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Friday, July 20, 2018

Vamps and Me!

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? 


AJ Blythe said...

See, I loved the idea of a sparkling vampire (plus it wasn't too scary).

Sue Bursztynski said...

A lot of people loved the idea of sparkling vampires, which is why those books were so popular! And you’re right, not too scary. They were aimed at teenage girls who wanted a romance with a “demon lover” to drool over. I bought two sets for my school library because of that. I just didn’t enjoy them myself.

Maria Behar said...

Aaaah, vamps!! But Sue, how could you NOT love Edward? Well, as you know HE is my favorite vampire! And I LOVE the sparkling, too! Lol. Guess there's a vamp for all tastes, right? :) :)

There are four authors of vampire romance that I really enjoy reading.

The first one, Amanda Ashley, first introduced me to this romance sub-genre. Her vamp romances are very sweet, low on blood and gore, and pretty much clean (very little to no graphic sex). Actually, Amanda Ashley is a pen name. She also writes historical romance (no vamps) under her real name -- Madeline Baker.

The next two authors have something in common: their vamp romances are VERY funny! Their names are Lynsay Sands and Kerrelyn Sparks. They each have long-running series. On the negative side for me, though, their sex scenes can be a little too graphic at times.

I've read a couple of Christine Feehan's books, but she, too, tends to be a bit too graphic. Her writing is EXCELLENT, however. FAVORITE vamp author is, yes, indeed, Stephenie Meyer!! I've read The Twilight Saga three times, and the first book, "Twilight", four times -- once in Spanish, since I'm fluent in that language. Well, like I said, there are different tastes in vamp romance fiction. (Although it's all about blood, lol.) :) :)

As you can see, I don't like the horror type of vampire. So I have no interest at all in reading "Dracula"...... :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these fascinating creatures!! HUGS!! <3 <3 :) :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Maria! You really do like Twilight, don’t you? 😁 One of my students told me that until Grade 5 she had never read a book - at all. She was just a sports girl. Then she discovered Twilight - and became a passionate reader and a member of my lunchtime book club. I remember when it first came out, seeing kids curled up in corners of the school yard reading it. Passing it on to friends. Sharing it. I had to buy some copies for the library, of course. But I just couldn’t get past the first book. As for the young lady, I bought a T shirt with the line: “And then Buffy staked Edward. The End.” I wore it to work. Young Taylor regarded it with a quivering lip...and I buttoned up my cardigan...

The book# you mention do sound like fun. One I’ve forgotten to mention was about a boy who pretended to be a vampire to get girls. 😂

Maria Behar said...

Here I am again! :) :)

"Twilight" was my first introduction to Young Adult Fiction, if I don't count "Tryst", a little-known ghost love story by Elswyth Thane, published back in 1939. I read it when I was about the female protagonist's age -- 17. There was no YA Fiction category in 1939, though, so it wasn't thought of as YA. (And no, I did NOT read it in 1939.) It's a real GEM, by the way. I highly recommend it to you!

So yes, it was "Twilight" that got me hooked on YA. When I finished that series, I went on to Harry Potter, which was actually published before The Twilight Saga, but I had disdained to read, because I thought it was children's literature and the prose would be too simplistic. But when I dipped into it, I got hooked right away! Lol.

Anyway, my heart will always belong to you can tell from the picture I use with my name. Lol.

Btw, I'm very glad you buttoned up your cardigan! Lol. HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Elswyth Thane is on iBooks - about 8 of her books, but not that one, alas. So glad you did get into Harry Potter. I am a teacher librarian, so the fact that the first couple of books were children’s books was fine with me.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I am so sorry I am late to this - Blogger has been putting all my comments into the mod queue and not telling me about them! I had email notifications set up, but it wasn't sending anything. I thought nobody was reading my posts!

Anyway, back to the subject. I love the sound of the James Asher series - I shall have to check it out.

I'm with you on vampires not sparkling too - I enjoyed Twilight the movie, but I laughed a lot in places I wasn't supposed to I think. ;)

It's so good to find out about other vampire fans and what got them into the genre :D

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Natasha! Yes, there have been some weird things going on with Blogger and comments. I used to get them in my email, then that stopped because of some legality, but now it’s back. I got an email today asking if I wanted my comments sent to my email box again.

Do check out the James Asher series! It starts off excellent and stays that way. Barbara Hambly has a way of not disappointing fans with any of her series. A wonderful writer!

I bet you were glared at in the cinema for laughing... 😁

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

That's exactly what happened to me too, Sue - I got the email this morning. Only it had failed to tell me it wasn't going to be telling me about comments in need of moderation until today! Bet is was GDPR - grrrr - that has cause so many issues with things.

I was lucky I did not see it in the cinema ;) I think me and my husband may have been lynched if we had done - LOL

Sue Bursztynski said...

I had heard about this GDPR thing while I was wondering why comments were turning up in my mod box, but not my email. People were talking about it on other blogs. Someone came up with a solution, which I tried. It worked for a day or two, then stopped. I’m relieved things have gone back to normal.

Yes, I imagine there would have been some teenage girls looking for a rope and a beam if you’d laughed in the cinema! 😂