Friday, July 15, 2011

Bewitching Book Tours Guest Post: Karen E. Taylor

Why Vampires?

I’ve been writing vampire fiction for a fairly long time now. Not as long as some, but still long enough to have seen the fads come and go. I was around long before Bella and Edward, Buffy and Angel, Sookie and Bill. Not as long as Rice’s Lestat, of course, or Yarbro’s Saint- Germain, or Saberhagen’s version of Dracula, but certainly long enough to talk about them with just a little bit of authority. After all, since 1988 I’ve had a whole clan of vampires living inside my head. At first they were just squatting, and I really expected them all to clear out after I finished that first novel. Instead I now suspect they’ve bought their own little plot of land, and occupy a nice little cabin on Broca’s lane. I don’t think they’re going anywhere at this point.

One of the questions I get asked the most, at signings and conventions and in interviews, is “Why vampires?” Some people are just curious – there’s a huge wide world out there to write about, and enough strange occurrences and individuals to tell stories about. Why work with imaginary creatures? Other people are more judgmental. “Why would you want to write about them? Couldn’t you have written about something nicer?” And then there are the folks who are just plain freaked out by anything supernatural. “I can’t read that stuff. It’s way too scary!”

There’s not much I can say to people when confronted with that reasoning. Not everyone is a vampire lover. I’ve learned this over the years and have grown to accept the fact that some people will think my “children” ugly. Or stupid. Or unspeakable monstrosities. But for me, the vampire is a beautiful creature. You won’t hear any apologies from me for writing about them. I confess to even liking the nosferatu-type, all bat-eared and snaggle-toothed. I like them feral and wild, but I also like them cultured and well-mannered. There are so many types of vampires – you have your basic blood-suckers, soul-suckers, alien parasites, the psychic leeches, the sympathetic hero-type, tentacle-headed horrors from exotic lands, shapeshifters, and completely human monsters, like the historical “vampire” figures of Vlad Tepes and Elizabeth Bathory. So much to choose from. So much to love.

Ultimately, I ended up choosing the basic-blood sucking category, lightening up the mix just a bit by making my main character a red-headed woman from Kansas, born around 1835, unwillingly changed to a vampire in 1863, permanently frozen at age 28. She’s thoughtful and probably a little bit morose, but is as civilized as one who feeds on human beings can be. With no knowledge of her maker, she goes through life as a rogue, learning about her true nature by trial and error. Known to us at the beginning of the first novel as Deirdre Griffin, she’s gone by many names in the past, driven by a need to hide from the world around her. As the story progresses, she makes friends and enemies, forms new alliances and breaks old bonds. I like to think of the first novel, at least, as a coming-of-age novel, the story of an ordinary woman growing up and trying to find her way through a life that can be beautiful or harsh.

Yeah. I know. She is just a vampire, like so many before her and so many who followed after her. Just a vampire. But that’s more than enough for me.

Hunger (Vampire Legacy)More About Hunger:

Deirdre Griffin didn't choose to be a vampire. But she is. And she's determined to make the most of her fate. For Deirdre that means surrendering to the raging hunger ignited by even the slightest whiff of blood a hunger that pulses through her body like a fever, demanding release. It means making friends in dark places and savouring every hot, salty, bitter, revitalizing drop of life force the night has to offer...

From Book #1 of HUNGER:

After the kiss, I buried my face in his neck. Now, I thought as I heard the blood pulse in his veins, Oh, please, now.

I nipped him at first, savoring the moment, my low moans echoed by his. Then when my teeth grew longer and sharper, I could hold back no longer. I bit him brutally, tapping the artery and was rewarded by the flow of his blood: hot, salty and bitter. He shuddered violently and fought to push me away, but his resistance was futile. Finally his struggles ceased and his body grew limp as I continued to draw on him, gently now, almost tenderly. I drank a long time, slowly, relishing the feel of my own body being replenished, then I withdrew.

Arising from the couch, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. No longer pale and haggard, my skin glowed with life and my eyes shone, victorious and demonic. A few drops of blood were trickling down my chin; I wiped them away with the back of my hand and turned from my reflection in disgust...

From Book #2 of HUNGER:

He was trembling violently under my touch, but that merely encouraged me and I spoke his name again.


This time I connected. I knew he heard me and understood, his hands tightened on mine and he whispered my name. Then before I could react, he quickly dropped my hands, formed a fist and silently punched me on the jaw, striking me with such force that I fell to the floor.

As I pulled myself up, shaking my head and gingerly feeling my jaw, I saw him running from the room, pursued by a nurse and two orderlies.

I stood, swaying in the air slightly, oblivious to the uproar Mitch's action must have been causing around me. The noise level in the room rose, as if from a long distance. I could hear the laughing and crying and shouting of the rest of the patients in the room. But my eyes were fastened on the door through which he had disappeared.

What the hell did you expect, you fool, I thought, a passionate embrace, a warm welcome-back kiss? His eyes had been the eyes of one who looked on hell, and I had helped to put him there...


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