I currently have two vampire romances out with the The Wild Rose Press in their ‘Black Rose’ line, set–at least in part–during the Civil War period.
I grew up watching the Dark Shadows daytime soap back in the sixties and early seventies and that show influenced me as a writer. I always wanted to write a vampire story, and did write a few amateur stories as a teen. Of course, these early stories never saw the light of day.
I read Dracula by Bram Stoker and later, as an adult, Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice, as well as many later romance stories featuring alternate versions of vampires, where writers put their own spin on the old legends that inspired Bram Stoker’s classic. I researched where these creatures first appeared in folklore, so I could finally realize my dream to feature a vampire in my romances.
Early vampire legends didn’t portray them as the beguiling creatures we see in popular modern fiction. Even before the term ‘Vampire’ was coined, stories existed of creatures with abilities and characteristics we equate with vampires. Legends and myths date back to the early Greeks and Romans. These creatures drank the blood of the living to sustain their existence.
The Goddess Hecate’s daughter was said to be a vampire-like creature. Empusa would appear as a beautiful young woman, seducing men so she could feast on their blood. She also drank young children’s blood.
European’s also had legends of vampire-like creatures. But these vampires were said to be half-decomposed and repugnant creatures, nothing like the seductive beings we think of. These vampires were said to be more akin to living corpses, crawling from their graves to find victims. Of course, no living person ever saw these creatures roaming about. It took an unexpected occurrence, like the untimely death of a person or animal to confirm their existence.
When someone died and others started to also die with symptoms like strange bleeding, rumors spread that the newly dead had risen from the grave and was feasting on the living. Corpses would be exhumed and any sign, such as bloating of the body or blood running from the mouth, would be enough to convince the villagers that they had a vampire running amok. The cure for this was to drive a stake through the corpse’s heart to stop his nightly rampages.
In 1897, author Bram Stoker took these legends and wove them into his tale, Dracula. In Stoker’s story, Dracula was seductive and powerful. Women immediately would fall under his spell. This classic novel changed the image of the vampire for all time.
Today, although we know vampires are only the stuff of fiction, we see them as emotional and sentimental creatures who truly hate the demon forces that compel them to harm others.
For more info on vampires, visit these sites: http://halloweenexpress.com/history-of-vampires.php
Visit my website for info on my two vampire stories: http://susanmacatee.com/myvampireromances.html