Friday, November 8, 2019

Meredith Allard's Favorite Fiction Vampires

After a student of mine handed me Twilight, I started reading about vampires for the first time. I had always avoided reading horror fiction since I’m not into scary things, and to me vampires qualified as scary things. In my mind, vampires and horror were one and the same, but Twilight helped me realize that vampires didn’t have to be scary. 

With my new interest in vampires, I began watching True Blood when it was on HBO. 

With Twilight and True Blood on my mind, I was inspired to start writing my own vampire stories, beginning with Her Dear and Loving Husband, Book One of the Loving Husband Trilogy. Then the Loving Husband Trilogy inspired a prequel, Down Salem Way. I’ve enjoyed many of the vampire books I’ve read, so it’s hard to narrow down my list of favorite literary vampires to ten. But I do have a few who stand out from the crowd.

1. James Wentworth from the Loving Husband Trilogy.

Okay, I know it seems a little self-serving to have my own vampire at the top of this list, but James really is my favorite. As a fan said to me, James isn’t dark and moody like so many literary vampires. He’s trying to live as normally as he can despite being 300+ years old. Down Salem Way, the prequel to the Loving Husband Trilogy, gives us a glimpse into his human life during the Salem Witch Trials and before you know who gets a hold of him.

2. Louis from Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice

There is something about the inherent humanness of Louis that drew my attention from the beginning of this story. As he’s telling his tale in the interview to the young reporter, he’s conflicted about his life as a vampire, and I liked that about him. I liked that he hadn’t given himself over entirely to the animal-like vampire nature. Louis strikes me as reluctant to entirely let go of being human, which is perhaps why he needed to tell his story. I think this is when I first realized that a vampire might have a conscience. It’s probably not a coincidence that my own vampire, James Wentworth, is also conflicted about his vampire nature.

3. Lestat from Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

I had to give Lestat a nod here. He is certainly a fascinating character in his own right.

4. Dracula from, well, Dracula by Bram Stoker

To be fair, Dracula himself is a meanie so in that respect I don’t like him all that much. But he’s so smooth, so suave, so enigmatic, and the way he sneaks around to accomplish his dastardly deeds is rather entrancing, to me and to the characters who share their blood (willingly or not) with the aristocratic vampire. I also loved Stoker’s storytelling, the way he tells the tale using newspaper clippings and diary entries. You can see how that influenced the Loving Husband Trilogy and Down Salem Way because I also used fictional primary sources to tell the tales.

5. Bill from True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels

My Loving Husband Trilogy exists because of Bill (or Stephen Moyer, the actor who plays him, whichever comes first). There’s an episode early in the first season of True Blood (I think it’s episode four but don’t quote me) where vampire Bill is giving a talk at Sookie’s grandmother’s church. Someone shows Bill a picture of his family from his human days before the American Civil War, and Bill becomes so emotional at the remembrance of them. That scene inspired Her Dear & Loving Husband. Here’s this vampire who has everything humans only dream of—extraordinary strength, immortal life—and yet he becomes so emotional at the sight of the ones he loved as a human. I read Dead Until Dark, the first of the Sookie Stackhouse books, and I enjoyed it. Dead Until Dark is a quick, fun read told from Sookie’s point of view. If you were a fan of the show you should read the books.

6. Edward from Twilight

I’m compelled to give Edward a nod because if I hadn’t read the Twilight books I wouldn’t have given vampires a second thought. Twilight was the catalyst for my interest in vampires, which led me to write the Loving Husband Trilogy. It’s fair to say that without Edward, James Wentworth wouldn’t exist, the thought of which makes me very sad indeed. So thank you, Edward.

7. Matthew from A Discovery of Witches

I love the witch aspect of A Discovery of Witches, and the fact that Matthew’s love interest, Diana, is related to Bridget Bishop, one of those accused and hanged for witchcraft in Salem in 1692. Of course, the Salem Witch Trials play a huge role in Her Dear and Loving Husband and an even bigger role in the prequel, Down Salem Way. I thought it was an interesting twist that Bridget is a real witch in A Discovery of Witches. I loved reading this novel because I could see elements of the Loving Husband Trilogy in it, from the women’s connections to the Salem Witch Trials, to vampire professors, to spending a lot of time in a university library, to two unlikely beings falling in love despite the challenges. I’m glad I didn’t read this until after I wrote Her Dear & Loving Husband or else I would have worried about where I got my ideas from.

8. Carmilla from Carmilla

Not many people are familiar with Sheridan Le Fanu’s gothic novel from 1897 about a lesbian vampire who preys on young women, but it’s a great example of late-Victorian vampire literature. I’ve heard there’s a film version of Carmilla out there somewhere, but I haven’t seen it yet. 

9. Joshua York from Fevre Dream

I bet you didn’t know that George R. R. Martin wrote a vampire thriller in 1982 called Fevre Dream. It’s set in a steamboat the Mississippi River and it’s a great read for Martin’s fans.

10.  Amy Harper Bellafonte from The Passage

The Passage by Justin Cronin is one of my all-time favorite vampire books because it’s so different than the others. There’s a virus on the loose that gives its victims immortality—and bloodlust. Amy has the virus but she’s not after blood like the other vampires, which makes me like her very much.

Down Salem Way
Prequel to Loving Husband Trilogy
Meredith Allard
Genre: historical/paranormal/sweet romance
Publisher: Copperfield Press

Date of Publication: 6/25/2019

ISBN: paperback 978-0578500645


Number of pages: 336
Word Count: 93,000

Cover Artist: LFD Designs

Book Description:

How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?

In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.

But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?

Down Salem Way is the long-awaited prequel to the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy.


“Would you like a lesson?” I asked.
“Aye,” Lizzie said. “Thank you.”           
Lizzie has progressed well in her reading. And quickly too. I believe our nightly lessons help bond us more quickly than we might have otherwise since our readings prompt long discussions where we learn much about each other. After we read the rest of the passage together, I did the impossible: I cajoled my wife into reading aloud on her own.
“No one has such a lovely voice as you,” I said.
Lizzie laughed. “You think your sweet tongue will persuade me to read alone? When you are such a learned man?” She turned away, her cheeks flushed.
“But you know how I love listening to you speak. Tis like hearing a serenata by Alessandro Stradella.”
I reached for our favorite volume of poetry. “Tis time, Lizzie. Read to me.”
Lizzie turned the book in her hands, over and over. Finally, she nodded. She tentatively opened the book. “What would you like to hear?”
“You know.”
Lizzie’s smile rivals the brightest sunshine. She opened to the page, exhaled, and read, haltingly, with pauses, some from a struggle to sound out or recall the words, some from embarrassment that she read alone. After the first two lines, her voice grew in confidence.
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Lizzie closed the book. “Tis true, you know.”
“What is?” I asked.
“This poem, To My Dear and Loving Husband. Tis as though everything I feel for you has been written here, by this woman, a magistrate’s wife I’ll never meet. You are…” Lizzie blushed, hot along her jaw. I touched her cheek and lifted her head so I could see into her eyes. “If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. That is how…”
“Tis all right, Lizzie. You can tell me anything.”
“That is how I feel about you. You are my dear and loving husband, James Wentworth.”
I knelt before Lizzie, pressing her hand to my lips.
“I knew the moment I saw you over the supper table that you were the one for me. I cannot imagine waking up every morning for the rest of my life without looking into your beautiful eyes. I cannot imagine walking through this world without knowing that you were here waiting for me. I cannot imagine having the strength to breathe without you. You are my dear and loving wife, Elizabeth Wentworth. And I love you. I shall never leave you. Ever.”
            I swept my wife into my arms and carried her away.

About the Author:
Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical love story The Loving Husband Trilogy and the sweet Victorian romance When It Rained at Hembry Castle, named a best historical novel of 2016 by IndieReader. Meredith's latest release is Down Salem Way, the long-awaited prequel to The Loving Husband Trilogy set around the Salem witch hunts. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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1 comment:

Meredith Allard said...

Thank you for hosting me today!