Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Popularity of Vampires with Tom Olbert and Unholy Alliance Giveaway

So, the old question: Why is vampire fiction so popular in the United States? My father, who is from Eastern Europe once commented: “One stupid story out of Romania. What’s the big deal?”

Since the days of Bela Lugosi, vampirism has of course had a darkly romantic appeal to western audiences. The magical allure of sex coupled with its predatory horrors. Simultaneously tempting and terrifying, it mesmerizes, hypnotizes and drains like an incubus or succubus hovering over the bed of one unable to resist its primal power. It’s a timeless hunger for life that thrives in the darkness and will not be denied.

On the lighter side of romance, the story of a vampire and a mortal in love can be the story of a love so pure it transcends both death and time.

On an even more primal, infantile level, the vampire myth frees us of our own mortality. Maybe that’s why it appeals so much to the young. (Remember the Lost Boys? Sleep all day, party all night, stay young forever.)

But, vampire fiction has its politically allegorical uses, too. Bram Stoker used it to symbolize what he saw as the shining beacon of western civilization driving a stake of Christian enlightenment through the dark heart of paganism. Stephenie Meyer used it to symbolize eternal commitment in a story meant to convey a message of teenage abstinence.

For me, vampirism has been a convenient metaphor for empowerment and revenge. It reverses the food chain, so to speak, empowering the victim to devour the victimizer, the slave to devour the master. As Stephen Sondheim put it in Sweeney Todd: “Those below shall feed on those above.” In a world of human predators who drain the life from their victims in a variety of horrible ways, the vampire can be a dark missionary offering the redemption of revenge as well as immortality.

“Unholy Alliance” was inspired largely by the stories of Andrew Vachss, a master of crime fiction centering on revenge against those who prey on the innocent and defenseless. It was also inspired by films like Eastern Promises and Lilya4ever, both of which dealt with the very real horror of young teenaged girls trafficked as sexual slaves out of the former Soviet Union. In Lilya4ever, the protagonist, a 13-year-old girl abandoned by her mother in Russia, is trafficked to Holland and forced into a tortured existence of drugs and rape. Toward the end of her tragic life, she has a vision in which a young boy appears as her savior angel. The vampire can be a darker angel who raises such a tragically martyred figure to glory and punishes her oppressors.

I’ve written other vampire stories around that general theme, but this is the first time I’ve applied it to a vampire/human teen romance. I wanted to do a story in which transient orphans (vampire and human) who’ve spent the better part of their lives being abused and spat upon, get together and decide they’re not going to take it any more. It’s a revenge story, yes, but the love of the protagonists is what sustains them

Blurb for Unholy Alliance:

Chris is a 16-year-old boy whose life is an endless war against the living dead. Orphaned at the age of 5 when his family was slaughtered by vampires, Chris was "adopted" by the vampire hunters who rescued him, and raised as one of their own. A child soldier driven by hatred and revenge, he has known only battle and killing. His life changes dramatically when, one night, on a routine hunt, he chances to meet Sara, a "teenaged" vampire girl who touches his heart in a way no one ever had before. Their love is an impossible one, and the alliance of necessity that forms between them equally so. They find themselves pitted against dark forces that would exploit or destroy the innocent. The odds are against them, but Chris's greatest battle is within his own soul. He must choose between his love for Sara, and his faith in a greater good...

Would you like to win a pdf copy of
Unholy Alliance by Tom Olbert?

Just leave a comment on this post with
email contact info

One winner will be chosen randomly
Winner Announced on Wednesday June 30

Good Luck


SiNn said...

sounds awesome! deff something i wanna read great post

SiNn said...

forgot my email

Lorrie said...

There are so many ways vampires are portrayed today in both novels, TV and movies. Yours sounds like a refreshing twist.
Thanks for sharing.

She said...

Unholy Alliance sounds good. I like YA stories. Vampire stories will always be with us. There is the sexual aspect and the immortality aspect that we all wonder about. Would I want to be immortal or not?

She said...

Forgot to leave my e-mail address. It's I got a good mind, but it's short.

Estella said...

This story sounds interesting!

kissinoak at verizon dot net

joder said...

Intriguing storyline. The set-up is unique and not what the mythos usually is when we see vampires and I'd love to read this.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Jen said...

Sounds like a great read!

Margaret West said...

I'm not usually intersted in vamp novels as they are done to death mostly. But the twist in yours makes it very interesting.

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

It sounds exciting, would love to read it. It's funny that Not Really Southern Vampire Chick has the same vamp image in her blog button :-)

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Tom Olbert said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Happy reading, and long live paranormal fiction!

Tom Olbert