30 Days of Vampires: Vampire Lore and Legend

30 Days of Vampires: Vampire Lore and Legend

Welcome to 30 Days of Vampires 2011. Stop by every day in December for a new post on vampires and a chance to win a $100 gift card from the bookstore of your choice. (gift card must be available for Lori to purchase/send with reasonable shipping) Also watch for numerous daily prizes offered by the individual authors. (some restrictions may apply) To enter just comment! One comment per post will be counted. So stop by every day! Comments must be posted by January 3, 2012

As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week.  Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s.  A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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Thanks, Lori, for having me! I’ve always been fascinated by vampires—wait, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been fascinated with them since I first read Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire, way back when. I think I first read it somewhere around 1985, when the second book in the series, The Vampire Lestat, came out. I was a teenager then, and I was totally hooked after those first two books in the series. I eagerly awaited the sequels with the same urgency as modern-day readers waited for Harry Potter or Twilight or Hunger Games sequels.

The only difference was that we had to wait much longer. Forget that whole “We have to wait an entire year?” agony. Three years for The Queen of the Damned. Another four for The Tale of the Body Thief. Yes, people, this is the way that publishing used to work.

Anyway, back to Anne Rice and her vampires. I loved them. Loved the lore she created, which basically followed most of the traditional mythos (cold skin, super-human speed and strength, could be burned by the sun, etc.), while adding unique contributions, as well.

While her vampires weren’t huge departures from popular mythos, they do mark a shift from the vampire-as-a-villain to the vampire-as-the-hero. I cared about Louis, the angsty, self-loathing vampire. I cared about Lestat, too–arrogant, selfish Lestat. I was fascinated by Armand, charmed by the tragic, perpetual-child vampire Claudia.

Anne Rice’s vampires set the standard for me—they became the “real” vampires in my mind. I wasn’t really interested in reading others. I never read LJ Smith’s Vampire Diaries, and have never seen the TV show based on the books. I haven’t seen Buffy or Angel or even the more recent True Blood.

So when it came time to define the vampire mythos for Haven—to define the “rules” that my vampires were going to live by—I turned to Anne Rice. I didn’t re-read the Vampire Chronicles, didn’t study them or anything like that. I just sort of followed my gut, going with what I remembered, and making up stuff that I didn’t. I wanted to put my own stamp on the mythos, while mostly following tradition. I mean, it’s kind of hard to imagine a vampire who isn’t cold to the touch, who can’t move faster and stealthier than humans, who doesn’t feed on human blood, who doesn’t hide from the sun.

HAVEN young adult novelBecause these are the basic things we all “know” about vampires. We also know that people hunt them with stakes, and that they aren’t big fans of crucifixes or garlic. It’s a part of our cultural zeitgeist, even if we’ve never read a single book about vampires.

Which is why I’m always a little puzzled when I get accused of “ripping off” Edward Cullen because my vampires are cold or fast or eschew the sun or read minds. I always want to answer, “No, I’m really ripping off Louis de Pointe du Lac!” Louis was the most human of Rice’s vampires, rejecting his immortal nature. He wants to be human again. And I’m pretty sure that he—and all of Rice’s vampires, really—could read minds. He’s my basis for Aidan Gray. Or, at least in my mind, the literary vampire he’s most like. When my vampires start to sparkle, then you can accuse me of ripping off the Cullens.

And let’s remember, folks, Louis and Lestat came before Edward. No, really. And Bram Stoker’s Dracula came before Louis and Lestat. They all pretty much share the core mythos, the stuff we’re all familiar with. Rice added her own touches. Meyers did, too. I can only hope I’ve done the same.

Web Sites: Kristi Cook | Kristi Astor

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Barnes & Noble: Haven, vampire young adult novel | Erotic Romance as Kristi Astor
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15 Responsesto “30 Days of Vampires: Vampire Lore and Legend”

  1. sue brandes says:

    I love the variety of vampires out there in books. They are never the same even if you borrow alittle. I first fell in love with vampires on The Dark Shawos show. I love your book cover.

  2. SandyG265 says:

    I find it funny when people accuse authors of ripping off Twilght. Usually the author who’s being accused has a vampire book that was published way before Twilight.

  3. Thanks for the guest post today. You are a new (to me) author and I’ve definitely put Haven on my to read list. Even though I haven’t been YA for quite some time, I do enjoy paranormal YA stories.

    Don’t forget that before Dracula, there was Nosferatu. I grew up watching old Universal and Hammer “horror” movies (well what was horror then) and like you, my first literary paranormal book was Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. I quickly found Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and my love affair with vampires was established.

    Love them or hate them, Joss Whelan’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Meyer’s Twilight Saga have left their mark in the vampire genre. About every fourth story I read, YA or adult, makes a reference to one or the other. Even Urban Fantasy books aren’t immune to them. Even one of my all time favorite characters, Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, says something like, “If you ask me if I sparkle, I’ll have to kill you.”

  4. tammy ramey says:

    i think that i first fell in love with the vampire myth in 1979 when i saw the movie Dracula that starred Frank Langella. i then ran to the library and checked out Bram Stoker’s Dracula and i have been in love ever since.
    i still think it was the best movie version ever made. LOL
    i also liked anne rice and a bunch of other writers along the way. i think that as long as the writer as a good storyline you really can’t write a bad vampire book. :)
    I have not read this book yet but it is in my TBR(at the top) and i am looking forward to starting it soon. it sounds like a wonderful book.
    I hope you and your family have a Happy Holiday Season.

    trvlagnt1t@yahoo.com

  5. Danny says:

    My love for vampires started with Interview with a vampire. Still love the movie, but not Tom Cruise

  6. Kristi Cook says:

    I’m with you, Danny–Tom Cruise was SO miscast as Lestat. At the time, I remember thinking that Val Kilmer would have been great. Now I can imagine maybe Christian Bale!

  7. StacieD says:

    I totally agree about Louis being the most human of vampires. Such a tragic figure. I think it is ridiculous that readers think anyone borrowed from Twilight. Bram Stoker set the standard and everyone pays homage to him. I like to see how an author tweaks the standard lore and makes the mythology their own.

  8. MJB says:

    Anne Rice’s books were my first vampire reads, as well. I was just out of college when I read Lestat’s book – I actually read it before the first one. I remember that I was visiting my sister who was doing a semester abroad in Florence. I would sit in cafes and read the book and forewent excursions with my sister, so I could read the book! There was something fitting about being in Europe and reading about vamps, even though Rice’s books took place in New Orleans for the most part; is that correct?
    I also think it’s outrageous when authors are accused of ripping off recent books like Twilight, as if somehow Twilight introduced vampires to the world. I like vampire stories that take the old traditional mythos and turn it on its head. I look forward to reading some of your stories to see how you do this.
    Thanks for your interesting blog!
    MJB

  9. Kristi Cook says:

    Yep, New Orleans and Paris. Such atmosphere!!

  10. I have already read Haven and I must say I am a huge fan! Also I agree that it is rediculous to think that every book written after Twilight, somehow has a connection to it. Vampire stories have been around for quite some time and each vampire book I have read, the author seems to be taking their own twist on basic vampire knowledge.

  11. Yadira A. says:

    Looks like I’ve got another addition to my wishlist:) Haven sounds like a great read!

    Happy Holidays!!!

    yadkny@hotmail.com

  12. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the interview!

  13. Kimberley Coover says:

    i look forward to your book. As an avid reader, I appreciate the blood, sweat, tears and laughter that goes into every written word of a book. So thank you for what you do. I will be enjoying your hard work as long as you write.

    Happy Holidays

  14. wanda flanagan says:

    I enjoy all the varieties there are in vampire stories today .Authors putting their own spins on the old legends kep them fresh and interesting and I ll never tire of them

    flanagan@mebtel.net

  15. June M. says:

    I love the variety of vampire stories out these days. Twilight is a good YA series, but is not the only series out there. And definitely not the original. There are many more series that I personally enjoy much more.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

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