The Light Side and the Dark Side of Vampires
by Michelle Rowen
For five books, I wrote about the lighter side of vampire life. I suppose, in a way, my paranormal romance series, Immortality Bites, was a bit of a parody of vampires in general, although I did personally take the story and characters more seriously than that. I got to play with expectations and established myths by having vamps go out in sunlight (although they needed sunglasses because it was bright), they mixed their blood with alcohol in vampire nightclubs, some got their fangs filed down to cosmetically fit in better with humans, and they would tuck tail between legs and run if there was a vampire hunter around. I mean, my first title in this series was the beyond adorable Bitten & Smitten. These were obviously not vampires that tore the throats out of innocent victims. Well, not most of them, anyway.
These vampires were basically humans who needed blood to survive. They weren’t necessarily evil -- unless they’d been evil as humans. It was my way of saying, “who is the real monster?” Someone with the stigma of being a monster through no fault of their own (the vampire)? Or someone who chooses daily to do evil things and hurt other people for their own gain (the vampire hunter)?
I had a lot of fun with that series. So much that I’ve resurrected my heroine, Sarah Dearly, who will be the main character of my new paranormal mystery series that starts next August with Blood Bath & Beyond. I love funny vampires and Sarah cracks me up like no other character I’ve ever written.
But I guess I have a dark side, too. Because after playing on the light side of the genre, I wanted to dip my toe into the dark waters of vampires. My favorite genre to read is urban fantasy and I used to love horror novels. I wanted to create some vampires that didn’t enjoy cocktails at midnight while hiding their fangs from the general public. I wanted to write some vampires that, if you discovered their secret, they would be more than happy to rip your throat out with a smile on their face and a song in their hearts. (Cue evil laughter).
Of course, I couldn’t make (read: didn’t want to make) that sort of vampire the hero or heroine. So instead, I created a human heroine named Jillian who was thrust into the dark world she never knew existed when she was injected with a formula that turned her blood both poisonous and irresistible to vampires. I gave her a dhampyr protector, one whom she didn’t necessarily trust for a while. And, since I do love that question of “nurture or nature” when it comes to breeding evil, I also have a vampire who is both unrepentantly deadly but shows some heroic traits at the same time. There might not be quite as many laughs in my Nightshade books as there were in my Immortality Bites series, but both were a lot of fun to write and gave me the chance to stretch my vampire-lovin’ legs a bit.
My question to you is this -- do you like your vampires dark or light? Villains or heroes? Romantic or scary? Or are your favorite vamps a mix of all of the above?
I’m giving away a signed copy of my latest (dark side!) vampire release, Bloodlust, to a randomly chosen commenter. Good luck!
For more info on my books, vampire or otherwise, check out my website at www.michellerowen.com!
Bloodlust (Nightshade #2) – Berkley Sensation, July 2011
For those who feast on blood, Jillian Conrad is a fatal attraction. After being injected with a serum that made her blood both irresistible and deadly to vampires, she was used as a pawn to assassinate the vampire king. Now, the vampires want her eliminated.
Hunted and unable to return to her old life, Jillian desperately seeks to prevent the poison in her veins from killing her. And she must find a way to help her dhampyr protector, Declan, whose exposure to the serum has split his personality into one part uncontrolled desire, and one part stone cold killer.
But an even greater danger is rising. The Amarantos — a secret society of vampires — is seeking the infant daughter of the slain king to complete their quest for true immortality. And if they succeed, no one, living or undead, will escape the darkness.
Read chapter one: http://www.michellerowen.com/books/booklist/nightshade-series/bloodlust/