vampire as circumstance

I feel the need to clarify something, if only so I can keep it upfront in my own thinking:

I do not write vampire novels.

Whew.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better now.

I have nothing against vampire novels, mind you. It’s just not what I set out to create when I wrote the Joe Vampire books. Yeah, I know…I probably shouldn’t have put the word “vampire” in the title. Tends to lead readers into drawing a conclusion.

Also: maybe there shouldn’t be a photograph of a vampire on the cover.

I’m working on that one.

I think the point I’m trying to make is that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, Joe Vampire isn’t a story about a vampire. It’s a character study of a man in a circumstance. A nearly insurmountable one.

That part happened entirely on purpose.

In using “vampire” as Joe’s challenge instead of something more real-world – cancer, say, or some sort of addiction – I was able to place him in the most ridiculous situations I could come up with, so his humor and his heartbreak could be equally on full display. And the only reason writers do things like that is so they can let their characters work their way through – if not necessarily out – of their troubles. It was also fun to bag on vampires a little. They tend to get a lot of love. Some well-intentioned bashing isn’t going to kill them.

It might even revive them a bit.

What I’ve worked extremely hard to make sure of while writing the entire series is that Joe stays grounded in the real world in spite of his vamipire situation, by giving him true-to-life feelings and honest reactions and genuine shortcomings. The reason the reader feels anything for him – if they actually do – is because he’s been crafted to feel like a real human being who finds himself in a terrible compromise. That his compromise happens to be having some pimped-up fool turn him into a vampire is somewhat secondary to all of that. In fact, if you were to rewrite the books and substitute”vampire” with almost any other overwhelming personal challenge, the premise would be pretty much the same: Dude tries to make his life better; dude gets knocked on his ass.

Dude gets back up and tries again.

It’s what all characters do, really – what people do, when the screws are put to them.

This one just happens to be a bit undead. Which makes it a novel about a vampire.

But a vampire novel?

Not so much.

Still, if that’s how the series ends up being categorized, then it’s an honor to be among the ranks. And I mean that sincerely

The next book has no vampires, though. Neither does the one after that.

Beyond those?

Yeah. Probably some vampires.

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One comment

  1. Well I for one think that Joe Vampire is definitely more than just vampire’s. You get a feel for it in book 1, but in The Afterlife you really get the idea that Joe Vampire is about the up’s and down’s of life and I loved it!

    But I will say, that I would love to see what you could do with a novel that is full intended to be a vampire novel!

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