Richard Arbib


If news of the publication of The Vampire Girl Next Door by Reno's Richard Arbib makes you think there's another entry in the adolescent vampire parade, you should know that Arbib began work on his book when Stephanie Meyer was six years old, and one critic has written of Vampire Girl, “This isn't a teenage vampire love story.” Arbib will sign his book from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sierra View Library on May 10.

Why a vampire book?

I’ve liked vampires, particularly female vampires, ever since I was very young and I think it started with the movie called Kiss of the Vampire. And I saw that and thought, “This is the kind of horror movie for me.”

In one interview you seemed to say you took a 30-year hiatus from writing this book.

No, it wasn’t a 30-year hiatus. What happened was I wrote the original draft of it between 1979 and 1982. Then for the next 12 years I had four different literary agents who were representing it. All four came close to getting it published but didn’t get it published. And then after probably 12 years of having it sitting on the shelf doing nothing, I moved from San Francisco to Reno and then about five years ago I rewrote the novel. Made some changes, added a lot of humor to it because the original draft did not have any humor to it, changed the tone of the novel. … So I wasn’t actually writing it for a total of 30 years and I didn’t stop writing it during that 30 years. As a matter of fact, after I wrote the first one, a few years later I wrote a sequel to it which I used as my master’s thesis for a degree in creative writing. And I’m working on that now, on rewriting the sequel, and the sequel will come out in about a year.

Was writing a novel different from what you expected?

No, not really. I think everybody’s process of writing a novel is different. My process is kind of slow. I get idea and as I get ideas I write them down on 3x5 cards and this may take months or, in the case of my novel, it takes years. And then I put them in a chronological order and then I once I have them in a chronological order, I have a very organized outline and then I work from the outline and the cards and write the book. So I don’t just sit down to a blank page and start making stuff up as I’m typing it on the screen. I have all the events that happen and the dialogue, I’ve already organized it before I sit down to write, so I know the exact order. The plot and foreshadowing have to be set up very carefully and so they have to go in a very specific order. It’s not random or just off the top of my head or being inspired when I turn on the computer screen. The inspiration part takes a long time and it comes randomly. …

One critic said your novel is “once again proving the universal allure of the crazy girl.” Was that one of your intentions?

I think, yes, that’s one of the things about Sylvia. Some people describe her—including some of the other characters—described her as a stalker. Mark, the main character, doesn’t see her that way because she’d really beautiful and sexy, and he’s so attracted to her he doesn’t really look at that aspect of her. But there certainly are aspects of her personality that are a little bit abnormal. … Last year [after the book was completed] I watched all most every minute of the Jodi Arias trial, her murder trial. And watching her trial … I could see a lot of parallels between the two characters.