'Dracula Daily' will deliver the classic book to your inbox in bite-sized chunks
AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:
Some of us are used to daily reminders in our email - the latest deals from the places we shop, or maybe a horoscope reading. But how about a daily dose of the elegant undead?
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UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As Dracula) I am Dracula.
RASCOE: Yes, from Dracula.
MATT KIRKLAND: I think everybody loves vampires.
RASCOE: Well, now, you know, it really depends on who that bloodsucker is. Is it Edward Cullen? Blade? The Count from Sesame Street? Still, nothing beats a classic, right? Also, here's a tip. You can beat him, but a wooden stake through the heart is far more effective. Matt Kirkland knows this. He's the creator of Dracula Daily.
KIRKLAND: The Dracula Daily newsletter takes the entire book of Bram Stoker's original novel, "Dracula," and emails it out in small bite-sized chunks.
RASCOE: He said bite-sized chunks. You heard him right. OK, but why? Kirkland says the 1897 novel really lends itself to being chopped up.
KIRKLAND: The whole book is epistolary, which means it's made up of letters and telegrams and diary entries, and every part of that has a specific date associated with it. And the whole story, as it happens to all the characters, happens over the span of about six months. So our newsletter emails people that day's events taken straight from the book.
RASCOE: Easily digestible. This is Matt Kirkland's second year serializing "Dracula." Last year, about 1,600 people were reading along. This year...
KIRKLAND: Currently, we have 195,000 readers, which is astonishing to me.
RASCOE: With more readers comes more feedback. Kirkland says readers like to weigh in on their favorite passages, like when Jonathan Harker, hired to help the Count move to London, travels to Transylvania for a meeting with his client and discovers the power of a well-seasoned meal.
KIRKLAND: He is trying some local food and is just overwhelmed by the amount of paprika on a chicken dish.
RASCOE: You need to hear it. It's kind of cute. NPR's Danny Hensel does the honors.
DANNY HENSEL, BYLINE: (Reading) I had for dinner - or, rather, supper - a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. Must remember; get recipe from Mina.
KIRKLAND: And it, you know, gives him bad dreams. He drinks all the water in his carafe.
HENSEL: (Reading) I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams. There was a dog howling all night under my window, which may have had something to do with it. Or it may have been the paprika, for I had to drink up all the water in my carafe and was still thirsty.
KIRKLAND: There is a world of jokes that just erupted on the internet of interest in what a poor little baby Jonathan Harker is with his paprika addiction. I've loved that.
RASCOE: The memes have been good too, but the best way to kill a meme is not with a wooden stake, but with NPR explaining it. So you'll just have to Google. Matt Kirkland says he's glad folks are enjoying the old novel this way.
KIRKLAND: It's such a fun book. It's such a goofy book in places because we all know so much about the story of "Dracula," but many people haven't read it. And, of course, the characters don't know that they're in "Dracula," so they're walking into traps and missing all these red flags. But just the enjoyment of reading the book is the only purpose here.
RASCOE: In terms of his next project, Kirkland is open to ideas.
KIRKLAND: Lots of people have suggested "Frankenstein," which is sort of the natural next story, but it comes in really big chunks. So I think we have to find some other way to split it up. But I'm definitely on the lookout for what a next book could be.
RASCOE: That's Matt Kirkland, creator of Dracula Daily.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.