This week I released the first three books in my Eternal Hunger series and there are two more in the pipeline. I always swore I would never write a paranormal book with vampires because the genre is so saturated, but here I am. It just goes to show, you should never say never.
I can't really remember what compelled me to begin this series, but I think it must have been my love of the first (and best) vampire book by Bram Stoker. I was first introduced to Dracula in primary school when we listened to the kid's version on tape and I was completely hooked. Later I analyzed the book at university, and again was reminded of how great it is. Dracula gave expression to repressed desires in the Victorian era and the fear of sex this repression gave rise to. It's kind of surprising that in today's permissive society vampires are still so popular, but vampire symbolism can't be pinned down to just one meaning.
You only have to read Twilight to recognize that on one level it's still about sex, and that attitudes really haven't changed as much as people might think. On the other hand, vampires have always been popular in times of social upheavel and uncertainty, and that's why I believe we've seen a resurgence over recent years. Is it really a coincidence that at a time when the banks have basically sucked society dry, and all over the world people are suffering due corporate greed, vampires have suddenly come into vogue? Meanwhile the uber-rich continue to get richer, and people in the third world continue to die needlessly. IMHO the vampire craze reflects this reality.
(By coincidence this week the Obama administration referred to a private-equity corporation previously run by Mitt Romney as an example of "vulture capitalism," and ran an ad of a steelworker describing the firm that bought and shut down a steel company as "a vampire." "They came in and sucked the life out of us." This article from yesterday's Wall Street Journal points out the hypocrisy of the President "who purports to loathe Wall Street when he isn't asking its greedy denizens to redistribute their wealth to his campaign.")
I've tried to make this connection between vampires and the blood-sucking corporate elite and their political cronies explicit in my Eternal Hunger series. It's not just about this bigger picture, though. The main character, Lucia faces her own personal problems at the same time as she is grappling with these much bigger moral issues. In the first book she really does not want to get married, but she can't admit this to herself. (It seems this is not such an uncommon problem, as I discovered when I came across this article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently, Why Women Marry The Wrong Men.)
In Desires of the Flesh, the vampire L'amour symbolises Lucia's doubts and fears about her upcoming wedding. That's why he appears at her bachelorette party and then follows her as she's making the final preparations for her big day. I tried to make it unclear whether L'amour really does exist or Lucia is having a nervous breakdown. Lucia is also very seduced by the celebrity culture that is promoted in the media. She just wants to live a life of ease and luxury like the people she sees on television and in magazines. Her desire for this life combined with her disatisfaction with her marriage and her job lead her to make the decision to leave her mortal life behind and join the vampires. She quickly discovers, however, that the glamorous and sophisticated world of the vampires only exists due to the suffering of countless people, and she is forced to choose between humans and vampires.
L'amour also faces some major decisions of his own. Despite his angelic looks, he is initally a sinister figure who attacks Lucia and then tricks her into giving him her soul. As the series progresses Lucia discovers that he is not as unambiguously evil as she had believed. This is as much of a surprise to L'amour as it is to Lucia. He must come to terms with the fact that he has been brainwashed into believing he has no feelings or conscience, and accept that he does have a choice in his destiny.
I hope at least a few people buy this series and enjoy it because I believe it's themes are very important and timely. Eternal Hunger is not just another vampire series, I promise!
Here's a very interesting clip about the popularity of monsters in popular culture. Some great quotes from the clip:
"Monsters tell us what it is to live in a capitalist society"
Goldman Sachs is described as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessy jamming it's blood funnel into anything that smells like money." I'll drink to that!