This panel discussed vampire literature in general. It was moderated by Nancy Kilpatrick (Evolve Two). The participants were Crissy Calhoun (Vampire Diaries companion), Karen Dales (Chosen Chronicles), David Tocher (Evolve Two), Max Turner (Nightrunner Series) and Alyxandra Harvey (The Drake Chronicles Series). It was a very popular panel and was standing room only.
Nancy started off the panel by warning everyone that this panel was a discussion of “real” vampires, not Twilight vampires. Right now, TV shows like True Blood and Being Human are shows that have what she considers “real” vampires.
Nancy asked everyone to describe what type of vampires they have in their stories.
Crissy says that the Vampire Diaries has a new type of vampires but also traditional as well. They all have a broad range of personalities.
Karen says she has traditional vampires in her stories as well. They drink blood and do not like sunlight. What is different in her series is she is creating new vampire origin.
David said that it is hard to do something original in the vampire genre since vampires have been around for so long. However, there are areas where not many writers have written stories in. He wanted to create vampires as bat-like humanoids. His vampires have a social structure like the vampire bat. He also changed how you become a vampire.
Max said the traditional vampire is evil but it has shifted today towards good. He uses vampires as a tool to explore the internal conflict between good and evil.
Nancy said her vampires are all over map. She has written about all types of vampires from romantic vampires to ferocious vampires. She did say that vampires have evolved from predators.
Alyxandra has several different types of vampires in her stories. The vampires in the Drake family are neither good nor evil. It depends on personality. In her books, the Drakes turn 16 and either dies or becomes vampires.
Nancy then asked everyone why their vampires are interesting.
David said there are no good guys or bad guys in his story. He gave the example of the movie Point Break. You can sympathize with both Keanu Reeves’ character and Patrick Swayze’s character. He puts his characters in situations where you root for them.
Karen said that there are no good and evil in her series. In her books, she asks the question: Is he really what he appears to be? In society, there is a sense of otherness among humans. She explores this in her books.
Crissy says the vampires in Vampire Diaries have unstable personalities. There is a moral ambiguity in Vampire Diaries. In the real world, authority figures are normally the heroes. However, the villains in the Vampire Diaries are the authority figures like the sheriff. They see the world in black and white only.
Max said his protagonist is a sweet kid. You can’t help but like him. Max considers vampires as humans with different skill sets. They are “real” vampires and you like to hang out with them.
Alyxandra said there is vampire fatigue right now. Her books have snark in them. Her series is all tongue in cheek.
Nancy then asked what does not work today for vampires.
Alyxandra said long finger nails. She can’t stand them on vampires. Crissy said that the stories or the world which the story takes place has to be interesting. Nancy said she can’t stand lazy writers. Create a world and make your rules consistent. Vampires should be supernatural creatures. You should expect vampires to be hard to handle and defeat since they are hundreds of years old.
Nancy asked for questions from the audience.
One audience member asked when vampires are not vampires. Crissy answered saying when they sparkle. Everyone laughed. Crissy added that Stephanie Myers set out write a romance story. It just happens some of the characters drink blood. Max said that for him, vampires have to tempt and seduce. Vampires also have to drink blood. David said that seduction is more than just sexuality. For example, in the movie Lost Boys, the seduction is to be part of cool gang. To be original, you have to find new ways to seduce. Karen says she has character who is a priest. He seduces the sick for a quick release to die. Nancy said that there are lots of ways predators can pray on us. Some sucks energy out of us. A vampires does not have to suck be blood.
Someone asked David what his take was on vampires who enjoy being evil. David replied saying evil vampires are strong vampires, especially for horror fiction.
An audience member commented that the vampire’s fear of sunlight was really added by Hollywood. In the novel Dracula, he walked in broad daylight. Max said that vampires have to have some weakness in order for you to defeat them. Alyxandra said that the early vampire stories were written in a time when there was no electricity. Sunlight made the world feel safer so the sunlight weakness worked well back then.
Another audience member asked for the panelists’ thoughts on the sexual side of vampire seduction. Crissy said there is lots of romance in Vampire Diaries. Karen has a vampire name Bridget who runs a whorehouse. For Bridget, she uses the seduction for financial advantage. Nancy said that vampires must have a lot of fun seducing humans. It is easy for them to do it since they look like human, unlike other monsters like the werewolf.
Someone wanted to know the panelists’ views on the ugly and ferocious vampire. Alyxandra likes both types of vampires. Karen says she has room for both types of vampires in her books. She has a character who is a very bad vampire. Nancy said that there seems to be a movement now towards the bad vampire. She thinks it is a reaction towards all the romantic vampires currently out there. Max said that villain vampires have to be ferocious. Crissy said that the ferocity was always there in the vampires in Vampire Diaries.
Finally, someone asked what they thought of the concept that the blood sucking vampires do was an addiction. Nancy said it was a good idea.