21st Century Vampires, Adult Vampires, Aiden, Black Dagger Brotherhood, books, guest blogging, JR Ward, Marilyn Manson, My Chemical Romance, Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, Vampire, Vampire Month, Vampires, Zoe Adams
Our last Vampire Month guest post for this year is from Zoe Adams. Here she talks about Vampires in the 21st Century.
I’ve read a few vampire books over the years. I essentially got hooked on them when I started secondary school, finding a group of friends who didn’t think I was weird because I read fantasy books. It was through these friends I found a love of rock music and found some lyrics Gothic, connecting to vampires – mainly during those teenage years it was Aiden, Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance.
Listening to those bands now makes me want to write vampire fiction. Sadly, I’ve never got round to it, but it hasn’t stopped me dreaming or throwing imaginary barriers up against myself.
The main barrier in writing about vampires is the angle on which to approach them.
Young Adult vampire fiction very much follows a love triangle. Usually, the novel follows a female protagonist who meets a strange and alluring young man, who reveals that he is a vampire. Of course, this is forbidden love and we root for them to be together. Occasionally, a new breed of creature is thrown in, expanding the paranormal world entirely, and these type of books end up as a trilogy or a long lasting series.
Another take on it, is that our heroine, aware of the existing world of supernatural beings, falls in love with the vampire, and then has to choose between him and another supernatural, or the occasional human. Blood taking is usually involved and by the end of the series, love has won out. A cure has been found and they are happily human, or they are living together, forever youthful.
This is a common style of plot in the Young Adult paranormal fiction market, but it brings its problems with it. Mainly that these vampires are not real at all. The common debate is what self-respecting vampire would choose to spend time back at school, masquerading as a sulky teenage boy or girl? How does he or she manage the time at school – surely they must have to go into sunlight? What do they feed upon?
The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer made young adult vampires her own, giving them sparkling skin in sunlight, and moving into a town that is nine times out of ten, gloomy, dull, dark and wet. This allows these shining beautiful creatures to walk in the daytime and interact with humans. The night still gives them the cover they need to chase animals, to drink their blood to sustain them.
Whether it’s my age, but I seem to be straying away from Young Adult vampires. I’m finding the plots predictable and the heroines dull and lifeless. The vampires aren’t even attractive to me anymore.
All these thoughts, opinions and impressions make me doubt my ability to write a new and stunning vampire novel, for young adults.
My other option would be to write an adult novel.
Whilst we have similar plot lines, the vampires are an entirely new breed. They are hunky, well built, dark, brooding creatures who have no qualms about drinking from a live human source. The vampires have been around for centuries and have learnt tricks of the trade – mainly that if they drink blood, they are able to flood it to a certain part of the body for pleasurable acts. More often than not, these carnal acts of love and lust are with humans, who find the act themselves sensual and a little bit scary.
J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood vampires are these kinds. They are a society, brothers in arms as they defend their race against soulless creatures which threaten their existence. They use weapons – swords, guns, anything they can lay their hands on. They drive fast cars with reckless abandon. You can see the human side of these vampires and at the same time appreciate that Ward keeps them on track. Whilst stories and characters overlap in the series’, these vampires hunt and live for the night. They are damaged by the sun’s light, forcing them to have tinted cars and metal blinds in their homes. They drink blood from humans when they need to and often the Brothers drink from the loves of their lives, who are not always human, not always vampire.
The vampires connect to basic human emotions – struggling with addiction, their own inner psychological issues and finding a true place in the world.
Either way we look at the argument, vampires are still heavily popular. Books like the Twilight series and the Black Dagger Brotherhood connect and bring readers together from all over the world, from all walks of life. Readers emphasise with characters, find their own desires and learn things about themselves that they have never learnt before. For example, in Anne Rice’s novel, Interview with the Vampire, readers see a side to bonds of friendship and love. It is often insinuated that the time that Louis and Lestat spent together, they became lovers. In further novels, Lestat is unabashed in this belief. The bond they shared went deeper than the connection of creator and subservient, and this represents the belief that homosexuality is not a curse.
Bloggers and reporters alike will argue about these books places in society, but what they have to remember is that vampire fiction has been around for years, and will continue to sell years later, as the young and old alike continue to read them.