Guest Blogger: Sharon Ashwood
The winner of Sharon's book is: Freedom Star. Congratulations! Send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along to Sharon. Thanks to everyone who participated!
What is the future for our paranormal bad boys? Is tomorrow’s hot vamp going to be the same as today’s? It’s interesting to look outside the romance pond to see what writers from other genres think.
I recently returned from the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary, Alberta, which attracted very fine authors of science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy from all over North America and beyond. I went to a panel on the evolution of the vampire and its hunters.
To boil down one slice of this varied and fascinating discussion, our fangy friends have had a makeover from Nosferatu (evil, dangerous, in severe need of dental hygiene) to the hunky Spikes and Angels of the world. The vampire hunters themselves have changed just as much. Rather than an older Dutch professor armed with a cross, we have hot young women with tattoos and the latest in ammunitions technology.
Those of us dealing in paranormal romance are already well aware of all this, but the larger question is where we go from here. One of the ideas bounced around is that, once the heroic, romantic vampire is old hat, we’re going to start seeing a return of the truly monstrous, evil vampires. At that point, we’ll have come full circle, the vamps will leave our boudoirs and return to their horror fiction roots.
Okay, but I’d like to add that not all vampires, even in paranormal romance, ever completely left their horror roots. It’s true some are quite domesticated, but there’s a range out there. You have to keep some of the “bad” in the bad boys, or you’ve just got bunny rabbits.
And real vampires don’t eat carrots.
Of course, combining the horror and romance elements is a tricky business and takes a light touch. When I was working on RAVENOUS, I found there was quite a fine line to walk between having a vampire who was really just a funny, nice guy with a V8 fetish and one who was a homicidal threat to the heroine. One step too far either way can give you boring or icky. Get it right, and it’s dynamite.
Alessandro Caravelli, my hero, is six feet of blond, leather-clad gorgeousness -- but he is a real, drinking-from-the-vein vampire. In other words, a dangerous guy. Even though sparks fly between Alessandro and his sometime business partner, Holly Carver, they both know anything more than friendship could be fatal. He can protect her from their enemies, but is far more challenged when it comes to protecting her from himself. Fortunately, Holly’s a witch with magic of her own -- she can give as good as she gets when those sparks turn into an inferno.
If I’d left out that element of danger, it would have been a very different tale. It’s far more interesting when the romantic vampire still retains a pinch of that original Dracula. He can go either way -- good or bad. He has to fight his way through his darkness and into the light through a series of tough choices. He’s uncompromising, self-aware, and prepared to sacrifice to get what he wants -- the woman of his dreams.
Overall, I think we probably will see some vampires return to the purely horror genre, but I don’t think that’s the only place the fang-boys are going to hang their literary hats. There will always be a place for this quintessential dark hero. The opportunity for a complex, heart-breaking journey of the soul is just too good to pass up.
What do you think? How scary should our paranormal heroes be? How much of that good, old fashioned monster is too much of a good thing? I’ll pick one answer to receive a signed copy of RAVENOUS once it’s released.
RAVENOUS (Signet Eclipse, Feb 2009)