Born in Texas, author Sam Hawken now resides in Washington D.C. He was a historian before becoming a novelist who favours gritty realism with a cinematic slant. His debut, The Dead Woman of Juárez, was inspired by the alarming number of female homicides on the Mexican border. His second book, Tequilla Sunset (Serpents Tail) heads into gangland territory, with murderous consequences. Below, Sam Hawken explains why his filmic creature alter ego is Selene from Underworld. Eithne Farry
When I first got the request to pick a ‘creature’ alter ego, my initial reaction was, ‘Huh? What?’ but then I got to thinking about it one particular creature came to mind. Not only that, but it was a creature that would seem not to fit me at all. The creature is a vampire. And a woman. Her name is Selene.
You probably know this already, but Selene was the heroine in three of the four Underworld movies. She was quick and strong and determined and more than a little of a romantic. She also had very little in common with the traditional view of vampires. This was no Eastern European noble seducing women in the night and turning them into sex slaves, but a bona fide ass-kicking machine with no equal in the toughness department. And it didn’t hurt that she was extremely easy on the eyes.
After The Dead Woman of Juárez, my first book, came out, I was asked a lot of questions about ‘manly man’ topics like boxing and, on more than one occasion, I was taken to task for not including enough women in the story. What would those people say if I told them that Selene was my alter ego? That I was feminism in a catsuit, handy with guns and blades and absolutely ruthless? You gotta wonder.
I don’t harbour any secret ambitions to swap genders or species in real life, but if left to my own imaginary devices I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to step into Selene’s butt-stomping combat boots. I’d hunt werewolves with a fiery passion and I’d hone myself into a living weapon. Nobody would want to get on my bad side, because I would put them away in a heartbeat. I’d look darned good doing it, too. Watch out, (under)world.