Monday, November 16, 2009

Guest: Chloe Neill on Vamp Myths Worldwide

Chloe Neill is the author of the acclaimed urban fantasy novels Some Girls Bite and Friday Night Bites, books one and two in her Chicagoland Vampires series. Firespell, the first book in her new young adult Dark Elite series, will be released on January 5, 2010. 


The vampire myth is practically as old as human mythology itself--the fear that a powerful creature will steal someone's
very life blood. There's a range of stories, of course, from the fear that a seductress will seduce a man and steal his
essence in the night, to the blood drinking of Indian diety Kali, to to the violent history of Vlad the Impaler.


The fact that the myths are so universal--and yet individually unique--is really fascinating to me. I've included links to
discussions of vampire mythologies in various cultures below.  The Wikipedia entry on vampires
 and vampire mythologies are, of course, great places to start for information on 
international vampire myths.

- Ireland 
- Germany 
- Mexico 
- India 
- England 

And, of course, don't forget to check out the Top Ten Vampire Myths.


Some folks have taken a decidedly more medical approach to the vampire myth--considering the biological reasons why humans came to the conclusion that
vampires existed.  These include Web resources that discuss the scientific how and why of the vampire myth, from
body decomposition rates, porphyria and other potentially scientific explanations for the growth of vampire tales.

- Decomposition and other issues from the Skeptical Inquirer (Note--skeptical tone and graphic biological discussions)

Folks have even evaluated the psychological origin of the vampire myth, including Jungian and Freudian psychoanalysis theories (Note--includes somewhat adult, scholarly discussions).  


If you'd like to dive into something a little more literary, check out these

- The Vampyre by  John Polidori (1891)
- Dracula, by Bram Stoker (1897)
- The Giaour, by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1813)
- Cristabel, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1797/1800)
- Carmilla, by Sheridan LeFanu (1872)
- Varney the Vampire, or The Feast of Blood, by Thomas Preskett Prest (1845-1847)

If you're looking for a more general resource, check out The Literary Gothic for more gothic authors and writings, "The Vampire", a presentation by the University of Virginia, or the
Journal of Dracula Studies for literary interpretation and criticism.

Thanks so much for reading, and good luck in your own research and writing endeavors!

FIRESPELL blurb: As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face…

When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird—she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster.

Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own—at least none that she’s discovered yet…


Michele Hauf said...

Thanks for the post today, Chloe! Firespell sounds awesome. Can't wait to pick that one up! YA paranormal is so hot, lately. Here's to many more books in the series!

Jackie said...

Lots of good info on the post today Chloe and cannot wait for next year until the new YA "Firespell" comes out, it sounds like another winner and hope many books in the series after the first...
Always finding you these days on blogs and contests and always something new to read about on each one...
Jackie B Central Texas

Amanda Makepeace said...

Thanks for the wonderful post. It was rich in information. I'd completely forgotten about Varney the Vampire!

Anthony Hogg said...

This is where we get into some shaky ground.

After all, how exactly does one define a "vampire"?

"Vampire" is a name derived from Eastern European origin and referred to a specific "genus" of undead.

The primary characteristics entailed that they physically rose from their graves (at least, that is the implication, with physical signs being found on their person, like blood at the mouth, etc.), they drank blood and they turned others into their kind.

I feel that it is too easy to apply the word too broadly. For example, Shane MacDougall (Jonathan Maberry) incorporates Bigfoot into The Vampire Slayer's Field Guide to the Undead (2003).

I am, of course, speaking from a folkloric perspective. I certainly wouldn't expect such stringent terminology in fiction.