do something more memorable with her life.

So she wrote a book. Actually, not one book, but so far two out of an intended series of five.

The topic itself is enough to inspire curiosity: what if there had been vampires in Camelot? What if there was more to the Arthurian legend than we've ever dreamed? And why not take two of the most popular legends in books today and combine them into one imaginative saga, aimed at the Young Adult crowd?

Joanne's choice of "doing more" with her life had probably been percolating for quite a while. She recalled a time when, as a girl, she had read Roald Dahl's The BFG, or The Big Friendly Giant, and as part of a class assignment, had written a fan letter. To her utter amazement, she got a response. Without waiting to read it, she ran to the front of the classroom and began to read it aloud. Somewhere mid-letter she realized that it was all "past tense," in other words, Mr. Dahl had passed away. Her wise teacher consoled her with the reminder that "he's a writer, he will live on in his words."

And one day, Joanne, sitting "watching TCM and eating Hagen Daz and contemplating her future," decided to follow in Dahl's footsteps.

Always fascinated by the Arthurian stories, she let her imagination run wild and came up with her concept, and set to work. Writing four hours a day, by hand - she says she has to discipline herself and stop after four hours - she wrote her story and sent it out to the major publication houses. Unimpressed with their terms, she heard about "Author University," an online-in person-person to person "school" for budding indie authors. She went to Las Vegas where she learned the ins and outs of self-publishing, and most importantly, reaching and involving her audience.

Joanne works hard at investing her readers in her stories, literally giving them choices about what will happen next to her characters.

She works, she says, according to the "CASTS" system of writing: Conflict, Action, Suspense, Timing, Surprise; and she believes that each element should exist literally page by page. Without these features, readers, especially younger readers, won't keep turning pages, and it's Joanne's goal to keep them reading from the minute they begin the book until they reach the end.

To that end, her stories move non-stop. Whole plot lines rise, fall and are consumated on a single page - let alone within a chapter!

While she has met with some disappointments - only six people showed up at her first book signing in Tennessee - she has also had her share of success, with her book appearing in 12 markets across the world.

She particularly enjoys having her fans dress as her characters, and perhaps it was this, or perhaps it was because of her early interest in "being the next big thing in music" that encouraged her to jump in and create a short feature (10 minutes) out of a scene from her second book, which will be shown at Scare-A-Con, a horror-SciFi-fantasy film festival September 12-15, 2013 at the Event Center of Turning Stone Resort & Casino - Verona, NY (near Syracuse).

She said she literally "found" her leading man and lady, and simply went out and "made a movie," the sound track of which (it's more of a music video) she wrote herself, much the way she simply sat down and wrote a book.

She tries to make each character "real, a combination of good and bad. Nobody is all good or all bad." She based Merlin on her husband, and a leading character, Althea, on her mother for her strength and courage.

Interested? You can check out her "fang site,", and you can  go to YouTube and check out the trailer, or order the book (ebook, print copy, or audio book) from

Joanne promises that in book 3 , there will be a "big surprise" revolving around the epic question, "where did Merlin go?" We'll have to wait to find out!


Popular Posts