I have my own philosophy about vampires—that is, that since no one has ever really interviewed a vampire, we don’t know what they’re about and how they function. And when you think about what a vampire is supposed be, none of it makes sense. So why not make your vampire what you want her to be?
I’ve always said that. Yet, when I read about successful vampire novels or movies, the vampires follow the usual tropes. Well, maybe not the garlic thing, but pretty much everything else.
And this worries me a little because I veer from that. I worry that my audience will not accept my vampires as I created them because they don’t fit into the mold that was created for them. But is that something that I really should worry about? On the one hand, it’s my work, my story, my characters—don’t I have the right to create them the way I envision them? On the other hand, if my audience is dissatisfied with my characters, where does that leave me?
My vampires aren’t the same even from story to story. Every vampire character I create is different from the other. Fiona, my vampire in Twice Bitten, is more of an old-school vampire living a quiet, lonely existence in a semi-gothic environment, who doesn’t tolerate sunlight well (although she doesn’t burn up) and can’t eat or drink (except blood, of course). Shawna, the vampire in my short story “Love Bites,” which appeared in the anthology When The Clock Strikes Thirteen, was more of an Underworld-type of character: hot, sexy, wild, a partier. We don’t see her eat, but she drinks alcohol.
My newest undead heroine breaks away even further from the old Bram Stoker-esque character. She can be out in daylight (although she doesn’t prefer it), can eat and drink as much as she wants (which is really important, and you’ll see why when I announce the release), and she lives a (fairly) normal life.
I struggled to find ways to describe physical reactions to such things as love, fear, and lust, since, theoretically, vampires are dead and their organs don’t work. But if you go with that notion, we’ll come back around to my original point, which is that nothing about them makes sense, so why not just let them do whatever you want them to?
I decided that, while I can’t let my characters have free rein, I don’t have to follow all the traditional rules, and they will be just as strong and believable as more traditional vampires.
Hopefully, my readers will agree.