I’ll confess that I’ve been over vampires for a while. They lost their sparkle some years ago, to the point where I recently picked up an urban fantasy that was really drawing me in until a vampire showed up and drowned me in cliché.
I wasn’t always so burned out on bloodsuckers. Years before Buffy put a stake through my heart, I held a dark and twisty love for Anne Rice, New Orleans, and all things that went bump in the night. I was an angsty boy, Goth before we called it Goth.*
I cut my own hair and dyed my clothes if anyone tried to dress me in colors. My father called me the “Prince of Darkness.” It wasn’t that I celebrated depression by wearing a lot of black. It’s that wearing black gave air to a feeling, a claustrophobia I felt about my own skin, that I hadn’t been able to express.
I write a lot about damaged characters. Sometimes their marks are physical, sometimes spiritual . And they can’t always name the source of the injury, usually because they haven’t yet identified it. I write about these boys, and they are usually boys, because I was that boy. I write about them finding some peace, some healing, because despite my young adult angst, anger, and walking around in the rain, I’ve found those things.**
My primary problem with vampires is that most of them are idiots. They live forever and never evolve. They never grow. You shouldn’t get to be immortal if you’re going to be an immortal idiot. Okay that, and I think that 100 years of high school is my idea of hell.
I loved Anne Rice because she showed us vampires struggling to change. Lestat wanted to break all the rules, burn down the world, and still settle into a quiet little townhouse with Louis at the end of it. Okay, I’ve a 1950s ranch with weird siding and cats, but I’ve settled down enough that I only occasionally want to scream. I never burned the world down and trying mostly singed just me. I’m not a broken boy anymore, but I remember him. He informs my stories. He sits in the dark, where he can see. He’s got something to show you, and he’s got a match ready to light.
*The term still eludes me since the gothic style let more light into cathedrals. You want shadows and gloom, get yourself a Romanesque basilica.
** It does, by the way, get better. Hang in there. It does. I promise.