Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guest: Jess Haines

"A sexy, bruising tango of supernatural fun and vampiric mayhem." — Mario Acevedo
With a blurb like that, how can you resist checking out this book?  Welcome Jess Haines to VampChix today who talks vamps and about her debut book, HUNTED BY THE OTHERS!

Disclaimer:  My books contain vampires.  Sick of ‘em?  Consider yourself forewarned.

Now, on to today’s topic!  Why are people sick of vampires?

Go ahead, you can say it.  It won’t hurt my feelings.  People are tired about hearing about them, reading about them, smelling them, etc.  Some say angels are the new vampires.  Others opine it’s zombies, or succubi, or genies – whatever.  No matter the flavor, there are plenty of supernatural critters to go around.  With all the variety available, some agents and editors curl their lip the moment they see the “V”-word in a query.  “We accept paranormal – without vampires!” they proclaim. 

And yet, the market is saturated with stories that have vampires in them.  Some of these are quite successful.  Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series (which was adapted into a TV show), Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series (which has spawned graphic novels, web-comics, and a fan base to rival Anne Rice’s), Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series (which has been made into the popular True Blood TV show), Stephanie Meyer’s hugely successful, not-exactly-vampires-but-hey-let’s-call-‘em-that-anyway epic Twilight saga – all contain vampires.  Those are only some of the most high profile series to recently hit stores.  Take a walk down the horror, fantasy, or even romance aisle at your local bookstore.  You’ll see plenty of vampire novels.

So what’s all this about people being sick of our favorite bloodsuckers?  You’ll see agents and editors with “Absolutely No Vampires” plastered onto their submissions guidelines.  Sometimes bloggers who do book reviews will cry, “No more vampires, for the love of God!”  Despite this, more new books and movies with this oft maligned critter continuously find their way into the hands of consumers.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it isn’t the vampires people are sick of.  What they’re tired of seeing is the same vampire story repeated endlessly. 

Now, one would think this might not be possible.  How many ways can vampires be portrayed?  Depending on the author, they may or may not have an aversion to garlic, sunlight, holy objects, etc.  Sometimes the vampires are mindless beasts.  Sometimes they’re wickedly smart, devious creatures.  Sometimes they’re “vegetarians” – only feeding on animals.  Sometimes they can’t survive without killing the humans they feed upon.  Once in a while, you’ll get the variety that changes anyone they bite into another vampire.  You get the idea – the possibilities are endless.

Very often, the problem lies in that once something becomes popular, copies “with their own twist” pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain.  If you Google the phrase, “it’s Twilight with” (think: “It’s Twilight with angels!”  “It’s Twilight with zombies!” “It’s Twilight with investment bankers!” etc), you get 39,500 hits.  Granted, there will be some duplicate entries and some that won’t apply – but that’s still a lot of “like Twilight” knock-offs.  That’s not counting variations on that phrase, or books/movies that weren’t compared but share a blatant similarity.  You can imagine how many queries for similar material hit the desks of editors and agents after the movie came out.

Get the picture?

To push past that, an author who wants to make it to publication has to come up with something New and Different™ to make their story stand out in this crowded market.  It can be the same love triangle – girl meets vampire, girl falls in love with vampire, girl meets werewolf, girl also falls in love with werewolf, wackiness ensues – but the way that story is portrayed needs to be carried out with a fresh slant in order to get the attention of agents, editors, and, most of all, the reading public who will buy the book.

Aside from sparkling, what are some New and Different™ ways you’ve seen authors write about vampires?  What books have you read or movies have you seen that have stuck with you?

For a sneak peak at the first chapter go here!

Jess has a contest to win an amazing and as yet to be determined prize.  Click here for details.

Visit Jess at her Website

They are the Others—the vampires, mages, and werewolves once thought to exist only in our imaginations. Now they’re stepping out of the shadows, and nothing in our world will ever be the same again…
In a Town Like This, Being A P.I. Can Be Murder
Shiarra Waynest’s detective work was dangerous enough when her client base was strictly mortal. But ailing finances have forced her to accept a lucrative case that could save her firm—if it doesn’t kill her first. Shiarra has signed on to work for a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact owned by one of New York’s most powerful vampires.
As soon as Shiarra meets sexy, mesmerizing vamp Alec Royce, she knows her assignment is even more complicated than she thought. With a clandestine anti-Other group trying to recruit her, and magi being eliminated, Shiarra needs back-up and enlists her ex-boyfriend—a werewolf whose non-furry form is disarmingly appealing—and a nerdy mage with surprising talents. But it may not be enough. In a city where the undead roam, magic rules, and even the Others aren’t always what they seem, Shiarra has just become the secret weapon in a battle between good and evil—whether she likes it or not…

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