Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Don't laugh at me but...

...I write about vampires, mostly. Yes, people normally laugh at me about that. Right to my face, in fact. And I don't really understand why. Well, actually. I do.

Edward Cullen has ruined vampires. Okay, that's a bit unfair. I actually like the Twilight books, I think they've got good stories even though the writing is appalling. I've read all four, plus the novella, because the story's pretty good. In my opinion. And this is something that seems to divide people. Twilight is the new Marmite.

It's been incredibly successful, which has led to the market being absolutely flooded with vampire stuff, be it books, films or tv shows. Vampires are popular right now, Twilight's success has made other series popular, like the Charlaine Harris novels. They've been around for years, but only now have they been picked up and turned into the brilliant series "True Blood." You can't walk into a bookshop without being faced with a "dark romance" section.

But, at the same time, vampires have never been less cool. I don't know why it is, since I'm someone who's embraced the current craze, but if you tell people that you write or read about vampires, they automatically label you in a certain way. You're a Twi-hard (a name I object to generally, and don't think I deserve because I'm not actually obsessed with it) and that's it. People will laugh in your face, and you have to defend yourself. So, here goes.

I've been writing about vampires for five, almost six, years now. I started my first vampire novel three whole years before I'd even heard of Twilight (I have been genuinely asked on more than one occasion "Oh, is it based on Twilight?" when I've told someone I write about vampires) and have now written sixteen vampire novels. Which is 94% of the novels I've written (I wrote one sci-fi one about a parasite, but the less said about that the better.)

But why? I think about that a lot, mainly because people ask. They ask lots of stupid questions, don't they? Okay, that's unfair. But I do get asked why I write about vampires, especially since I've written so many now. And the reason I give is that it's like writing about people, except there are no limits. You don't have to worry about what's realistic, what would happen in the real world, how a normal person would react to something. You can create your own mythology, you can set the rules. I think of those things, the not having to know how a real person would react is probably the most important to me. This sounds like attention-seeking, but I'm fairly abnormal. I often find myself unable to understand why the people around me say and do certain things, even when everyone else seems to get it. So I worry that, if I write about normal people in a normal world, it just won't work. Vampires, on the other hand...well, I choose how they would react to things. I have total control, I can do whatever I want. And I love that.

So next time someone tells you that they write about vampires, or they like to read about them, don't judge. Don't laugh. They'll have their reasons. And if you're still unconvinced, I'm sure there was a vampire in Harry Potter. I do believe his name was Sanguini, and he appeared on page 374 of the "Half-Blood Prince."


  1. I am sorry, but I hate vampire fiction. No exceptions. I’ve read the first of the Charlaine Harris books (because I had to for a module) and genuinely thought it was a diabolically over-sexed, appallingly written attempt at fiction. Just AWFUL.
    I have also (begrudgingly) seen the first two Twilight films – my elder sister made me watch them with her. I was bored out of my skull. They’re so drippy, it’s ridiculous. That Edward Whatsisface looks like he needs a good wash and a haircut. I must say, however, I quite enjoyed watching that werewolf dude get his top off. A personal highlight of mine.
    I digress. I think the main issue with Twilight is the mass-cult-following it’s developed. The fans are seen as (I hate this term, but it’s the only one that will suffice) “teeny-boppers”. So utterly detached from reality that they think it’s REAL. In short, I think the whole Twilight phenomena is too popular to be seen as “cool”.
    My exception to this rule is Harry Potter. I am a die-hard fan, and anyone who suggests that HP is uncool will feel the full force of my Bat-Bogey Hex.
    Also, “Twilight is the new Marmite” made me laugh very loudly.

  2. I read the Charlaine Harris books because I liked the show, and wasn't impressed. Saying that, I have read them all. The problem is that most vampire books revolve around sex (okay, Twilight is the lack of sex, but my point still stands) and I don't see why it's necessary.

    The films aren't very good. The thing is, I quite like the story in the book (even though Bella is pathetic) but they're terribly written. Google "reasoning with vampires," it's a brilliant blog. There is something about the books, though, that "speaks to me," I just don't really know what it is.

    Good reference, you'd make Ginny proud. I guess Harry Potter has made fantasy "cool" again. I was going to say acceptable, but that seems like a more apt word. But Harry Potter has kind of a mass-cult following as well, the difference is that it's been around so long that the people who've grown up with it are our age instead of thirteen/fourteen like with Twilight. I don't think there are people who think it's real, and if they do it's no more harmful than the thousands of kids who were disappointed on their eleventh birthday when an owl failed to appear.

    Also, it wasn't meant to be funny. I'm not funny. I was making a serious point.

  3. a) It's obscene that you remember the page number and name of the vampire in HP - I'm insanely jealous of your memory (don't drink, kids... Don't drink. Especially not whiskey)

    b) #Thingsnottosaytoawriter "I have been genuinely asked on more than one occasion "Oh, is it based on Twilight?" when I've told someone I write about vampires"

    c) Yes - before the onslaught - I know that hash-tags won't work on here... I'm just making the point...