Wednesday, April 16, 2008
To Boldly Go Where PM Has Never Gone Before
Some things are as reliable as the sun rising every morning. Then there are things you never expect, like me suddenly going over to the dark side and developing an interest in vampire romance.
While you are picking yourselves up off the floor and/or laughing hysterically, let me explain. Several years ago I wrote a scene about a TV reporter who receives a DVD from her ex-husband. She views the DVD and on it he alludes to having information that would destroy her career. And he's going to turn it over to her competition if she doesn't find it first. Then she watches as he puts a gun to his head and blows his brains out. The scene was for an online contest and went nowhere.
Great opening for a romantic suspense, but as you may or may not know, plotting is not a strong point of mine. And a good romantic suspense requires as many twists and turns as an unpaved, one-lane mountain road.
After reading Smarty Pants's submission for the new Nocturne Bites line, I remembered the scene and wondered if it might be re-written with some sort of woo-woo element. I was thinking maybe the hero or heroine could be psychic. Then I ran the idea past a friend who emailed me back and said "...how about once she composes herself, she realizes that her ex's little brain splattering is just for show, because the secret he holds--the secret that's both terrorized her and kept her alive--is that he can't die. He's either a demon or a vampire or an immortal or something evil. Maybe she is a vampire or shapeshifter or witch or something."
My first reaction was not only no, but hell no. But the idea just wouldn't go away and the more I thought about it, I realized it might could work. The only problem is that I know squat about anything to do with vampires. Last winter I read two Christmas vamp novellas and shuddered at every mention of blood. Beyond that, I knew nothing.
So I've been immersing myself into all things vampire. Well, maybe not ALL things, but some things. I read a vamp romance by Caridad Pineiro from the Silhouette Nocturne line and now I'm reading one of Kerrelyn Sparks's single titles. I watched an MSNBC special from a few years ago about a teenage vampire cult that murdered a couple in Florida (nothing valuable there) and Sunday afternoon I drooled over Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing (which I call "Frankenstein and Dracula meet James Bond and Indiana Jones).
I've done research online and learned that while there are some things that most vamp romances have in common, there are basically no rules. I can create my own world and as long as I explain it well and have things make sense, I can be in charge and run things my way. Oh, if the real world were only that way.
Vampires have appeared in books and movies for a long time. We've had Dracula on the silver screen for ages and in various incarnations. Kids have Sesame Street's Count to help them learn numbers (One bat hanging in the steeple. One bat flies in through the door. That makes two bats in my belfry, but wait. There's more. Two bats hanging... well, you get the picture).
There's even been a cereal named for a vampire.
And where there's a vampire, there's a vampire slayer such as Buffy. I never watched the show but PC has offered her Buffy DVD collection. Despite PC's warnings, I tried to watch the Buffy movie and promptly fell asleep. It's no longer using up space on my Tivo. My Tivo "To Do" list includes a History channel special on vampires and "Queen of the Damned" as well as something else I can't remember at the moment. And I have a couple more vampire romances to read.
I'm beginning to get a feel for my hero and heroine, and have some ideas for the villain (Mr. SplatterBrains). But there's more that I don't know. Isn't this guy superbly hawt for a hero?
So my question to you is, if you're a fan of vampire romance, what are your favorite story elements? Do you like the vamp to have all the traditional weaknesses, or are you willing to compromise on some for the sake of the story?
What are some of your favorite parts of vampire mythos? Do you think the hero and heroine have to both be mortal or immortal by the end of the book for them to have a HEA? Can a woman live happily ever after knowing her husband will live for centuries after she's gone? Or knowing she'll turn into an old crone while he still looks like Mr. Hawt Guy above?
What's your favorite vampire romance and movie? These are research questions, you know. I have a good excuse to pile up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and read or watch a movie.
I know -- I'm just full of questions, but I'm trying to build a world here and well... it's hard work. Help me build it.
P.S. The Spoil Me Silly contest is still open. Be sure to enter!