Ten years ago I finished my first novel, an epic fantasy full of wizards, dragons and gods, with enchanted swords and rings of power. Well, kind of. The influence of Tolkien goes without saying.
The narrator and main protagonist is a vampire. I have just created a new cover for my novel (published last year on Amazon via KDP) using Photoshop and an image from Shutterstock. A woman with white skin and a wild mane of hair, carrying a sword – she’s believably my heroine.
Vampire stories are another love of mine. I don’t think I came across Interview With A Vampire until the early ’90s, but I had definitely been reading many other books and short stories before then, most of which I can’t remember but wish I could find again. Vampire stories in those days were exciting. I particularly remember The Vampire Tapestry by Suzie McKee Charnas and Nancy Collins’s Sonja Blue series, and I loved the Anne Rice vampire series. I eventually read The Hunger by Whitley Strieber because the ending of the film made no sense (bless you Tony Scott, rest in peace, I love the film but…).
I started writing the novel in 1998. That was the year of Blade, and the year after the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series started. Great stuff to watch, but not especially interesting to write about.
There are essentially two types of vampire: those that are soulless, whether truly evil or just driven by unrelenting hunger, and those with a residual humanity and the ability to love and grieve and make moral choices. For me, the really interesting thing is the transformed human’s struggle with the vampire’s physical need to feed off humans. Introducing ideas of blood substitutes (animal blood, or plasma from blood banks, or other) is simply not interesting.
Which means that friendly, romantic vampires don’t work at all for me. Vampires can be friendly and romantic, of course, but they still need to feed. Just imagine, for example, Anastasia’s shock when she discovers Christian’s other secret life involves biting into the necks of his army of secretaries…