Please welcome my guest, M.K. Mancos!
Not Your Grandma’s Vampires
By MK Mancos
Since childhood, I’ve loved the idea of vampires. I sat in front of the television in glazed-eyed wonder as the Universal Monsters wreaked havoc on mankind. Bela Lugosi brought such class and panache to the undead that for a long time he was a hard act to follow.
Over the years, there have been many who have portrayed the Count in all his fiendish glory; Frank Langella and Gary Oldman to name just two. Or how about the hot and sexy star of the short-lived series Moonlight, Alex O’Loughlin, as he played Mick St. John? But no matter who has played a vamp on screen, they have all brought something unique to the role.
Should it be any different with written characters?
When I sat down to write a vampire novel, I knew I wanted to step out of the box–or coffin as the case may be. No matter my love for the classic, the tried and true tropes just didn’t tempt me enough to want to go there with my own characters. I wanted something fresh and different.
Enter the hosts.
To me, sci-fi is the perfect vehicle to place a vampire. Not sci-fi as in “the world is a product of technology run amuck” or “people go around in Jeston-mobiles courtesy of Spacely Sprockets,” but rather the mechanics of turning vamps is not that of damnation, rather experiments gone afoul.
Well, I guess it’s more fantasy since my scientists are alchemists and the journey started during the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. Anyhow, I digress. What I wanted was something totally different than anyone else out there had written to date. Really, my vamps are pseudo-vampires and not your garden variety blood sucker, though they do suck down quite a bit of the old O positive.
The Hosts are the vehicles for entities who were pulled across a dimensional gateway during an alchemical rite. Not even they know or understand the nature of the symbiotes who have adhered to their souls. Not all of the entities are the same, save for the power to make the host immortal and the need to consume blood. They are a mysterious species whose true nature I may or may not ever reveal.
Here’s a blurb to the first book, The Host: Shadows:
Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are there to protect the innocent.
Four hundred years ago, Tristain St. Blaise worked as an apprentice for alchemist Benito Achilles. An experiment went terribly wrong, fusing an entity to Tristain’s soul, turning him from an enlightened man of reason to one of dark passions. Now, to find some measure of redemption, he wears the mantle of a hired killer, protecting innocents and ridding the world of men like Achilles.
Angelia Lightheart has worked hard to purge her life of unhealthy relationships. One night in a dark Manhattan alley, she is saved from a would-be rapist by a man who seems able to look through her very soul into the weary heart she hides from the world. As Angelia and Tristain fall in love, his work as a contract killer brings him face to face with the one responsible for his immortal state, endangering not only their love, but Angelia’s life.
(Available from Samhain Publishing, Nov. 2008)
As I write the second book, The Host: Bloodlust, I find my hosts’ powers are expanding and growing, which is good. There is nothing worse than a stagnant vampire. Tends to make the blood congeal.
Like I said in the title: these aren’t your grandma’s vampires. But they are sexy and lots of fun.
I love your different take on the vampire mythos. I love vampires, and don't think they have to be damned creatures, necessarily. There's still something sexy about the whole blood drinking and living forever thing-I can't even explain it. But it doesn't matter why. It's the darkness that counts, maybe.
Eden, I'm suddenly having a "Lost Boys" flashback….
Thanks! I love making things different. I'm one of those people who want to turn the tropes on their heads and thumb their nose at convention. I think I did so with my vamps. Now, if I can only finish the sequel.