Adventures in vampirism

So, I’m really enjoying writing The Glass Floor, despite the fact that my agent tells me vampires are passe and difficult to find a home for. And despite the fact that I said I would never write vampires, ever ever.

I should know better by now than to say things like that. It’s like a challenge to my muse. The beloved pesky creature pricks up its ears and goes “What’s that you say? You’ll never write vampires because you can’t see what’s so attractive about snogging a corpse? You strange person! I can see a dozen ways of writing a vampire story that don’t involve necrophilia, and now I’m going to suggest all of them to you, just to show you I can.”

If nothing else, the urge to write proper, traditional vampires has lead me to learn all sorts of things about Romania that I never knew before. I do like the armchair travel aspect of being a writer. There is nothing like researching a book to make you realise how wide and whacky this world of ours is, and how ignorant I am about most of it.

It also makes me appreciate Bram Stoker’s artistry in creating atmosphere in Dracula – the things he left out, and the things he infodumped. When I read his book, it does not come with Ottoman, Austrian and Russian politics. You’d never guess the Romanian princes were Greek servants of the Turkish empire imposed on them from outside, or that the country had been an Ottoman protectorate for centuries. All of which I find in equal parts fascinating and a bit too complex to easily get my head around.

Dracula comes equipped with a mental spooky soundtrack, including wolves howling and creaking doors, and possibly a lone, wailing violin in a minor key.

Mine will come with Romanian folk music, for the lulz (and the contrast.) I bet you never associated vampires with this


And yet from now on I always will. Oh Radu, no wonder you are angry all the time. You have a lot to put up with!

Comments (9)

Jessie LansdelJuly 23rd, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Nah, vampires will ALWAYS be popular. Personally I love the traditional vampire films of Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee.
I love the Romanian music video. My sister and her husband went to Romania on their honeymoon and they were astounded at what a beautiful country it is and how welcoming and friendly the Romanian people are. This was still in the days of Ceaccescu (cannot spell his name lol) when the people were still very oppressed.
Anyway, best of luck with your new venture. I look forward to reading it. 🙂

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Elin GregoryJuly 24th, 2012 at 3:58 am

I suppose it depends what you mean by traditional vampire. 🙂 Most of the really traditional accounts are pretty manky and not the least bit alluring – the stench of graveyard mould and jellied eyeballs type manky – and widow’s peaks and opera cloaks are pure Hollywood. But Romanian folk music makes sense in the context and there is something alluring about a creature that has lived many centuries while coping with an unholy hunger. For him to have escaped the hysterical pitchfork wielding peasants for so long he must harvest his prey with care and exhibit a great deal of self control. Controlled power is a very attractive trait, even if it’s potentially horribly dangerous for anyone who gets too close to it.

🙂 looking forward to reading it.

Alex BeecroftJuly 24th, 2012 at 8:43 am

@Jessie Yes, the prevalence of vampire novels in YA may have reached its glut, but I don’t think that means nobody’s ever going to read vampire stories again – it just means that they’ll be a harder sell in future. I’m used to writing things which are a hard sell, so that’s right up my street 😉

Bela Lugosi is the sort of traditional I’m thinking of, yes. It does seem a waste, to me, to have all those lovely castles and history and to abandon them all for vampires in modern bars. Obviously, readers of contempories prefer the latter, but I’m not fond of contemporaries and if I can’t cater to my tastes, who will?

It does seem like a fascinating country, from what I’ve been reading. I’m now yearning after a boat trip up the Danube. When I’m rich and famous, I’m going to do that! Thanks!

Alex BeecroftJuly 24th, 2012 at 8:53 am

@Elin I suppose for this one I’m going for the Bela Lugosi type, although I had plans for a mainstream one with the older manky sort. I just don’t know if anyone has really done justice to the setting, as far as Dracula-influenced Transylvanian vampires are concerned. Perhaps I’m the only one in the world who’s actually interested in that? I know I got bored with ‘Dracula’ as soon as it changed location to be set in England. Possibly I just want a supernatural excuse to explore an underused location. And yes, I like the realism of having the cheerful folk music alongside the night terrors that belong to it. Both come out of the same soil, if you know what I mean? You’re missing something if you leave one out.

Elin GregoryJuly 26th, 2012 at 9:35 am

It’s absolutely reasonable to have cheerfulness alongside utter horror – Ol’ Bill and his ‘better hole’ and Tipperary for instance. When things are really desperate people make jokes about it. Not the big proper dignified people but the grass level oiks who will be first to cop it. There will have been a Transylvania bar having a happy hour with music like thi and some young wag over in the corner tucking cloves of garlic under his lip, pointy end down and chasing the girls. It’s human nature.

It’s also better story telling. Angst, angst, angst, horror, angst, grief is numbing. Horror following funtimes is much more of a jolt.

Alex BeecroftJuly 26th, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I was thinking much the same about Batman recently – that the bleakness of it is too unrelenting, to the point where you get hardened to it. Even Hamlet has Rozencrantz and Guildenstern to break up the misery. LOL! And I love the idea of the local lothario using it as a good excuse to chase the pretty girls. I can see it happening just that way, because what else could you do but laugh?

RomanianOctober 28th, 2012 at 1:12 am

While it’s a pleasure to find reference to Romanian music or history on one of my favourite author’s blog, I feel the need to say that that’s not traditional folk music but belongs to a different genre called “muzica lautareasca” ( – gipsy music.

Romanian folk music sounds quite different.

Alex BeecroftOctober 28th, 2012 at 10:43 am

Oh, thanks for letting me know! I’m very aware that I’m starting from a point of total ignorance, and while I’m learning as fast as I can, I really appreciate any help. I don’t suppose you could link me to any examples of Romanian folk music, could you? I’d love a knowledgeable guide.

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