So the novel I have coming out soon is about vampires.
Don't give me that look. I was into vampires before they were cool. Okay, maybe 'not before they were cool,' since they've been popular novel material at least as far back as Polidori's The Vampyre. Since before I knew they were cool though.
Want photographic evidence? See the following journal entry from kindergarten. Our teacher had asked us to write about our best friend:
Yes, that does read "Drakya [Dracula]. He bats [bites] my prnts [parents]. He bats [bites] Donld [Donald, a jerk in my class who used to chase me around with peanut butter until I freaked out and roughed him up one recess.]"
(Also worth noting, the reply from my teacher: "Dracula is not a good friend to have. Be careful he does not bite you!" I can't help but wonder what poor Mrs. MacDonald thought about getting these entries every week. If you look closely, you can see the outline of Freddy Krueger in the background from the entry on the other side of the page.)
Clearly then, I have some street cred with this. I may not be creating groundbreaking art, but I'm writing what I love, so I'm not some sell out poser trying to cash in on the vampire just because it is supposedly hot right now. (Though do you honestly remember a time when it was not hot? More blogging to come on that point, just you wait!)
So what makes my book worth reading? (I mean besides being about vampires, which is good enough of an excuse to pick up a book for many of us vampirophiles.)
Well, this book was specifically crafted to prove a few friends wrong. Friends who hate vampire fiction. Friends who claimed that the vampire genre was dead, and that it was virtually impossible to come up with anything that felt fresh within the genre anymore.
Now, if you're reading this, I probably don't have to tell you that, much like a successful bloodsucker, vampire fiction always finds a way to evolve with the times. Vampires present the perfect narrative frames for just about any issue facing society, because, let's face it, those of us with short attention spans who would otherwise dismiss a book as preachy and boring tend not to be so quick to judge if the author adds in a few blood orgies and sexy seduction scenes.
I knew my novel could be interesting as long as it subverted the current state of the genre a little. My narrator-protagonist Maeve is a 400-year-old vampire who was once a coveted art model during the Baroque period. She is self-assured and snarky, but also very determined to present a certain lady-like image of herself in spite of the often-bloody events she is participating in. I wanted to craft a female lead who avoided the helpless passivity of a Bella Swan, but who also didn't need to become completely masculine to be "strong female character."
One of the things that has stood out to early readers the most so far is something that is actually not terribly prominent in the book--the fact that Maeve is a full-figured woman. It makes sense if you think about it: standards of beauty used to be quite different during the Baroque. Maeve was the original Rubenesque figure--Rubens actually proposed to her around the turn of the seventeenth century. What people have been up on so far is how little a role this plays in the story. Maeve is completely secure in her appearance. She knows she is beautiful, and her confidence allows her to continue to remain drop-dead sexy, even though her look isn't the ideal that Hollywood and the fashion elites try to shove down our throats. Just as an old-school rocker doesn't worry that because Bieber is popular, he must be a better musician than Zeppelin, so too does Maeve see our obsession with thin as blip of insanity that says more about the state of society than it does her personal worth. Maeve comments on issues of body image from time to time, but there is certainly no sub plot of her trying to lose the weight to impress a guy, or any of that foolishness you see sometimes that suggests a happy ending for a curvy girl can only come from losing the weight.
Enough of this. Overanalysing this sort of thing can suck the fun out of a book. Let's just say that the story has a great female lead, a love interest who looks like a much more laid back version of Lenny Kravitz, heaping helpings of bloody vampire violence, and a rock-out-with-your-cock-out musical duel that may feature a struggling metal band and the reanimated corpse of Ludwig van Beethoven. Do I really need to say anything more than that?
The book is called Muse, and it will be out sometime in the next week or two. Stay tuned for more info!