30 Days of Vampires Schedule
When my first vampire book, Bitten & Smitten, was published I was surprised at some of the comments I read in reviews, such as how I got the vampire myths “wrong” and should have done a bit more research if I want to write in that genre. I’m paraphrasing, of course.
The thing is, I love vampires. I adore them. I have been a hardcore fanpire (isn’t that a great word?) since…well, the beginning. The Count was my favorite Sesame Street character. Frank Langella freaked me out (as well as made me feel strangely tingly) in the 70’s version of Dracula. And when Gary Oldman told Winona Ryder that he’d crossed oceans of time to find her… Zing. I was sold.
Love vamps. The myths? They’re just myths. I saw an HBO special the other day about vampires (it was promoting the fantastic show True Blood) and they went down the list of myths asking writers and directors about them. The funniest thing was that every last one was disputed. Except the wooden stake thing. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
1. Vampires are killed by sunlight
This was the biggest one for me, and the one that garnered the most “she’s wrong!” comments. The vampires in my Immortality Bites series can go out in the sunshine just fine and dandy without the risk of bursting into flame. I do state that they feel a bit weaker than at night, and they must wear dark sunglasses to protect from the glare of the sun. Am I wrong for doing this? No, I’m not. Really. Dracula himself was a daywalker. The idea that sunlight can kill vamps is a recent thing. I read an interview with Joss Whedon once that said he had vamps turn into dust from sunlight or staking specifically so Buffy and the gang wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning up corpses. Because that would be very inconvenient.
2. Vampires have no reflections
Since my main character cherished her reflection I made sure that my vamps lost their ability to see themselves in mirrors. However, this didn’t happen right away. It was a gradual process. A fledgling vamp would be able to see their reflection for a while before it faded away. Since I’m not a completely mean writer, I did invent a special mirror called a “shard” for vampires to see themselves in. Unfortunately that sort of mirror costs a lot of money. Isn’t that always the way?
3. Vampires are immortal/stay young forever
This one is just too much fun to mess with. To be hundreds of years old and still look good? I know some people have issues with Edward Cullen being over 100 and falling in love with a seventeen year old. If you can’t get over that element of vampires, then you probably don’t read about them. I don’t see Edward as an old, lecherous man in a young body. I see him as an eternal 17-year-old. (Robert Pattinson – call me!)
4. Vampires must drink blood to survive
Well, of course they do. This is the one myth I think can’t be messed with. Sure there are psychic vampires who feed on the energy of the living, but come on. Vampires need to drink blood. Some theorize that the sinking of the fangs in the innocent neck is always a metaphor for sex. I disagree. My vamps don’t usually get their blood from the source, per se. In my world there are blood delivery services and it’s delivered in kegs. But when it is from the source itself, and the vampire is old, the bite hurts. I can’t imagine how having somebody sink their sharp teeth into your neck could be remotely pleasurable. Different strokes for different folks, though.
5. Vampires can turn into bats
Nope. But that would be kind of cool.
6. A vamp can be killed by plunging a wooden stake through the heart
I think this would kill just about anything, really. But yes, I kept this one. Decapitation will also work. Not too many things can exist without a head.
7. Vampires are evil
Nope. At least not all of them. I went with the thought that however you are as a human would be the exact same as a vampire. If you’re nice in real life you’d be a nice vampire. If you were a devious, greedy, murderous villain, then that is what you’d be as a vampire. Only with extra strength, immortality, and a thirst for blood.
8. Crosses and garlic repel vampires
I decided that since my vampires aren’t necessarily evil, they wouldn’t be affected by crosses. Garlic however, I had a bit of fun with. I made it so that it knocks a vampire unconscious, therefore my vampires hunters (the real bad guys in my books) use garlic darts as tranquilizers. Because that’s evil and delicious at the same time.
So…after establishing all of my myths in the first three books, I decided to mix it up a bit in the last two books in my Immortality Bites series (Stakes & Stilettos in April ’09 and Tall, Dark & Fangsome in September ‘09). Just as my vampire heroine is getting used to being a vampire, I give her a curse to be a “nightwalker.” To me, a nightwalker is an “dark vampire” and would exhibit all of the mythical symptoms of vampirism that gave the nice vampires the reputation they have to deal with. She can’t go out in the daylight, she is now completely repelled by crosses, and she might be feeling just a little bit…evil. But she’s trying very hard to break the curse before it’s too late. She’s also not too happy with me as her writer for putting her through so much stress. I’m sleeping with one eye open and worried about the safety of my neck.
9. Vampires are fictional creatures
I hope so. I really do. ;)
So what are your favorite vampire myths? What are your favorite movies, TV, books, that break those myths? Leave a comment and have the chance to win a signed ARC of Stakes & Stilettos! Contest ends at Midnight tonight–prize can be shipped to U.S. and Canada addresses.
Visit Michelle at www.michellerowen.com to find out more about the Immortality Bites series as well as her other fantastical fictional offerings.