Discover more from Declan’s Newsletter
From History to Vampires
Why Honor at Stake?
So, how the bloody blue Hell does someone like me go into “vampire romance (with explosions)?”
Step one: Once upon a time, I did some fan fiction.
…Actually, no, I didn't. My sister did a fan fiction once. I took it, made it more interesting, and rewrote it as an independent book. I then decided the book was too … compact. The first sixty pages of that book became the plot of Honor at Stake. It’s why Merle Kraft pops up at the end. The original novel started with him.
As I started expanding it ... well, everyone say it with me: It just spiraled.
The novels were basically “Catholic vampires,” where I kicked the mythos into compliance with standard theology, and then did a little rewrite of history since 1789, and… Anyway…
Step two: one of my Facebook groups wanted something "Dark." A fellow member, was an acquisitions editor, and she had nothing in her email. So, I sent in my book, and well...Nothing happened. At all. No word, no nothing. I got a reply at 1pm the next day saying that it was received.
That evening, I was cleaning out my spam folder. There was a 6pm response,that very day. Five hours after the confirmation email.
That was when Erin told me they wanted Honor At Stake.
Short version ... I wrote it when I felt like it, I wasn't entirely certain that anyone else would be interested, and now, surprise, they do.
That was the first time Honor at Stake was published.
I wanted something interesting and different. I was tired of vampire mythology that could barely follow the general guidelines established by Bram Stoker. “Oh no! We can't have crosses! Or holy water! Or anything remotely religious!”
And Marvel comics (yes, I think the Blade films sucked. No pun intended).
Come on, if an atheist like Joss Whedon can have vampires be affected by holy objects, so can everyone else. He's taken out several vampires with Holy water, and if you take a very close look at Buffy's chest o' death in the pilot film, you'll note that she has a glass jar of communion wafers — something I haven't seen used since Laurence Olivier was Van Helsing in the 1970s.
On the other hand, I wanted vampire fiction that at least acknowledged something like free will. Let’s face it, if you turn a person into a vampire, why would their character change to make them a villain? You can make some arguments that the vampire is actually feral at first, so that explains Lucy in Dracula (used by Fred Saberhagen in The Dracula Tape, more or less).
The Buffy-verse explained that vampires were possessed by a carbon copy of a demon, occasionally with an overlay of the victims' personalities / memories.
Dacre Stoker (yes, a relative) insisted the original novel had a vampire as a zombie with fangs, but I honestly don’t recall that detail being explicit.
I'm not even going to touch the Anita Blake books by Hamilton. I refuse. Ignoring that they are basically — really boring— porn they are inconsistent and confusing, based on a whole collection of conditionals that I'm not even sure she understands at this point. She started with “vampires are not people with fangs,” and how during the day they become corpses, then goes into how vampires actually have souls. And crosses don't work, unless they're charged by a person's faith in it (so your lucky rabbits foot has about as much power to save you from a vampire as a crucifix blessed by a priest?).
And yes, that's me not going into it.
I hear you now, gentle reader: “So, smartass, what's your solution?” It's simple. Make their power and abilities as well as their weaknesses dictated by their choices and actions. Oh look, if you casually rip the throats out of victims, crucifixes will burn you. If you harm no one, and go about your daily life, you can walk into a church. Welcome to salvation. (I believe James Rollins has a similar system with his Blood Gospel series, but I don't know that one like the back of my hand.)
Enter Amanda Colt and Marco Catalano.
One is a blood-thirsty, murderous psychopath, and the other's a vampire. Heh.
Declan’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.