I found these questions on this web site run by Tasha Drake. I thought it seemed like fun, so here are my own answers. Writing them, I suddenly realised how much vampire stuff I have absorbed over the years, despite not thinking of myself as a vamp fan.
Who’d have thought?
Why do you love vampires?
I am fascinated by the variety. When I was researching my children’s book, Monsters And Creatures Of The Night, I found vampires are not only the western variety. There are, for example, fish-eating vampires in Malaysia, and the story of the Japanese Vampire Cat! The folklore of the vampire fascinates me - and there are so many bits of folklore involved!
Which vampire(s) brought you to the dark side?
Dracula, of course. The classic novel! I found it much easier reading than I had expected, as it was all in letters and diary entries, and finished the novel in a single sitting. But I also read Carmilla in a single sitting. That may have been the first vampire story I read, when
I was about twelve, as part of a horror anthology I found in the school library.
TV,movie or books? Have a favourite vampire medium?
Not really, but TV is where I found most of my vampire fiction. Forever Knight, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, for example. However, I have been reading and loving Barbara Hambly’s James Asher novels. They aren’t so much vampire fiction as scary stories with a vampire in them.
All time favourite vampire?
I’m very fond of Angel, from the Buffyverse. He is Terribly Tragic in Buffy, but when he got his own series there was a lot of humour, from it being clear that he can’t run his own private detective agency financially without some practical help to the episode in Season 5 when he was turned into a muppet and torn apart - not fatally - by a raging werewolf. But I’m also fond of Spike, the vampire who let everyone believe he was nicknamed that because of a nasty incident with a railway spike. It turned out that he had, in life, been an appallingly bad poet - a nerd! - of whom someone said they would rather be stabbed with a spike than have to listen to him. (And then, when he was turned, he wanted to take his Mum along to look after her...) Yes, I like vampire humour!
Current favourite vampire?
Don Simon Ysidro, from Barbara Hambly’s James Asher series. He is a sixteenth century Spanish nobleman who came to England in the train of Phillip of Spain, when he married Queen Mary. In this universe, vampirism is a choice. You can only be turned if you want to be and are willing to trust the person who turns you with your soul during the process. Don Simon is a friend of James Asher, Oxford Professor and spy, and his doctor wife Lydia, at the turn of the 20th century. They feel guilty about accepting his help, because he has to be a many-times-over serial killer. However, he is a man of honour. He keeps his word. He works for the good guys. Oh, and he is in love with Lydia, which is probably why he keeps working with the Ashers... But Barbara Hambly is the first novelist I’ve read who has pointed out that, while vampires can love, the male ones can’t be the sex gods they are usually presented as because... well, dead. No blood circulation. Think about it.
All time least favourite vampire?
Edward. Sorry, but I can’t see sparkling vamps, I just can’t! I managed to finish Twilight, but never bothered with the rest.
Favourite vampire book?
There are a few, but off the top of my head, apart from the Asher series, there is Dan Simmons’ Children Of The Night, in which Dracula is the historical Vlad the Impaler, who wasn’t killed in that battle after all and whose vampirism is genetic, not undeadness. His family have an extra organ that allows them to regenerate their cells with the occasional cup of blood. After centuries of life he has turned his passion from war to business and is a multimillionaire. He has become bored with his descendants and concocted a plot to wipe out the lot of them... By the way, he has read Bram Stoker’s novel and thinks it’s rubbish!
Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula is great fun. Dracula kills Van Helsing and marries Queen Victoria, so turning vampire becomes fashionable in England. Everyone’s doing it. Well, the upper crust, anyway, and let’s face it, the aristocratic class have ALWAYS been bloodsuckers!
Favourite vampire movie?
Love At First Bite with George Hamilton. Dracula is kicked out of his castle by the Communist regime, which wants it as a training camp for athletes. He goes to America in pursuit of a fashion model he has fallen for through magazines... very funny film!
Favourite vampire TV show?
Buffy, of course! A classic series.
What trait does a vampire have to have for them to be a "real" vampire for you? (e.g. fangs, speed, strength, hopping, nocturnal etc)
Again, vampires are different in different countries. I like variety. Thee only thing I really can’t swallow is sparkling vampires.
Do you create vampire content?
My one published novel, Wolfborn, was a werewolf fantasy. But there was a short story I wrote some years ago(published in Andromeda Spaceways), Bytepals. In it, vampires have gone on line and discover how to travel overseas as email attachments... I indicated that they bit nerdy teenagers and nobody noticed the difference...
Any unusual vampire lore you would like to share with us?
Yes, I love the suggestion that vampires have a form of obsessive compulsive disorder which forces them to count things. (Remember Sesame Street’s vampire, the Count, who can’t stop counting? Bet you didn’t know that was real vampire lore!) People who might be at risk of becoming vampires after death were buried with a pile of seeds. These, it was thought, would keep them too busy counting to leave their graves. Tara Moss has fun with this idea in her YA fantasy novels. The heroine lives in a house with vampire boarders. She carries rice around with her and scatters it in front of the boarders whenever they confront her...
Hope you found my vamp thoughts of interest. Do you have any of your own?