"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
We querried the
listers and here is what they had to say!
October 2000 Issue
PNR Q.: Do Vampires make good heroes/heroines or should they be relegated to the role of villains?
make fine heroes and heroines.. but I admit to being biased
Shelly Raines: Obviously this depends on the mythology that the author creates surrounding and explaining the vampire. In the case of Feehan's Carpathians, in which they are a separate race just trying to survive, and one which tries to avoid killing, they are capable of mercy, compassion and tenderness, traits necessary in a h/h. In the case of Stoker's Dracula they are little better than beasts; they are predators with no humanity. These make much better villains. I don't think they can kill indiscriminately and be h/h material.
Gil: Depends on the vampire! Since I'm at work on a vampire novel (with Sir Richard Francis Burton, Victorian explorer and translator of the Kama Sutra, as a hero, I have had to think about this question. My theory is that being Changed, simply strengthens who you were in life. If you weren't a psychotic homicidal maniac in life, you won't suddenly become one as a vampire. However, they are predators of a sort, so for some people who were controlled personality disorders (I had a boss we called the Nazi Smurf of Gore because she looked like an aging Smurfette and had definite Nazi tendencies, who was evil in a petty way; being a vampire would have probably turned into an Anita Blake psychotic vamp, I suspect, because she'd have had such power without much to restrain her).
I also see no reason why vampires have to completely drain a body when they feed. And if they don't need to do that, there's no need to kill. In fact, in my world, that's the major moral sin a vampire can commit. Murders draw attention to you. In my world, like the Anitaverse, the supernatural is a fact of life. If bodies drained of blood show up, people KNOW there is a vampire (in a world like ours, you wouldn't have that response in the 21st century, though you would have in the past), and start hunting. You get the villagers with torches descending on the vampire's lair, etc. So a vampire who kills an fails to dispose of the body, is likely to be executed for endangering the group. I had to hash this all out when someone on my list wanted to write a vampire serial killer, and I had to confronting the issue, and realized that I thought vampires who left bodies all over the place aren't very smart predators. The Anitaverse psychopathic vampires aren't likely to live that long,even if they are very strong and fast. Enough people would overpower them--or they could just wait till daylight and take 'em out in their coffins. Homicidal maniacs endanger the species, basically.
So a vampire can be effective as a hero or a villain--depends on the vampire! Some are good, some are evil, most are in-between like people.
Kandi: They can make good heroes. Look at Forever Knight, and the books Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith. They are full of good vampires and also in some of LJ Smith's other books such as Nightworld.
Jennifer Dunne: It depends on what kind of vampire they are. Are they the reanimated corpse kind? Villian! Are they the non-quite dead but not-quite alive kind? Depends on why -- if they're inhabited by demon energy or somesuch, villian. Are they alive, but somehow transformed or another species entirely? Then they can be heroes/heroines. Basically, if they've got a soul, are capable of having redeeming qualities, and are not ooky to touch, they can be heroes/heroines.
Carol C: I have read some really great vampire heroes. St. Germain for one by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is a hero of sorts. I think if they are evil in life they will be evil in death. That is how it is with the vampires I am writing. I think they can make really great sexy heroes or really dark evil villians. Either way I love them.
Lisa: What do you think the avantages/disavantages being a vampire poses for a romantic hero? To be honest, its hard to think of advantages. Vampires have always seemed a particularly vulnerable type of character. They have many major weaknesses. Humans are almost frightening in their adaptability and aggressiveness. They move in daylight or night, they eat just about anything. They have hunted many major predators to extinction, all while still very primitive.Vampires are vulernable to daylight, forced to rely on only one food source, their only advantage it their longevity.
PNR Q.: What do you think the advantages/disavantages being a vampire poses for a romantic hero?
This really depends
on the rules of the vampire universe in any Particular story.. if you're
following the Hollywood rules of 'death in the sunlight' which many
writers do, then that obviously sets the vampires off with considerable
mobility disadvantages... I followed Stoker's lead and allowed mine
to move about in daylight but then added a few extras of my own so things
wouldn't be too easy for them.. Magggie Shayne makes her vampires ultra
sensitive to physical pain and easily weakened by blood loss, Fred Saberhagen's
are very vulnerable to wood.... Yarbro's Saint Germaine is sometimes
weakened to the point of near helplessness when deprived of his native
earth....of course on the flip side of advantages, we have immortality,
and no loss of vigor as they age... and the latter can't be bad for
a hero can it?
I gave my vampire hero, Kit the major disadvantage that his vampire Colony forbade liaisons with mortals.. they are for feeding only.. closeness is not allowed.. as a matter of safety for everyone, they must keep their Distance from mortals... well that's a BIG stumbling block ..the biggest disadvantage I see, and assuming here the heroine is mortal,is the question of one aging when the other doesn't....
Shelly Raines: See above. I always though bad breath would be a problem too. Then there's the lack of the blood that makes certain body parts (ahem) function. I've noticed many fantasies consider physical sex to be beyond vampires abilities. I think losing one's humanity over time would be a danger too, starting to see oneself as a God perhaps. As for advantages, their supernatural abilities give them an edge over human, making them as alpha as you want. They are also predators, which gives that sense of danger that's attractive. They're not unlike the mercenary/spy/SEAL heroes in normal romances in that way.
Gil: NONE, other than it's hard to take him out for brunch!
Jennifer Dunne: Well, advantage #1 is LOTS of experience! And he's usually very patient with the heroine. Also, he's probably got a fair sum of money tucked away -- vampires can't help but accumulate fortunes, when their treasured mementos end up being literal treasures to the antique world. Disadvantage, of course, is what if she doesn't want to or can't become a vampire? He stays the same, watching everyone he loves grow old and die. Major psychological trauma. And there's the whole needing to find a reliable source of blood thing... poses difficulties depending on when the story's set.
Carol C: Well as in the case of St. Germain they can't have sex. I think no dozing after sex unless the room is closed off and if they are the type that has to sleep in a coffin I doubt they will find alot of partners to share the day with. They would have the stamina to keep up with any female, but then again they would go through alot by wearing them out.
Lisa: To be honest, its hard to think of advantages. Vampires have always seemed a particularly vulnerable type of character. They have many major weaknesses. Humans are almost frightening in their adaptability and aggressiveness. They move in daylight or night, they eat just about anything. They have hunted many major predators to extinction, all while still very primitive.Vampires are vulernable to daylight, forced to rely on only one food source, their only advantage it their longevity.
PNR Q.: There seem two types of vampire heroes those who wish to be mortal again and those who revel in their powers. Which do you prefer and why?
Rosemary Laurey: The latter (again I'm biased here) but I find the former often come Over as whiners...and whining in a hero is no less annoying than in a child...and considerable less forgivable...
Shelly Raines: I like either if they're well-written, because I can see humans reacting both ways. I'm not sure if I would be happy sucking down blood and giving up chocolate to be immortal. Killing would definitely not be my style. I wouldn't want to be a vampire at that price. But it's up to the writer to create a believable scenario for whichever path she chooses.
Gil: Somewhere in between. If you start with the premise that they don't *have* to kill to survive, what are the disadvantages, other than seeing people you love die (something that happens to us all even as mortals)? Oh, you can't do much in the day time (but I'm basically nocturnal anyway; no trouble there for me)., big loss. The biggest problem is that if you link feeding to sexuality (and there is a strong link in folklore as well as literature), then monogamy is difficult, because you can't feed off the same person constantly without killing them (they don't let you donate blood daily, after all). But I think they make dandy romantic heroes. I think it was Laurell K. Hamilton who commented that someone who has had several hundred years of making love ought to be pretty good at it.
They make great heroes--as long as they don't whine. One reason I do not like Richard in the Anita books is that he whines. Whining is my bottom line. I don't care how wonderful the guy is, if he whines, he's history. Give me Lestat over Louis any day. Tragic is one thing, but whining is another. I like the link between danger, sexuality and beauty you get with vampires. Being attractive is likely a survival trait, too. Lets you get near the human prey. I assume, of course, that the notion that a vampire is automatically damned is garbage, which some writers do not. As a Wiccan who believes in the Law of Return (what you do come back to you 3 fold) and as someone who was raised Catholic (where it is what you do that counts), I can't see being damned just for being a vampire.
Jennifer Dunne: I hate whiny heroes. And I hate unreasonably overbearing and arrogant ones. So, I guess, I'd like a middle of the road hero. One who, if he wants to be mortal again, works toward that end, but doesn't whine about it and complain about how terrible it is to be a vampire. Or, if he likes being a vampire, one who can enjoy his powers without misusing them.
the story's set.
Carol C: I prefer the kind that revel or at least have come to terms with what they are. Otherwise they whine a lot about being human which can become monotonous. Unless of course it was one that was turned and he doesn't whine to much but goes out for revenge.
Lisa: Currently, I am interested by those who wish to be mortal again. Why I ask myself and and by what means do you reverse death? If death can be reversed then is it true death? I find myself curious as to how far someone would go to try to recover what they had lost.
PNR Q.: If a vampire had only one day to become mortal again before returning to his/her undead state, what do you think they would enjoy, fear, or miss most? [yep this one call for imagination, at least I hope there are no vampires lurking out there <grin>.
Rosemary Laurey: Again this depends on the rules of the particular universe. If they are the 'fry in the sun' vampires... then I think watching the sunrise and set...and seeing daylight... ..If the vampires.. are like mine and never eat solid food, then I bet they'd revel in a nice leg of lamb and Starbuck's ice cream... with a nice bit of Brie or Stilton to round off. As for fears... the loss of whatever vampire powers they possess...
Shelly Raines: What would they like? Sunsets and rainbows, food and drink, sex (for some authors), being like everyone else again What would they fear? Liking the change too much, and having to go back to something they had grown used to. What would they miss? The power, their enhanced abilities.
Gil: I think a vampire would miss two things: the ability to walk outside in direct sunlight, and to eat. I'd probably spend the day indulging in my favorite gourmet delights: lobster, crab, the best champagne and wine I could afford, fresh-baked bread, some good cheeses, raspberries, and, of course, chocolate--truffles, cake, and mousse! With an after-dinner drink of Bailey's.
Jennifer Dunne: Well, if he lived in my area of upstate NY, he'd fear that he'd miss seeing the sun anyway! :-) But I think, it's like a chronic injury. As long as the pain is constant, you can learn to live with it. He'd have adjusted to not being able to do all these things. He no longer remembers them clearly enough to really want them in any but an abstract way. But to really live again, to experience everything bright and fresh and new, knowing it was only for one day, and then to be forced to go back to the halflife -- I think he'd fear it would break him.
Carol C: If they couldn't go out in the daylight it would be that. If they couldn't have sex it would definitely be that. But if they can't eat and they loved gourmet food it would definitely have to be that. I would think it would depend on the individual vampire and what powers he or she possesses.
Lisa: Oh no, I have to use that rusty tool my imagination. If said vamp could not predetermine when he might return to life for said day, then he could not plan to have those most important to him nearby. I assume that they would want to do simple things that we take for granted. If they were fortunate enough to have loved ones nearby, they might wish to spend time with them. What would they fear? missing something very simple and important. What would they miss? Those who have passed on with whom they can no longer share their new found feelings.