Justin Cronin's The Twelve: The Sequel to The Passage Brings Back the Vampires

October is the perfect month for all things it is only appropriate that in just a few days, fans of Justin Cronin's popular postapocalyptic vampire novel, The Passage, will be able to grab their copy of The Twelve, the second book in the popular vampire saga.

The first book, The Passage, by the former Rice University professor (he left to concentrate on his novel writing) tells the story of Amy, a girl endowed with unique powers to save the world in the wake of a global pandemic that has killed most of humanity and turned one-tenth of the population into immortal monsters.

"In the second volume," Cronin says, "Amy and a group of characters met in The Passage go in search of the 12 original vampires, death-row inmates transformed by an ancient virus re-engineered by the American military."

In a society culturally obsessed with vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures in everything from books to movies...Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries...Cronin has made a smart move writing a book about vampires. But Cronin says his vampire characters are slightly different.

"My intention was to tell a kind of vampire story, but without the magic one associates with the gothic tradition -- the "real" vampires, if you like, on which all the legends are based," says Cronin.

Soon after it was released in 2010, Cronin's first book, The Passage quickly became an international best-seller and was praised by fellow novelists, including the "Master of Horror" himself, Stephen King. But even if The Passage hadn't become the hit that it did, Cronin says he had already planned on turning his work into a trilogy.

"Very early on I realized that the story was simply too large to tell in one volume. (And even then, the books are very long.) If you want to bring the world to the brink of destruction and then save it, you need a lot of room," says Cronin.

And just like EL James, author of the mega popular Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, Cronin was blindsided by the attention his series has attracted.

"It's all very gratifying, and took me by surprise. I conceived the story on a series of long runs in 2005 in the company of my daughter, who followed along on her bicycle. To pass the time, we played a game we called "Let's build a novel." Over three weeks, the story took shape pretty much as it now stands. I had no intention of actually writing the thing when we started, but after a few months had passed, I realized I had found a story that simply wanted to be told. I put aside another novel I was working on in favor of this one and never looked back," said Cronin.

It's no surprise to find that Random House had offered Cronin a reported $3.75 million book deal for The Passage and its unwritten sequels. And although it's too early to tell if Cronin's vampire trilogy will be just as successful as The Hunger Games, Twilight or even the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey series, that still hasn't stopped even Hollywood from wanting to turn the not even finished series into a movie. According to The New York Times, the film rights for The Passage were already sold for a reported $1.75 million and such names as Ridley Scott and Matt Reeves, director of Let Me In (another vampire film), have reportedly been attached to direct the future film at some point.

And all of this just because of the inspiration of his nine-year-old daughter, Cronin says, who inspired him to...write a story about "a girl that saves the world."

The Twelve will be available on shelves and e-books on October 16.

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Crystal Brannen