Bram Stoker, Draculas Creator
As well as writing one of the most popular horror stories of all time, Bram Stoker was also the personal assistant to the actor Henry Irving. Born Abraham Stoker on 8th November 1847 in Dublin, Bram was a sickly child and was unable to walk until the age of about 7. His father was Abraham Stoker and his mother Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornley
He attended Trinity College in Dublin,and despite his earlier poor health, became a very good athlete.
When he left college, he worked in Dublin Castle as a Civil Servant. Although while at College he was President of the Philosophical Society, his great love was the arts. It was while he was in this post that he met Oscar Wilde and proposed him for membership of the society.
This led to him eventually working for the actor Henry Irving, a man who he had a great deal of respect for and even called his only son Irving after his friend.
His first published novel was "The Crystal Cup" a short story and it was not entirely successful http://www.classic-literature.co.uk/bram-stoker/the-crystal-cup/pages.html
The following year 1872 his four part horror story "Chain of Destiny" was published.
Bram eventually agreed to run the Lyceum Theatre in London for Irving, and he carried out his duties for thirty years. He settled in London, in in 1878 married the actress Florence Balcome
They moved to London and met other famous literary artists such as W. B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde. Bram had known Wilde from his student days and he was a former suitor of Florences' They remained friends, and Stoker visited Wilde abroad after he was released from prison.
On holiday in 1890 Stoker got inspiration for Dracula while he was in Whitby. He read about Romanian history and that is how he found out about Vlad Dracul and decided that Dracula - or Son of Dracul - would be the name for his vampire. He had originally thought of the name Count Wampyr,
Stoker did not make his fortune from Dracula, and when he died form syphilis on 20th April 19 Florence found that she often struggled for money. She had the copyright for the books, but they were not as popular then as they were to become. She successfully forced a German producer Freidrich Wilhelm Murnau to destroy the unauthorised film he made, and was able to negotiate the rights for Hamilton Deane to turn the story into a play. Although she saw this and the film starring Bela Lugosi, it was not until after Florences' death in 1937 that it became the success that it is.
None of his other books including The Lady Of The Shroud and The Lair of The White Worm are anywhere near as acclaimed as Dracula