History of vampires and vampire lore

Fangs For the Memories (Thoughts on Writing Vampires)


I saw my first vampire when I was very little. It was Bela Lugosi in Universal Pictures’ 1931Dracula. I remember sprawling on the floor in front of the television absolutely terrified – and mesmerized – by Dracula’s eyes. And I also recall the line, “I never drink … wine.” I didn’t really understand the implication at that young age, but I loved it because it was full of mystery and terror. And I love it to this day. 

Fast forward a couple of years. I checked a copy of Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula, out of the local library. I was very young, and needless to say, the book was completely over my head and it would be years before I bought my own copy and finished it. But that first time I did read as far as the part where Jonathan Harker sees the count climbing up the side of the castle wall … and I never forgot it. That scene painted such a vivid image in my mind – a picture that was in equal parts beautiful and terrifying – that to this day, I still want to capture that kind of power and strength in my own writing. I believe that was the moment my writer’s mind began to take shape. 

As I grew up, I continued to sink my teeth into vampire fiction, both in books and on screen, taking in all the variations, loving some, hating others. I still do that to this day. One of my very favorites is The Lost Boys. One I’d rather forget involves sparkly vampires. And there’s so much in between, from George R.R. Martin’s oft-overlooked historical novel about a vampire on a riverboat, Fevre Dream, to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Francis Ford Coppola’s peculiar take on the count, not to mention The Simpsons’ hysterical parody of that movie in one of its Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials. The moment you see Mr. Burns as Coppola’s vision of Dracula, you fully understand the oddness of that movie.


Having absorbed so much vampire lore, I wanted to to create my own vampiric mythology and when I began The Crimson Corset several years later, my goals were humble. I wasn’t trying to recreate Dracula, nor was it my intention to veer so far off the beaten path that my vampires would be unrecognizable. I wanted to put my own spin on the monsters while maintaining a firm respect for tradition, and thanks to many hours of research, and a long mental backlog of reference material, I think I succeeded.

The vampires of Crimson Cove are as beautiful as they are deadly. They have many of the human qualities we associate with the vampires of today, but they also have the bloodlust of their predecessors. With such a vast reservoir of vampire mythology already out there, I decided to make my monsters just one of many existing genotypes. Think of all the human variations in existence. Some races are built to handle the sun, others, extreme cold, and yet other tribes need northern fog to thrive. Some clans are small and wiry and able to live in jungles while others are so tall they tower over the average human. It’s all about evolution in humanity, and I decided it’s the same for vampires because I love so many of the myths that I couldn’t bring myself to discount all but a few. (Except for the sparkly ones; those were pretty easy to discount because they veered so far away from the traditional archetype.) 

Vampires are, along with ghosts, the most beloved supernatural creature ever spoken of around campfires. Vampire costumes, like the ghostly white sheet, have survived well over a century as the thing to wear on All Hallow’s Eve. They’re here to stay because we love them enough to allow them to evolve along with our cultures. They excite our imaginations … and our libidos. And of course, they terrify us.