Ask a few pop culture junkies, and you might hear that the lore of the vampire is dead. Drained dry. Saturated. So early millennium. The end of the Twilight Saga looms closer and closer. Most of us thought it was the end after Breaking Dawn but that is a very very big book. Mainstream romance novel buffs like myself will pretty much refrain from watching the second half of the movie until it's aired for free on cable television. After all, Bella and Edward are married and have consummated their relationship, leaving nothing left for the readers to see except how they are going to keep their beautiful little baby from consuming all of the citizens of Forks, Washington while protecting her from the wicked Volturi who have nothing better to do that suck off other vampires' happiness. Because you can't be a vampire and be happy, man! Just like you can't be really good looking and be overtly happy about your supreme hotness. You'll just inspire hatred and jealousy and before you know it someone will be sticking a stake into your heart even though they know you'd never, ever harm another human. It's just nature's way.
As glamorized as Hollywood is going to make caring for a new baby seem to teens who are a little desperate for something outside of themselves to love besides Facebook and Club Penguin, those of us who've had babies, and I've had them four times over, knows there's nothing quite like the smell of spit up breast milk to spark your interest in the newest options for birth control. Let alone a vampire baby. I know what it's like to breastfeed. When I think of a vampire baby, I wince aloud.
I remember pitching a new novel idea just to make conversation. The novel is a romance based on Arthurian legend with duels, battles, seers, and the Holy Grail. I gave a synopsis to a friend of mine who works in the corporate offices for a national bookstore. With her chin propped up on her hand, she gazed at me quizzically over a pesto chicken sandwich with roasted peppers. "Thing is, Liz," she said, "you've got to consider what really makes books fly off the shelves. Sure, you've got your country romance with some half naked cowboy joining the rodeo and the city gal who shows up and learns to love standing ankle deep in fertilizer. Put them on the cover kissing with some sunset and it's a classic romance. Cha-ching! Then you have your historical royals who also happen to be major perverts and grab some poor subservient sympathetic character to treat as an eavesdropping gimp before they get their head lobbed off."
"The heroine or the gimp?" I asked.
She chewed a bite. "Doesn't matter," she said through a mouthful. "But forget all that. Do you really, really want to sell something that sells?"
"Should a penguin wear a top hat? Of course. But I want to write literature. I want to write from the heart, about stories people care about. Stories that make people more socially conscious, more understanding of the world they live in. Stories that change lives."
She groaned. "Liz, just put a vampire in it." She waved her turkey sandwich around, the lettuce trailing the bun in the air like gold dust from a magic wand.
"Just put a vampire in it. Country romance, rock opera, psychological thriller. Twist it all around and put a vampire in it."
Vampire? I thought to myself after we hugged and bid each other goodbye. Vampire. Hmm. I've written one vampire story, a little short called Flesh Bait. The story is about a hapless of lady of the night who encounters a supernatural enchantress, who then goes on to consume the antagonist. Short, simple, easy peasy. I took it off the market because I decided to grow it into a novella and suck off this vampire craze. Another source in the publishing business tells me that erotica is a huge sell right now. Vampires and erotica brings to mind that terrible joke every teenage boy believes their tomboy girlfriend must hear. It begins with "What's grosser than gross?" Yeah, for me, vampires and erotica just do not mix.
I'm contracted for two more books in a series and then it's on to create more stories. So, my question to you is, is the vampire craze really dead? Would you shy away from a vampire story once the entire Twilight Sage is played on HBO and you cannot help but giggle at the preposterous alabaster complexions of the Cullens, and fail to suspend disbelief when this group of ashen fellows walks around school and no one shouts out, "Hey, isn't your dad a doctor? Why y'all look sick!" Or need to suppress a titter at the Indians/Wolves who run around half naked (not that I mind) in the woods. This series, as well as all works by Anne Rice, are so near and dear to me I will always hold them to my heart and make them a part of what defined me as a younger person. Back in the 1970s, I was pushing people aside at the roller rink to jump on the floor during the All Skate and do a toe touch before the rink got too crowded, but now I giggle when I have a flashback of myself roller skating to the sound of Laura Branigan.
I believe the popularity of the vampires as characters has to do with a few key factors: vampires never get old, fat, or die. And they hate themselves for it. We get old, fat, and are all going to die and we still like ourselves, tee hee! The love between a vampire and a human strikes the same chord as West Side Story or Romeo and Juliet, where two people are wildly infatuated with each other but torn apart by circumstance. There is nothing more we love to see than people attempting against all odds to be together, and succeeding. There are few other dynamics so compelling and romantic. Vampires are dangerous and enticing, like drugs or any other vice. If our beloved heroine outsmarts or harnesses the vampire's affections, in a way it feels like we've harnessed the thing we feel might have power over us. Vampires are a myth embedded into our subconscious, like an addiction or an obsession. They exist in a layer far deeper than the mind, or the physical necessity to kill to live. They are our animal selves with superhuman powers, that beastly self that we like to think we have rid ourselves of through the process of evolution, but place us in a situation where our survival is completely dependent upon committing acts of savagery, and we'll see how far those primal needs have truly been suppressed.
I watched an old movie the other day; an age old story of love and longing, where the heroine is torn between her heart's desire and what is right. Strangely enough, the story seemed to evolve, once I imagined a vampire in it. Was it fresh, was it original, was it something I could commit to for seven plus months of research and rewriting? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
I've decided to take a bite of my own out of the vampire craze and finish that novella I've been working on. Then I'll worry about them suckers later!
Maybe we should all just put a vampire in it.
The next chapter in the struggle for equal rights begins!
Jon Abramowitz, my fellow writer and Twitter buddy, was raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he works as a lawyer and author.
Welcome Jon, to my blog, and thanks for being a guest.
Atticus For The Undead has received rave reviews, and it brings me great pleasure to introduce this book. Jon, tell us about your main characters.
Hunter Gamble is an idealistic young attorney in a very special area of the practice: arcane defense. Funded by enigmatic billionaire Charles McClain and aided by shy-but-energetic research attorney Kirsten Harper, he's making the world a better place -- one vampire, zombie, or werewolf client at a time. After all, they deserve their day in court too, right?
Oh, absolutely! I'm intrigued. Sounds like a mythical fantasy read infused with courtroom drama. And the title is brilliant. Please tell us about the main complication in this novel.
When a young zombie walks into Hunter's office accused of murder (by brain-eating), Hunter's idealism is tested as never before as he struggles to secure the man's freedom.
And how will Hunter accomplish this?
To do so, he must square off against a savvy and ambitious district attorney, contend with a judge who is deeply biased against arcanes, and stand up to a human-supremacist group which will stop at nothing -- not even Hunter's own death -- to see his client convicted.
When can we start eating... I mean. reading? Wow, you've only been on my blog for minutes and already my mind (pun intended) is into the story!
There is a sample on the website here: http://onthebird.blogspot.com/p/legal-fiction-series.html
Sounds like great book, Jon. Congratulations on your accomplishment and thank you so much for the interview.
Please do connect with Jon on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OnTheBird
You can pick up a copy of his novel at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble. Thanks for stopping by and warmest wishes for an excellent day.
Kathleen S. Allen is the author of If It's Monday It Must Be Murder, and she is an author to watch for. A seasoned writer with an enchanting author's voice, Kathleen is here to answer questions about why she chose to become a writer and what inspires her. Welcome to my blog, Kathleen, and thanks for being a guest.
I absolutely love the title! It's classic. I really think you should have it trademarked. I'm just sayin'... Hey, can I trademark that phrase? Was anyone aware "LOL" is trademarked? It is. I wanted to co-write a nonfiction book with LOL in the title.
I've read If It's Monday It Must Be Murder and enjoyed it. It has all the elements of great mystery: intrigue, suspense, and an ending you just won't see coming.
Let’s get to your questions.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I decided to write when I was quite young. I learned to read at the age of three and began writing my own poetry as soon as I could. I started composing poems when I was in the first grade and made my own book of poems when I was eight. I didn’t have any money for gifts for the holidays so I “made” my poetry books to give as gifts. I wish I still had one of them so I could read it! But, I gave them all away. I kept writing and had my first poem published in a magazine when I was 15.
Tell us about your very first work. How did you come up with the idea?
My first published novel was WITCH HUNTER. I went with a publisher that was little more than a vanity publisher in my naiveté about publishing. But, I recently got the rights back and put it up as an Ebook onKindle. I came up with the idea after my twin daughters clamored for my stories every night before bed.One of my daughters told me I should start writing them down. That’s when I began to write WITCH HUNTER in 2003. I had short stories published before then and tried my hand at a gothic novel but it was hit or miss until WITCH HUNTER. After I wrote it, I sent it out to numerous publishers/agents and it got rejected. So, I decided to get a Master’s In Children’s Literature with an emphasis in creative writing to help my writing. While I was in the program at Eastern Michigan University I got the idea for my second book, PLEASE TO SEE THE KING which is based on characters sung about in English and Irish ballads. I
also edited WITCH HUNTER as an independent study with one of the Children’s Literature professors, Dr. G.B. Cross who guided me through the process. After I graduated I started writing more Young Adult novels and now have six YA novels published that includes FITZROY: THE BOY WHO WOULD BE KING, NINA, AINE/FAERIE FOLK, one children’s book called CALLIOPE CAT, a medical romance called THE CRAZY NURSE, a collection of short stories called INTERLUDE and a murder mystery called IF IT’S MONDAY, IT MUST BE MURDER! One of my YA fantasy novels---LORE OF FEI---will be published in April, 2012
by Muse It Up Publishing. The murder mystery, IF IT’S MONDAY, IT MUST BE MURDER! was recently published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing.
Tell us about your main characters.
My main character is a former cop, named Mel. She got shot on the job and had to take disability. She lost her job, her cop boyfriend and is in continuous pain from the bullet still lodged in her spine. She is sassy, smart and doesn’t give up. She’s very independent and hates relying on anyone. Her former partner, also her former boyfriend, is Byron. He’s a gorgeous African-American man with a lean body and he is still in love with Mel. The other main character is the murder victim, Jessie, her best friend’s college-age daughter who is found at the bottom of a tall building. The cops think she jumped but her mother persuades Mel to investigate it as a murder.
Here’s the info about it:
IF IT’S MONDAY, IT MUST BE MURDER!
Mel, a former cop shot in the back now lives in constant pain. When her best friend's daughter is
missing, Mel is asked to help find her. When the girl is found dead at the bottom of a tall building, the
cops believe she jumped. Did she? Or is it murder?
Book Trailer: http://animoto.com/play/BqOWt9Xj1HYrSOoOWGAsOw
Buy it here: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/KathleenAllen.html#Monday
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Its-Monday-Must-Murder-ebook/dp/B005PFTW8Q/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1317139464&sr=1-8
Who were they inspired by?
I read a lot of mysteries, besides YA, it’s my favourite genre. I decided I’d try and write one. Two years and many drafts later, IF IT’S MONDAY, IT MUST BE MURDER! was born, so to speak.
There's a lot of writers starting out as self-published. What advice do you have for them?
The best advice is to get professional help---no, not that kind!---although you can if you need it, LOL. You don’t have the privilege of having a team behind you so you need to hire a professional editor, a cover designer---unless you’re a graphic designer---, and a formatter. I tried to put up one of my books on Kindle and it was formatted all wrong and the cover was horrendous. I pulled it, hired a cover designer and a formatter and put it up again and it’s so much better now. I like doing the covers and the promoting but the formatting, not so much! It’s also important not to price your books too high or too low. I keep mine under five dollars since most of mine are for teens. Do your research before you price yourself out of a sale! I now have a literary agent who is shopping around a contemporary YA novel for me about a girl who feels invisible and decides to do something about it. It’s sort of a Cyrano de Bergerac meets Comedy of Errors. The main character gets herself into all sorts of situations that are comical although there are serious aspects of it, too.
Where can we find your books?
My books are all on Amazon, Smashwords and Nook. With the exception of THE CRAZY NURSE which is
I have book trailers on You Tube, too.
You can find me here:
On Twitter: @kathleea
On Facebook: Witch Hunter https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Witch-Hunter/142372955812353
Guest blogger every Wednesday on www.downtownya.blogspot.com
Thanks for the interview!
Thanks Kathleen, for stopping by! Wishing you lots of luck and success with your writing!