Friday, November 20, 2009

Guest: Clare Willis on De-Fanged Vamps

Debut author, Clare Willis is our guest today.  What a great time for an author of a vampire romance to debut!  Twi-hards, have you all discovered the romance section yet?  ;-)

Dracula’s Twilight: The Rise of the de-fanged Vampire

Hi everyone, I’m Clare Willis, author of the December Bite Club read, Once Bitten, which comes out Dec. 1. Please visit me at

I was recently interviewed for our local newspaper. The interviewer asked why vampires are such a hot trend in entertainment today. I said that I didn’t think vampires had ever gone away. They’ve been popular ever since Bram Stoker realized that our tight-laced Victorian ancestors would be thrilled with the idea of a creature that can compel women to do his bidding in the bedroom just with the power of his stare. He would ravish them and they could enjoy it without guilt because, after all, they couldn’t control themselves.

I think there is a hot trend today, in a subgenre of vampire fiction. That trend is the de-fanged vampire. Edward Cullen of Twilight fame is the most obvious example. Stephanie Meyer brilliantly tapped into a similar vein (pun intended) as Bram Stoker when she created a hero for girls who were hitting puberty and feeling their sexual power, but also feeling afraid of it. Edward is the perfect teen boyfriend. He is the hot hunk who every girl wants. He only wants you, but you have so much power over him that he can’t allow himself to be with you, for fear of what such intense pleasure might turn him into. The best boyfriend in the world is one who loves beyond measure, and makes all your friends jealous, but doesn’t put any pressure on you!

Edward is also de-fanged in another way. Even before he meets Bella he has made a decision not to kill people for food. It’s a moral decision, because he’s trying to be a good person/vampire. But as Michael Corleone said in The Godfather, “Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in.” The bad vampires keep pulling Edward back into violence.

Bill Compton of HBO’s True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels is a similar character: a vampire who is de-fanged by choice, because of a moral opposition to killing people. In this he harkens back to one of the uber-vampires of popular fiction, Anne Rice’s Lestat, who definitely killed people, but had a similar struggle with his existential nature. Lestat asked, “Am I a damned creature with no soul, or am I defined by my actions, and can I redeem myself by actions?” Anne Rice was struggling with deeply religious issues using the context of vampirism. I’m not sure that these new vampires’ issues are as overtly religious, but they certainly traverse some of the same good-versus-evil territory.

Two questions for the readers:

Can a vampire be good if he was “born” bad?

Could a human woman love a vampire who embraced his killer nature, instead of fighting it?

Here's the blurb for Once Bitten:

Angie McCaffrey has endured her share of liquid lunches and boardroom shmoozefests to win new advertising clients. But her latest account a cosmetics line for wannabe vampires involves some unusual customer research at San Francisco's hippest private nightclub. The "undead" patrons are about as genuine as Macabre Factor's press-on fangs, but one thing is very real the skin-tingling connection Angie feels with her clients' mysterious friend, Eric Taylor.
Still, there are a few problems with this hot new romance. 1) Eric is rumored to have dated Angie's scheming boss, Lucy. 2) Lucy, missing for days, just turned up dead and bloodless. And, oh yeah, 3) Angie has suddenly developed a teeny aversion to sunlight. Is Eric a real vampire, a killer, or both? Angie's got a lot riding on the answer her heart, her life, and maybe even her soul. . .


RKCharron said...

Hi Clare :)
Thank you for the great post. I hadn't thought of Edward in that way before but it totally makes sense. ONCE BITTEN sounds like an intriguing novel & it's now on my ToBeRead list.
Thank you Michele for having Clare here today & thank you Clare for sharing.
Is Clare on Twitter? I searched but couldn't find her. Her website just has a form to contact her.
All the best,

Michele Hauf said...

I'm not sure! Clare? Do you Tweet? If so could you post your Twitter handle here?

Netti said...

I was lucky enough to get a ARC of this book... Clare, all I can say is WELL DONE!! I enjoyed the book so much and think that EVERYone should add this to their TBB pile! Congrats on the upcoming release and I can't wait to read more of your books!

Rain Maiden said...

I am looking forward to reading Once Bitten. I think a vampire can change his ways. I guess a women could love a vampire who embraced his killer nature, but I rather read about the opposite.

Anna Dougherty said...

I can't wait to start my December Bite Club read. I have my advance copy and will probably start this weekend. I have peeked a little and liked what I saw.

Vampires can probably change ways, just like anyone else, but I imagine that the question becomes "will they". The bad guy vampires usually have some issues that they choose not to let go of- they make those issues their reason for being, their purpose. They usually feel quite justified in behaving how they do so most do not change. However, some get worn down by the endless need for vengeance or rage and decide to live differently. Or they meet the right people and change.

I prefer to read about vampires that have depth and displays equal amounts of good and bad. I'd want a vamp that accepts his nature and does what's needed. One that doesn't make excuses for being a vampire.

ClareWillis said...

Hi All, thanks for the replies. I've got a friend who's making a documentary about women who fall in love with jailed serial killers. Isn't that the same, in a way? Very dangerous killers who are de-fanged? Of course, that's real life, and this is fiction! Gotta try to keep the two separate!

I am not a Tweeter, especially not with 2 book deadlines, but I always answer my email. :>)