BRAM Stoker's great-grand-nephew was teased as a child about his connection to the Dracula author -- but he is now following in his footsteps and writing his own vampire novel.
Dacre Stoker (53) grew up in Canada in a family which was quietly proud of its Dublin ancestor Bram Stoker.
However, as a youngster he was teased by schoolmates at Halloween.
"Lots of friends would say 'You're a Stoker, are you gonna bite me in the neck?' or 'Don't go to Stoker's house on Halloween, they're vampires'," recalled Dacre.
But he later realised the literary significance of Dracula.
"At 18 I started to take it seriously and read the novel. Because before the mid-70s it wasn't really looked at as a classic, but then it moved out of the horror genre and became a book that was studied in schools and universities."
Then in 2003 Dacre embarked on a mission to write a sequel to his great-grand-uncle's gothic horror novel.
In Dracula: The Un-Dead, published in 2009, Dacre includes Bram Stoker as a character as if his novel Dracula had been non-fiction and its surviving characters are still alive 24 years later.
While researching for The Un-Dead, the novice author uncovered more family stories which gave him new insights into his great-grand-uncle.
Dacre said that although there is no proof, he is of the belief that Bram's early life in Ireland played the biggest role in inspiring his dark and terrifying tale.
Bram's mother Charlotte Thornley grew up in Sligo and witnessed a deadly plague of cholera, said Dacre.
It is believed she told the young Bram tales of how some of the sick were thrown into mass graves before they were fully dead.