Attention, readers: after four years of hard work, my first novel, Fanged, is published and ready for purchase. It’s available at online retailers and already has a Facebook page and a Goodreads page.
Fanged is the story of four teenage vampires who just want to finish high school without anyone discovering who they really are. Sean, Marisol, Isaiah, and Hannah know how to lay low and fly under the radar so that no one suspects them of anything strange or out of the ordinary. They schedule their days down to the minute to avoid sunlight and they aim for B+ averages so that teachers don’t single them out for being remarkable in any way.
All of this is going to plan until a popular classmate dies under mysterious circumstances. Then, everything changes. Secrets are unearthed, relationships are questioned, and Sean becomes more and more tempted by the presence of Becky – a pretty cheerleader whose blood smells just a little too good to him.
But why write about vampires?
When the world is already saturated with vampire stories…when other supernatural creatures are becoming the monster du jour…when teen vampire love triangles are out and dystopian YA sci-fi is in…why write about vampires?
The answer is simple: I wrote my vampire story because I couldn’t not do it. The idea (forgive me for this pun) sunk its teeth into me and I became one of many people to write about these immortal bloodsuckers.
But for a longer answer to that question, I’m going to write a series of posts talking about the different aspects of vampire mythology that intrigued me.
“Why Write About Vampires?” Part 1: The crucifix question
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the first vampire story I had any stake in (again, forgive the pun), but even before I became obsessed with that show, I absorbed aspects of vampire mythology from other stories. I learned that vampires would burn in sunlight, that wooden stakes would kill them, and that people turned into vampires after they were bitten by one.
Different authors adapted and changed these rules for their own stories, but I was mostly satisfied with these basic guidelines.
Except for the cross thing. The cross thing always bothered me.
“Crosses ward off vampires because they are instruments of God,” I was told. “A symbol of God is an affront to vampires.”
Well, yeah, I thought, but what if the vampire was Jewish?
I can’t explain why this Catholic girl was so bothered by the Christian-centric view of vampire mythology, but I never understood why vampire who was Jewish as a human would be warded off by a symbol of Jesus Christ. It made no sense to me.
Never mind anyone who was Muslim, or Buddhist, or an atheist. Why would a vampire who was not Christian as a human suddenly be put off by a symbol of Christianity?
The seeds of a story were planted, and I began writing. I created a list of rules about how vampires from different faiths were affected by different religious symbols.
The list became a miniature guidebook, and Fanged started off as a satirical young adult story called Surprising Facts and Debunked Myths About Vampires, written by a snarky sixteen-year-old vampire who was tired of the widespread misinformation about his race (“race” in the sense of “human race” and “vampire race”) and wanted to set the record straight once and for all.
As I wrote subsequent drafts, the tone of the story shifted dramatically, and what started off as a satire of a vampire story turned into a suspenseful young adult novel. I realized I cared more about the characters than about snarking on other vampire stories, and Surprising Facts and Debunked Myths About Vampires turned into Fanged.
But the crucifix question is still something that comes into play in Fanged, just in a different way than in many other vampire stories. Not all of my vampires come from the same religious background, and they are not all affected by crosses.
Religion is something that plays a small but important role in this story – but actual religion matters less than the characters’ feelings about their religion.
Also? I just thought that a twist on the crucifix element would be funny.