Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ten Things About The Tale of the Vampire Bride

Recently, my gothic vampire novel, THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE, has been doing quite well in the Kindle format and gaining quite a devoted following. I noticed a lot of people have been coming to this blog to find out about the sequel, THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE. Be rest assured that I am working on the sequel and it is coming along quite well. I am currently writing chapter 22 and about 82, 000 words into the novel. I believe I am about 3/4 of the way to the end of the book, so there is a chunk of story left to write.

This post is all about the first book, so if you have yet to read THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE, you may want to stop reading now and come back after you've read the novel. For the rest of the fans, I put together some information about the book I thought you might enjoy.

1. THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE is not a paranormal romance. It was written as a gothic horror piece. That it consistently hovers in the top 100 Kindle books under Romance>Vampires leaves me a bit speechless.
Example of tonight's ranking:#64 in Books > Romance > Vampires
I'm not sure how the book got tagged this way, but I certainly didn't do it. I wouldn't even know how to write a romance novel. I do know that the definition of a romance novel is that the story is primarily centered on the romance between the hero and the heroine and the plot is secondary. Lady Glynis' story is one about independence and the fight to attain freedom. It has elements of romance in it, but it is secondary to her battle against Dracula to be free.

I strongly suspect that the novel's labeling has caused some confusion among readers and for that I am sorry. It makes me feel bad when someone picks up the book expecting a paranormal romance novel and ends up with a gory, bloody, horrific tale of vampires.

One more thing, the title TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE, basically translates into "The story of a woman Dracula makes into a vampire." I have watched a ton of old vampire flicks and I liked how the women that were made into vampires were always called "the Brides of Dracula." It felt rather scandalous that he had so many women at his beck and call. I did not anticpate that this would be mistranslated into the literal idea of a bride (as in a woman getting married). My big oops!

This kind of Bride.

2. The story was conceived out of a very vivid dream I had after reading Bram Stoker's DRACULA. In fact, the first chapter of the novel is my dream in its entirety. I woke up just as the carriage arrived at the castle and Dracula made his appearance. I was so excited and intrigued by the dream, I immediately started writing the story.

3. Originally, the book was written in third person. I had never written in first person before and it was not a comfortable fit. I wrote about three chapters in first person and was so uncomfortable with the intimacy of the voice of the lead character, Glynis, I rewrote it in third person. I wrote nearly the whole book in third person before my vampire muse shut up leaving me high and dry. I had no idea how the book was supposed to end and I was stuck. I put aside the novel for nearly eight years before rewriting it in first person. It was only then that I found out how the story ended.

4. I did not want to write about Dracula and attempted to make Glynis' creator be another vampire. This effort failed miserably. I realized that a lot of the power of the story was because she was the Bride of Dracula and eventually, Countess Dracula. I finally gave in and heavily researched Dracula. I reread Stoker's DRACULA and several books on the real Vlad Tepes. I watched every Dracula movie I could get my hands on and several non-fiction books that discussed the fictional character and his longevity in fiction. Yet, I struggled to find my own version of Dracula. It wasn't until I read the story of Vlad Tepes killing a woman for not mending her husband's shirt that I had my "a-ha!" moment. I finally understood the nature of Glynis' vampire master. He is a man who has very distinct opinions on what is proper and right and if someone violates his stringent rules, he has no issue killing them. Coupled with the elegance of Bela Lugosi's Dracula, the charisma and brutality of Christopher Lee's Dracula, and the classic manipulative personality of a sociopath, I had my Dracula.

The three Brides of Dracula are never named in Stoker's novel. Therefore, I named them, not once, but three times. I kept changing their names until I found ones that "fit." I also adhered to Stoker's description of the three women: one blond, two brunette. I reread the scene with the three women several times, always feeling there was a rich history behind their words. Their taunting, mocking laughter against Vlad became an important part of my story. They sounded like bitter, scorned women. Also, it was clear that the blond Bride was the leader of the three. Therefore, Cneajna became the Hungarian aristocrat while the brunettes were poor country women Vlad had made into vampires.

6. Erzsebt, the fourth Bride of Dracula and the mysterious Countess Dolingen of Gratz, is based on a character in Stoker's short story Dracula's Guest. The short story was the original first chapter of DRACULA, but was left out of the published novel. I was intrigued by the strange woman in the mausoleum and the iron stake driven through the top of it. In my story, the iron stake keeps Erzsebet in eternal punishment for attempting to leave Vlad Dracula. It is obvious that they had a grand love affair that went terribly wrong. Erzsebet becomes a symbol to Lady Glynis of what happens to the women that defy Vlad. I still have big plans for her, though she does die in Stoker's short story.

7. Though some readers have complained about the brutality of the novel, this was done on purpose. I agonized over each scene that showed the horror of Dracula. The brutality of Dracula was an important part of the story and the Brides' reaction to it was as well. In one (very hard to write) scene, Glynis is raped before the sisters. They ignore her and chide her later for not giving in to their "husband." Glynis firmly believes in her right as a human being to choose her own way in life. That she is regarded by Vlad as his property angers her. That her vampire sisters do not share her beliefs wounds her deeply. Another rape scene was about the act being about Vlad's power over her and how her body is regarded as a vessel for his pleasure. Later in the book, where Glynis finally chooses to enjoy her sexuality and makes love to Ignatius, the scene is the complete opposite of the prior rape scene. This was done on purpose. So...though some of the scenes were hard to write, they were all part of the much bigger picture.

8. Though people keep saying the novel is a Victorian story, it actually is not. It takes place in 1819 at the tail end of the Regency era. Jane Austen is Lady Glynis' contemporary. This is a prequel to Stoker's DRACULA and takes place probably around 60 years before Van Helsing kills Dracula (or does he?).

9. There is no love triangle in THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE. Shocking to some readers, yet true. I never had any intention of there being Team Dracula or Team Ignatius. To me, it was plainly obvious that Glynis fell madly in love with Ignatius. It was also clear to me that she is tangled up in the dark power of Dracula and wants to be free of him. Dracula is a cruel, but very clever sociopath and becomes quite adept toward the end of the book at manipulating Glynis. I found it quite frightening how he began to reshape himself into a new persona to trap her strong will in his power. I studied Stockholm Syndrome at length to create the vampire master/fledgling bond and this quote from wikipedia really sums it up nicely.

In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness.

As emails hit my inbox expressing hope that Vlad rises from his grave and recaptures Glynis, I have come to the conclusion that I have inadvertently given us all Stockholm Syndrome! I have to say I underestimated the power of Count Vlad Dracula! But...there is no love triangle.

10. I suspect there are around 4 or 5 novels in the Vampire Bride series. I'm not really sure. I do feel the first two books are really solid in their story and I probably won't be in a rush to jump to the third book. I want to make sure I have a really good story before I plunge onward in the series. I have tentative ideas for each book, but they will need to be fleshed out.

And a freebie...

Glynis' story has been optioned for a possible TV show. The producer and I plan to work on the script and hope to sell it as a limited TV series based on the first two books. I will keep you informed of any progress, but we probably won't be moving forward in the near future.

In closing, I hope to have the second book out before the end of the summer and I do plan to self -publish it at this time. My husband and I have also decided to change the cover of the first book due to the confusion it has caused some readers. We have been told it appears to be a young adult book on multiple occasions. We plan to commission new artwork for the first book and the second book in the near future.

As always, I am always open to the readers thoughts and I would love to hear them. Please feel free to email me or leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Im niether Team Dracula or Team Ignatius.....I am TEAM VLAD!!! On a serious note, I had no idea that you shelved this book for eight years. I gues it was for the better since it has become in my eyes a masterpiece.


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