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A & E

Downers Grove Library Skypes descendant of 'Dracula' author

Dacre Stoker, author and descendant of  "Dracula" author Bram Stoker, shares, via an interactive Skype presentation, the history and legends surrounding Bram Stoker and Dracula.
Dacre Stoker, author and descendant of "Dracula" author Bram Stoker, shares, via an interactive Skype presentation, the history and legends surrounding Bram Stoker and Dracula.

Pat Kelly of Niles had one question he hoped to ask Dacre Stoker.

"Is Dracula a hero or a villain?" Kelly said.

Kelly was referring to the way Dacre portrayed Dracula in "Dracula the Un-dead," which Dacre co-wrote with screenwriter Ian Holt and published in 2009.

Dacre's most recent book, "Dracul," which he co-wrote with J.D.N Barker and published last year, is a fictional account of Bram Stoker and how he came to write "Dracula."

Kelly, who as a child believed vampires were real and used to wake up in the morning, examining his neck, had read the original "Dracula" by Bram Stoker many times and hoped Dacre would say "villain."

"He's not going to heaven, he was damned," Kelly said of Bram's Dracula. "He was going to straight to hell."

On Sept. 18, Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker's great-grandnephew, presented "What's Vlad Got to Do with It? - An evening with Dacre Stoker," at the Downers Grove Library.

Dacre was to appear in person to share the history and legend surrounding Bram Stoker and "Dracula," as well as to sell and sign books.

But when organizers cancelled this weekend's VampCon Chicago, where Dacre was also to appear, he and the library decided to go ahead with the presentation via Skype.

Dacre also offered a special coupon code that will guarantee the eight attendees at the library event will receive a signed copy of "Dracul," if they still wished to buy one.

Jackie Parent of Downers Grove, a teacher and a fan of classic vampire stories ("Not 'Twilight,' she said) said she was planning to purchase a copy after the talk.

Likewise, Jake Chernoff of Downer's Grove, who also has not read "Dracul" - or even "Dracula" - but he is a fan of vintage vampire films (with the 1931 version starring Bela Lugosi as his favorite) came out because he was curious about the historical Dracula.

Julie Gaubatz of Downers Grove, who is currently reading "Dracul," said she signed up for the presentation because she's enjoying the book.

"It's really good," Gaubatz said of Dacre's latest book. "It's not so much the horror of it but the mystery. The writing is really good and I'm hooked into finding out what happens."

At the conclusion, Stoker shared a surprise hidden beneath the dust jacket of one of his books.

To watch the unveil, visit theherald-news.com/video.

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