Romancing the Vampire
When I decided to start the series, The Vamp Saga, I knew I would be treading down a well worn and saturated path which was already littered with novels and series by authors who had made their mark.
One can make the case literature about the nosferatu is old indeed. Bram Stoker started it ages ago and though he was not the first author, he is one of the most well known in the genre. Then came Anne Rice and her never-ending series, The Vampire Chronicles.
Lately, within the past ten years, we have been introduced to Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward, Kim Harrison, Lara Adrian, Kresley Cole, DD Barant, and Sherilyn Kenyon. These are just the adult authors. I haven’t mentioned Stephenie Meyer and Amanda Hocking for the YA Crowd. There have also been some indie success stories in terms of vampire series, including Connie Suttle, J.R. Rain, H.T. Night, Tina Folsom and Tim O’Rourke.
My first thought was I would have to go somewhere no one else had thought to go. We have vampire warriors, kick-ass vampire hunters, alternate urban fantasy universes not to mention the old standby of a vampire male (or female) falling head over heels for a hot human female (or male) but the one area no one seemed to cover was the vampire world themselves outside of human contact.
This was the area I decided to explore in The Vamp Saga but romance always surfaces and what if one half of your romance duo isn’t exactly a sympathetic person…well, vampire in my case?
Of the reviews I received for Death Wish, the first novel in the series, which were less than stellar (well three stars as I haven’t received a one star review yet… knock on wood), there was talk the main female character changed and not for the better.
One reviewer who participates in Amazon’s VINE program wrote me personally to say that although she loved my world building and story telling, she could not get past the male lead character and thus would be unable to finish my book.
Imagine my horror! She hated the male character enough to say he had ruined the novel for her and she couldn’t finish reading it.
Okay, so as a writer, you dust yourself—and your pride off—and continue onwards.
Many might think I am a glutton for punishment but I actually sent this reviewer a copy of Better off Dead, the second full-length novel in the series, because the dynamics (and romance) change. I thought she might be able to finish this one and be able to actually review it.
Romance is an important part of the picture in paranormal romance novels but what I fear has gotten lost is no one wants the original type of vampire anymore. They all want a de-fanged Edward Cullen, even in adult paranormal novels.
Many readers believe they want the strong, alpha male until said male behaves the way he is supposed to and then he is a “woman hater”, an “abuser” and “needs to seek help”. One only need to peruse some of the low star ratings Kresley Cole received for Lothaire to see this is somewhat, if not entirely, true.
Um, these are vampires we are talking about, supernatural creatures which do not exist. Supposedly, most were usually born before there was a women’s movement or any sort of gender equality so they tend to treat women they love the way it was accepted in the time of they were human before they were turned.
I believe I stay true to this vampire part of the legend and lore but many readers were a bit put off by this. All I can say is that I will definitely take the comments I have received in consideration but I will continue the series in the spirit it was always meant to be written. I hope I don’t alienate too many people as that is not my intention at all (I like readers and although I like to read my own novels sometimes, the fact that other people find enjoyment in them is what keeps me writing).
So I hope many who were a bit skittish about Death Wish continue and will read Better Off Dead. Perhaps they will find more of the romance they were looking for the first time around but it still has my rough edges because that is the kind of vampire writer I want to be. I am a huge admirer of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice. Perhaps even one day, I might even be mentioned in the same sentence with them and that will be a very amazing day for me indeed.
About The Author
Danielle Blanchard Benson is a world traveler and author of several different series.
Ms. Blanchard Benson is the author of Beginnings: Book I (The Plague), Death Wish: Book I, Better off Dead: Book II and Death Lair: A Novella (all from The Vamp Saga), The Catalyst: Book One (The Pop Stars) and The Beautiful People series.
She is currently working on Love Voodoo: Book I (DeGeneration), Apocalypse 2012: Book II (The Plague), Hart Attack: Book I (The Hart Family Saga), The Making of a Star: Book Two (The Pop Stars) and Queen of the Undead: Book III (The Vamp Saga).
Ms. Blanchard Benson has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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