Chris Marie Green, another of our awesome Knight Agency authors, writes the popular Vampire Babylon series for Ace, which is best described as "noir fantasy-mysteries" featuring a fledgling vamp hunter. I'm very pleased to have her here today talking to us about the origins of some of her interesting inspirations!
Chris Marie Green:
Hi! And thank you to Lucienne for inviting me to blog here today.
Just when I believed that I’d blogged about everything I could regarding vampires, I came upon this subject, and even though it isn’t entirely vamp-related, it has to do with my Ace series, Vampire Babylon, which follows the adventures of a hunting team as they track and vanquish bloodsucker-inhabited undergrounds from Hollywood to London. (The most recent trilogy starts with A DROP OF RED, Book Four, on shelves now! [PLUG!] The entire first Hollywood trilogy, including NIGHT RISING, MIDNIGHT REIGN, and BREAK OF DAWN has already been released, too.)
I have a lot of fun writing these books. First, my characters always inspire me. (How could they not when the team includes an ex stuntwoman turned slayer, a “little person” former actor/present psychic, and a techno-geek ex Mexican soap actress?) Second, vampires have excited my imagination ever since I saw a clip of NOSFERATU on IN SEARCH OF… and got majorly creeped out. Third, I get to create mysteries in this urban fantasy series, and those mysteries often revolve around “scary stories.”
Remember how we used to freak each other out during grade-school slumber parties with those frightening, dark-of-the-night tales? Well, I decided I was going to use a few of them as the basis for some of my books’ plots. So let’s just have our own slumber party, sharing these stories and reveling in the shivers they induce!
Here’s one of those American urban legends that has been proven false, yet every time I look at this picture, I recall how eerie it was to imagine the story behind this screen capture (and this was before the days when we had the quick ability to go on the Internet and inspect everything about the images). In the first THREE MEN AND A BABY, this picture was supposed to show us the faint essence of a boy in the back of the room who had supposedly committed suicide. “The boy” is actually one of those cardboard movie cutouts, but for NIGHT RISING, Vampire Babylon, Book One, I thought, “What if this story was real…and what if it had to do with vampires instead of ghosts?”
Now, this particular story kept me awake plenty of nights. In this building in London’s Berkeley Square, there was supposed to be a force so evil that it would drive people mad. Again, on IN SEARCH OF…, I had seen an episode highlighting this haunted house in Berkeley Square, and it featured a story about two sailors who’d squatted in the abandoned place one night. As I recall, what these guys saw made one of them jump out the window and the other’s face freeze in a permanent mask of fright. I couldn’t resist using this legend in MIDNIGHT REIGN, Book Two, to flesh out a vampire master’s back story and explain just what that evil force might’ve been….
Let’s skip ahead to A DROP OF RED, Book Four, where I used the legend of the Highgate Vampire (link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highgate_Vampire). A terrible entity is said to haunt the evocative Highgate Cemetery, and when I moved my fictional vampire hunting team to London for their second Underground adventure, I just had to utilize the legend. I also visited this cemetery and blocked out a hunting scene.
All in all, my most recent trilogy will contain everything from Countess Elizabeth Bathory (The Blood Countess, who supposedly bathed in the liquid to retain beauty and youth) to Red Riding Hood and other fairy tale elements—wicked stepmother motifs, wolfish vamps, and a lair that resembles a wooded maze. In the book I’m writing now, I’m developing something similar to a Lady in White “thing,” just because a long time ago, I saw a movie featuring a faceless woman with long hair in a flowing white dress at the top of a stairway, and it scared the tar out of me.
But, with vampires, I suppose using fear is highly appropriate. At least for my kind of vamp!
Have a great weekend, and thank you for having me.
BREAK OF DAWN
A DROP OF RED, which begins a second trilogy arc in the Vampire Babylon series, continues the adventures of Dawn Madison and the team.