Sorry I couldn’t resist, I know the title was a bad pun but it seemed funny to me. So Natasha Larry asked me to do a guest post (on vampires no less), so how could I say no? (Thanks Tasha! you rock)
For those who don’t know me my name is Charles O’Keefe. I’ve loved vampire fiction, movies and TV shows since I was about 13. Finally after three previously unsuccessful attempts I managed to write my first first vampire novel. It will be on in April 2012 but for now if you’re curious I have plenty of excerpts and other info here.
Enough promotion though. For me the fascination with vampires has always been their struggle between good and evil. (Obviously I don’t write them as simple soulless monsters.) Just because it is in your nature to drink blood and kill, does that mean you have to do it? Isn’t the point of free will that we all have choices and have to live with the consequences of our actions?
When I wrote “The Newfoundland Vampire” I approached vampires from the standpoint that if you suddenly found yourself a creature of the night, how would you cope with it? I don’t think most people would be able to abandon their morals and conscience, you would just have to find a way to cope with this sudden blood lust.
I think that a good person would find a way to drink blood without killing anyone and would hopefully learn to use his or her powers for good rather than evil. In particular for my character, Joseph, since as a human he was a vegetarian, he would only drink animal blood and not even kill an animal.
My author friend Natasha takes a somewhat similar approach in her book Unnatural Law (in which vampires do play a minor but still significant role). She makes a similar distinction that the move civilized and good vampires only drain psychic energy, while the more savage and brutal ones drain blood (and are called sanguine vampires, as in exsanguinate, clever huh? :-).
While in my book sometimes the lines are blurred and their are exceptions generally a vampire who drains a human (or an animal) of all blood with no feelings of remorse is more of a monster and has lost their humanity so to speak.
My point here is we are not defined by our physical nature (i.e. our genes or DNA) but by the choices we make. Granted we may be inclined to make a choice one way or another but ultimately what makes a person (or vampire) a monster is not what they are but what they do. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy and sometimes you may need to break a few fangs…er I mean rules in order to do it.