30 Days of Vampires: Versatile Vampires

December 29, 2011 | News!!, 30 Days of Vampires | 18 comments

Mercy LoomisMercy Loomis grew up in a haunted house, and has had quite enough of ghosts for one lifetime, thank you. Though she now lives in a 150-year-old house, it is remarkably ghost-free. (That, or they’re staying on the down-low. She doesn’t care which.) She finished writing her first vampire novel when she was in middle school, and hasn’t stopped writing about them since. She loves stories about the paranormal because monsters are scary, but less scary than real people. Or at least less depressing.


“I would never have read a vampire book, but I really liked this one.”

I heard this from many of my beta readers after they read my novel Scent and Shadow, and it left me with two impressions. One, I had apparently succeeded in my goal of writing a vampire book with broad appeal, and two, there are a lot of people out there who apparently think vampire books are all the same.

Vampires show up in all kinds of books, from the ruthless symbiotes of Brian Lumley to the Scribe-Virgin-blessed holy warriors of J. R. Ward. From horror to science fiction to fantasy to romance to historical noir, vampires have been there, done that.

One of the things I love about vampires is that they are so very, very versatile.Scent and Shadow

Their versatility is two-fold: the legends themselves are very malleable and offer an author a huge range of abilities and restrictions to play with, and the theme of vampirism is equally broad.

Vampires of one type or another show up in countless legends in lots of different cultures, going back thousands of years. Some are probably a way to explain wasting diseases, or physiological changes in corpses, or even just certain types of personalities. Some are repelled or injured by sunlight, some by garlic or other special plants, some by silver, some just by making a lot of noise. Some don’t have reflections, or can’t cross running water, or they can’t bleed or cry or cast a shadow. Some can be foiled by simply spilling sand or rice on your doorstep, because then the vampire has to stop and count all the grains and will probably still be there counting when the sun comes up.

And that’s not even touching all the spiffy powers they’re supposed to have. (Or psychic vampires!) How can an author resist such a customizable character?

But the thing I feel is really responsible for the vampire’s longevity in story is their absolute adaptiveness in regard to theme.

Vampires are monsters, but they’re monsters that look like us. Heck, most of the time, they were us. The Devil has a pleasing face, and it could happen to you! Perfect scary antagonist, especially because they aren’t real, so it’s a safe thrill. Then you have the whole intellect versus instinct thing, with the vampire maybe wanting to control his bloodlust, and the seductive, demanding bloodlust trying to turn him into a baser creature. (You get this with werewolves, too.) And the “love conquers all” theme, always popular and closely related to the “redemption of the bad boy”, which is a trope hard-wired into most women’s brains as far as I can tell. Plus there are all the metaphoric vampire themes: psychic vampirism, corporate vampirism, political vampirism. One source even credits the first use of the word vampire in English print as metaphorically referring to greedy merchants.

I could go on and on about this topic, because you can do that much with vampires. I don’t think they’ll ever stop being popular, because we are constantly reinventing them to serve our own purposes and portray the themes of the day.

What are your favorite attributes of vampires, and which are your favorite vampire story themes? Leave a comment below with your email address to win a free signed trade paperback of my novel Scent and Shadow . (Foreign entries are welcome, but you’ll have to help me figure out how to ship it!) Winner will be chosen at random, but all comments with emails will receive the novel as an ebook!

Web Site: Mercy Loomis

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  1. WildAboutBones

    I think you are so right – it is the versatility that fuels the popularity along with the sexy bad boy image and well, fangs. I have several vamp books on my self and in my kindle and each one features vamps with different characteristics and mythos.

    I think one of my favorites is Lyndsay Sands’ Argeneau series vamps – they are immortals (vamp is derogatory term for them) who come from a race of Atlanteans and are vamps because of nanos in their blood which require more blood than their bodies produce. They are in search of their lifemates who are then infected with their nanos. But then again JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood vamps are sensual alpha males who are sex on legs. And Bones of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series is an awesome bad boy with a heart of gold (for Cat anyway).

    Glad you participated in this event as you are a new to me author. I love the “Humanity is overrated” line on the front of your Scent and Shadows. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    WildAboutBones at gmail dot com

  2. wanda flanagan

    I have to agree with WAB comment the Argeneaus and the Black Dagger Brotherhood are definately favorites of mine as well.I also love the vampires in Kresley Coles Immortals After Dark.HonestlyIve never met a book I didnt like and a vamp I didnt love lol.Happy Holidays


  3. Cathy P

    I like good vampires with the romantic theme. Don’t like bad vampires. I have read about vampires in the Sookie Stackhouse novels and 3 books that were written by Kimberley Raye that I loved.


  4. clarbojahn

    I have always loved vampires and would love to be counted in for this give away. I was a fan of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for all the series. And repeats.

    Thank you for this give away.
    Cbowmanjahn at yahoo dot com

  5. SandyG265

    I’m pretty flexible in what I want to read in a vampire story. I’ll read anything from the vampire as the good guy love interest to classic vampire tales where the vampire is a souless monster.

    sgiden at verizon.net

  6. Viki S.

    I have to go along with Lyndsay Sands’ Argeneau Series. Lara Adrian and Alexandra Ivy’s vamps are pretty darn good too :). I also enjoy Cheyenne McCray’s not so nice vamps. So I guess I’m good with them all just depends on my mood :).

  7. Angela

    My favorite attribute of the vampire is their immortality. I love that most are hundreds of years old so its like they know first hand what life was like way back when.

    birthdaywish at gmail dot com

  8. StacieD

    I love the gracefulness and sophistication of vampires. Many vampire stories are about a vampire with a tortured soul who has shunned love. I love to see how meeting the right person brings back their passion for living (or not living as the case may be).

  9. tammy ramey

    i think my favorite attributes are: dark,dangerous,sexy,shape-shifters(sometimes),charismatic,need us to survive,and according to all the books/movies i have read/seen when they love it is for eternity.
    some of my favorite themes are the need to redeem themselves, love story,good vs evil, and just plain old paranormal sexiness in a book.

    what’s not to love? LOL!


  10. Barbara

    I admit it…I’m a sucker (no pun intended?) for the ‘redemption of the bad boy’ and ‘love conquers all’ themes! Don’t care much for the ‘politics’ vampire or otherwise. As far as attributes go…tall, dark, sexy, mysterious, cocky, ALPHA, strong, smart, passionate…and a little bit a ‘bad’. Oh, and knows how to fill out a pair of low slung faded jeans ;)


  11. June M.

    The variety of vamps is one thing that I love about the creatures. Each author creates their own worlds and characters, from fun, good vamps to those who are darker, more intense (yet still good deep down). I don’t generally go for the blood thirsty vamps but that’s about all I don’t love. I love that each series is totally unique.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  12. MJB

    I don’t mond if some of the tried and true tropes show up in vamp books as long as I’m wowed by how the author handles the world building and how the vampires came to be. I’m a huge fan of BDB for this reason, as well as Shiloh Walker’s Hunters.
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  13. Wilma

    I enjoy all types of vampires. Those in Lindsay Sand’s Argeneau series are modern, amusing and trying to to fit with humankind, yet Christine Feehan’s Carpathian Mountains Vampires Series show them as men whom accept that they’re vampires, whom fight their own nature into becoming the destined evil of their nature. So yes they are different, but they both fulfill and even out the need for funny and amusing and thrills and chills.

  14. Robin

    I love Christine Feehan’s vampire series. Her alpha males are just plain hot. These books got me started reading paranormal romances.

  15. Kimberley Coover

    I love a book with conflict ( inner conflict) vampire trying to fight the evil within, control the beast, not lose his humanity. I also love it when there is humor and love.

    kcnrhtx (at) charter (dot) net

  16. sue brandes

    I love variety. I do love a tormented bad guy vampire trying to be good.

  17. Yadira A.

    I agree vampires are very versatile and that’s one of the reasons why I love them. I’m a bit afraid of getting burned out by them since there are so many authors writing them into their stories these days, but so far so good (it also helps to take breaks now and then and read something a little less paranormal:). Happy New Year!!!


  18. LadyVampire

    One of the great things about vampires are that their are no set rules about them. Every author has there own spin on vampires and I find it fun to read all the different versions.