The Dawn Is Coming

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in Book: Mercy: The Last NE Vampire, Children's Literature | 1 comment

So, the movie of Breaking Dawn is out this Friday, which inspires me to offer a few thoughts on the topic: Why are vampires so sexy?

They’re not.

I realize I’m in the minority here, although how much of a minority, I’m not sure. I do know that I tend to introduce the topic of Mercy to people by saying, “I have a new book out; it’s a vampire story; it’s not a romance,” (with that last part spoken very quickly). I see my listeners’ eyes glaze over but then brighten as they process the fact that my vampires do not sparkle, stalk teenage girls, or moon over their human love interests/meals. Now, I’ve got nothing against a good paranormal romance if that’s your thing, but lately it seems like everyone assumes anybody with fangs must be Mr. Darcy in disguise.

It’s Bram Stoker’s fault. Nobody thought vampires were sexy or even handsome before Dracula. All that repressed Victorian sexuality came boiling over (even more rabidly in the movies than the books, although it’s there in the book, too, right under the surface), and biting virginal young woman became a metaphor for deflowering them. All well and good, it made for a great story, but–


–it was fiction.

There was a time when people did not see vampires as fiction. They saw them as fact. Rare, odd, not something to be spoken of openly, but real. The vampires of folklore, the vampires that people truly believed in–vampires like Mercy Brown–were not seductive, alluring, or wickedly attractive. People did not want to have sex with them. They wanted to kill them, many times over if possible. They wanted to destroy them. They were scared to death of them.

That was the vampire tradition I wanted to get in touch with when I was writing Mercy.

I respect Bram Stoker, I like Dracula, but I think it’s time to shake off his deathgrip (as it were) on the vampire theme. Vampires, after all, are about death much more than they are about sex. The central vampire question isn’t “Are you dying to have sex with me?” It’s “How scared are you of dying? What would you do to live forever?”

One Comment

  1. Like anything, the sub-genre’ of vrapime fiction will have a life-cycle. But I can’t see vrapimes (or werewolves) being totally *out*. Maybe people will set them aside for a while and chase after the next thrilling chilling whatever, but vrapimes have been around for a long time, made a strong comeback, and have a lot to offer. You could almost make them a class’ of hero archetype at this point. I know I will always sit down to read a new twist on the theme. I hope others feel the same.How many of the other types of romances are there? Do the die-hard fans ever get tired of the swash-buckling pirate or the pent-up duke? The rogue-ish highlander? The gun-slinging cowboy? The rich corporate suit? Nope. They want more. I think/hope that fang-junkies will prove to be the same.In my mind, story trumps all so as long as it’s told in a way that sweeps me into a new exciting world, I’m game!

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