The first in a three-part commentary on Mythical Creatures.
Before I get into this, let me state that I love vampires. Unequivocally, unabashedly, eternally. And yes, I realize they’re not real. Let’s move on.
My first novel, completed this year, is about vampires. A tale of longing and hunger; of lust and regret. My story introduces medical examiner Joe Cooper-a vampire with an insatiable appetite for booze, blood and women. And a hunger for justice. He represents many of the qualities I’ve always admired in (fictional) vampires. Inhuman abilities-check. Rugged good looks-oh, yeah. A thirst for human blood-absolutely. He’s dangerous when he has to be; charming when he wants to be. He also has (forgive the pun) a heart. Because one other thing that’s always drawn me to certain fictional vampires is their sense of loss. Of what might be, of what can never be. I’m a sucker for a sad story.
Let me also say that I adore the Twilight Series. Just like many others out there, I quickly found myself caught up in the story of Bella and Edward. I felt like a teenager again, except only the good parts. And while many have said that her vampires weren’t fierce enough, or that the love story wasn’t graphic enough – hey, it was intended for a young adult audience. Just because those of us who are…um…not young adults, also fell in love with the story, does not mean we should judge it as if it was meant for us. Don’t judge it at all. Just enjoy the story. Because it’s a great one.
But…my novel is for a more mature audience, and as such, brings vampires back to the darker side of their existence. In other words, Joe ain’t a vegetarian. And he likes sex. Nothing smutty, mind you. But I did worry about sending the first draft to my mom to read.
I’ve heard the complaints – “if I have to see another vampire on t.v. or read about another vamp book, I’m gonna hurl” (or something to that effect). O.k. – so you don’t like vampires. Or maybe you’re just tired of them, you want something else to entertain you. Fine, but you’ve got to admit that vampires are one type of mythical creature that’s not going anywhere. There’s an allure there…the vampire mythos speaks to us (women and men, both). For different reasons, and in different ways, but still–the appeal remains relatively constant.
And there are so many ways for writers to explore this legend–to sculpt their characters and build their worlds in ways that reflect that which they find the most alluring/seductive/frightening. Writers write about vampires to appease the multitude of readers out there who are clamoring for this genre. But we also write about vampires to satisfy our own creative selves.
Urban, paranormal, supernatural – call it what you will, but this genre of fantasy fiction is popular. And for good reason. And while vampires are but one of the many creatures that can be given life in such fiction, to me–they’re the most beguiling.
My thoughts on Werewolves and Zombies later this week…