I love a good vampire book.
Two of the first books in my vampire library were BUNNICULA and THE LITTLE VAMPIRE. While neither is a particularly scary read for children, they cut my teeth, er, introduced me to our fanged friends. In about sixth grade, I became obsessed with The Cure and Robert Smith’s pasty skin and black hair were supernatural to me. I think that’s when my vampire obsession began. Thanks, Bob. There were two book series that I carried with me everywhere: THE CHEERLEADER (now renamed DEADLY OFFER) by Caroline B. Cooney and Christopher Pike’s THE LAST VAMPIRE.
It’s pretty easy to figure out where I went next with my vampire literature. DRACULA, INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, THE MOTH DIARIES, SALEM’S LOT, the Anita Blake series, and so on. I’m not the only one with a hunger for these books. Over time, I noticed vampires seemed to break down into two camps, the reluctant vampire who’s still clinging to his/her humanity or trying desperately to fit in with humanity and sharks on land that are indiscriminate with their prey. Sometimes it seems though as if the recent zombie trend has taken over the killing machine vampires, and the predatory vampire has been defanged into Edward Cullen glitterpires.
In YA in particular, there’s a fatigue for the tragic but friendly vampire. Readers desire a new spin on their vampire stories. So what direction are vampires going in? Among the Scream Queens, at least two of us have some vampires featured in our stories, Lauren’s NIGHT OWLS and Courtney’s SHUTTER. (Caveat: Lauren’s book isn’t YA, but the characters are still in college.) There are more, too. Two of my critique partners are soon publishing books with vampires, and here is what I see as a commonality for all of these projects. These all take place in multi-creature worlds. Vampires with were-jackals, ghosts, and zombies. Are we going to see more books where the vampire is the singular supernatural element or will there be more books with complex multi-creature worlds
Whatever the case, the writing is going to be what sells these books because, in general, vampires are still something of a hard sell coming off the success of the TWILIGHT series. If you’re writing vampires, you had better make sure they are different from what has recently been the standard.
What’s my hope? More than anything, I just want to see vampires become scary again.