No two vampires are the same. What I mean by that is, it seems like vampires in each book, movie or TV show have their own appearances, powers, and blood drinking requirements. Sometimes these characteristics are based on folklore (the Eastern European of the vampire has had a big influence on how we see vampires these days) or at times, the author creates their own version (I never heard of vampires sparkling before “Twilight”).
So I say it is safe to say writers of vampire stories got their ideas from various sources – as did I. In this post, I will discuss where the characteristics of my vampires in my book, “The Dark Proposal”, came from.
Firstly, let me lay out what those characteristics are:
- very pale skin that turns into a healthier tone after feeding,
- the ability to read minds and erase thoughts,
- move at a very quick speed (think True Blood),
- turn into mist,
- no need to sleep in coffins,
- being able to walk around in daylight or even overcasts after many centuries,
- superhuman physical strength,
- heightened hearing and seeing,
Some of my vampires also have difficulty stopping themselves from consuming blood from a person, which leads to suspicious deaths among humans.
So how did I come up with these traits? Allow me to explain:
Very pale skin that turns into healthier tone after feeding: Almost white skin I think is one of the hallmarks of a vampire. Having one without pale skin is like not giving a vampire fangs. It also comes from Slavic folklore that a vampire was spotted by its pale skin that turned ruddy after feeding. Plus, for my trilogy, there needs to be something suspicious about their appearance. Without the skin issue, there’s no hint that something is off someone.
The ability to read minds and erase thoughts: Many vampires have done this and I think it can come from the heightened senses these undead creatures have. If they can hear and see things humans cannot see, why not human thoughts? And since I have my vampires inherit supernatural abilities, why not also erase human thoughts if necessary? If you are wondering why my vampires do not hypnotize people, like Dracula did or the vampires on True Blood, well, I did think about that. But it wouldn’t have worked for my book. If Daniel was able to make Claire say and do things through hypnosis, then my story had no point, would be boring, be done in 50 pages, with the whole idea down the drain. Plus, I didn’t want my vampires to be too much like their True Blood counterparts.
Speaking of True Blood…
Move at a very quick speed: Honestly, I gave my vampires this skill because I think it is so cool to see them zip around a room in a blink of an eye. Also, when I wrote the scene where Daniel proved to Claire that he’s a vampire, I just had to have him to do that. It worked so perfectly.
Turn into mist: Comes in handy, basically. I loved the 1992 flick, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” by Francis Ford Coppola, and the way it showed Dracula turning into green mist. While the mist in stories aren’t green, it is still a fascinating ability to have. It adds to the mystery and fear of the vampire.
No need to sleep in coffins: I really didn’t like the idea of a vampire sleeping in a coffin, even if it is basically a dead creature. It was just too archaic for me. I was also inspired by one of my favorite vampire books as a young teen, Christopher Pike’s “The Last Vampire” series. His vampire heroine, Sita, didn’t use a coffin and slept in a bed like anyone else.
Which leads to the next trait inspired by Mr. Pike’s books…
Being able to walk around in daylight or even overcasts after many centuries: This was something Sita was able to do, although not every single day since the sun would exhaust her after a while. I also had always wondered if a vampire could walk around during a cloudy, rainy day. After all, there is no sun to fry him, right? But I do think being able to deal with some sunlight is best for more mature vampires because age does make them stronger. At least for mine.
Superhuman physical strength: Because my vampires got their traits from ancient tribal gods, why wouldn’t they have the power and strength of those deities? Same goes for heightened hearing and seeing. Vampires are supposed to be, to me at least, creatures that we fear. We fear them not simply because they can kill or torment us, but because they have the supernatural ability to hunt us down easily, get us to do things other humans aren’t able to, and go mostly unnoticeable in everyday life. It’s hard to fear something or someone who isn’t two notches stronger or skilled than you.