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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Sit down with Barton Paul Levenson

Thanks to You Gotta Read Reviews for letting me guest-blog here today.

My name is Barton Paul Levenson. I have a degree in physics and used to be a computer programmer, though I'm unemployed right now. I'm married to the best wife in the world, genre poet Elizabeth Penrose. I have 45 published short stories (including one poem), and Lyrical Press has just brought out my first published novel, Ella the Vampire. Oh, and I'm both a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat, which just seems to confuse everybody.

I'm the last person you'd expect to write a vampire novel. I get faint if I have blood taken sitting up. Just the sight of blood can freak me out, especially if it's my own blood. Getting bitten in the neck? No way! Ick!

But one feature of vampires is that they're immortal. I wanted to write about what it would do to a person to live for centuries, while the people they know and love, and the civilizations they live in, grow old and die. But I still needed something else for the book.

A re-viewing of Pretty Woman did it. Hollywood loves to romanticize prostitutes. Think Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places, or Nancy Allen in Dressed to Kill. From the way Hollywood shows it, you'd think prostitution was a fun job that just might land you a really rich, considerate husband. It's rare, though not unknown, to portray it as it really is for most prostitutes -- a miserable, abusive form of slavery. The Libertarian in me (I used to be a party member) wants to legalize prostitution as a victimless crime. The Christian and feminist in me (my mother formed Squirrel Hill NOW, the one Ellie Smeal joined) wants to add an amendment mandating capital punishment for pimps and brothel owners.

I put the two themes together and came up with Ella the Vampire. The first two reviews I got lauded it to the skies -- I have to thank Tami here and Jen at Jen's Reviews for that. You can get the e-book at Lyrical Press's www.onceuponabookstore.com, or through Amazon or Mobipocket. It will come out as a trade paperback this summer.


lastnerve said...

ha ha ha love your writing style and your sense of humor. I love it that you leave people scratching their heads ie, being a christian and democrat and then writing vampire stories. WAY TO GO! Loved your post and am looking forward to reading your books!

Anonymous said...


Thanks! I'm always happy to see someone's actually reading my posts, especially someone as positive as you are above. Hope you enjoy the books. -BPL