30 Days of Vampires: Vampires–My Gateway Drug

December 12, 2011 | 30 Days of Vampires | 20 comments

Maria LimaMaria Lima is a writing geek with one foot in the real world and the other in the make-believe. Her role models include Tanya Huff, Joss Whedon, Christopher Golden and Charles de Lint amongst many others. Her love of reading began with discovering Scholastic Books in the first grade, and her love of storytelling from her father’s dinnertime tales of derring-do. In this was mixed a love of both fictional and non-fictional worlds, of history and splendor, dragons and them that slayed ‘em. It’s no wonder that she grew up composing stories.

Find her on her website: www.marialima.com, on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MariaLima, on twitter: @themarialima


Let’s face it, no one (or few someones) dives head first into new waters without testing them first, right? Is the water too hot? too cold? just right? We’re all Goldilocks in our own ways, putting out a hesitant toe before we take the plunge.

It’s the same with genre fiction for me. Many many years ago, I stumbled across this book called Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton. Sounded kind of interesting. Sort of. Vampire slayer butt-kicking woman hero type name of Anita Blake. Kind of a modern day Dracula? Maybe. Several friends recommended it.

I didn’t buy the book that first day as I still wasn’t quite sold on the concept. It had things I liked: a strong female protagpnist, action/adventure, mystery, and well, my gateway drug…vampires. I’d gotten precious few of them over the years since I’d first stumbled upon Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a kid. My book buying buddy and I would scour the scant horror shelves at our local Borders for anything new, anything that would feed our need.

I’d already devoured all of Tanya Huff’s Vicky Nelson series, which punched all my vampire-loving squee buttons. Then, thank goodness, she wrote the Shadow books (a spinoff series), and I’d gleefully shell out for the hardcovers the moment they appeared on the shelves.

After horror, I’d spend another hour or so picking through the young adult shelves, as fantasy type novels often appeared there. I discovered Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder and countless others who fed the monkey on my shoulder.

Blood HeatI finally succumbed to Anita Blake, and far too quickly enmeshed myself in the then 8 or 9 books that Laurell had out. I was becoming impatient, inconsolable. The drug wasn’t doing its job. Vampire books alone, not even the awesome ones I was reading, were doing the trick.

What else was there?

As the next couple of years passed, I began to see more and more book covers that hinted of new tastes, new temptations. They beckoned in a seductive “come hither”. I began to hear the term “urban fantasy” bandied about. I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer on television (okay, yeah, I was late!) and, for a brief time, my need was slaked.

Then the market exploded. Urban fantasy: get your red-hot vampires here, readers. All types. Dark, broody ones. Light-hearted humorous ones. Even ones that sparkle. The sky–no, the universe–is the limit! Oh, and by the way, as long as you’re here reading, how about trying our other offerings? We’ve got shapeshifters, werewolves, the fae–pretty much any creature your pounding heart desires. And it’s all waiting for you. Right here, between the pages.

I was hooked. Every last bit of me. THIS. This is what I’d been craving. That small taste of vampire fiction had done its job. Not only did I read the books, I wrote ‘em. I wanted to make my own stories, tell my own tales.

So yeah, a gateway drug? Pretty much. But then again, I suppose that could be said about all books, right?

Web site: www.marialima.com


  1. SandyG265

    You might like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s vampire series.

  2. WildAboutBones

    Anne Rice and Joss Whedon have done much for the paranormal genre. I too have been hooked on the Anita Blake series from day one when I picked up her first book in an airport bookstore when it first came out. Don’t remember where I was going but I remember being pissed that the flight was over because I wasn’t finished with the book. After reading Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, I found Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and her St. Germain vampire novels. Been hooked from the beginning. Thank God more authors found the courage to write about the paranormal so there is enough to feed my fix.

  3. Kimberley Coover

    I, too, succumbed to that gateway drug called “Vampires” and it has morphed into an addiction of all things paranormal. Anita Blake(LKH) was my first drug of choice…now I am trying anything I can get my hands on….. oh what an addiction!

    I have found so many authors and paranormal creatures that my TBR stack is never ending and my To be bought is growing by leaps and bounds…I am a happy reader indeed!

    Happy Holidays

  4. tammy ramey

    thank you for the great post today, i hope you and your family have a Happy Holiday Season.


  5. Viki S.

    I got hooked on paranormal via Kelley Armstrong’s Tales of the Otherworld. The first book is BITTEN. I never turned back. She led me to Larissa Ione. Man can she write some yummy demons ;).
    I hope you have a fantastic holiday!

  6. MJB

    Laurell Hamilton was my gateway drug, too. I actually saw someone on the subway reading one of her books in hardcover and the cover and title was so cool that I looked it up when I got home and started ordering! I haven’t looked back since and have expanded my habit to include all creatures paranormal, as well as their erotica counterparts. Now, I can’t get enough of paranormal erotica! It’s a slippery slope when you open the door to your addiction…

  7. brandy dorsch

    I have to admit that anytime I need a Vamp fix and can’t find anything that jumps out at me, I re-read the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands or anything by Kerrelyn Sparks. They are amazing writers of paranormal romance and they tickle my vamp bone. Great article today!

  8. sue brandes

    I got hooked when I read a Kerrelyn Sparks book. and I was hooked. Charlaine Harris, Stephanie Meyer, etc. I do prefer to have some humor is my vampire book.

  9. Angela

    I’m hooked on the Vampire Forever books! They are my addiction lol

  10. Deb P

    I was not into vampires until a year ago. Some good books out there.

  11. Danny

    When I started reading romances in the English original I really soon discovered paranormals and fell absolutely in love with them. I think one of my first Vampire stories was Dark Prince from Christine Feehan’s Dark series. Nowawdays I like darker ones but also the funnier ones like Kerrelyn Sparks or Lynsay Sands

  12. Helen Wawrejko

    Twilight brought me back to being a bookaholic after 15+ years.

  13. Stephanie

    Thanks for the interview! Love all of the paranormal books!

  14. Yadira A.

    Hi Maria!
    It’s nice to meet you! I love Urban Fantasy and would love to read your books… Blood Heat looks like a good place to start:)


  15. Angie M

    Christine Feehan’s Dark series got me crazy about vampires! I couldn’t get enough and was fortunate to find Caridad Pineiro, Joey W. Hill as well as Kerrelyn Sparks and Lynn Viehl. What I love about these authors is that they’ve created their own Vamp worlds!

  16. wanda flanagan

    I have loved reading ever since I learned how .I always have a book in my hand any free minue I get and paranormal especially vamps are my drugs of choise :)


  17. Cathy P

    Hi Maria! The only vampire books I have read were the sexy ones that Kimberley Raye wrote. Loved her books!


  18. June M.

    I think my favorite books feature the romantic vampire. A vampire book was definitely what led to my love of romance books. I picked up a Lynsay Sands books and was hooked, from there I moved to Kerrelyn Sparks, Larissa Ione (there are a few vamps in her books), and sooooo many more. Now I read a lot of different series, from light, fun to dark, tormented vamps. But they all have romance in them.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  19. LadyVampire

    You mentioned all my favorites in books and TV shows. We are very alike. The only differences are that my first LKH book was Circus of the Damned. Have you tried reading Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris? And as for TV shows, have you tired True Blood and Grimm yet?

  20. Barb P

    Hi Maria! I cut my teeth on Dark Shadows when I was a kid and have loved the Vamps ever since. I have to say my favs are the PNR books and UF, not really all that fond of the horror vamps. Thanks for the post.