Last week, I started thinking about just what it is that makes me enjoy both reading and writing vampire novels. I intended a quick bullet point list, and instead, I’ve ended up with an essay, so I’m doing a separate post for each point each night this week.
So we’re clear, I have a few requirements for my vampire books. Outside of these, my love very quickly risks turning to hate:
- I’m mainly talking about books somewhere on the paranormal romance/urban fantasy spectrum rather than old fashioned horror. I like a bit of horror too, but if the vampires have no interaction with humans other than killing them, they probably don’t fall into the sort of category I’m talking about.
- At the same time, the plot can’t be just romance. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of vampire romance, but there needs to be something else, such as the way all the True Blood books are at least nominally based around a murder mystery.
- The vampires need to be more than just super attractive people. If the plot would be basically the same with human characters, I’m generally not interested. To tick this box, they need to tick at least some of the following boxes – has to drink human blood, has killed people at some point, can’t come out during the day.
Oh and finally, all my examples are based around the idea that the lead characters are a vampire man and a human woman. This seems to be the case in the vast majority of vampire books I’ve read, and I generally prefer this approach, but most of what I say makes sense if the genders are reversed or the couple are same sex.
Some of my reasons apply to other genres too, (and that’s great, because I love lots of other genres), but think that they are more pronounced in vampire novels, and that it’s probably the only genre that includes them all the a decent degree, though feel free to argue with me if you disagree!
So without further ado, my reasons (in no particular order) are:
- History without the baggage
- Folklore, tradition and magic
- Romance with meaningful tension
- Perfect people that you can buy into
- Utter cads that you can forgive
- The erotic power
- A metaphor for anything
One and two are coming up in a moment. Check back each night this week for the rest of them.