Monday, August 8, 2011

Settings for Vampire Tales by guest blogger India Masters

In thinking about vampire paranormals for this blog post, one of the first things that popped into my mind was setting. Now, a vampire story can be set anywhere but think about the settings you remember. What made them stand out?

Interview With A Vampire by Ann Rice was set in New Orleans. Lestat the hedonistic vampire who revels in his immortality and Louie who despises it. And the story is set against the backdrop of plantation life. Louis is the wealthy master with his frightened slaves who know exactly what he’s become. Blood and sex and magic. If that’s not New Orleans I don’t know what is.

This is where I choose to set my vampire stories. There’s just something about the history of New Orleans that lends itself to a good vampire novel. The decay appeals to me. As does the way New Orleanians revel in it. Patch the crumbling plaster? Heck no, let the brick show through. The city becomes a character in the story because it’s one of the oldest and most eclectic cities in the United States. Founded in 1718, the Crescent City is old enough that it’s not impossible to believe any number of strange goings on may have occurred there—everything from voodoo to witchcraft to vampires and werewolves. I mean, they call their cemeteries cities of the dead. What better setting for a paranormal than New Orleans?

Let’s not forget the original vampire, Count Dracula. Bram Stoker published that book back in 1897. The setting was a crumbling castle in the Carpathian Mountains somewhere on the border of Transylvania. Another ancient, historical setting if there ever was one. I never got into any of the Dracula movies until 1979 when Frank Langella portrayed the seductive Count. There hasn’t been a serious challenger since then, IMHO.

Of course, we can’t forget the Twilight movies and another really great setting for vampires. A small sparsely populated town in the Pacific Northwest where it’s almost always overcast if it’s not raining. The town is surrounded by mountains and there are any number of national and state parks around to provide the seclusion one needs to hunt. Whatever one hunts.

Other mentions, of course, are the Underworld movies and the Sookie Stackhouse Southern vampire series. Again, Louisiana comes into play with the southern vampire books. If you’ve spent any time in the beautiful state of Louisiana, you can’t deny there’s a certain mystery to the place—especially if you’ve ever ventured into bayou country. It’s beautiful and enigmatic, and a little creepy with the Spanish moss, the gators, all manner of snakes, and the nutria screaming in the night. A person could easily get lost in the bayous and never be seen again. Seems like a good vampire or werewolf setting to me.

If anyone asked me what was the most important aspect of an romantic erotic vamp story, I’d have to say—after the romance itself—it’s setting. As is true of my previous comment about New Orleans being a character in my stories, the setting of a vampire novel should, in my opinion, have some aspect of threat to it. New Orleans has that reputation of “be careful where you go.” I’ll add the caveat that all major cities contain that aspect of threat, which is why they can almost seem like characters in and of themselves. It doesn’t matter if your vampire lives in a crumbling castle in Transylvania or a luxury loft Belltown. Each lair can hold that air of threat. Anything could be lurking in that crumbling castle but the luxury loft can be just as frightening simply because of what isn’t there. Perhaps it’s cold, sterile, with no sense of human warmth, no hint that anyone remotely human lives there. But a monster could live there just as easily as in the ancient castle high in the Carpathian Mountains.

I’ve written two vampire novels thus far, with a sequel to one planned and another one I’d considered setting in Seattle. Maybe. No matter where I think I want to set a paranormal, New Orleans always seems to call my name. And why shouldn’t she? She’s beautiful and bawdy and steeped in a history that leads visitors to think anything goes. Sometimes it does. And isn’t that pretty much the erotic essence of a vampire?

Blurb for Eternal Soulmate:

When Olivia Sheppard left the service, she had no idea what to do with her life. She never thought she’d wind up as head of security, and so much more, for trendy club owner and international mystery man Noah Lazarus. Breaking her rule of non-fraternization with the boss, Olivia and Noah begin a torrid affair.

Steamy sex isn’t enough to win a woman like Olivia, and Noah knows it. But he’s compelled to win her. Unfortunately, he has a secret, one that may cost Olivia her life. What he doesn’t know is whether Olivia can love and accept him for who he is. Or whether he can keep her alive long enough to prove that love can last for all eternity.

Author bio:
India Masters

India Masters was born and raised in a small coastal town in Florida, where she learned to love surf fishing, boating, and anything to do with the outdoors and water. She has been happily single since the mid-’90s with no plans to rectify the situation. She has a twenty-two-year-old daughter whom she refers to as the coolest person currently breathing on Earth.

India is a multi-published author and recently finaled third in the Great Expectations writing contest in the erotica category. She is a retired social worker who has worked in community mental health, corrections, addictions and child welfare. She has an undergrad degree in Forensic Pathology and recently earned her Master’s of Science in Psychology.

 Giveaway! India Masters will pick a lucky commenter to win a copy of her book. DON'T forget your e-mail address so we can contact you. Winner will be chosen tomorrow.


mj said...

Thanks for a great post. Vamps are my fav in paranormal books. I agree that New Orleans is a great backdrop. I also like the Carpathian mountains. I didn't think much about them until I started reading Christine Feehan's books.
I hope I win your book; it looks great!
marajbrandon AT gmail DOT com

DANIELA said...

This was an interesting post.
I can't say I pay much attention to the settings, but it definitely plays an important part of a story.
Thanks also for the giveaway.

dany7578 at hotmail dot com

Annie Nicholas said...

The winner was Mara! Congrats.

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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