I met Steven at ECBACC and I was happy to see someone providing a different perspective on vampire stories. After speaking with Steven I knew I wanted to share his work with our visitors. I’m planning on taking his books with me to read on my vacation.
Steven Van Patten is a Brooklyn native, raised in Fort Greene, currently living in Crown Heights. He sites a diverse array of literary influences, from Shakespeare to James Baldwin to Stephen King, and claims Akira Kurosawa and John Carpenter as his favorite film directors.
A media arts graduate of Long Island University, Steven describes himself as an ‘insomniac with an overactive imagination’. Working as a well-established freelance television stage manger for many years, Steven explained that he originally started writing his novel as a means of stress relief: “I’d come home from these really exhausting production experiences, and I’d want to rest, but I’d be too wound up. So over the years, I slowly wrote the vampire novel of my dreams. Brookwater’s Curse is a combination of so many things I love, all pulled together to create a very dark, adult, supernatural vision.”
Christian Brookwater is a former Georgia plantation slave who became a vampire during the 1860s. His long, tumultuous life takes a complicated turn when he is forced to travel to modern-day Senegal to rescue a child from a vengeful werewolf prince. It is here that Christian uncovers a plot that would throw the entire vampire nation into a civil war. To stop this, Christian must betray his best friend and mentor, an influential Italian vampire who nurtured him during his vampiric infancy.
Christian is a member of a nocturnal law enforcement community that safeguards the secrets of the creatures of the night. This involves the killing of werewolves and other deranged monsters; something Christian excels at. But his fraternization with humans and his incessant need to kill racists vexes his superiors, who threaten to execute him if he doesn’t curtail his ‘racial impulses’. Christian also suffers from a rare condition that makes intercourse with human females especially dangerous.
Christian’s other mentor is a four hundred year old vampire samurai lord who teaches him the arts of war and sacrifice, and has a knack for appearing whenever things become desperate.
Of course, the warrior’s code can’t replace the desire for love, as Christian discovers when he becomes enamored with a human female in the 1940s. Despite Christian’s affliction, the two lovers raise a child together and for a while, our vampire gets a taste of true happiness.
Some years later, his family life ends tragically as Christian loses his great love and becomes estranged from his teenaged son. Heartbroken, Christian embarks on a series of illuminating, yet sinful adventures as he migrates to a new home: Harlem, New York.
In the vampire nation, the civil war Christian Brookwater sought to prevent has become a harsh reality.
On one side stands the High Counselors. Once considered great and benevolent rulers, their web of deception has unraveled, revealing them to be nothing more than self-serving power mongers. To preserve their reign, the High Counselors have begun a bloody campaign that threatens to wipe out all of the monster races, starting with their own. These Founding Fathers of Vampirism are all gifted with extraordinary powers that surpass anything ever seen in the history of living monsters. There are four of these god-like creatures, but none as destructive and devious as High Counselor Emmanuel, a demon that can destroy another’s life essence with the mere brush of his ominous left hand. All over the world, thousands of vampires stand ready to do Emmanuel’s bidding, including a group that has embraced a doctrine that is frighteningly similar to the religious right-wingers found in the human world.
Lord Ebichara Tanata leads the opposing army that seeks to overthrow the High Counselors. With Japan’s deadliest samurai vampires willing to march into certain death at his word, Lord Tanata has fortified his numbers by joining forces with the rachasas, a race of shape-shifting cat people who have their own axe to grind with Emmanuel.
As Christian helps Lord Tanata take on the High Counselors, he uncovers many horrible secrets. It’s not long before Christian becomes a bigger target than his samurai mentor. What he finally discovers will not only change the course of the war, but will have a startling impact on everyone he cares about, including his unborn child.