Dunraven Road. Caroline is currently on a blog tour promoting her new novel Jinn Nation and as part of that tour has produced a guest article for TMtV, look out for the Giveaway after the article.
Have Vampires Lost Their Bite?
Fictional Vampires started life as true hide-behind-the-sofa, sleep-with-the-lights-on monsters. They stalked their prey with the menace and skill of any practiced serial killer, inspired by real life butchers such as Vlad the Impaler and the Blood Countess herself, Elizabeth Báthory. Dracula, the granddaddy of the genre, was able to hypnotise his victims and could shapeshift at will.
Now though, vampires have feelings. They feel bad about killing people; they fall in love at first sight. They sparkle. And let’s not forget the way they look. Although able to disguise his ugliness, in reality Dracula was little more than a walking corpse.
So what happened? I think Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire might have been the turning point. It was published in 1976, a mere year after the publication of Stephen King’s far more traditional take on the vampire tale, ‘Salem’s Lot, yet the difference in style is dramatic. Interview is told from a vampire’s point of view, for a start. This is all too common now but back then it was practically unheard of. The tragic story of the vampire Louis is as darkly beautiful as it is sad, but it was his remorseless mentor Lestat, who stole the show. In the second volume of The Vampire Chronicles, The Vampire Lestat, we learn that far from being a two-dimensional monster, Lestat can be as sensitive as he is vain. He understands his own nature and doesn’t mourn the lives he has to take to sustain himself. Maybe it’s the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan in me, but it’s this middle ground of the anti-hero that drew me to vampire fiction. The vampire is still a monster but he (or she) can also be the star. That’s why I created Dylan, my very own vampire anti-hero. Dylan has a monumental appetite. He loves to hunt and he loves to eat and he’ll never feel guilty about the lives he’s taken, yet he’s capable of falling in love, he’s fiercely loyal to his friends and he has a wicked sense of humor.
So the literary vampire has been on a long journey, enduring quite a few transformations along the way; from villain to anti-hero to out and out hero. Because a hero is essentially what he has become, at least in the tween-embracing world of the sparkly, glossy haired vampire, anyway. Now vampires don’t even bite people or drink blood, let alone stalk their chosen victims or sleep in a coffin. In these modern novels, the vampire is the victim, cursed with what Dylan calls (albeit sarcastically) a “debilitating blood addiction” that they fight to keep under control. I personally can’t find much to like about these vampires. Even the more adult-orientated novels such as the Sookie Stackhouse series contain vampires that seem tame and diluted to me. They just don’t have any fun, a sentiment I know Lestat would agree with.
At least I’m not the only one who prefers vampires with a bit more bite. For the last decade, traditional publishers seem to only have been interested in the sparkly kind of vampire. The wonderful thing about the rise of indie publishing is that authors who haven’t written a love story involving a vampire, who have created an undead character who could give Dracula a run for his money, actually have a chance of reaching readers. You’ll always be able to find vampire romance novels, but now fans of the genre actually have a choice. So maybe not all vampires have lost their bite, maybe they just bite in different ways.
Giveaway: Three lucky winners can win an e-version of Jinn Nation by commenting on this post, greeting Caroline or asking her a question. Please ensure you leave an email contact detail with your comment. A winner will be drawn out of the hat on 8/8/11. For those not lucky in the giveaway the e-book is at a bargain price of $0.99 or £0.95 via the links below.
Bio: Caroline Barnard-Smith has been writing stories since she was five years old. Having graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, she now lives in Devon, England with her husband and baby daughter where she writes about ruthless vampires, lovelorn zombies and heinous blood cults.
Her short stories have been published in numerous small press magazines, including Ballista, Hungur and Night to Dawn, and on the web at Dark Fire Fiction.
Caroline’s debut dark fantasy novel, Dunraven Road, was published by Immanion Press in June 2009. For various exciting reasons she’s since turned her hand to indie publishing. Jinn Nation is her first full-length independently published novel.
When she’s not writing, Caroline is busy running her handmade craft business, CazzCraft, selling both online and at craft fairs.