Vampire Monday: Karin Shah
Vampires. The word used to conjure a pale man with widow’s peak hair, red-glowing eyes, and fangs dripping blood, but those days are mostly gone. The vampire in fiction is now a character of admiration and desire.
Popular culture has moved from Bela Lugosi’s Dracula to Twilight’s Edward, and the shift has been the most dramatic in Romance. Why the change from monster to hero?
At first glance the appeal is skin deep. Immortality? Check. Eternal youth? Check. Magnetic attractiveness? Check. And then there are the optional, but also compelling abilities: shape-shifting, mind control, flying, sparkling (just kidding). And since they have lived a long time, they are, almost without exception, rich.
Still if you look closer, I think vampires appeal to Romance readers on a far more archetypal level.
1. Vampires are the bad boys. The unattainable. They provide an edge of danger and the promise of a truly everlasting love. There is often a mate bond. What woman wouldn’t love the idea of a soul mate who will never stray?
2. Rooting interest. The vampire hero has experienced untold loss and pain, often through no fault of his own. We want to be the one to ease his pain.
3. Limitations. Though the rules may change depending on the author, vampires are generally restricted from going out in the sun, entering without an invitation, or stepping on holy ground. They may also be burned by holy water, crosses, or deflected by some other magical means. (An early superstition stated that to slow a vampire you could throw down a handful of seeds and the vampire would be compelled to stop and pick up every one. Probably handy if you were in the middle of planting, but not so much any other time). These limitations are attractive because of the appeal of vulnerability. One of my favorite books is a Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter novel, in which Zarek, the hero, covers his vulnerability by pushing people away in the crudest ways possible. The heroine sees through this (ironic because she’s blind for part of the book). We want to be the one to see the something special inside the hero that no one else does, the only one who really understands him.
So what do you think? What are some of your favorite vampire novels or characters? And why do you think vampires will remain undead for many years to come?
Bio: From childhood, Karin Shah wrote herself into her favorite TV shows before falling asleep every night. But, despite graduating with a degree in English as a Writing Art from SUNY Oswego, Karin had no plans to write as a career. She got her Master’s in Library and Information Science at the State University at Buffalo and worked as a School Librarian in a suburb of Rochester, NY, for five years, before discovering writing was where her heart lay.
Her first book, STARJACKED, a Science Fiction Romance is available from Samhain Publishing. Her second book BLOOD AND KISSES will be available October 15th from Soul Mate Publishing.
Link to buy: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/products/Blood-And-Kisses.html