A big welcome to Margo Bond Collins who is here to talking about why vampires? and celebrating the release of LEGALLY UNDEAD, Vampirarchy #1 (published on May 27, 2014 by World Weaver Press). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.
Margo Bond Collins
Anyone who writes urban fantasy must eventually face the question: to vamp, or not to vamp? And everyone who reads urban fantasy has an opinion on vampires and whether or not they’re an interesting and useful part of urban fantasy. But no matter any one writer’s or reader’s opinion about vampires, the fact remains that these particular monsters keep rising from the dead.
There are piles of novels featuring vampires, and I’ve been asked several times why I would want to add to that pile. Part of the answer is simple: I wrote the first draft of Legally Undead almost ten years ago, after Buffy, but before the Twilight series came out—and before there was quite so much vampiric competition. But I decided to go ahead and submit it for publication because in my narrator Elle Dupree’s world, vampires are not sexy. They’re frightening and deadly—and they’re the kinds of vampires I want to read about. Not that I can’t be convinced by a sexy vampire—Damon Salvatore, Spike, Jean-Claude . . .
But the terrifying vampires are the ones that fascinate me, and I love reading theories about why vampires have remained steadily popular at least since their first appearance in Europe during the eighteenth-century vampire scare. In part, I tend to buy the idea that vampires illustrate our anxieties about aging and death. In his latest book on vampires in film, Ken Gelder notes that “The encounter with a vampire is […] an encounter with something old” (vii) and that this “affiliation of the old and the young” is generally a “catastrophic one that plays out with the vampire and its victim” (18). While Gelder is certainly right – depictions of vampires do continue to center on the collision of young and old – those collisions have also changed in recent years to accommodate the sensibilities of the millennial generation that now makes up the primary audience of these depictions. In particular, the vampires have become, if not actually millennials themselves, at least millennial-adjacent; if, as Nina Auerbach claims, each generation creates the vampire it needs, then the millennial generation’s vampires reflect the values of Gen-Y, and urban fantasy in particular illustrates the ways in which vampires become the millennials upon whom they feed. New vampires tend to be overtly emotional, tech savvy, and a tad narcissistic. (I discuss the millennial vampire at length in my article in The Millennials in Film and Television.
Of course, none of this postulating fully answers the question of “why vampires?” Really, I’m not sure there is one single answer to that question. In “Why We Crave Horror Movies,” Stephen King writes that the horror film “deliberately appeals to all that is worst in us. It is morbidity unchained, our most base instincts let free, our nastiest fantasies realized. . . .” I think he’s right—and I think that fictional vampires appeal to those instincts, too. They are our bloodthirsty, lustful, amoral (sometimes immoral) selves, set free on the page. Ultimately, both the best and the most frightening thing about vampires is the fact that they keep. coming. back. No matter how many times we stake them, behead them, burn them to ashes, they are truly undead—as a symbol of all we fear, their continued existence is virtually guaranteed.
Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming May 27, 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.
One ebook copy of LEGALLY UNDEAD by Margo Bond Collins
Available on May 27, 2014 by World Weaver Press
A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.
Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.
But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.
As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.
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