Vampires…The Life of the Party
By: Liv Rancourt
I woke up this morning, and after brushing my teeth and making the coffee, I sat down to the computer, as you do. I checked my email – all three accounts – and looked in on Facebook, then checked the hits on my blog. Throughout all this, I kept an eye on my Twitter feed, which is this strangely addicting series of short posts, sort of a mosaic of life on-line.
One post that caught my eye posed the following question: What intrigues you about vampires?
I ended up directly emailing the person who posted it, because I couldn’t summarize all the things that I like about vampires in 140 characters, which is the limit to a Twitter post. I like vampires because, as I approach my 50th birthday, the fantasy that I could be young and beautiful forever becomes increasingly compelling. Just looking at photos of many of the forty or fifty-somethings who make the pages of People Magazine tells me I’m not alone in that. Picture Madonna or Heather Locklear or Nicole Kidman and you’ll know what I’m talking about. My own strategy is cheaper – I find gaining weight stretches out the wrinkles, so they don’t show as much. I said cheaper, not healthier, right?
More seriously, I like vampires because reading paranormal fiction gives me the chance to work out ideas about life, but with a safety net. If I want to feel real pain, I’ll go to work at my day job in the hospital. Stories about vampires get at our fears about blood and contagion. They pose questions about what it means to be alive, what happens after we die, and what it means to have a soul. Vampires are my spoon full of sugar that helps reality go down.
Here’s a couple of examples from popular vampire series. The Anita Blake books by Laurell K. Hamilton, stretch ideas about the power of sexuality to the extreme. Each book – and there are twenty in the series – pushes the boundaries of Anita’s (and the reader’s) comfort zone. Anita has some key values that she holds on to, but the author never hesitates to test her.
One of the ongoing themes in the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris has to do with the treatment of minority groups. As all the supernaturals “come out”, the human majority has to adjust to their presence, and those adjustments frequently become causes of conflict in the stories. With all due respect to the authors of literary fiction, if you made me sit down and read a book about the harsh realities some people in this country face, I’d feel like I was back in high school. But when Charlaine comes out with a new book, I try to be first in line.
You can find vampires just about every place you look these days, and while they may be victims of overexposure, as a writer I still think they’re incredibly useful characters. They bring so much history – or so much baggage, depending on your point of view – and allow you to introduce some pretty deep thoughts in a lighthearted way. My new book, A Vampire’s Deadly Delight, is a twisted take on the vampire as seductive superpower, a Buffy meets Spiderman kind of thing. Check out the links below to learn more, and don’t be afraid to bring a little undead love to your party.
She’s a quiet, unassuming bookstore owner by day, but by night...
Kristen has a deadly secret—when she smells a vampire, she turns into Jai, a beauti-licious babe who makes vamps permanently dead. To a vamp, Jai is like ambrosia. They can’t resist her. She uses this attraction, plus her super strength and her trusty blade, Mr. Sticky, to end their undead lives. The thrill of wearing miniskirts without worrying about cellulite stifles any qualms Kristen might have about killing the undead. Being Jai is the most fun she has ever had—until they come up against the one vampire Jai can’t kill. If he and Jai have a history, as he claims, Jai can’t remember it...or him.
But when her work catches the attention of some old enemies—who won’t hesitate to destroy Kristen if it also means the end of Jai—this vampire may be their only hope. Can Kristen and Jai learn to tell the difference between good and evil in time to defeat Jai’s ancient nemesis? Or will being Jai’s hostess cost Kristen more than just her beauty sleep?
BIO: Liv Rancourt is a writer of speculative fiction and romance. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two teenagers, two cats and one wayward puppy. Writing stories that have happy endings is a good way to balance her work in the neonatal intensive care unit, and she is thrilled to be publishing her first novella with Black Opal Books. Liv can be found on-line at her website (www.livrancourt.com), her blog (www.liv-rancourt.blogspot.com
), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liv.rancourt ), or on Twitter(www.twitter.com/LivRancourt).