Guest Post by Gregory Marshall Smith
Going Old School
When people look at my new novel, Hunters, they inevitably ask one question:
“Who the hell is this guy?”
After that, the question most asked is why I’ve bucked the trend. Vampires are supposed to be sexy and romantic now. Anita Blake has a child with a vampire. The vamps on True Blood and Vampire Diaries are setting hearts afire, even as they slaughter deputies and make TV personalities commit suicide. A peek at the YA shelf at the bookstore shows scores of vampire and urban fantasy.
So, why is my novel painting the vampires as bad guys for the heroes to turn into Hominus flambé?
I’d guess that the simple answer is that too much of anything is bad.
It’s a fact of life that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, it’s also true that, in the publishing and movie worlds, imitation is the fastest way to a quick buck. And, with online publishing, it could be viewed as worse than ever.
Oh, I know that there are some authors out there who are still putting out books with traditional, old school vampires but they can’t get space on the shelves or online like the Stephenie Meyers and Laurell K. Hamiltons of the world.
And it’s spilling over into other paranormal realms. We’ve been inundated with sexy demons, angels, and archangels and such. One of the newest television shows is Secret Circle, sort of Pretty Little Liars meets Practical Magic.
Charmed and Angel transformed those bogeymen who once turned our dreams into nightmares into objects of our fantasies and affections. Even Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, switched sides to give Buffy a romance with Angel and Willow a boyfriend who was a werewolf.
In some ways, I can see these books and shows as veiled attempts at acceptance. Not everyone fits so nicely into the pigeonholes society creates. People want to be themselves, but, eventually, they get lonely, so they want someone who accepts them and their quirks.
As for me, I’m interested in balance. Sort of like the guys in Supernatural, though, I swear, if those guys come back from the dead one more time...
To be honest, I grew up with those old Universal vampire movies like Dracula, House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein. And don’t get me started on those wonderful Hammer Studios movies (with condolences to the August passing of Jimmy Sangster, who wrote many of Hammer’s best movies including Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Brides of Dracula).
In Hunters, my vampires own the night, controlling society much like a Mafia-style clan. Ever hungry for power, they seek to form an alliance of 16 of North America’s top master vampires. Who could possibly stand against that, especially when the man creating it -- Louis Riordan -- has the services of Lin Tang, a lethal enforcer with serious martial arts and sword skills, along with a powerful secret?
Outnumbered and outgunned, with dissension in their ranks and a traitor in their midst, they’re willing to sacrifice themselves and all that they hold dear to destroy the vampire menace once and for all.
In the overwhelming tide of the new vision of vampires as acceptable, I want to make sure the old traditions remain. And, with the way society seems to be crumbling under this onslaught of new ideas, it might not be bad to look back and remember how it used to be done.