Friday, October 3, 2014

Guest post: "How I like my vampires" by Karen Soutar

Happy October! Have you started planning your Halloween costume yet? I must confess: if I dress up on Halloween it's usually a last-minute scramble that involves the most eccentric clothes in my wardrobe and some unusual make-up. In fact...I usually go as a vampire because you can just wear a sexy dress and put red lipstick at the corner of your mouth like blood. Okay, so I suck at the Halloween thing. Hahah! Pun unintended, but I like it ;)

You know what else sucks? Vampires! (Too obvious? Okay, yeah, I just did that. Sorry.) It's Friday and today my friend and fellow writer of vampilicious tales Karen Soutar shares her thoughts on how she likes her vampires and whether there's a metaphor in there somewhere. Karen's post discusses ways in which vampires are like booze, her favorite vampire tales, her own vampire mythology, and a real-life inspiration for one of her evil vampire characters. 

"How I like my vampires" by Karen Soutar

How do I like my vampires? Hmm…you know what? I’ll take them any way the fancy strikes me *winks*:

Neat, with a fiery kick, like a fine malt whisky – well, maybe add a splash of water (not holy water, obviously)

Dark and brooding, like a smoky real ale, or a porter

Light and sparkling – okay, maybe not sparkling – like champagne

Sorry about the booze analogy. Couldn’t resist. But honestly, I enjoy reading stories about all sorts of vampires, from the Twilight ones (I know, I know) to Salem’s Lot.

So how did I come to love vampires? Well, I can’t actually remember the first vampire story I read. I can remember writing one in high school. It was scary rather than sexy, that much I know. I think my teacher liked it. I must have read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot by then. Also Dracula, and a couple of other vampire novels. I had seen a few old films, with Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee as the Count.

The next books I remember reading, and falling in love with, were Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. A friend recommended them when I was in my late teens, and I was hooked. I lusted after Lestat, and I loved the fact that the books are sexy – in spite of the fact that Anne Rice’s vampires can’t have sex. I’m pretty darn sure these books were my first introduction to sexy vampires, and they became my favourite. Why? Because I enjoy being scared, and I love erotic writing. The two combined? Perfect.

Then the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series came along. More sexy vamps. I watched and read and made up stories in my head, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I wrote a vampire story again. I’m still writing it, as it happens. In the meantime I’ve written some other short stories and flash fiction about vampires, but the piece that started it all is still unfinished. It’ll appear one day, I’m sure!

So what are my vampires like? Well, I have ‘good’ ones and ‘bad’ ones. I write erotica, so yes, my vamps have sex and are very sexy – both the good and the bad. I use some of the ‘traditional’ rules: they can’t go out in full daylight, staking through the heart destroys them (mostly), and of course, they drink blood. Holy water pisses them off and slows them down. Crosses – well, that depends on who’s wielding the cross. My vamps are quite vain, so they’ve got reflections.

Are my vampires a metaphor for anything? This is the kind of question I don’t dwell on too much. I write what I do because I enjoy writing it. I’m not usually trying to get any sort of ‘message’ across. That said, on pondering this question, I realised that a few things from my subconscious may have crept in:

My vampires, and in particular my women, can DO WHAT THEY WANT. They are strong enough, clever enough, and resourceful enough to live exactly the life they want to lead. I guess there’s a part of me that envies them that.

As my writing alter ego is quite dominant (what do you mean your alter ego? – husband) my lady vamps tend to assert, and enjoy, their power over men. Please don’t write in to tell me all the issues I must have because I made this statement – I don’t care. I like writing about sexy powerful women bossing men about in the bedroom. End of.

One of the main themes running through my vampire tales (which are all linked), is that of two powerful women pitted against each other. Cara, a nasty bit of work, finds herself up against Kate, an equally powerful female but one with a conscience. (Kate is a witch, not a vamp, but you get the idea). In thinking about this post, I wonder if this battle comes out in my writing because it’s one I’ve been fighting myself for the past 20 years. Let’s just say my husband’s ex-partner did her best to make our lives as difficult as possible in the years my stepson was growing up. As said stepson is now 21 and capable of making his own decisions, she hasn’t got a leg to stand on anymore. But has the situation has sneaked into my writing? Interesting…

Gosh, this piece started out light and fluffy and got very heavy! Back to the vamps. Whatever my subconscious is up to, I read and write about them because they are fun - both the villains and the ‘goodies’. They are a break from the humdrum of everyday life, and I love that. Now, just tilt your head to one side a bit so I can get at your neck…

Where to find Karen Soutar: Wordpress (Check out her vampire stories "The Blood and the Cauldron" in Fiction, and "The Spicier The Better" in Flash Fiction); Twitter (@KMSDriving); Facebook; and Google+

And while we're on the subject of vampires, October is Vampire Books for Blood Month! I'm donating 100% of my net royalties from sales of Awakening to the Red Cross Pacific NW. Read more about #VampBooks4Blood here.


  1. Great post, Karen.
    Vampires as alter egos???? Hmmm, I'd have to agree, I have one I write about too.
    I love Cora and Kate, and can't wait to read more about them.
    Thanks for a great series, Jeanie.

  2. This was fun! Interesting what sneaks into our writing, isn't it? Love the comparison of vamps to booze. Clever.