1.When did you become fascinated by vampires?
One of my first memories is of a nightmare I had as a little girl. I wasn’t that old at all. Maybe three. I dreamed of a castle on a mountain with a huge blue moon behind it. I saw a woman running away from the castle with long flowing red hair. A man chased her down and swept her up in his arms and carried her back to the castle even though she fought him and screamed. The man wore a long cape. It was very scary and I woke up very frightened for the woman.
Years later, I wrote The Tale of the Vampire Bride. It felt like a story I was destined to write about Glynis trying to escape Dracula.
Where did that dream come from? I’m not certain. My parents didn’t watch scary movies. I lived on the campus of a seminary school at the time. I had pretty much zero exposure to the outside world. The more fanciful part of me wants to believe that I somehow inherited my grandfather’s love of horror (I was raised in Texas. He was in Ohio. I rarely saw him.) But I probably saw the cover of a Dracula novel in a second hand bookstore when my mom was buying books to read and my imagination took it from there.
2.Why did you choose to write about classic dark vampires?
Honestly, they feel like the only real vampires to me. There are completely terrifying imho because they can seduce you with their beauty or compel you with their powers. I was very scared as a kid that Dracula would summon me out of my bedroom to feast on me and I wouldn’t have the willpower to stop him. I had read a children’s book that retold Bela Lugosi’s Dracula in black and white photos, so by the age of seven, I knew who Dracula was. As a precaution I always tucked my covers securely around my neck. I don’t know why I thought this would prevent him from biting me, but that’s kid logic for you.
So, traditional vampires were my first exposure to the mythos and they’re my favorite. I know the current take on them is to make them gory, ugly, and more like zombies, but they don’t scare me on the same level as a vampire who can compel me right out of the safety of my home and into their arms to be drained of my life. The loss of willpower is very frightening to me. Also, the concept that something beautiful can be very, very dangerous is unsettling. Society usually teaches us that to be beautiful is a virtue, but vampires are clearly not virtuous.
3.What’s your favorite vampire story?
Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla immediately comes to mind. It’s such a beautiful and haunting story. When I first read it, I was struck by how much it influenced the literary and film vampires that followed. Bram Stoker’s Dracula definitely draws from Carmilla . Dracula is my second favorite vampire novel.
4.Favorite vampire TV show, and did you watch V-Wars (opinions on it)?
I’m going to define a vampire tv show as being one structured around a vampire. So I’ll remove Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the equation right away, because I LOVE that show. So…just looking at all the shows that heavily centered around a vampire, I would have to say Forever Knight. An oldie, but a goodie. Moonlight was another favorite. I was so annoyed it only got one season.
I definitely watched V-Wars. I had a migraine the day it came out, so I had to wait a few days before I could watch it. I binged it in one day while lounging on the couch in a darkened living room. Jonathan Maberry is a friend (and mentor to some degree), so I definitely wanted to support him. I enjoyed it a lot. The premise was clever and a lot of fun. What really sold me on the story was the friendship between Michael and Luther. The way the vampire virus tested their brotherly bond was incredibly emotional. I want there to be a second season with all my heart and soul. I need to find out what happens next.
5. If you could talk to any author dead or alive who would you choose?
This is so, so hard. On one hand, Jane Austen comes to mind. She was so revolutionary for her time and her influence still has impact today. Agatha Christie would also probably be very, very interesting to talk to. Again, she’s another woman that had a massive impact on the literary world. But I will have to say Octavia Butler would be my final choice. Her imagination was so mind-blowingly incredible. The stories she wrote are beautiful and yet very unsettling. She made me cry more than once. She pretty much created her success out of sheer force of will, because let us be honest, she was a black woman in a white male dominated field when she started her career in the 1970’s. The odds were not in her favor, but she’s an icon today.
6.Would you like to be turned into a vampire?
Well, it depends on what kind of vampire. If it’s a gross, gory, ugly one, hard pass.
7. If you could pick one of your vampire books to live in, which one would you pick?
One of the modern day ones. I need my internet! I need my air conditioning!
8. What are your vampire must read books for your fans?
Other than my own…Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I don’t actually read a lot of vampire (or zombie) novels. A lot of people are convinced I’m huge Ann Rice fan, but I only really liked the first two novels in her series. That being said, I never reread either one. She writes lovely prose, but her vampires never really appealed to me. They didn’t resonate with me, which is probably a big reason why my vampire novels center around women.
I am reading the Vampire Academy novels by Rachel Meade right now for research purposes (my agent assigned several series for me to read). I think she’s been pretty creative with the mythos and making it her own. I wasn’t too into the first book, but the series really ramps up and has some downright unsettling moments. I’ve enjoyed this series a lot more than Twilight because the risks seem much higher right away. There is a lot at stake (haha) from the beginning.
I’ll be honest. I think writing vampires is not an easy task. It has to be a balancing act between the monstrous and the romantic. For a long time, romance dominated vampires and the inevitable backlash was a more gruesome take on them. I like finding that middle ground. I love the films Near Dark and The Lost Boys because they found that balance.
I’ll be honest. All the vampires I write about scare me. No matter how pretty, charming, or seductive they might be, I know that in the end my worth as a human to them rests in my veins and arteries.
I remember someone teasing me that I would love to meet Glynis from The Tale of the Vampire Bride.
“No, no,” I said. “I think I’d pass on that.”
The truth is no matter how much I love her as a character, having her tiny little self in my world would be terrifying.
Because then Dracula would be real, too.
Find the work of Rhiannon Frater on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author/ref=dbs_P_W_auth?_encoding=UTF8&author=Rhiannon%20Frater&searchAlias=digital-text&asin=B0027DLFL6