Welcome Alyxandra Harvey to VampChix today! She's the author of the recent young adult release, HEARTS AT STAKE.
I'm a vegetarian. I don't like gory horror movies. And I have low iron so I can't spare any blood. Plus, with the number of dogs roaming my house I'm probably more of a werewolf girl than a vampire girl; even if vampires don't shed which is a bonus. (And only if the werewolves turn into actual wolves and not some gross, lumpy monster version.)
And yet, here I am, happily writing vampire novels.
On the outside, I blame Tanya Huff's Blood Price series that my best friend and I devoured in high school. I think it might be all her fault.
Follow that with Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer in university and I was hooked.
But what really keeps me coming back, more than the current trend of undead hotness, is the idea of being able to see that much history, to gather that many stories. The vampire genre combines so many of my favourite things: historical fiction, atmosphere, corsets and, above all, snark.
Snark, to my mind, is as irresistible as the proverbial seductive vampire gaze, as bloodlust, and a really good black velvet cape.
I also love a good fairy tale, girls who kick butt, and best friends.
These are some of the things I wanted to bring to the genre with The Drake Chronicles series, beginning with "Hearts At Stake" ("My Love Lies Bleeding" in the UK). And Young Adult fiction is such a great vehicle for fairy tales; all that transformation and angst and the need to find your own way. It's such a rite of passage, which is something we've sadly lost in our current society. Fairy tales and YA speak to that and can, sometimes, help clear a path through those dark woods. And Snow White lends itself especially well to all of that, so my heroine began her own journey of transformation, albeit a little less internal. And a little more bloody.
I also wanted my teen vampires to be actual teens, so I played a little with the tradition. The Drake family has a rare genetic mutation which turns them into vampires on their sixteenth birthday---if they don't die first. Sunlight won't kill them but it will weaken them so they are vulnerable to attack. Garlic and crucifixes don't hurt, but a wooden stake to the heart sure does. And the Hel-Blar are especially nasty vampires; I named them after an old Norse word for "death-blue", that I found during my research. Throw in a prophecy, an undead queen with vanity issues, and some apples, and Snow White, or in this case Solange Drake, gathers vampires to her instead of animals.
In "Blood Feud", book 2 in the Drake Chronicles, I explore the more magical aspects of vampirism. And I get to indulge in a little historical fiction with Isabeau's memories of the French Revolution. Book 3 takes a look at the vampire world from the outside looking in. And I've had so much fun writing this series and have had so many requests for more Lucy (Solange's human best friend) that I'm now working on a fourth book told mostly from Lucy's perspective and that of her cousin.
So, happily, I blame Tanya Huff.
And Joss Whedon.
And, of course, the bloodsucking undead.
Visit Alyxandra at her website
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Check out her blog at Livejournal