Mandy's Musings

Ramblings of romance author Madeline Baker/Amanda Ashley

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Children of the Night

Some people love them. Some people hate them. Anne Rice reawakened our fascination with them. Lori Herter gave them a romantic twist. Yes, I'm talking about vampires. Not the blood-sucking fiendish ones who send shivers of fear down our spines, but those dark tortured heroes who give us shivers of another kind.

I can remember how entranced I was when I read Interview With a Vampire, yet how disappointed I was that Anne's vampires were unable to make love. All that charm and charisma, all that raw sexuality, going to waste! Then along came Nancy Gideon's hero in Midnight Kiss. He was everything I wanted in a vampire - he was handsome, mysterious, sexy, lonely, haunted, with just the right blend of danger and tenderness. Oh, yes, I loved him!

About the time I was falling in love with children of the night, I reached a point in my career where I felt I needed a break from writing western historicals. As vampires were much on my mind at the time, I wrote a short story titled MASQUERADE for an anthology titled THE TOPAZ MAN PRESENTS SECRETS OF THE HEART.

As it turned out, a short story wasn't enough, and so I wrote EMBRACE THE NIGHT. And thus Amanda Ashley was born. The back cover copy says:
Master of Darkness
A creature doomed to wander the earth in eternal darkness, he searched the ages for someone to share the endless night of his existence, for that one woman who would recognize the man within the monster.
Mistress of Light
An angel of purity and sunlight, she feared the mysterious stranger whose eyes promised endless ecstasy even as he whispered dark secrets she dared not believe.
They were two people longing for fulfillment, braving the danger of a love like no other. Alone, they faced desolation and despair; together, they would share undying passion, defy eternity, and EMBRACE THE NIGHT.

When I began researching vampires, I discovered there were many myths and beliefs that I’d never heard of before. One of the things that makes writing about vampires so much fun is that you can pick and choose the characteristics you want to use and ignore the rest. Some of my vampires cast a reflection, some don't. Some can move about during the hours of daylight, some can’t; some are repelled by crosses, some aren’t. Half the fun of writing about ghosts, vampires, and other paranormal creatures is the freedom to let your imagination run wild.

In my book, DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT, I came up with the supposition that vampires were not native to Earth at all, but were outcasts from a distant planet.
In my book, MOONLIGHT, my hero was to be a sacrifice to a vampire goddess. Instead of dining on him, she gave him the Dark Gift.

The main thing to remember in writing about a vampire hero is that he must be sympathetic and romantic and still dangerous. Dark and tortured by what he is, separated from the rest of humanity by a secret he cannot share, he still yearns for love, for that one woman who can see past the monster to the man inside. The heroine, of course, is both attracted and repelled by what he is, and always aware that loving this man could be hazardous, even fatal. When a vampire hero says he'll love you forever, he means it!



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