In the paranormal romance/erotica genre, there is one theme you absolutely cannot escape: vampires.
So why are vampires “sexy”?
If you are the kind of geek who reads up on their mythology, vampires going back through time are actually pretty un-sexy: they are ghosts or walking corpses, and they suck the life out of the living. About the only thing that really marks them as sexual at all is that they prey preferentially upon young women – although this may well be a trope the way fictional Martians in the fifties seemed to be always after young women for reasons inexplicable. The very first vampire flick, Nosferatu, sums up the vampire-as-monster concept very well.
Then comes Bella Lugosi, and suddenly the vampire is wealthy, debonair, and attractive. Instead of eternal undeath, he or she offers the promise of eternal youth and all the carnal pleasures of the flesh for eternity. Vampires are suddenly erotic. Given their immortal status of ultimate sophisticate and ultimate monster, they are also romantic figures caught between love and lust, mortality and immortality.
The chain of sexy vampires runs through many incarnations, through Christopher Lee and the stars of other incarnations of Dracula (including Gary Oldman), and then it gets mated with the teen angst and girl-power of Buffy in the nineties. Buffy had it good, with vampires a mix of man and monster, soulless and soulful. They could be the enemy, but you could sympathise with a few and see the tragedy of many.
Then came Twilight….which if you ask me took it way too far, with sparkly youthful vampires getting all gooey-eyed over one another. I know some people liked it, but I prefer Lady Gaga’s take: if it ain’t (a bit) rough, it isn’t fun.
So when I set out to write vampire stories, I had to think a lot. There were many points I made to myself about how my vampires should be:
Believable: for my own satisfaction, I want my vampires to have a rationale that makes sense. If making vampires is easy, the world would be overrun with them, if it’s too hard there won’t be any, and whatever it is has to make sense.
- Old: Vampires are meant to be “immortal” or at least very long lived. You don’t get to be that old without accumulating some cash, and you do not get to do that without changing your way of thinking. At the very least they would have an ego, at worst they will distance themselves from the “cattle” of humanity a great deal. Most would lie between the two extremes.
- Experienced: hand in hand with old, the amount of experience they have would mean that they have become skilled at fitting in and not ruffling feathers. At the same time, ego means they will want people to take notice of them…this is a paradoxical situation, resolved by revealing much to those who they draw in, nothing to those outside that group.
- Monstrous: However I made them, I wanted at least hints of the monstrousness they could be capable of. I wanted them to feel dangerous, at the very least.
- Tragic: I also wanted pathos for them, they are after all immortals in a mortal world. Anyone they get close too who isn’t a vampire must age and die before their eyes. That will leave emotional scars.
- Long Term Thinking: surviving vampires will plan for the long term. They will establish networks of contacts and traditions of support for themselves.
Vampirism, I decided, would be like a virus that only a few people are susceptible to via genetics. Hence you will have families that will often become vampires when bitten, and others that will not. Vampires have slower metabolism and are very long-lived, but they are fundamentally alive. They will have great strength, sharp senses, but will be highly photosensitive. They will burn very easily in sunlight, but it won’t kill them. Of course they need blood, as their bodies become naturally anaemic. That also makes sex viable, as they are still alive and still have urges – and vanilla sex will get boring after a century, I’m sure.
So armed with my notes I went about creating my characters…
The recluse: My first vampire I made as a recluse: he lives alone, he maintains only those contacts necessary to maintain his wealth and indulge any desires he has. He is a creature of habit, scarred by past relationships. He’s vulnerable, but a little scary because of the way he distances himself from others. He would live in the country but commute to the city when he needed to. So what if he broke down on a return journey, and who would come across him?
The hero: This vampire I decided to make “noble” in every sense of the word, I wanted to make him a humanitarian with links to families that he can rely on for support in return for past deeds rendered. By making him traditionally European I had a great way to make that heroism clear, by his acts to resist Nazi occupation – sheltering Jews in his castle, assisting allied troops and resistance fighters, and so on. This gave a great “in” to the heroine, as this vampire would have networks on both sides of the Atlantic, and my heroine becomes a student traveller. I did want to add a hint of tragedy into my hero, though. A humanitarian who has to watch and wait while those he loves grow old is going to need to give himself a certain amount of emotional distance. Hence we have a lover who cannot ever commit to loving someone.
The Survivor: Given the nature of my vampires, AIDS was something that would hit them hard and destroy many (one reason for my publishers “Endangered Species” series theme). Those that were left might well band together, and seek ways of feeding safely. How to meet my survivor? Well, he’s like other vampires, once you get to know him you won’t forget him – especially if you are a history buff. So the coffee shop meeting became my setting for this story. However, the company of predators is not safe for humans…
The Throwback: Some will find it hard to change, and this vampire I decided would be one of those. Now in some respects an old-fashioned gentleman would be romantic, but if you think about it in others he’d be a condescending misogynist. By turns he would be infuriating and beguiling. Back to my subject of cultivated allies and bloodlines, I took my heroine from one of these bloodlines and thought about how her life would develop being the child of a vampire – almost certainly without knowing it. Then as she’s the child of a vampire, they’d want her to have a child by another vampire, to keep the bloodline strong in whatever factor makes a vampire. Now I have my protagonists, all I have to do is put them together…
So there, four stories of vampires, and four heroines for them to seduce. Check them out, I think you’ll enjoy them!
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/kpxszy6
#BDSM #Erotica #Vampire #Spanking #Paranormal #Kindle