Carrying on a legacy can be an intimidating prospect, especially when it’s your own family’s legacy. But that is exactly what Canadian athlete turned author Dacre Stoker is doing with his life. The great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker – who wrote the legendary book Dracula – has dedicated himself to researching and chronicling his great grand uncle’s life and work, as well as continuing Dracula’s story.
Mr. Stoker, you were once a part of the Canadian men’s Pentathlon team and you coached the same team for the 1988 Summer Olympics. Other than your family’s history, what drove you towards the literature route? I felt that one member of my generation in the Stoker family needed to get involved and learn more about our great grandfather Dr George Stoker, in the process I was drawn also to my great grand-uncle Bram Stoker (George’s youngest brother). The drive and determination that helped me achieve success in sport also served me well as I embarked in research and co-writing novels about Bram.
You co-wrote a book with Mr. Ian Holt, how did you two come to meet and work together? It was Ian who contacted me, he had seen me on the internet and thought I would be a good Stoker family member to assist him with turning a script he had into a Dracula sequel.
A review at the Winnipeg Free Press made a noteworthy comment about your novel, “Dracula: The Un-dead”, calling it “tempting enough to read and bad enough to be controversial, striking a balance between sensationalism and mediocrity”. How do you react to press/criticism, both good and bad? I learned a long time ago, that you can’t please everyone. I just ignore the negative reviews. I do read them, if I receive constructive negative criticism, then I use it to improve my writing. However, I do receive some criticism from people saying that I am only trying to capitalize on my famous relative’s fame, I let those go. I have to admit that having the last name Stoker does open doors for me, but if the product is no good, then a publisher will not touch it.
As well as your book, you also have done a documentary and are also working on a Bram Stoker Travel Guide. Could you talk more about your researching techniques on your projects? Both my wife and I spend a lot of time digging on the internet or visiting libraries or attending conferences, so we can learn from a wide variety of sources as much as we can about Bram Stoker and his family members. The research does not end, since we are open minded and learn to follow leads from many sources.
As far as the publishing process went, did you encounter any difficulties with your literary project and how did you solve them? There are always problems and challenges with literary and film projects. I have found that the best thing to do is to stick to a few tried and true-life rules: do not ever overreact either negatively or positively; keep an even keel, this helps one being able to think straight and act appropriately. When in doubt talk it over and sleep on it before you make a decision that you may regret.
Lastly, what is your opinion on how vampirism has evolved in literature? Bram did not introduce vampires to English literature, there were a few before him and there are many more after him who have been inspired in part by Bram’s writing of Dracula. I think Bram would be very proud to know of the impact that he has had on his followers.
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