Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What Kind of Vampires Do You Like?

 So there are the traditionalists, who read Bram Stoker's saga Dracula years ago, and found the idea of a walking corpse that survived by drinking blood to be horrifying.  They are the ones who love Nosferatu, the movie, with the creepy guy with the long fingernails, since nails are supposed to continue to grow for a while after death.  He was made up to look like a rat, with pointy teeth and a feral look to his face.

Then there are the folks who favor Bela Lugosi's Dracula, which he portrayed in so many movies that he got to believing he was going to become undead, so he had himself buried in his tux and cape. Of course his drug addiction might have contributed to that delusion.  But still, his "Come...he-ah", has to reign as one of the most memorable lines in any of his vampire movies.  And the women under his spell always went to him, only to be terrified and ashamed the next morning, when their boyfriends would confront them with the evidence that they were allowing the Count to take liberties with them at night.  (Euphemism for sex, much?)  But still, in those movies, the vampires only took blood from the heroines...and even the female vampires were only seeking hemoglobin, not he-men parts.

Anne Rice's vampires were compelling.  I read her first vampire book when I was in college, and the second book didn't come out until I had been out of college almost 10 years.  She has vampires discuss in one of her books, the question of: If you could live forever would you improve--becoming a better person eventually?  Or would you just become even more set in your ways, so that if you were a self-centered jerk in life, you'd be an even bigger jerk in immortality?  Her vampires were fascinating creatures...human, but not quite.  They could savor the pleasure of being alive forever, tempered with the knowledge that they were not allowed to enjoy 2 of the pleasures most humans wouldn't willingly give up: 1)food and drink, which I could give up, and 2)sex...definitely not! To cope with that shortfall, she wrote lots of vampire sagas that delved into the past of many of her vampires...back to a time when they were still mortal and having lots of sex.  But always they had to return to the present and being eunuchs forever.  Not the kind of immortality I'd choose!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Laurell Hamilton's vampires don't think of much else...and when they are not feeding one appetite, for blood, they are feeding the other, having so much sex that it becomes repetitive and routine!  There are some books and movies in which vampirism is a secret that you're afraid to reveal, similar to being gay. And there are many other versions of vampires these days, most of them taking more after the forever horny and insatiable, rather than the resigned to treat drinking blood as a second-best substitute to sex.  In fact, I have read so many other vampire books, including the very funny Mary Janice Davison Unwed and Undead series, that I figured there wasn't much original to be said. 

Imagine my shock and surprise when one of the voices in my head presented himself as a vampire, and told me he had to be the hero of the book I was having trouble writing! I kept most of the first chapter that I had already written, and deleted the second one.  Then I rewrote the end of the first chapter, the other voices began to speak up, and before I knew it the book, Prophecy of the Undead, was done!  I sent it out with crossed fingers, and immediately started writing the sequel, since I had left some issues unresolved. 

Now El Día de Los Muertos is quickly approaching, and on November 1, my contemporary paranormal vampire romance, Prophecy of the Undead, will be published!  I only hope that my vampires can make their contribution to vampire lore.

But I ask you readers, what kind of vampires do you enjoy reading about?  Is the whole idea of immortality worth giving up food and sunlight, as well as mortal things like having children? Would it matter to you whether or not you would have to give up sex?  Would you say "yes", if given the choice?  Why or why not?

Here my vampire Yuri explains what he has done to Keisha:

     They stared at each other for a while before he broke the silence.
     "Aren't you going to ask me anything?  You are a scientist, so I thought you would be ready to investigate."
     "Investigate what?  I figure I'm just dreaming, so what does it matter?"
     He smiled, "Dreaming?  Are you sure?"
     She nodded solemnly, "Dreaming...or dead.  Either way, there isn't much I can do about it at this point is there?"
     He moved his elbows onto the armrests to tap his fingertips against each other, steepled on his chest.
     "And what makes you think you are dead?"
     "I...uh...I can't find my pulse.  If I don't have a pulse, I'm dead."
     "Do you want to check for mine?"
     She shrunk back against the chair, "Why?" she asked in a small voice.
     "I don't have much of one either.  It's part of the nature of the beast...or rather, of what I am...what we are, because you are like me now."
     "What are you?  Us?  Am I dreaming? Is all of this a function of my neurons misfiring while my brain is dying?"
     "What do you remember from yesterday?"
     Keisha furrowed her brow.  "I remember being in the trunk of a car, tied up.  I remember the two voices of the men who were hired to kill me.  I remember the trunk being opened and a gun was jammed into me.  It was kind of dark, so I didn't see much, but I heard some weird sounds and some fighting.  Someone was trying to rescue me, I guess.  Then the gun fired and I took a bullet in my chest.  I think it pierced my heart, because the pain was unbearable, and breathing became problematic."
     The man nodded.  "Anything else?"
     Keisha looked confused, "The rest was only dreaming, I think.  There was a man's voice..."
     "He offered me a choice in living or dying...then the next thing I knew we appeared to be having wild sex."  She felt herself blushing as the smile on his face grew wider.
     "Was it good for you too?"
     Keisha jumped out of the chair, "What the fuck is going on here?  You ask me to remember, then you expect me to believe you were a part of my dream?  Why do I get the feeling there's a lot you're not telling me?  Isn't it time for you to do some explaining?"
     He nodded, but before he was able to speak, she pulled the robe tighter around herself and asked in a small voice, "I'm asking you again, am I dead?  How the hell was I able to fly up to the window in the bathroom?  Why don't I have a pulse?  What the hell is going on?"
     The man nodded to indicate that she should sit down again.
     "Stop that pacing, girl.  You are agitating yourself, which will make you hungry more quickly.  I'd rather have answered all of your questions to your satisfaction, before you need to eat."
     She exploded, "I'm not hungry!"  But the minute she said it, a gnawing, empty feeling began to roil in her gut.
     "You will be very soon.  I can see it on your face.  Now sit and listen while I talk."

There will be mated vampires, Hispanic and other Russian vampires, and a 5,000-year old Mayan vampire mummy who hates everyone.  The Mayan prediction of the end of time figures into the plot, along with Keisha's research into intelligence.  The book is available on November 1, and the 13th Baktun in the Mayan long-count calendar ends on December 21, 2012.  That should give you enough time to read what happens.

Find out more at: www.fionamcgier.com



Tina Donahue said...

I like the traditional creepy vampires. Did you see "Let the Right One In?" Whoa - exceptional. That's the kind of vampire I had in mind when I wrote Unending Desire, Book One in my Outlawed Realm series.

jean hart stewart said...

Finally can get in to comment. My computer is definitely unreliable. I enjoyed this column very much. Lots of good points. Thanks.

Fiona McGier said...

Tina, is that similar to "Let Me In"? That one had a teen-aged vampire girl, who protects a teen-aged boy, but he overhears her arguing with the man she lives with, who finds victims for her, or drains blood for her to stay alive. And when she entered the boy's apartment without being invited in, she started to shake and have a seizure, even though she admitted to him she had no idea why it happened.

Creepy! The undead can be the scariest things around, or the hottest! Take your pic!

And Jean, thanks for reading.

Tina Donahue said...

Yeah, that's the movie I'm talking about. Wicked scary.