After an aborted trip to Stephen King’s vacation house, a successful indie thriller, and a subsequent Bram Stoker Award nomination, author J.D. Barker’s career is only getting more unusual: the writer has been tapped to coauthor a prequel to Dracula with Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew. “I’ve received over 500 emails and messages on social media telling me not to flub this up,” Barker says. “It’s extremely daunting.” While he can’t reveal any spoilers, Barker says they’ve created a book—with the blessing of the family estate—that Bram Stoker would be proud of. But how did a relatively unknown indie author end up cowriting a prequel to one of the world’s most popular novels?
It began when the pair met at the Bram Stoker Awards in May 2015. Barker’s Forsaken was a finalist for the award for best first novel, and Stoker was a presenter. “I gave him a copy of Forsaken, and we parted ways an hour or so later,” Barker says. Stoker read the book and liked it, and got in touch to ask whether Barker would be interested in coauthoring a Dracula prequel. (Stoker had previously written the authorized Dracula sequel, Dracula the Un-dead.) “At that point,” Barker says, “I checked the room for cameras and waited for Ashton Kutcher to jump out to tell me I had been Punk’d.” When he realized the offer was genuine, he accepted, and the pair got down to work.
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