Vampires with an Abbott and Costello Twist: An Interview with John Hartness

Author John G. Hartness had an unusual path to finding a publisher.  He self-published the first three volumes of his series, The Black Knight Chronicles, before selling them to Writing track sponsor Belle Bridge Books.

Daily Dragon (DD):  How would you describe your series?

John G. Hartness (JGH):  I call it comedic urban fantasy.  It’s hero-driven using classic comedy tropes.  My two heroes, Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood are like Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy in style.  One is tall and thin, the other short and fat.  This pair of comic book and gamer nerds gets turned into vampires and ends up battling evil and saving the world.

DD: When will your book debut?

JH:  I don’t know that “debut” is really the right word since I self-published the first three books in 2010-2011 before selling them to Bell Bridge, but an omnibus edition of those three will be out September 28 under the title The Black Knight Chronicles.

DD:  What inspired this concept?

JH: I was reading the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, series and decided I wanted to read about vampires that weren’t hot and sexy.  As a fat guy, I figure I’d be a better target for vampires because I have at least an extra pint or two of blood.  I was tired of reading about angsty vampires and wanted to read something light-hearted, so I wrote it.

DD: Will there be any more after this first trio of stories?

JH: I’m contracted for six, total, and can see the series going to at least nine and maybe 15 books.  I’ll keep writing them as long as people still want to read them.

DD: Do you any advice for aspiring writers at Dragon*Con?

JH: There is no one path to success.  You don’t have to follow anyone’s direction or anyone’s pattern of doing business.  Some people will find success in New York publishing.  Some people will find success with self-publishing.  Some will find success with a small press, and some will create hybrid careers for themselves.  Do what’s right for you.

Author of the article

Nancy Northcott is the Comics Track Director for ConTinual. She's also a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction, fantasy, and history. Her published works include the Boar King's Honor historical fantasy trilogy and the Arachnid Files romantic suspense series. Collaborating with Jeanne Adams, she also writes the Outcast Station science fiction mystery series.