Vanquishing Vampires: Guest Chat with Monica (deathofcool)

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Lana: I'm here today with Monica, a.k.a. @deathofcool, and we're chatting all about Vampires and how to put your own twist on incorporating them into your paranormal novel.

Monica: Hello, I'm Monica. I write the Blood Magic Saga (Bleeder, Letters From New York, Ruler) and a few other random things on Wattpad. By day, I'm an editor and journalist. I'm also a lifelong, unrepentant genre junkie and monster lover, with vampires being way up there on the top of my personal creature heap.

Lana: Haha! I think we have that in common.

Lana: Okay, so lately vampires have been a pretty hot commodity on the writing landscape. What advice would you have for someone who wants to tackle the bloodthirsty beasts but still put their own unique spin on the subject?

Monica: If it's important for you to be unique in your storytelling, you have to devote time to reading and exploring what's already out there. Or, at the very least, to understanding what the tropes of the genre/monster you're writing are, so you know how/where to subvert them. But let's assume if you're coming to write a vampire story it's because you already read and like vampire fiction. Then I would say, look for that thing in your story that makes it different from all the ones you have read before (be it a character, character trait, the way you combine genres, or how you design your vampires - evil, sexy, scary, etc.) and build on that. People have been writing "modern" vampire stories for nearly 200 years now, so nothing involving bloodsuckers is going to be wholly original at this point, but there are still ways to twist and explore the mythology, and combine it with other mythologies, to forge something new.

Lana: I like that take on it! I think my favorite tip that I use is to scour history. There are tons of fun ways to tweak historical events to suit the inclusion of vampires--especially in something like urban fantasy or a novel set in present times. While we're on the topic, Monica, what are some of your favorite vampire novels, TV shows or movies to draw inspiration from?

Monica: I absolutely LOVE vampire stories and read and watch tons of them. I grew up with the vampires of Salem's Lot and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series, then later it was Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV and Vampire the Masquerade - Bloodlines on the computer, all the way up to the YA vampire explosion, which resulted in a lot of derivative stuff, but also great things such as Scott Westerfeld's Peeps, The Vampire Academy (book series not film) and Alyxandra Harvey's series. And, of course, there are the films: The Lost Boys, Near Dark, Daybreakers, Let the Right One In (original, not remake), Midnight Son, I could go on and on...

Lana: I LOVE Scott Westerfield. *.* The Uglies Trilogy is one of my favorite series ever. Why that wasn't a part of the dystopia hype, I will never understand. I also have to add the Morganville Vamps as a YA series that does it insanely right. Though, I will admit I didn't like Let the Right one in. I have a thing about killer children. It's just a thing. Hence, my issues with the Hunger Games.

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