The Contemporary Vampire: More Human Than Human
Vampires are powerful.
In most legends, stories, and films, this seems to be a given. Sometimes, they are preternaturally strong. Sometimes, they have psychic abilities. Often, they are ageless and very difficult to kill. And they are almost always sensually alluring.
Depending on the vampire tale, these powers are either explained or implied. Many contemporary paranormals offer detailed scientific descriptions of both vampirism and shapeshifting, while others feature supernatural characters who remain impenetrable mysteries. I’ll be interested to chart the range and presentation of vampiric abilities in the stories that comprise Girls Who Bite.
The recent trend in paranormal fiction—from Twilight to True Blood to Kim Harrison’s Hollows series and Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series—has been to cast vampires in the role of romantic hero and to focus their strengths. In essence, the vampire has become a dark and broody gothic superhero and their otherness is the major point of attraction.
But as much as I enjoy reflecting on the innate power and sexuality of the female vampire, I am also fascinated by her weaknesses. In some ways, vampires are more human than human. Hunger, thirst, and sexual desire are universal to human beings, but vampires experience these sensations with supernatural viscerality. Whether a vampire burns or sparkles in the sunlight, their thirst defines them. By this logic, the vampire is the apotheosis of the human id. Ironically, the vampire’s profound craving for blood—the life-essence of humanity—has the potential to render her exponentially more vulnerable than her human prey.
I’ve spent the past three years co-writing the everafter paranormal romance series with Trinity Tam (published by Bold Strokes Books). In creating our protagonists, we set out to explore the tension between the strengths and weaknesses of both vampires and were-creatures. Our vampires are ageless, and drinking blood grants them superhuman strength, speed, and senses. However, they can be killed as easily as a mortal and they immolate in direct sunlight. Our wereshifters possess incredible powers of regeneration, but their inner beasts are very easily triggered and difficult to control. Both species are profoundly sexual beings, but the vampires in particular experience desire and thirst as separate sides of the same coin.
If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to pick up everafter in ebook or print format. We’re eager to hear what you think of our take on the powerful figure of the female vampire.
Nell Stark is a faculty member at a small college in the SUNY system. Trinity Tam is a marketing executive in the music industry and an award-winning writer/producer of film and television. They live and write in New York City. Their newest release, nightrise, was just released in August 2011. For more information about the everafter series, visit www.everafterseries.com.