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We Want More.......

We querried the listers and here is what they had to say!
April 2002 Issu

PNR Q.: What do you think makes a vampire a great, hero? Heroine? Villain? What are the drawbacks?

Anqelique A.: Great hero - they can be very dark, brooding. Great Heroine - women generally are more 'in tune' to the psychic side of existence, so I think a vampire heroine could be like a super hero! Great villain - what more can you ask for - this breed is the ultimate bad guy - tormented beyond anything else! You can actually make a vampire villain a character you can have sympathy for because of the inner tormoil, the struggle they must fight knowing they can survive only by killing. Maybe they can be a villain who has no choice but to be the bad guy.

Drawbacks to vampires - hero and heroine would have to had fed off someone/something at one time or another. they can redeem their souls, but you know at one point they had to be villainous.

Heather: I would suppose a vampire who wants to be a hero would have to be reminded of his past, a reflection perhaps of when he had still a twist of his old humanity, emotions, tenderness. A bad vampire just is out for the kill.

Jody W.: I like the potential for the vampire character to have seen much of history and to be able to tell other characters about how things "really were", a la Bill giving a lecture to the Descendents of the Glorious Dead (or whatever it was) in DEAD UNTIL DARK. One would think all those years would also give them time to develop wisdom and riches.

Rosemary L.: The appeal of the unknown and mysterious, a vampire is the ultimate dark and dangerous hero..the man you just know your mother doesn't want you to bring hime for tea on Sunday...I think the idea of an
IMMORTAL live is definitely appealing in these times... and sitting on the others side of 50.. the thought of not gettting old and decrepit is particularly pleasant...

As to drawbacks, that depends on the particular vampire universe...draw backs for my vamps are having to need their native soil for several centuries... being unable to form close relationshships or freindships with
mortals..needing to stay aloof for their survivial... being limited to a very small circle of close freinds... and of course... needing blood...

Jamie M.: The same things that makes any character a great hero/heroine/villain, One thing they often add is how they deal with additional powers, greater isolation, life experience (if they've lived more than one standard life-time), etc. The villains can be really over-the-top nasty or perhaps even more 'reasonably' evil because of the above things as well. Hmmm, drawbacks are pretty much bad writing IMO. If you give them added powers without any personal cost, they get boring or just stupid. There needs to be some balance. For instance, why in the heck would someone with super-human powers/knowledge/etc. want to spend time hanging out with mortals? The vampire has to have some flaw/weakness that makes these human associations reasonable. Of course, the villain can just enjoy killing/tormenting the little 'bugs'.

Jennifer D.: I don't think there's anything specific to the vampire-ness that makes a character innately a great hero, heroine or villian. The combination of traits -- the need for people versus the need to protect yourself from people -- is a powerful dichotomy, but it's not unique to vampires. There is something appealing about a love that literally lasts "forever.

Leslie T.: Vampires make the best heroes because they are the ultimate combination of strength and vulnerability. This gives a human heroine the chance to protect and defend as well. Vampire heroines? Yes, I've seen it work. There would be a battle of nature vs. nurture that can be quite interesting. Villians, well even in the romance genre vampire villians are necessary to show that like the humans they once were, personalities will differ. Some will be decent and others not. It gives the hero and villian equal footing, presenting a challenge for the hero. Disadvantages? Hm, boredom perhaps, watching friends and family pass on, and perhaps not being able to produce offspring. Otherwise its a pretty good deal, if you don't mind blood of course <g>.

PNR Q.: There seem to be two types of vampires, those who revel in their powers and immortality, and those who consider themselves to be cursed. What do you think motivates each type. Which do you prefer and why?

Anqelique A.: Revelers - they are power seekers, souls who canhandle the task given them. Cursed - souls who are trapped between the mortal and immortal worlds. I prefer them both! :-) It depends on the character.

Heather: Well the traditional vampire story and virgin women came from the idea that women who were not virgins, were too sexy. A virgin bitten on the neck will be the ultimate mate for a good or bad vampire. Kind of like bad girls go everywhere, but good girls don't. I have reviewed countless vampire plays and Dracula in tons of theatres on the east coast, so Dracula, persay, was into virgins and bringing forth women into a lustful condition. His motivation was power of course and lessing the mortal chance of takeover and destruction. The ones who are cursed, are just whiners. lol

Jody W.: As to what motivates each type, I'd have to say the preferences of the author. I prefer vampires who are just...vampires...instead of being either cursed OR thinking themselves above humanity. I guess I like them as "realistic" as possible because I'm a very literal-minded stick in the mud.

Rosemary L.: It's no secret I prefer type A... those who, if not reveling in their vampdom, acccept it.... now I have just read Jennifer Dunne's DARK SALVATION... her hero is cursed into vampdom ... (by a voodo queen) but he isn't sitting around bemoaning the fact..he's engaged in scientific research to counteract the curse... it's the ones who sit around and WHINE about being cursed or being vampire that drive me bonkers... can't stand whiners... so you're a vamp? get on with it... life (and death) sends you curve balls, that's no reason to bemoan your fate for 300 pages.. and what woman would want a man who whines and carries on all the time?

Jamie M.: Those who accept their powers are much more interesting because they have accepted who/what they are and they have moved forward with their (un)lives. Those who believe themselves cursed may still accept their fate. Those who don't are just whiners and I HATE them. Whiners are motivated by what they can no longer have. The others are getting on with life/unlife.

Jennifer D.: There are people who accept the hand they've been dealt, and make the best of it, or who overcome a terrific challenge (those who are "cursed" and find some way to "break" the curse). Those are interesting characters. The ones who try to pretend they're not really vampires or who mope about how they're doomed are just whiners, and boring. In general. One exception is the hero of The Madness Season, by CS Friedman -- as part of a coping strategy, he's convinced himself he's mortal, and part of the story is the alien helping him to uncover what he really is. But that's different from knowing you're a vampire and pretending you're not.

Leslie T.: I suppose if you didn't want to be a vampire in the first place, you would view it as a curse. If you are constructive about find a cure, and don't whine, no problem, and it can be romantic to give up immortality for love, sort of the ultimate sacrifice. There will be those who accept what they have become and make the best of it, and that is fine. Then there are those who take the ball and run with it, enjoy it and are willing to share the gift with a special someone. These are perhaps the most adaptable and most interesting characters. Last are those who seek the gift, these make the best villains because they want the power and immortality.

PNR Q.: Other than the need to ingest blood which seems to be a given, vampire traits seem to be up to the individual author. Some of the more traditional aspects are: must be created by another vampire; soul is damned; sleeps in coffin; only active at night though essentially immortal - can be killed by sunlight, stake through the heart, beheading; need native soil in shoes to travel. Do you feel any of these aspects are vital to make a vampire character credible? Why or why not?

Anqelique A.: I think over all, if your character is believable - emotionally, then I think an author can go outside the regular bounds of the traditional vampire.

Heather: There was a great vampire book about a family who created special stained glass windows from blood and glass that protected them from the suns rays. I can't recall the writer, but it was quite nervy of them. I love it, plus it had lots of sex in it. Eroticism and vampirism is hot and en vogue. In my not published Vampire book, #22, I transfer the virgin with the vampire so he can see the world as a mortal for 1 year. Its a romance, sacrifice, courage and a lesson in what's important to both of them, living without each other or dying with each other. She accepts his nibbling in exchange for a chance to say thankyou for saving her life. He leaves her and seeks out the world as a mortal for 1 yr, and he returns, changed and understanding the more tangible offerings of being a vampire.

Jody W.: Any vampire character can be credible as long as the text is well-written. After my own research, it seems like "hard to kill, must at least sometimes drink blood" are the only consistent traits among species of vamps. And I didn't delve out of the "romance vampire" arena, either. So I guess those could be called the "necessary" traits. I would think your vamp would NEED to be hard to kill if he or she were going to go around drinking blood, from whatever source, because he or she would have to be pretty tough to GET the blood in many instances :)

Rosemary L.: I don't think any particular ones are VITAL..consistency is what's important...I went for blood, native soil, and the need to stay aloof from mortals...(made sense to me..close friends would notice old Kit hadn't got any grey hairs in fifty years) mine are pysically stoot animals... to counteract that, I made then weaken every year round the date they were transformed into vampires... and they need to avoid sunlight (daylight is okay) young ones are much more suscptible than older ones..

Jamie M.: The only trait that I feel is necessary to make a character a credible vampire is that s/he needs humans to sustain his/her life. Doesn't have to be blood, but should be something only humans can provide. This really opens up all the other folklore to the individual desire of the author. I enjoy all the variety I've found out there. As long as the author addresses the 'rules' and sticks to them, I'm happy.

Jennifer D.: First, I'd expand "ingest blood" to "live off of the life force". There are psychic vampires, and vampires who ingest fluids other than blood. The key, I think, is that it has to be a substance that diminishes the donor by its removal. You couldn't have a vampire who snacked on hair or fingernail trimmings, because the donor could get by just fine without those. The other traits I think are necessary to a vampire are some sense of being "more" than human -- this just makes sense, as the vampire needs a way to overpower or convince the donor to provide what it seeks -- and being set off from standard human society in some way. The most common is making them night creatures when most humans are day creatures... but it would be equally reasonable that they couldn't stand large crowds, or be around significant mental/emotional "noise." So, to sum up, for me, to be a vampire, it has to feed off human life force, and be both more than human and different from human. The details are up to the individual author. :-)

Leslie T.: If the writer is good, he or she can make you believe anything they want you to about vampires. I think the parasite aspect is perhaps the only thing standing between vampires and humanity, however authors are already coming up with alternatives to that, so who knows. I have the feeling that synthetic blood is going to amount to instant coffee though.

PNR Q.: How do you think vampire romance's differ from those of the horror genre, aside from the fact that the vampires are heroes? Do you think romance has sanitized vampires too much? For example, how do you feel about vampires who frequent blood banks or only partake of animal blood. Do you find vampire's more sympathetic if the reason for the characters transformation had tragic origins such as a fatal disease? Are you more comfortable if the characters are portrayed as a wholly different species?

Anqelique A.: I don't see much difference in the vampires themselves, only the story lines. With vampires you can cross genres and a bit of romance can be added into different types of novels. COME THE NIGHT is considered both as horror and dark paranormal romance.

I don't mind a vampire who won't kill for survival - I think it puts them back in touch with the mortal soul they once had.

Heather: Vampires are like bad dressers. Either they care about what they are wearing, or they just go out in anything. Either they care about who they nibble on, or they don't. As 1 or a bunch of gum munchers, making them sound romantic and heroic is interesting, but vampires never change. Do they?

Jody W.: I haven't read enough vampires of the horror genre to compare. But do I think romance has sanitized vampires? Nah. Seems like the rational thing for vampires to do would be to blend in to the larger human society as much as possible to avoid detection/destruction, which would include drinking animal blood. The original state of the character pre-conversion does not influence my sympathy with him or her because in many instances it is notthe person's choice to become a vampire. It's not like, in most books, you can just say, Hey, becoming a vampire would save me from cancer, I think I'll go get bitten... although that might be an interesting premise :) I don't find vampires of any particular stamp more or less sympathetic -- itjust depends on how they are written. When an author insists that vampires are "NOT HUMAN" and has the human characters reflecting on how different vampires are -- but then the vamps act entirely like particularly hateful orarrogant humans -- I do become less sympathetic. But hey, that's bad writing, correct?

Rosemary L.: Sanitized? I had a revewer say this about WIM,.... she obviously missed the horror aspect... but IMO roamnces have not so much sanitised the vamp, and shown another side to the myths...I think it's more a case of the good, strong woman tames the potential 'monster'. On blood banks etc., that is fair enough if it fits in the rules of that particular vampire universe....Sympathy due to tragic reasons for transformations? Not particularly.. it all depends how the writer handles it.. to me it's more important how the hero (or heroine for that matter) behaves AFTER the they accept their nature? how do they cope with the alterations in lifestyle? how do they use their powers? Am I more comfortable if the vamps are of a different species? Not really.. again it depends on how it's handled...

Jamie M.: I think romances differ from the other genres because the romance is an important aspect of the overall plot (if not the overall plot). Some authors have sanitized vampires (and other paranormal critters) too much, some have not, as a genre I'd say no. As to how they feed, I'd say see #3 above. If the vampire is a well written character I am sympathetic no matter how s/he became a vampire and there is no reason why the character needs to be a different species, although that can be a very interesting

Jennifer D.: Assuming that a vampire is not a demonic entity but a human/humanoid, you open yourself to the full range of human behavior. There will be murderers, but there will also be heroes. I don't think romance vampires have been "sanitized" so much as they've been trivialized. Being a vampire is a major difference, that should have a major impact in someone's life. It should color all of their actions, thoughts, and feelings, to a greater or lesser extent. Yet, too often, we got vampires that were standard romance heroes with extra long teeth.

Leslie T.: I don't do horror. Our vampire romance writers have done such a wonderful job of making vampire heroes romantic, their acts sensual in nature. Yes some aspects are still horrific but I just don't think about it. I was out of town reading SACRAMENT by Susan Squires, while my kids watched INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE on the television in the same room. I looked up at the screen and made them shut it off. It totally ruined the mood! I just don't look at romance vampires that way <g>.

PNR Q.: We've seen a lot of historical and contemporary vampire romances. Do you think vampires would incorporate well into a futuristic romance? What problems can you envision for them?

Anqelique A.: I think they could incorporate into futuristic romances quite easily, and quite interestingly.

Example: You could have a story line where blood diseases are rampant in the world and then the vampire would have to fight for survival - maybe the only person whom he or she could feed off of was the one soul they came to love. And their own survival would mean the death of the lover. You'd have to make the vampire fight the evil warlord to stop using germ warfare which is tainting people's blood. Yes, I think vampires could easily fit into a futuristic society. It would also be interesting to see what would happen should they feed off an alien blood form...

Jody W.: Well, yes, of course! If there are vamps now, presumably, there will also be vamps in the future, unless "Humans Against Vampires" manages to kill them all off. Problems? Well, on other planets, a la tv's Angel in Pylea (sp?), would different kinds of sun create the same deadly effect? Would increased technology/alarm systems/weapons make it harder for them to snack on humans? It really would depend on the direction that society developed.

Rosemary L.: Futuristic..oh yes.. read Angela Knight's Blood and Kisses in one of
the early Secrets for a WONDERFUL futuristic (science fiction really)
vamp story... and I always sense Laurel Hamilton's books are in a
near future St Louis...

Linnea S: I don't write vampire per se (though I do write SF/ paranormal/
shapeshifter) I'll pass on the other questions but this one interests me.
Part of the issue, as I see it, is whether you take 'futuristic' to mean a
novel SET in our planet's future time... or are you using futuristic to
encompass ALL SF Romance?

I write the latter: SF Romance. I don't consider my works futuristic because they are 'present day' to my characters, who happen NOT to live on this planet we call earth. I don't consider Star Wars 'futuristic' -- Tatooine is Tatooine and has nothing to do with Palm Beach County FL :-) in this or any other time period.

In an SF Romance novel, the author has a lot of leeway in creating alien
cultures and creatures.... certainly a vampire race is totally possible. Its
issues and problems would be unique to itself in an SF Romance and can
utilize, or totally avoid, previous 'facts' on vampires in earth-based fiction.

In my upcoming GABRIEL'S GHOST (due out in paperback April 2002 from
LTDBooks! Promo! Promo!), I have an SF Romance/Adventure novel in a totally original 'universe' (as my FINDERS KEEPERS was also totally original - not future anywhere or anything) and in this universe there are shapeshifters (called Ragkirils). They face prejudice; they're maligned, misunderstood and hunted. But their problems are unique to THEIR society.

It's very possible to build a successful, non-earth based vampire culture in
an SF Romance, AND even remove the 'serial killer' stigma (as has been
mentioned on this list) in doing so. What if a vampire culture performed a
necessary parasitical function? What if they were HEALERS (removing disease from a body) or CLEANSERS not killers? This is all possible in SF Romance.
I loooove to play with 'what-if...?'! :-)

Jamie M.: Sure, why not? Especially for folks who want to explore the different species idea or lose most of the folkloric restrictions. Problems might be intergalactic organizations out to destroy them and take control of their world(s) instead of just a few dedicated, but seemingly nut-job,
humans in a basement somewhere. ;) Loooooong space flight with no food
sources for light years.

Donna E.: I don't envision problems with a futuristic which is just sometime in the future, but thinking of "Vampires In Space" makes me giggle (said in the echoing voice of b grade 50's SciFi promos). It's dark in space, would be vamps be up 24/7? Could weightlessness affect their powers? Could they just be put in their coffin for the entire trip, with an occasional IV of
blood? How would other atmosphere's affect they actually need to breath? What if they went somewhere that the inhabitants didn't have red blood, would/could they survive? Would another sun affect them the same way? I don't necessairly view these questions as problems, but they'd certainly have to be addressed to have a credible story.

Angela K.: I actually wrote a vampire in space called "Blood and Kisses" -- which so far has been my most popular novella. The vampire is 300 years old, having been turned in the 1980s, and he lives in an era in which vampires are treated as a despised minority. They're not allowed to conceal what they are, and for the first time in his life, Decker is having a hell of a time getting laid. The coffin thing I don't do anyway, and there was artificial gravity on the ship, so weightlessness wasn't a problem. One of the things I enjoyed about it was I had my two vampires exchanging 20th century insults the heroine just didn't get. :)

Jennifer D.: No reason they wouldn't. I see a big problem in a future where everyone has universal data, how would you die/be reborn at the correct times to get listed correctly in the system? Would vampires become identity thieves? Would there be a secret cadre of vampire hackers? Lots of interesting possibilities there....

Leslie T.: I think there is alot of potential there. Think of the advantages, lots of darkness, no need for breathing apparatus en route, and hey with some of the aliens that have been written, there is potential for a story from the vampire's point of view, kind of a shoe on the other foot kind of tale where the vamp has to deal with the weird, scary, and unknown. Then again it could be a space colony's nightmare come true. Can vampire's process alien blood? Who knows. As to transportation, hey if Bill can fly cargo from Louisiana to Texas, I see no problems with space flight <g>.

BARBARA SHERIDAN - Paraphernalia Feature Columnist
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor ~ Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity ~ Cy Korte: Reviews Editor

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