Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where Do Vampires Come From: Guest Blog with Gina Maxwell

For as long as parents have been making up strange explanations to the awkward question “Where do babies come from?” paranormal authors have been conjuring their own interpretations to the question of “Where do vampires come from?”

In my opinion, creating a plausible supernatural world is not an easy task that should be taken lightly. It’s not enough for the author to just say that the impossible simply is. I want to know how and why it is. To create plausible fiction is to suspend one’s disbelief. In other words, make the impossible sound possible.

Today I’d like to share with you a couple of my favorite examples of authors creating extremely unique origins for their vampires. These women didn’t settle for the stereotypical explanations, nor did they go anywhere near them. They did, however, come up with ideas that prompted me to mutter a very ineloquent, “Wow. That’s so cool.”

First up is Lara Adrian. Her Midnight Breed series is an exciting ride of danger and alpha-male eroticism. Her vampires are called Breed and hail from a lineage made up of otherworldly aliens that crash landed on our planet thousands of years ago. They were gigantic, vile beasts that basically devoured humans with the exception of the women who they apparently mated with as well. Most of the women died, but a certain number of women had a unique combination of blood and DNA properties that complimented the aliens’. Those women were able to become pregnant and bear (only) sons, which is how the Breed race began. The women that have that unique trait are each marked with a birthmark in the shape of a tear falling into a crescent moon somewhere on her body. While these women have no idea of the Breed or what their role is within the race as a Breedmate, they find out quickly when one of those luscious men discover the birthmark (usually after lusting after said woman, which then scares the man shitless to think he could get seriously tied down if they go any further). I absolutely love it.

My second example absolutely blew me away when I read it. Lynsay Sands has an amazing series called the Argeneau or Rogue Hunter series. Ms. Sands didn’t like the idea of writing romances between humans and dead people, so she made up this elaborate and original back story for her characters that fits perfectly.

In these books, vampires (who refer to themselves as immortals) are actually just regular people who came from the lost city of Atlantis, before it was “misplaced” (i.e. destroyed and now on the bottom of the ocean never to be seen again). The natives of Atlantis were eons ahead of the rest of the world in everything, especially technology. They had created a special type of nano that, when injected into the body, would cure any sickness or damage. What they didn’t count on was the nanos taking their jobs so seriously, they ceased to age past their late-twenties and even what little damage they incurred from the sun on a daily basis was repaired. Another benefit -- they also get to eat as many chocolate bon-bons as they want and never gain a pound! That’s all they’d have to say to sell me on the life! However, the drawback – the nanos need additional blood to keep working, otherwise, they cease to work and the body rapidly deteriorates. How about that for an original vampire? Genius.

Before I leave you today, I’d like to give you a taste of where my vampires come from. It’s from my recently-finished manuscript for my first ever novel, a Paranormal Romance involving angels and of course, vampires. I knew I wanted my vampires to be different in some way, to have their origin be something very much out of the ordinary. So, without further ado, here is an excerpt from my book that begins to explain the origins of my vampires.

Dom crouched on the narrow ledge of the roof of the old apartment building. He instinctively hid in the shadows, allowing the darkness to cloak his large frame and keep him hidden against the night. The frigid wind whipped around him in fierce patterns as though it were angry he was unaffected by its wrath. The sounds far below combined to create the theme song of the city: the constant sounds of the cars fading in and out as they sped by, horns sounding, dogs barking, and people conversing. They bustled to their destinations, blissfully ignorant of his existence and of those like him. They were just as naive as he had been before that fateful night that had plunged him into this world of everlasting darkness.

It was a little over six years since Dom had his lights punched out that night, mercifully sparing him from a life plagued by the guilt of draining the innocent couple in the alley (and who knows how many countless others) had he been allowed to succumb to his bloodlust.

Damien, a centuries-old vampire, had sensed a fledgling vamp consumed with the torments of turning not far from him that night. Damien was also a Hunter and it was his job to track and kill the soulless vampires that terrorized Mortals in the name of their lord and master, Lysander of the Diabolus Umbra.

For reasons Damien couldn't explain, the self-proclaimed loner and honor-bound warrior decided to save Dom that night instead of delivering the swift justice of his broadsword as he normally would have done. After rendering him unconscious he had taken Dom back to his home and gotten him through the rest of the change under his constant supervision and with physical force when necessary.

The process of turning had been horrific. Not only had Dom been consumed by the fires that licked him from within, but in his brief periods of lucidity he had been terrified of Lysander finding Angelica before he could get to her. He had cursed Damien six ways to Sunday during the change for preventing his hasty and irrational rescue mission.

When at last the internal flames of pain no longer scorched his body and hindered his mind, Dom's new mentor had enlightened him with the history of the Dark Race he now belonged to. A race that, up until a week beforehand, he had believed to be the stuff of myths, legends and overactive Hollywood imaginations.

In a million tries he never would have guessed the truth: that vampires, also called Keepers, had been originally created by God to play the shepherds to the humans' role of sheep.

“Most people know of the tragic story of Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve,” Damien had told him. “Cain grew up to be a crop farmer and Abel became a shepherd. The story says that when each of the brothers brought an offering of their labors to God, Abel's blood offering of a fatted lamb was greatly accepted, while Cain's crop offering of wheat was not. Cain became insanely jealous and plotted his younger brother's murder. During an evening walk through the fields, Cain bludgeoned Abel with a large fieldstone and left him for dead. When God saw what had happened he questioned Cain about Abel’s whereabouts, to which he viciously replied, ‘Am I my brother's keeper?’” Damien had paused, taking a drink of the thick, red liquid in his glass before he continued.

“Abel's death at his brother's hands was the first murder in the history of the world. At least it would have been, had that version been entirely accurate.”

“What do you mean it’s not accurate?” Dom had asked.

“In reality Abel was indeed a breath away from death when God appeared to him. He gave Abel a choice. He could take his last breath on Earth and return with Him to the glory of Heaven for all Eternity, or he could take his last breath on Earth as a human and live as an immortal shepherd to help God watch over the human race. Essentially making him ‘his brothers' keeper.’”

I hope you enjoyed this look into the imaginary origins of the vampire as much as I enjoyed writing about it. You can find more excerpts to my book and follow my trials and tribulations as I attempt to get published this year at my blog site

I’d especially like to thank Roxanne for this guest spot on her Fang-tastic blog and giving me the opportunity to reach out to her faithful followers. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend. Ciao!


jacabur1 said...

Thanks Roxanne and Gina for the very interesting look into the origin of vampires from different perspectives. I have read Lara Adrian and Lynsay Sands wonderful books since the beginning of each of these series in the posting and am still amazed with some of the things they have come up with to explain the lineage of their vampire race.
Gina thanks for the excerpt from your very own new PR book, will now check out your web site for all that I have missed out on from you!

jackie b central texas

Chasing the Moon said...

I love it when an author creates a new spin on an old idea! There's only a handful of stand-alone or series that I have read based on Vampires. Reading this post makes me want to devour all of these books! Gina, I'm especially anxious for your story. Thank you for your insight and a sampling of your take on Vampires. I am SO intrigued!

Anonymous said...

Great post today, Gina! By the way -- VERY original take on the origin of vampires in your book. I've heard of them linked to Cain, but never Abel. You go girl!

Gina Leigh Maxwell said...

I'm so glad you all enjoyed my post!

Jackie, I completely agree that those women are ingenious when it comes to their stories. There are lots of other authors that have great ideas as well, but so far those are my favorite. (Besides my own, of course ;) I'm excited to have you as a follower, Jackie. Thanks for checking me out.

Moon, I'm glad I could give you a mouth-watering taste of our vampiric love. :) These books definitely deserve devouring! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Nicole, thanks...for everything.

j.leigh.bailey said...

Gina--I completely agree with you about wanting a unique and plausible explanation for the paranormal, and the two examples you used were great. Your take on vampires is also fabulous and well-thought out. I can't wait to see your completed look. I wish you good luck and a speedy publishing contract!

Becky said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading what was a very interesting look into the origin of vampires from different perspectives.

Gina Leigh Maxwell said...

Thank you, Jenni and Becky. I'm so glad you stopped by and enjoyed my post. Have a great week.

Roxanne Rhoads said...

Hi Gina

Your post was great, sorry I missed stopping in to say hi yesterday I was without internet service again (AT&T sucks).

Good thing I schedule posts several days early otherwise this weekend would have been a bust.

Anyway great post, you are welcome to stop by anytime. Good luck with your WIP.