By Rebecca S. Buck
When I saw the call for submissions for Girls Who Bite: Lesbian Vampire Erotica, I knew I had to give it a go. I already write lesbian—because I am—and I already, sometimes, write erotica—because it’s fun. But I’ve not written vampire before. But I’ve been fascinated by vampires for years and in setting out to write “She Knows I Am Watching” I had a long tradition to draw on.
I’ve loved Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles for years, have studied and interrogated Dracula, and adore J. Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla. It’s impossible not to love a story with lines like this: “She used to place her prettyarms about my neck, draw me to her, and laying her cheek to mine, murmur with her lips near my ear, ‘Dearest, your little heart is wounded; think me not cruel because I obey the irresistible law of my strength and weakness; if your dear heart is wounded, my wild heart bleeds with yours. In the rapture of my enormous humiliation I live in your warm life, and you shall die—die, sweetly die—into mine. I cannot help it; as I draw near to you, you, in your turn, will draw near to others, and learn the rapture of that cruelty, which yet is love; so, for a while, seek to know no more of me and mine, but trust me with all your loving spirit.’ And when she had spoken such a rhapsody, she would press me more closely in her trembling embrace, and her lips in soft kisses gently glow upon my cheek.” (Carmilla, 1878).
For me, this passage sums up all that is great about vampire fiction. It’s Gothic, it’s descriptive, it’s sensual, it’s transgressive. And it’s sexy. I think the first time I read this was the first time I really loved vampires.
The figure of the vampire has always been the shadow at the edge of our vision, the dark fantasy. Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula is the antithesis of the Victorian gentlemen who hunt him, and he awakens sensuality in the otherwise good and pure Mina Harker. Carmilla is a lesbian vampire, who represents everything that was threatening about female sexuality to the Victorian male establishment. Vampires represent the carnal body, the lust for an intimate exchange of bodily fluid, sex which does not involve heterosexual intercourse, and even a challenge to the inevitability of death itself. They’re something primal, archaic, a challenge to our enlightened times. I wanted the vampire in my story to embody the forbidden fantasy, the dark lust, the secret below the respectable exterior. It’s transgressive, and it’s sexy. Erotica isn’t all about body parts and how they fit together. Sometimes it’s about ideas, and thoughts. That’s even more important when vampires are involved.
What I also love about vampire stories is the way they change and evolve. Girls Who Bite contains all kinds of vampire stories. I’ve been amazed at the scope. Because vampires are our fantasy figures and characters from our common nightmares all at once, we writers can mould them and adapt them to meet our demands. They can be the ultimate horror villains, or they can be the perfect romantic heroes. The rules are always changing. Witness the Twilight vampires who do not even burn in the sun, they simply sparkle, or the prevalence of modern day vampires who have no issues with crucifixes. Vampire myths and “rules” from around the world are many and various. They’re attempts to explain what scares us and what turns us on, which are often surprisingly close together. There is always potential to redefine them. For a writer, that’s great fun. I hope it’s fun to read too.
Girls Who Bite is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to read it myself!
Rebecca S. Buck is from Nottingham, England. She is the author of Truths and Ghosts of Winter both from Bold Strokes Books and has stories in Breathless: Tales of Celebration (Bold Strokes Books) and Best Lesbian Romance 2011 (Cleis Press). Her next full length novel, The Locket and the Flintlock is coming from Bold Strokes Books in May 2012. Find out more by visiting her website: www.rebeccasbuck.com