Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Author Kathryn Leigh Scott On Writing And Dark Shadows

KathrynIt is with great excitement and delight that I welcome multi-talented author Kathryn Leigh Scott to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about her latest release, DARK PASSAGES.

My first knowledge of Kathryn came some years ago with her portrayal as Josette, the long-lost love of vampire Barnabas Collins on the television series Dark Shadows. Now I have the pleasure of knowing Kathryn as a talented writer and book publisher.

In her first work of fiction, DARK PASSAGES is a coming-of-age story encapsulating the romance and innocence of JFK’s Camelot era and the tumultuous “dark passages” of Meg Harrison. Arriving in New York City to pursue acting, Meg is a beautiful ingenue who also happens to  be a vampire. She joins the cast of the cult hit “Dark Passages” only to face her nemesis who is bent on destroying her and those she loves.
Thanks to Kathryn and Darlene, I have one copy of DARK PASSAGES to giveaway to a lucky visitor who comments on this post between now and 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Dec. 7. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Be sure to leave your e-mail address if it’s not included in your profile.

Kathryn graciously answered some questions for me about her writing, publishing and of course, Dark Shadows.

Mason - How, if any, do you think people's perception of vampire stories changed since the 60's and Dark Shadows?
Kathryn - I think Bram Stokes ruled until Jonathan Frid came along to create his iconic "reluctant vampire" in Dark Shadows. Jonathan sparked a new generation of vampire that introduced entirely new elements into the traditional menacing creature consumed with blood lust. 

Barnabas Collins is a reluctant vampire, who despises the curse that forces him to harm others to satisfy his own needs. In the character Jonathan created, one sees  human emotions (self-loathing, guilt, regret, as well as desire, tenderness, longing) that inform the present vampire generations in  stories  that involve family drama and romance. 

We really have to give credit to Jonathan for "humanizing" the vampire, investing him with a skewed set of moral principles that give him sufficient vulnerability that he could invade living rooms at 4 pm with impunity. Housewives, nurses, college professors and hordes of kids found Barnabas Collins irresistible. 

Mason - What inspired you to write DARK PASSAGES?
118584701Kathryn - I've written so many nonfiction books about Dark Shadows that tell the real behind-the-scenes stories, but it's always amused me to imagine different scenarios and relationships among the actors than the actual ones. We really are a close-knit family and it was fun to toss in some intrigue and hissy fits that I could only imagine. 

Even at the time I was playing Maggie and Josette, it occurred to me how fun it would be if the ingénue was a real vampire and no one knew it. I think after 45 years it was time to write the fictional version! 

Mason - You've become a publisher of Pomegranate Press. What lead you down that path?
Kathryn -  In 1985 I was asked to write a magazine article about two beloved Dark Shadows actors I adored, Joel Crothers and Grayson Hall, who had passed away that year. I wrote . . . and kept on writing. I realized I'd written a book. When I wrote MY SCRAPBOOK MEMORIES OF DARK SHADOWS, "memoirs" weren't all that prevalent, and there was no market for books on TV series. Yet I wanted to write about my memories of Dark Shadows and knew how to reach the fans still yearning for the series they'd grown up with. 

I had the stories and photographs . . . at some point it occurred to me that it would be easier to publish the book I envisioned than hand the materials to a big NY publisher, and I was right. Hence, I founded Pomegranate Press to publish that book. So much of the success of that book had to do with its format. Soon, other publishers were bringing out "companions" to popular series. I loved publishing so much that I continued doing it . . .  I'm now in my 26th year! I publish a whole catalog of nonfiction books on entertainment subjects. 

Mason - What can fans expect next?
Kathryn - I am writing a major book on the new Dark Shadows movie (Warner Bros, May 11, 2012) and the entire 45 year history of Dark Shadows. I said I'd never do another book on the show . . . and clearly I lied! 
DARK SHADOWS: RETURN TO COLLINWOOD! The new book will be available by May 2012, and will present a look back at nearly five decades of Dark Shadows and will include stories and photographs about the new film starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. Jonathan Frid, David Selby, Lara Parker and I have cameo roles in the new production! 

Kathryn, thank you so much for guest blogging today. I’m one of those fans that always rushed home from school to watch Dark Shadows each day and yes, I think I had a crush on Barnabas too. In fact, I have several Dark Shadows DVDs that I watch from time to time. The Dark Shadows theme music has always been a favorite of mine, it just sounds so mysterious.

Now for a bit of background on Kathryn. She is best known for creating four characters, including Josette du Prés, vampire bride to Barnabas Collins, on the cult soap opera Dark Shadows. She was also Maggie Evans, Lady Kitty Hampshire, and Rachel Drummond. Kathryn's first work of fiction, DARK PASSAGES is an affectionate nod to her years on that ‘60s series. 

Kathryn is also the author of THE BUNNY YEARS, a memoir covering her years as a bunny in the New York City club. It was optioned for potential use for the NBC series "Playboy Club" and Simon & Shuster released the paperback version Fall 2011. 

As a publisher, Kathryn founded Pomegranate Press which offers non-fiction and entertainment titles. One of their many titles is the audio THE DARK SHADOWS COMPANION, where members of the cast recall great moments and personal memories of the enduring classic. For more on Kathryn and writing, visit her website at www.kathrynleighscott.com

Were you (or are you) a big fan of Dark Shadows? Which character remained with you after all these years? Thanks so much for stopping by today. 


  1. Sounds like a really good book. Thanks for sharing!

    I remember watching the show and thinking it was good. But I really am drawing a blank on the specific characters.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  2. Hi, Kathryn & Mason! What a treat! I have been so looking forward to this interview and post. I am also one of the long-time, devoted fans of Dark Shadows who rushed home from school each day in order not to miss a single moment of the show! My Gran watched it with me, and my Mom occasionally joined us when she wasn't at work. I love everything about Dark Shadows! What a cast! The theme music, the atmosphere, the story lines--I could keep going on and on : ) Kathryn was so lovely and appealing, especially as Josette, whom she portrayed with delicacy, yet also with great emotion. She made it easy to see why she was Barnabas's great love! Her wonderfully expressive eyes were captivating--how could Barnabas resist?

    The fact that Kathryn and other members of the cast have continued to interact with their fans and to keep the Dark Shadows experience alive and kicking is very rewarding for DS devotees! Kathryn is obviously a lady with a lot to say about a variety of subjects, and I admire her for branching out and becoming an entrepreneur. I still have my little replica of Josette’s music box from the TV show. It was a collectible sold by mail order only in 1970. It still works perfectly and when you wind it up, it plays that haunting theme : )

    I love Johnny Depp. However, for me there is only one “Barnabas”, and that is the one and only original–Jonathan Frid! I have wonderful memories of watching “Dark Shadows” after school with my grandmother–neither one of us could wait for the next episode. I loved Barnabas’ ring! Sometimes the ring seemed like a character all its own ; )

  3. You know, I've always seen clips of "Dark Shadows" and thought it looked really intriguing! But I didn't understand really the premise of the show, never having seen one all the way through. Am I right that PBS tried to re-run some of them? I'll have to see if I can find it. Your companion guide sounds excellent!

  4. Kathryn, I'm thrilled that you're guest blogging today. Your characters of Josette and Maggie will always be fond characters for me. I'm looking forward to finding new and intriguing characters in your book, DARK PASSAGES. Wishing you much success with everything.

  5. Donnas, thanks for stopping by. There are a number of characters that I can't remember too.

  6. Virginia, you and I are so much alike when it comes to Dark Shadows. I agree there can only be one Barnabas and it's Jonathan, but if someone has to fill his shoes I'm glad it's Johnny Depp. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Elizabeth, Dark Shadows is intriguing. I would say the one thing you should keep in mind when you watch it is the era in which it was done. In it's time, it was scary without the gore of today's shows. The companion is great.

  8. What a fascinating and wonderful post. The era and individuals always appealed to me. many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. I've been a little leery of the new movie, I always worry if those kinds of movies will do justice to the originals. And I'll admit it, I'm not a huge Depp fan (I know, gasp, what's wrong with me?).

  10. Not entering to win, but I remember Dark Shadows well!

  11. The fictional version of the fictional Dark Shadows. Awesome :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.