So, how the bloody blue Hell does one go from The Pius Trilogy to vampires? Like with Honor At Stake, coming out on Sept 1?
Step one: Once upon a time, I did some fan fiction. ..
Actually, no, I didn't. My sister wrote a fan fiction once. I took it, made it far more interesting, and rewrote it as an independent book. I then decided that the book was a little too ... compact. The first sixty pages of the book? I expanded all of it into book 1, Honor At Stake.
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...
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 -- That's 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). A relative of Bram Stoker, at DragonCon, explained vampires as zombies with fangs — vampires were possessed, occasionally with an overlay of the victims' personalities / memories.
I'm not even going to touch the Anita Blake books by Hamilton. I refuse. Ignoring that they are basically porn — and 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 to 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.
Enter Amanda Colt and Marco Catalano. One is a blood-thirsty, murderous psychopath, and the other's a vampire. Heh.
On a scale of 0 to Dues Vault, how accessible are these books to someone not devoutly Roman Catholic?