Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Vampire Love

I keep wracking my brains, because it seems like this can't be right, but I actually think the first book I ever read that featured vampires was Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE. And I came to that series a tad late. I think there were at least 3 or 4 of them before I tried my first, and then read everything I could get my hands on of hers all in one shot. Boy was I hooked.

After that, I read Bram Stoker's DRACULA and loved that, too... but not as much as I loved the world Anne Rice created for her vamps. So rich with historical detail and so, well, hot.
Sure, these books could never be mistaken for romances and didn't have much in the way of actual sex scenes, either... most of the hot stuff was between two men and involved sucking on veins (nothing else. ) and the only "romance" subplot I remember involved an adult man and a very young girl... How old was Claudia supposed to be when she was turned? Nine? I think they made her a bit older in the movie so the thirteen year old Kirsten Dunst could play her... and well, they couldn't have made her as young as she was supposed to be... But the sensuous nature of the world Anne Rice created--from the sleeping Egyptian princess statue chick, and hot vampire actors in Paris who attacked the audience nightly--was so exotic and so real to me that I believed our world was secretly populated by vampires and I was terrified I might meet one. Hmmm something else cool about those books. The vamps were the protagonists, but you would NOT have wanted to meet one. Not even Louis, the one with a conscience of sorts.

I think the next vamp book I found intriguing was Susan Squires' THE COMPANION. The way she dealt with vampirism and the exotic setting of her story, and the hot, steamy sex (including some man-as-a-victim sexual abuse stuff) was fabulous for me. I didn't glom onto Squires the way I did Anne Rice (or JR Ward, see below) but I think her vampire book was the first one I'd read since Anne Rice or Bram Stoker that lived up to my blood lust expectations. ;)

And then I got talked into trying JR Ward. Or more to the point, I got sick of listening to Molly and Sinead talk about her books, without having anything to offer to the conversation. Funny... it never bothers me when they discuss their other favorite authors I've never read... but something about their discussions about JR Ward made me want to be part of the conversation. And boy was I glad I plunged in. Again. Came to them late. Read the first five very quickly... then had to wait with everyone else for the next 2... and the one coming out later this year.

JR flips everything so that the vampires are the ones who are misunderstood and being persecuted and hunted... I actually think these books might be just as interesting if her heroes weren't vampires. (They could be just about any kind of hugely powerful, highly sexual males. Even humans. Maybe. Okay, they do need to be superhuman. That's definitely part of the appeal.)

I've been pondering why vampires are sometimes so sexy in books, particularly romances, when well, I'm sure most of use wouldn't like to have our veins sucked on during sex... I wonder if partly it's about submission. I certainly don't have any sexual submission fantasies. Not something that turns me on in real life. But like all fiction lets us slip into someone else's shoes, or body, while we're between the covers of a book, maybe reading about sex with vampires lets us slip into the role of being completely and totally overpowered by and vulnerable to a lover. Don't know.

And can't think about it too much right now... I'm in the final stretch of finishing my own vampire book... A vampire book for upper-middle-grade, lower-YA readers and based on Sleeping Beauty. Very little blood. Zero sex. Okay, a couple nice kisses, but not with vampires...

Congratulations to Eileen on the release of DON'T KILL THE MESSENGER.

Comment on her post below for a chance to win her book!!!

7 comments:

Alli said...

Good luck with that deadline, Maureen! JR Ward has been on my TBR for a very long time and sounds like I really need to get there. And same with Eileen's new book - I love the premise and I'm sure the writing will be awesome.

Eileen said...

Ooh! Sleeping Beauty and vampires! Nice combo, Maureen. I'm looking forward to it, too!

Maureen McGowan said...

Alli, I think JR Ward is one of those lover her or hate her authors. I do know people who can't stand her books (her voice is pretty strong, and some say silly at points) but not many people are lukewarm on her. Either love or hate... for me, the second Zsadist (yes, that's his name... and the others are Wrath and Phury and other such silly names) walked on screen in the first book, I was hooked. I knew I had to keep reading at least to get to Zsadist's book in the series... and then I couldn't stop. They were like crack (read: french fries and beer) for me.

Maureen McGowan said...

Eileen, thanks. :) Me? I'm looking forward to FINISHING IT!!!!!

Bev Katz Rosenbaum said...

Have only read Twilight, believe it or not! I do love me my True Blood, though. Have only seen it on TV, though. Intend to plough through the Sookie Stackhouse books soon. Can't wait to read SB!

Molly O'Keefe said...

I think the sensuality aspect of the myth is pretty powerful. Even without sex - they are sucking on necks. Which is hot.

Sinead M said...

There is something inherently sensual about the vampire, something Ann Rice really tapped into. I'd forgotten how much I'd loved those books.

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