Vampire Awareness Month!
Romance and the Sexy Vampire
A Guest Post by Marie Treanor
When I was a kid, I used to sit up late with my Dad, watching old Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee films on the television – still love those! I loved reading Dracula too, and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, and any other tale of the undead I could lay my hands on, particularly those that portrayed a not-completely-evil side to the creatures of the night. I grew to appreciate the weird sensuality of Dracula and of Anne Rice’s world.
Of course, vampire stories have come a long way since my adolescence, and the vampire romance is a major phenomena in its own right, with a huge following. But really, when you think about it, what on earth is attractive or romantic about a vampire? On the face of it, they’re hardly ideal hero material. They’re dead for a start – have been for centuries in some cases! - dead, evil creatures who kill humans by biting them like animals, in order to prolong their own cruel existence.
Some of them live in coffins, lined with their native earth. Traditionally, they’re not fond of running water, so I can’t see many of them washing. And what about laundry? Although I confess I did once have a vampire hero of mine washing his shirt, I can’t imagine most vampires doing anything so mundane. So, unclean and evil as they are, why in the world are they so attractive as heroes of romance?
And they frequently are: give a vampire a handsome body, a seductive physical attraction that makes the lethal neck-biting sexy, throw in a tragic past and a setting of crumbling grandeur, then we want him to find love and live happily after. Why?
For me, a large part of it is the balance of his “differentness” and his “humanity”. He looks enough like a human male, with all the attraction of superior strength and supernatural gifts, that I long to see what this powerful, evil being would be like if only he was just a little more like us, if he felt a little human emotion.
Then, of course, although they’re dead, vampires don’t do anything so ill-mannered as rotting, like zombies for example. My own current vampire hero has no personal hygiene issues at all, because his body does not produce toxins or absorb dirt. Nothing there to repel the most fastidious heroine, but it still doesn’t explain why vampires are quite so sexy!
Vampires have always had a very definite sexual allure in literature. This was understated but definitely present in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and even in Dracula’s predecessor, John Polidori’s The Vampyre (published back in 1819). And they like to act on it. In today’s steamier romantic fiction, they tend to have voracious sexual appetites intensified by heightened sensitivity. They entice partners and readers alike into their heady, sensual world. They have supernatural power, immortality, eternal youth and superior strength to defeat their enemies and protect those they love. On top of that, they possess the undoubted attraction of the ultimate bad boy. It’s partly this, the forbidden element, that makes the vampire such a wonderful hero of steamy and erotic romance.
Then, of course, there’s the bizarre sensuality of the vampire bite, and even of the victim in turn drinking the blood of the vampire. To some, it might be the sublimation of pain into pleasure, or a bit of sadistic-masochistic delight. But not for me - I don’t like pain J. In many books, my own included, the initial pain of a bite is overwhelmed by sensual pleasure, and the vampire’s tongue has healing properties.
For most people, the neck is a highly erogenous zone, and so lavishing attention on that part of the anatomy is bound to be sexy. But although my vampires prefer the neck, this isn’t necessarily the case for a story involving sensual biting. The giving and receiving of blood, the life force itself, seems to be the important issue, despite the fact that, described in a different way, such an act would be gross at best!
I suppose that’s the difference between vampire horror and vampire romance… which brings me back to the wider issue of why we read vampire romance in the first place. How did the wildly different concepts of “vampire” and “romance” manage to come together?
My conclusion is that romance readers are always looking for something more than the simple boy meets girl, lives happily ever after. We want a great love, an overwhelming experience with a larger than life hero, whatever form that hero takes. A vampire hero is the epitome of those things; he takes more, is prepared to give more, in terms of pleasure, blood and just about everything else!
What do you think? If you read vampire romance, what is it that draws you?
Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy.
She has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing Joe. Blood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL.
You can find out more about Marie and her books on her website: www.MarieTreanor.com. Find her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Treanor-Paranormal-Romance/105866982782360.And join the party on her blog: Marie Treanor's Romantic Theme Party
BLOOD ETERNAL: Awakened by Blood, 3By MARIE TREANOROrder from Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Eternal-Awakened-Novel/dp/0451234723/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307446197&sr=1-1
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