Essentially vampires are creatures of the night – Bram Stoker’s Dracula as well as the ensuing Hollywood films and even Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer have established in our minds that sunshine kills off vampires and that their place inthe world is therefore firmly established after bedtime, when the owls are hooting and the moon illuminates gravestones most eerily.
Willow the Vampire turns out to be different in that she is a child of light. However, her family and all other vampires in the Stinkforthshire world I’ve created are strictly nocturnal. My vampires bite people, they suck blood to survive but – waste not want not – they also eat people whole, when the mood takes them. Cured slice of vicar any one?
Written entirely from the vampire child’s point of view, the novels show Willow’s dilemma in coming to terms with who she is. Her mother wants Willow to be a good hunter of human prey, her father would like her to be more ruthless and Willow’s peers think she’s pretty lame, when it comes to knowing about vampire etiquette and history. Her human friends just want her to be happy.
What do you do when you are attracted to the “other side”? Willow has human friends as well as vampire ones…not all vampires are evil fiends, they simply hunt to survive just like humans eat animals. Humans and vampires are simply two different species trying to use Earth’s resources to their best advantage, right?
Not all humans are good people either – some are murderers, some think nothing of hurting children and others enjoy torturing animals. When we grow up we discover the world cannot be defined by strict rules – black is not always black as the night, white is not always as white as the mist at dawn. Is Willow’s human friend Rita a bad person because she cannot hold down a job? Is headmaster Henderson evil because he craves fame and aspires to be mayor, not caring how he achieves his goal and who he tramples in the process?
Just like Anne Rice’s latest creature of the night, a handsome werewolf, Willow decides that biting and eating bad humans is for the time being the best option she has. As we grow older, we learn that our ability to compromise is what makes humans so successful as a species.
In the fictional world of Stinkforthshire, the Vampire Council has strict rules about how many vampires are allowed to live in any one area so as to avoid detection by humans – after all, littering rural Stinkforthshire with human corpses that have been sucked dry would soon get a whole squadron of slayers out! No, biting only people, who’d otherwise have vanished underground thanks to their illegal activities, guarantees the vampire species’ survival in an increasingly “human” world.
Biting people for a living can also be very rewarding when you know these people are harming others without ever being brought to justice for their crimes. Thus, Willow and her family bite bankers, greedy businessmen, insurance salesmen and those who experiment on animals.
Some might argue my child protagonist should learn how to live on carrot juice and in harmony with humans instead – but in the real world bankers, greedy businessmen, insurance salesmen and those torturing animals don’t live in harmony with the rest of humanity either and couldn’t care less how many living beings their actions plunge into misery!
Why not let my vampires do something truly useful and let them bite people for a living who deserve to have their despicable activities brought to an end?
While in fiction we have the good fortune to deal adequately with those who deserve a sticky end, in real life we often scratch our heads in despair and wonder what’s to be done with utterly unscrupulous people who operate only just within the law, but still manage to defraud or cheat millions of people.
I often wonder if writers should not use their limitless imagination to come up with non-violent, legal but utterly devastating punishments for such wrong-doers. Like not allowing bankers to shop for groceries in their local stores or ban them from every wine bar, pub and restaurant in the world, not take their kids at nurseries, snub them in the street or deposit our money with credit unions instead – perhaps boycotting such creatures of the fiscal might at every human level will make them see the light? So far nothing else has worked to get bankers, multinational pharmaceuticals and insurance companies into line.
Biting such people where it hurts – their self-esteem and their bank balance – is a good thing not only vampires should enjoy…by what legal, non-violent means do you think we could rid the world of such creatures of the fiscal might?
NB: If you live in Greece, you don’t have to answer this question.