Friday, October 31, 2014

Guest post: "How I take my vampires: Sex, blood & rock 'n' roll" by Kristen Strassel

What better time for the last guest post on vampires than on Halloween? And who better to write it than vampire author Kristen Strassel? In her post, Kristen discusses her first vampire loves as well as the types of vampires she was inspired to create in her Night Songs collection.

"How I take my vampires: Sex, blood and rock 'n' roll" by Kristen Strassel

I didn’t set out to write a vampire story. That seems funny now, since it’s become a large part of my identity as a writer. I had this story about a musician and a lost first love that wouldn’t leave me alone. But why? It’s the question writer has to ask over and over again. If he loved her, what would be serious enough for him to cut her out of his life? And why couldn’t she forget him?

It needed to be something supernatural. I’d always loved my vampires. Anne Rice style with the torch carried by Charlaine Harris. I liked them sexy and dangerous, someone who might burn your finger if you touched him.

Hey. That’s exactly how I like my rock stars! Sensual, over the top, creatures of the night who don’t have to play by our rules. Tristan made the perfect vampire. Maddening, cunning, but still alluring.
Tonight Tristan was shirtless, his hair falling free down his back. He’d painted his face half tribal, half skeletal. It looked mysterious and scary and really hot. 
Like you had no idea what you were getting yourself into.—We Own the Night

Originally, I planned to set the story in Los Angeles. Even though it used to be the center of universe where guys like Tristan were concerned, in recent years, most of them have shifted to Las Vegas. Sin City shares a lot of the same traits as my rock star vampires. You know you can’t win, but you can’t stay away. Now I had the perfect trifecta to set my Night Songs stories against.

Vampires haven’t had it easy lately, but I know that people still love to read them. Now that there are so many vampires fighting for your attention, you have to make your mythology stand out.

As I mentioned before, I grew up with Lestat and Louis. Beautiful and dangerous. The best combination ever. But I couldn’t just rewrite Queen of the Damned, I had to make it my own. My vampires feed off of energy, which makes Las Vegas a perfect place for them. The highs and the lows. Not to mention the excess! When nothing can kill you, there’s no reason for moderation. It also lent well to the rock star element. As we move on with the series, I will introduce you to some other performers, but they all feed off of those crowds.

So about the blood? It’s there. Bloodlust. I made it purely sexual. It’s completely forbidden, and I thought it was perfect for these vampires. If a human drinks vampire blood, they begin to mimic vampire traits. They don’t need it to survive, but they certainly like it.

Women rule my vampire world. There are very few women vampires, and traditionally, they’re leaders. As the series continues, women vampires are created, either by mistake, by design, or out of necessity. Two of them formed an unexpected alliance, but will it last? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

And my final twist is that most of the vampires you’ll read about in The Night Songs Collection are fairly new. Created in the last five years or so. The clan leader at the time created these rock star vampires to help revive the Las Vegas economy after the great recession. There are traditions, but these aren’t guys who care a whole lot about the past. Rules are broken, feet are stepped on, and the unlikely lead.

You can connect with Kristen on her Website, Facebook, Twitter and her Blog, and the Night Songs collection is available on Amazon. Books 1-3 are available on Audible. All are available for Kindle Unlimited:
1. Because the Night
2. Night Moves
3. We Own the Night
4. Silent Night (a standalone story in the series coming November 18 - you can preorder it now for the special price of 99¢)

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