I’m a British author of dark, paranormal romances. The first three books in my Blackthorn series were recently bought by London publisher, Bookouture. The first two are about vampires – the ‘romantic’ type, in an ever-so-slightly disturbing type of way. And I love my genre. Because of that, I can’t help but feel defensive when others say this vampire obsession is just a trend – that fans will eventually get bored. That this current epidemic will fade to nothing.
The evidence screams everything to the contrary.
Vampires are embedded in our society’s psyche. In fact, they’re embedded in the psyche of many societies outside our own. Nearly every country on our planet has its own version of the vampire myth. Even before Dracula was penned over a century ago, real tales of vampirism had been rife in Eastern Europe for decades. And when those stories (along with the Serbian term ‘Vampire’) infiltrated our society in the 1800’s, apparently any newspaper containing such tales sold by the bucket load. But why? Admit it or not, on some level we all have an instinct to be fascinated with the mysterious and the macabre. We’re all a little bit intrigued by the supernatural, not least our lack of ability to explain it.
So what is it about vampires in particular? What is it that has made them such an iconic romantic figure? Whether it’s the social fascination with bad boys or the psychoanalytic view that vampire fantasies are no more than subliminal repressed sexual fantasies, vampires have got an incessant appeal. But let’s be honest, our current vampiric heroes are a long way from archaic tales of hairless beasts with protruding ratty teeth and rank breath. So when did it change?
We have to start with the late 1800’s and Bram Stoker paving the way with his Gothic masterpiece, Dracula. This 400 year-old vampire went on to become the archetype of vampire characterisation for decades. The cloak, the smart evening dress and the Transylvannian accent are still implanted in people’s heads today. Dracula was sophisticated, a predator and a slave to his base urges for sex and blood. To the Victorians, he was horrifying; he represented everything they fought against. But he was still fascinating. And since its release over a century ago, Dracula has not been out of print. Not only did Bram Stoker start a billion-dollar industry, he created a vision of the vampire that was going to stay with us for decades.
Then in the 1970’s, Anne Rice arrived with Interview With The Vampire. Her genius was a book written from the vampire’s perspective. For over fifty years we had not seen inside the vampire’s head. Finally we were getting to know them and, with it, understand them. We discovered vampires had human emotions and with it came a whole new appeal. Yes, Ms Rice’s vampires were still aristocratic and sophisticated, still predators, but they were also young, handsome and erotic. They interacted with other vampires and through this we saw the vampire as a tragic figure riddled with internal conflict. Their immortality came with a price. They felt loneliness. They felt despair. As a result, we empathised and even sympathised with those that preyed on us. Not only was there something very romantic about them and their plight, we were starting to relate to them.
Then came my era: the 1980’s – a decade that brought further evolution of the vampire legend of old. I was a teenager when I first saw The Lost Boys. No more aristocracy. No more corsets. No more finery. These vampires didn’t sweep around with airs and graces. They were still carefree and dangerous. They were still rebels. But these vampires were current. These vampires were more relatable to teenage youth than any others. They didn’t live in mansions or castles. They hung around fairgrounds and comic book stores. They were cool, they were contemporary, and they were dateable.
That concept developed in the 1990’s with the introduction of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A slayer was no longer Van Helsing. Or male. The pretty little blonde was no longer a scream machine, but a feisty, smart and pro-active vamp killer. And along with Buffy came Angel, and a significant new relationship between vampire and slayer emerged. Suddenly there was a forbidden love between two beings whose basic instincts should make them want to kill each other.
I’ve missed so much out in-between, so many other accolades, but let’s end with the present day and the phenomenon that is Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. I’ll be honest—I’m not a Twilight fan. I’ve not read any of the books. I saw the first film and have vague recollections of the second. I quickly worked out it was too young for me but I have no doubt that if Twilight had come out when I was a teenager, I would have been besotted with the whole thing.
Love it or loathe it, Ms Meyer has appealed to a whole new generation of vampire fans. In the vampire evolution, she wrote a vampire for a predominantly teenage audience. He was no longer the guilt-free, decadent, sexual predator – he had a conscience. A conscience that governed his actions more than his base needs. He was a protector, utterly devoted to the one he loved and made her feel secure and special. He was no longer the beast that terrified teenage girls and women of the 1800’s but instead he had become a safer, more justifiable craving. He became the good guy. The vampire became a teenage superhero.
Now, I’m no Stephenie Meyer. My books are strictly adult and are as much world-building thrillers as romances. Apparently I skirt dangerously close to the edge in a world that’s dark, dystopian and sexy – much like the vampires that reside there. And whether my vampires truly are heroes, well, that’ll become clearer as the series evolves. But it doesn’t matter that I don’t fit the teenager superhero mould. The best thing about this genre is the range, the flexibility and the potential within it. Not all vampire books are the same, nor should they be.
My passion for vampires has already spanned almost thirty years and is still as intense as ever – romances, thrillers, horror. I still watch TV shows and films about vampires, I still read about vampires, most of all, twenty years on from penning my first paranormal romance, I want to keep writing about them. They will always remain wonderful characters to explore. And I know I’m not alone in thinking that, nor will I ever be.
Blackthorn Series Book One
Lindsay J. Pryor
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Number of pages: 380
Word Count: 117,000
Cover Artist: Henry Steadman
Buy Links: Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Sony ebooks
For vengeance - would you trust a vampire?
For justice - could you betray your family?
For love - are you ready to question everything you believe in? Gifted with the ability to read the shadows of ‘third species’ beings, Caitlin Parish is the Vampire Control Unit’s most powerful agent. Despite that, her mission to hunt down Kane Malloy – a master vampire – comes with a death wish. Many have tried, but few have survived.
For Caitlin, tracking Kane is about more than just professional reputation. With her parents both mysteriously killed 7 years apart to the day, Caitlin knows that without Kane’s help she is next.
She has four days to make a deal with the wicked, the irresistible, the treacherous Kane Malloy. The vampire who despises everything she stands for.
You can read the first three chapters on Scribd for free:
About the Author:
Lindsay J. Pryor is a British Paranormal Romance author who writes dark, intense stories set in the dystopian world of Blackthorn.
Her trademark powerful vampire heroes and utterly combustible sensual romances have earned Lindsay comparisons with both J.R Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon.
A finalist in Mills & Boon’s New Voices competition in both 2010 and 2011, Lindsay has already proved a smash hit with readers.
Comments like “Utterly captivating”, “Jaw-droppingly good”, “Awesome”, “I forgot to blink”, “The sexual tension is off the charts”, “I nearly fainted when he removed her belt”, “I drooled on my keyboard” and even “Tell Kane he can have my soul RIGHT NOW!” convinced Lindsay she just might have what it took to become a published author.
With the launch of Blood Shadows, that dream is now a reality. Her journey to published author though has been a long one.
Lindsay has been creating stories since she was nine years old, when she quickly decided that fantasy was more interesting than reality. She thought she’d grow out of it but hasn’t yet.
Despite years of bashing out stories on an old typewriter, it was the death of her father in 2007 that finally convinced Lindsay to try and become a published author.
“One of the last things my dad said to me was to do what I wanted to do in life. After he passed away, I pulled out all my scribbles from over the years and got back to writing what I loved most – paranormal romance.”
If reviews are anything to go by, it was a journey well worth making.