Tara Fox Hall, author of a variety of books in the paranormal genre, is back with me to today to talk about how her stories are different from other vampire stories.
I spent my youth reading about vampires, being in love with the idea of living forever and staying young, partying all night, every night, and having a strong protector that was not only invincible to attack but would love me with a love that would be just as undying as he was. When I look back at the novels of my youth, all I can say is “Reality check, please.”
Now let me hurry to put in a disclaimer, lest I be staked by tons of rabid vampire fans; I am not against fantasy worlds, all and any definitions of vampire, or star-crossed lovers with hundreds of years in age difference. Love is not always logical; hell, most times it isn’t! I’m just asking for an authenticity to the world, characters and plot that the writer is offering me. I go into a new book looking for a reason to believe in it, hoping to lose myself in its pages until something in real life forces me grumpily to set the book aside. I want to be captured, nay, enslaved, so that that story becomes as real to me as my own life, an alternate realm that I treasure as much as my own reality, with characters that are so real they feel like old friends. There are some vampire novels out there that accomplish this with aplomb. Yet there are far more that don’t.
Be brutally honest with yourself. If you were a vampire who had lived for centuries and experienced tremendous persecution and suffering, would you really go back to high school, so you could get a little more added on? Would you really be haunting nightclubs for eternity, having rampant sex with people for their blood night in and night out? Would you be calling attention to yourself by brutally killing victims in alleys, or sitting on a throne each night for people to stare at and admire? These suppositions all have two things in common; they have been used over and over again for vampire plots and— for anyone who was actually living them for eternity—they would likely be incredibly tiresome, if not mind-numbingly boring.
So why do we vampirephiles like these unrealistic scenarios? Because we remember being in high school, and the dream that the new pale exchange student really was not only “into” us, but also capable of sweeping us away from the rigors of trigonometry and chemistry lab. We hope down deep every time we enter a nightclub that there will be some creature of the night waiting for us at the bar, baring a hint of fang in a sidelong glance of licentious interest. We want the feeling that our normal, everyday lives—no matter how happy we are—could be swept away into a tumult of passion, romance, and danger, of life and death decisions, and love that lasts forever. We want the fantasy so we can drink down every red, sweet drop with insatiable hunger. In our passion to be lose ourselves, we forget about the feelings of the creature we are lusting for: his hopes, dreams, and passions. As such, the vampire in romance is often cookie cutter in the extreme and full of logical contradictions, doomed to spend his eternity suffering in loneliness, waiting for that special someone to turn his immortal existence on his ear.I want more than that for my fantasy…I want a vampire that breathes.
So what would a real vampire be like? To go on for centuries would take determination beyond love, greed, lust, or even duty. It would take a sheer act of indomitable will to face wars, rises and falls of culture, shifts in world view, the death of your loved ones from your mortal life, and the constant struggle to support yourself along with the need for sustenance, that no matter how the world changed would never accept a vampire’s nature. Having bitter enemies would be a given with immortal life, but good friends would be likely, also. Having a system of blood donation would be essential, as would security. That the vampire would have loved and lost goes without saying. Personality traits expected would be cynical, opportunistic, and calculating, as well as driven and interested in the world around him. But most crucial to a vampire would be having a purpose, a reason to wake up each night and go out into the darkness.
Enter Danial Racklan, my 400-year-old vampire from Promise Me. A suave businessman who owns the corporate detective business Solutions, Inc., with his werecougar partner, Theo, Danial is no novice at surviving. Ensconced in his private fortress with a network of personal security and blood donors that make house calls, he is secure from his enemies by day. By night, he commits his life to solving mysteries and murders…and sometimes committing the latter in service to organized crime. It’s been so long since he loved anyone that he doesn’t miss it, choosing to bury his passions in work, a course sure to guarantee his heart won’t be broken again.
When Danial goes out to commit a murder on an overcast fall night, he’s sure nothing will go wrong. Caught unawares by a killer he could not have anticipated, Danial is wounded badly, but escapes. Fighting poison, he collapses at the end of an unknown road. And there he would have perished…but for a royally pissed off country woman named Sar who goes to investigate what she is sure are partyers in her neighbor’s rock quarry. Finding Danial unconscious, Sar hauls Danial back to her house—yes, literally, in a front-end loader—and in the process, discovers he is a vampire. Being a vampirephile herself, Sar gives him her blood. While the experience is not what she bargained for, it has the intended result: Danial wakes up…and Sar’s old life is swept away into a tumult of passion, romance, and danger, of life and death decisions, and love that lasts forever.
What can I say? I want a realistic base…but I want the fantasy, too!
Tara's books are available here:
Thanks for guest posting today, Tara. Be sure to stop in this Wednesday as Tara talks about her new book LASH.