Why I Wrote About Vampires
By Author of Dark Dates, Tracey Sinclair
Is there anything new to say about vampires? Surely every variant on the theme you come up with has been done before: scary vampires, sexy vampires, sparkly vampires… pick your type and I can probably name a half dozen books or movies where it’s already been done. (OK, sparkly vampires are fairly unique, but who wants to go there again?) So why bother writing about them at all?
Trust me; it’s a question that occurred to me when I started to write my urban fantasy Dark Dates. (Mainly because people kept asking what the hell I was thinking). I was, after all, a “serious” author (honest): I’d had two books published already, neither of which was genre fiction. Why on earth would I start writing about vampires – especially at a time when agents and publishers are deciding vampires are ‘over’, that after True Blood and Twilight there is no room for fresh blood (if you’ll pardon the pun). If I had to go down the genre path, why didn’t I write some nice erotica instead?
Well, the main reasons are twofold. One, I think that just because a trope has been used a lot, doesn’t mean you can’t say something fresh about it: if that were the case, there would be no crime novels – because there’s only so much you can do with serial killers and cops. But writers are still turning out gripping, compelling stories even if their heroes are too often dysfunctional middle aged men who drink too much, can’t hold down a relationship and get in trouble with their bosses. Likewise, fantasy writers are managing to take the accepted ideas of vampires (or werewolves, or faeries, or whatever) and use them to create worlds that, although familiar to a degree, feel new and inviting. Surely it’s nuts to write off a whole genre because of its very success?
The other reason, though, was no more noble than this: I thought it would be a lot of fun. They say that you should write the book you’d like to read, and that’s exactly what I did. I like novels where I can relate to the heroine – where she’s funny and smart and likeable, not swoony or pathetic; where she’s brave and resourceful but not impossibly kick ass (OK, I like women who are impossibly kick ass, too, but I didn’t want to write that story). I wanted a heroine who actually liked other women, not a loner who saw everyone as competition: in short, someone you or I could imagine cracking open a bottle of wine with and having a laugh. I wanted heroes I could swoon over (and, oh, how I swooned over them – seriously, I crush on Cain and Laclos to an extent that is embarrassing) but who lived in the modern world, not some hermetically sealed universe where Twilight never existed. Most of all, I wanted to write a book that didn’t assume that if you liked reading about vampires you were stupid, and deserved lazy writing and shoddy plotting and recycled ideas. Dark Dates took about twice as much time to write as my first novel; it’s a lot harder than it looks to make something easy to read. But I didn’t for one second think that this was ‘only’ a vampire novel, so it didn’t need to be the best I could make it. There seems to be a lot of bias out there about fans of these books; that it’s somehow wrong or silly to want to be swept into a fantasy world, and the fans just need to grow up and start reading ‘proper’ books. (I don’t think it’s coincidental that this is primarily applied to female readers – it’s well known us girlies can’t get our pretty little heads around Serious Literature). This really gets on my nerves. Some of the smartest writers working at the moment are in the fantasy genre: they don’t treat their audience like idiots, so why should the rest of the world?
Tracey Sinclair works as freelance copywriter, editor and legal directories consultant. A diverse and slightly wandering career has included writing factsheets for small businesses, creating web content for law firms, subtitling film and TV and editing one of the UK’s largest legal directories. A keen blogger, she regularly writes for online theatre site Exeunt and science fiction site Unleash the Fanboy and her blog Body of a Geek Goddess was shortlisted in the Cosmopolitan Blogger Awards 2011. Her work has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies and her short play Bystanders was premiered in 2011 as part of the CP Players New Writing Season at Baron’s Court Theatre, London. She has published two small press books (Doll and No Love is This, both Kennedy & Boyd) and is now dipping a toe in the digital self-publishing world with her new urban fantasy novel, Dark Dates.
Dark Dates Synopsis:
All Cassandra Bick wants is to be left to get on with doing her job. But when you’re a Sensitive whose business is running a dating agency for vampires, life is never going to be straightforward – especially when there’s a supernatural war brewing in London, a sexy new bloodsucker in town and your mysterious, homicidal and vampire hating ex-lover chooses this moment to reappear in your life…
Witty, sharp and entertaining, Dark Dates is a heady mix of vampires, witches and werewolves – with the occasional angel thrown in – and introduces Cassandra Bick, a likeable heroine destined to join the ranks of fantasy’s feistiest females.
Stay Tuned to OBS for for the upcoming review of Dark Dates and interview with Tracey Sinclair!!
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Thanks Tracey for an awesome blog post and I look forward to sinking my teeth into Dark Dates and I’m sure all our readers will to!!