The Genesis of the AVS

 

Twenty years ago I never would have guessed I would be writing about vampires. I have never considered myself a vampire lover as such (never wanted to be a vampire, never thought vampires were creatures to look up to or envy, never thought drinking blood was cool, etc.). And I didn’t pick up the subject because it was popular. In fact, vampires were not much the rage when I was first inspired to write about the AVS. I don’t write anything because it is popular. (I tried that once after meeting an agent who told me fantasy was out and “sweet romance” was the rage. I set aside my fantasies and tried writing a Harlequin Romance. I fell flat on my face with that one; it was the biggest waste of time and effort I ever made, and it was crap. I decided to write what I really wanted to write, popularity be damned, and if people liked it, that would be great.)

What got me on the vampire kick was a dream I had one night. I take my dreams seriously. I often have dreams deep in symbolism, or even dreams that come true. I see many of my dreams as messages from God. I’ve had several that have been ideas for stories, but none so obviously so as the one about the girl vampire with short red hair.

I didn’t record when I had the dream—somewhere around 2000, maybe. I dreamed I was a jilted teenage girl seeing an event that amazed and terrified her. The dream continued with one scene after another, laying out key inciting incidents of a story with me as the main character, acting on the terrible reality of suddenly facing a vampire in her life and experiencing all the girl’s emotions. A confrontation led to a different approach to the subject than I had ever heard of, and ended with a question that demanded an answer.

Next, I was myself, in a wooden locker room, telling a teenage friend that I had had this dream and it was a good idea for a story.

When I woke up and thought over the question the girl in the dream asked, I decided it was a story that needed to be told.

This was back before the publication of Twilight and the craze that made vampires so appealing that readers and viewers practically filed the fangs off the monsters without any expectation of retaliation. I hadn’t even watched “Interview with a Vampire” yet. When I did, I was so spooked I could barely get myself to watch it again. Maybe it’s a bad thing I got used to the movie. But yeah. Vampires, for me, are not the kinds of creatures I want to meet in a dark alley (or anywhere else), and they certainly wouldn’t light up that alley by sparkling. I’m writing about people (whether they be considered human or not) that you love to hate . . . or hate to love.

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Soliciting Opinions

I would love to hear why you chose the vampire you did–or why you didn’t vote for one at all! If you answered the poll, what did you like/love/hate about the one you chose? What did you think about the others? If you didn’t answer, why not? Was it too hard to decide? Or do you just hate all vampires?

I don’t write about vampires to make them likeable. I would prefer that evil be evil and good be good in my stories. But you may see that there are many different types of evil, and maybe you will also see that even demon-driven vampires may not be all as bad as the demons that drive them. Or, even if they are bad, they can be funny in their badness. Please comment, and let’s discuss these issues.AVS cross

Still a Vampire Lover? Time to Make a Choice

There you have it, folks: Five interviews with five vampires, eleven questions each. As the eleventh hour approaches, how do you react when you hear them outside your door? Would you let one in? Would you dare interview one yourself?  Perhaps ask for–or allow–something much more? 

New Kid on the Block: Hugh answers 11 questions

Francis Franklin, who made the Vampire Lover Blog Award (and who is re-blogging this one with comments) says you don’t need to be nominated to play; “it’s just an excuse.” If you blog at all (or just want to for the contest–after all, free blogs, like this one, can be easily started), please do. And let me know. I want to read what you come up with.

Alas, I have not heard from the well-known writers I nominated. We shall see yet, but they are probably too busy with published authorly things to slum with the likes of me. (Francis has at least published a book, Susie and the Monsters.)

Now I bring you the final vampire in our series of interviews–the one I almost forgot, because he is so new: I bring you Hugh, the 17-year-old whose hazel eyes change with his mood or clothes, and whose eyes now glow green when he is hungry . . . which right now is all the time. (The picture is from before the change–from an “innocent” date with Carletta.)ImageDoes living as a vampire have the same appeal as prior to being turned (if you’re that type of vampire)? If you had to do it over, would you? (Katya)

It did NOT appeal to me! When I found out my girlfriend was a vampire, I was horrified . . . but I was fool enough to stick around and find out what that meant and to think I could help her somehow. If I had to do it over, I’d have listened to my ex’s warning at the beginning and run the other way. FAR the other way!

If you live forever, or for thousands of years, and are difficult to kill, and are very strong and powerful… how do you not become a sociopath? And go off and start doing anything you want and acting on any impulse? (Katya)

Good question! I doubt any vampire can keep from being a sociopath for long. It’s only been about a day since I was forced to drink my girl’s blood. I don’t WANT to act on these impulses, but I don’t see how I can avoid it for long. They’re too damn strong!

What’s it like to be a vampire? (Rebekkah Ford)

Oh, God, it’s hell. You don’t want to know the urges shooting through my head, driving me, pushing me, and the horrible, horrible thirst. Just smelling you, I can’t stay long or I’ll kill you. So far, I’ve barely managed to not kill any people—almost drank from my own mom, who Carletta had already bitten. Had to run away from home to keep Mom alive. I started growing fangs weeks ago, after Carletta gave me a little bit of her blood on the slip, but they haven’t broke through yet, so I have to use a knife. Killed a cow. The cow blood filled me up for a little while, but it tastes terrible, and it’s not the thing I’m driven to have. Soon I’ll be killing people right and left—Oh, God, do something! Help me, kill me, stop me . . .

If you had the choice to no longer be a vampire – to just be a human again – would you go for it? (Robin Layne)

I’d give anything to just be myself again! But I guess it’s hopeless, there’s no sense in wishing for it. What am I going to do?

Are there other vampires, and if so what role does gender play in vampire society? (fjf)

I noticed my girlfriend Carletta always wanted to be in the lead when we had sex. Darrell, a guy who still tried to be my friend through all this, said she was just a deceptive monster. I didn’t listen to him because I thought Carletta must have had something terrible happen to her in the past. She said another vampire was out to get her, and she wanted to turn me so I could protect her from him. I don’t know anything about vampire society, but Carletta seemed really scared. . . . Now I’m the one who’s scared.

What do you think of the recent fashion for vampire books and films? Has it made your life harder or easier? (Georgiana Derwent)

I didn’t pay any attention to it before, really. When I saw Darrell going around in a Dracula cape, I thought it was just Darrell being Darrell, and when my former girlfriend Mary told me Carletta was a vampire and my hickey was really a bite, I thought poor Mary had gone off the deep end. I guess it made things worse because I thought my friends were victims of a craze. Turns out I’m the victim here. Nobody’s laughing.

Can you have sex the ‘traditional’ way? Do you have any desire for sex? (Tyro Vogel)

Me? Guess I could, but only after I satisfy this horrible hunger—it’s all I can think about now. When I was still myself and I was with Carletta, she was fantastic in bed. But now I realize she must have been killing a lot of people to maintain herself. Oh, God! I was so stupid to think she wouldn’t have to kill if she kept biting me. I didn’t want to believe I was sleeping with a murderer. When we got close, she got such a hunger in her eyes, and I used to think it was a hunger for sex. That excited me. Later, when I found out she always wanted to drink my blood—well, when she said she loved me, I wasn’t sure she loved me like a boyfriend or like a pot roast.

They say a vampire’s bite brings pleasure rather than pain. Is that true, and how is that even possible? (Francis Franklin)

For me, it’s been a combination of both. Carletta said her kisses make it so I don’t feel all the pain. It’s in the saliva, she said, so I guess the longer the bite takes, the less pain. What do you expect when your girlfriend kisses you? That’s what you get.

Do you believe in ‘true love’ and ‘soul mates’? (Francis Franklin)

I think I did before. Now I’m sick of the whole idea. I’ve been used. My life is over, and I’m not running off with the girl no matter what.

Would you date a werewolf? (Francis Franklin)

No way! What would I be then, a werevampire?

 Should humans tolerate the existence of vampires? (Francis Franklin)

 How can I answer that? I want to die, but I’m afraid. I want to keep Carletta from being killed, too. I can’t give you moral advice. All I can say is—run. Hide. No, come back. The fangs have broken through. I’m ready for relief.

 

Calm, Cool, and Condemned: Luke answers 11 questions

I’ve been told I don’t have to link to the questioners; that makes my job a lot easier from here on out. I bring you now a vampire who’s older and more settled in his ways than Carletta, though certainly no less deadly. Watch out now for Luke!

If you live forever, or for thousands of years, and are difficult to kill, and are very strong and powerful… how do you not become a sociopath? And go off and start doing anything you want and acting on any impulse? (Katya)

Why wouldn’t I do whatever I want? Don’t you? Or wouldn’t you if you could get away with it? But no, I don’t act on every impulse. Some pleasures are better spread over time. I pride myself on my self-control. I was raised to be a gentleman. That training can come in handy.

From what you’ve witnessed yourself, do the history books have it right? (Sylvie)

What do you mean by “it,” Sylvie? History books change over time, and vary from country to country. One particular figure in American history became quite the scapegoat: General Benedict Arnold was a great hero in most eyes, before I helped him fall into infamy. He became a bitter, miserable man—just like I like them.

Is ‘live’ blood more beneficial than bagged blood? Is it true that the last blood from a dying person is sweeter due to their fear of death? (Dii)

Vampires were not made to live on bagged blood. Think: Which came first, blood or bags? Most vampires may love the taste of the kill. I am more of a spiritual man. I have a taste for souls. Better than just ending a life is making certain that that life ends up in Hell. I find that victory delicious!

Do you find the idea of being undead – ‘living’ for ever, sleeping in a coffin, and so on – as horrifying as I do? (Lucinda Elliot)

My undead existence is not an idea. It is my reality. Do you find your own life horrifying? It was in order to live forever that I chose to become a vampire. Consider the alternative. I am something of a traditionalist in that I prefer to sleep in a coffin. It’s quite comfortable. One likes what one is used to.

If you had the chance to be human again to do one thing, what would it be? (Justin Bienvenue)

Become the Antichrist.

What significance, if any, does gender identity and sexual (etc.) orientation have for vampires? (fjf)

It depends very much on the vampire—what they are like to begin with, and what they focus on after they’re turned. I’m not sure what you mean by the etcetera, so I’ll just address the sexual aspects. Being a vampire has not made me cease to be a man, that is, an adult male. I cannot produce children, but I can function sexually quite well. I never have wanted to be a woman or dress like one, but I appreciate beauty. In rebellion against the Creator I use my sexuality, like I use my other abilities, to corrupt others along with myself. Preference, orientation, it’s all a means to an end for me. There is so much to take! I despise vampires who are squeamish about what they are and what they can do.

Vampire physiology must be very different from human physiology – how is human blood digested and processed in the blood system? (Jeff Dawson)

I assume you mean How is the blood digested (in the digestive system) and processed into the circulatory system. This question can only be answered by studying vampires who are “alive,” and most are hostile to experimentation. Of course, that doesn’t stop me when I find one I dislike who is unable to exact revenge. I’ve had the opportunity now and then. A vampire’s blood is quite different from a human’s, transforming the system of any human who drinks it. We need human blood to thrive. Our stomachs can not only tolerate large amounts of it at a time, they are nourished by it. Most of the ingredients of human blood are useful to our bodies. Our powerful stomach acids begin the transformation of the blood from human to vampire. The blood is absorbed by the stomach walls and enters our bloodstream much faster than a human can digest its food. Hence, imbibing affects us almost as quickly as an injection. 

Do vampires possess a soul? What difference does having or not having a soul make? What happens when you die? (Assuming you can actually die… Can you? (Francis Franklin)

Interestingly put—a soul? All vampires possessing the same one? That would be fascinating, but I assume it was a typo. It depends on what you mean. If you mean a conscience that makes you a do-gooder, I don’t think so. Angel of television makes me laugh. Any of you still recall him? Getting his soul back at the whim of a gypsy? Losing it again from a roll in the hay with a so-called slayer? When we die, I can tell you our bodies don’t just vanish or turn to dust like in some of the movies. What’s convenient (for us) is that a dead vampire’s body resembles a human’s unless you really know what you’re looking for. What’s inconvenient (for you) is that if you kill a vampire, you will likely be arrested for murder.

Do you believe in ‘true love’ and ‘soul mates’? (Francis Franklin)

Ha! I had infatuations in puberty, when I was still human. Love is a chemical reaction in the brain whereby humans tend to reproduce and rear young, to keep the species alive. It’s useful, of course, to keep our food supply going, but any vampire who might claim to be in love is delusional.

Would you date a werewolf? (Francis Franklin)

Why not? My familiar demon is a wolf. I’ve seen much through his eyes. And wolves have a reputation for devouring “sheep,” even while dressed in their clothing. I suppose you’re suspecting some kind of innate animosity between vampires and werewolves. That’s a modern misconception. Even Bram Stoker’s Dracula took the form of a wolf.  

Should humans tolerate the existence of vampires? (Francis Franklin)

That’s a funny question for a human to ask a vampire. What am I supposed to answer—no, you should chase us all down to the ends of the earth and expend all the efforts you can to kill us all? But maybe you are asking for justification for our existence. So many of you love us so much, why would you want us to not exist? We are the stuff of your nightmares and fantasies. We help you live with the darkness in yourselves. Without us, without all evil creatures, how would you recognize the good? Or is there really any good at all? If there isn’t, at least with our help, you can feel that there is. You humans seem to need that belief. 

She’s 16–She’s Beautiful–and She’s Deadly. Carletta answers 11 questions

If you live forever, or for thousands of years, and are difficult to kill, and are very strong and powerful… how do you not become a sociopath? And go off and start doing anything you want and acting on any impulse? Katya

C: I haven’t been alive that long. I’m just trying to survive right now. But listen, some people deserve to die. I’m doing a public service! 

Is it true you have to be an old vampire to fly or teleport (being one place, disappearing, and showing up wherever you want to)? Or, if you were turned by a very old, strong vampire, does that give you the ability to do those things like flying or teleport that other vampires do? Angela (demonsangel) Fitzgerald

C: I can’t fly. Wish I could. It’d be so much fun! I don’t teleport, either. I’m just fast, and strong, and stuff like that. Some vampires can astral project. Is that sort of what you mean? I don’t know if it’s so much a matter of age as it is what your familiar spirit is. Mine’s a cat. Kitty doesn’t fly . . . 

Do you find the idea of being undead – ‘living’ for ever, sleeping in a coffin, and so on – as horrifying as I do? Lucinda Elliot

C: Lady, I can’t read your mind (no matter what Anne Rice says), so I don’t know how horrifying you find those things. I think living forever would be a blast, if I can manage it. I don’t sleep in a coffin. Don’t you think it would look a little funny in my room? I sleep in my closet. Being in the dark doesn’t horrify me. And what’s the “and so on” you expect me to know?

What significance, if any, does gender identity and sexual (etc.) orientation have for vampires? Francis Franklin

C: I can’t speak for all vampires. For me, though, being straight and getting back at males for things they do has a lot to do with how I live and feed. I try not to kill females. But there’s always a first, if she gets in my way too much. And whoever you are, don’t cross me when I’m having my period! I call it TMS—through-menstrual syndrome—loss of blood and all, you know?

Are there other vampires, and if so what role does gender play in vampire society? Francis Franklin

C: Of course there are other vampires. Though it might be interesting to destroy all of them but me . . . Another gender question. I don’t know about vampire society, but I use a lot of power over males. I like to be in control. And they love it—until the torments begin!

What do you think of the recent fashion for vampire books and films? Has it made your life harder or easier? Georgiana Derwent

C: P-leeeease! There’s a dork at my school who wears a cape every day and he’s a total idiot! I’m tempted to eat him, but I don’t know if I could stomach touching him. As soon as you mentioned fashion, I thought of him. It’s ridiculous what people make up about us, but nice that some of them think we’re cool. It beats everybody following you with stakes, you know? But good grief, I don’t sparkle unless I’m wearing glitter nail polish, and really, I prefer just red. 

Can you be turned back to a human? Tyro Vogel

C: My mother has been trying to find a “cure” for years. She thinks being a vampire is some kind of a disease. Recently, a girl I know came up with the idea of making me a normal person again. She and a few of her friends—including the dumb dude with the cape—are trying to help my mom with it. They all drive me crazy, but it’s hard to be too mean to people who want to help you—though “Dorkula” would rather stake me in my non-existent coffin. I don’t know if there really is such thing as a cure.

Can you have sex the ‘traditional’ way? Do you have any desire for sex? Tyro Vogel

C: Sure. And I don’t care what’s traditional and what’s not. I’ve got my boyfriend crazy about me. But with most of the guys I start seducing, I don’t get too far until they’re a meal instead.

They say a vampire’s bite brings pleasure rather than pain. Is that true, and how is that even possible? Francis Franklin

C: It can bring either, or a combination, because our saliva has an anesthetic in it. If I bite fast, it can hurt a lot, but if I start with a long kiss, and you think it’s just a kiss, you’ll probably love it. I take advantage of the power of human belief. If you think you’re having a good time with an ordinary girl, you won’t know I’m a vampire at all. 

Do you believe in ‘true love’ and ‘soul mates’? Francis Franklin

C: I don’t know, they might exist for some people, vampire or human. Though I think it’s harder for us blood-sucking fiends. Like, when I’m snuggling up with my boyfriend, I get a really strong urge to drink from him, and if I got hungry enough, he’d be dead. Good-bye, “true love”! Hello, dinner!

Should humans tolerate the existence of vampires? Francis Franklin

C: Of course. What would you do if all the cows, chickens, turkeys, and pigs rebelled and tried to eliminate the human race? But then, some vampires, just like some humans, don’t deserve to live and should be eliminated.

AVS: The Anti-Vampirism Society

AVS: The Anti-Vampirism Society is a series of young adult novels I’m writing. So far, the characters and events have spurred an award-winning short story published online and four pieces of flash fiction in two different zines (not ezines–the real, paper kind). This blog focuses on the characters and the process and will feature the books when they are published. I may also post about my other writings.

I already have a blog on Goodreads.com, but I wanted a place where I could incorporate pictures, graphics, and color schemes. Now I’m struggling to make the new blog work the way I want to with minimal instructions and minimal ability to re-do what I don’t like. I thought experimentation with the colors would be easy, but I cannot find a way to get back to the original night-sky background shade of WordPress’s Dark To Dawn theme. Even going back and selecting the theme again doesn’t give me a chance to start over again. If anyone would like to tell me how to get back to the default background, please comment, and I will be eternally grateful.

I hope you read slowly enough to notice the term is Anti-VampirISM and not Anti-VAMPIRE. The name is decided upon by a group of kids who have seen one of their own bitten and hope they don’t have to kill him. One of them, Darrell, thinks that if his best friend Hugh has become a vampire the only thing they can do is destroy him. But Mary, who is still shell-shocked that her boyfriend has left her for someone else–and then witnessed the new flame biting him–bears the hope that there might be some other way to prevent disaster.