Story Insights: The Inspiration behind my vampire mystery series
I can’t always pinpoint the inspiration behind my stories, but I can with The Viscount’s Son. It was sparked after reading two books in quick succession – Dracula and Twilight. Quite the contrast, are they not? Like putting Dracula and Edward in the same room. Edward would be lucky to last five minutes. Mwahahahaha. But I digress, back to the point… that spark.
Dracula is one of my favourite classics. I love the dark symbolism, poetic language, the gothic setting and mystery. I had reread it back in the Twilight heady days, and not long after I picked up Twilight itself, thinking I was going to get more “vampire”. What I got was a high school romance. Nothing wrong with a high school romance, nothing wrong at all, but where were all the vampire scenes with vampires doing their deathly deeds and stealthy manipulations? Was there even any blood? (Aside from a paper cut). I don’t recall.
I guess it had been about a decade (maybe more) since the end of Buffy, and I was disappointed to see where this latest iteration of the vampire genre was headed. I was sparked (or perhaps sparkled) into action to write my own vampire story. One that would allow me to indulge in another favourite genre – historical fiction. It’s something vampire authors can take advantage of (think Anne Rice) given those immortally long lives. Thus a heavy bent on the sixteenth century inmy new storyensued. I was also determined to bring back the bite which I felt was the central element of the genre, and very much lacking in Twilight.
Dracula was a major inspiration for the historical aspect and the gothic horror of my writing. I also took inspiration from Stoker’s subtlety, such as his limited use of the word ‘vampire’ and made the choice not to use the word at all in The Viscount’s Son. The epistolary style of Dracula was also something I enjoyed, and I incorporated this into my own vampire story, giving it a modern twist with blog posts, translations, texts and emails, rather than letters and journal entries. Finally, with Dracula’s long-distance manipulation of Mina, I was interested in showing a similar theme in a modern-day city; cue Nathaniel and Emma.
Most of all, for me, it was the gothic imagery that was a mesmerising aspect of Stoker’s classic. Like this favourite passage from the book:
"... my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over that dreadful abyss, face down, with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow; but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall."
I couldn’t help myself and included that creepy lizard analogy in the trilogy. It’s in there somewhere and I love it. Can you find it?
The Viscount's Son is the first book in Aderyn Wood's vampire mystery trilogy.