Saturday, January 19, 2013

VampCon by Armand Inezian: The Blank Slate Theory. Or: Why vampires and near human monsters are so damn interesting

Before I sold VampCon to Greyhart Press, I had already approached a  number of literary agents about the novel. A few of them really liked the story but felt that they could not represent VampCon because the big publishing houses are not interested in buying vampire novels from new authors. This is based on the conventional wisdom that the market for vampire stories is oversaturated, and readers are getting tired of vampire books.

I have my own theory however which is that, like Monday night football and or secret-agent thrillers, vampire stories are here to stay; people will always be interested in vampires because they are a blank slate onto which we can project all kinds of stories.

The seeds were sown with Bram Stoker's Dracula which presented a complicated picture of the famous Count. He was a monster and blood sucker; he had dark designs; he had strange weaknesses; he had three wives and a connection to hell; he could infect others. But he was also not completely alien. He looked like us and followed human customs. Over the years, so many writers followed Stoker's lead and used vampires to explore many facets of our own lives.

Vampire can represent lust and youth. Because they never age, vampires can literally embody eternal youth. They can be beautiful and forever young. They are also lustful creatures, satisfying themselves by pressing their tongues and lips against the skin of others. There are tons of stories out there examining forbidden love through the use of vampires. In this way, we see vampires as representing forbidden desires.

Vampires can represent addiction. The bottom line is that vamps need blood to survive. They may be powerful, supernatural beings, but they are slaves to their own thirst. They must hunt and prey on others. In this type of story, they can mirror everyday addictions that we might witness in the real world, whether it be drugs, booze, cigarettes or even candy.

They can represent conspiracies and hidden power. In most (but not all!) vampires stories, the vampires are hidden from society; few people know of their existence. They stand behind the scenes, influencing and controlling others. In these types of stories, vampires are a dark conspiracy, and they represent our own superstitious fear of power; our worry that government agencies and shadowy corporations are somehow controlling our lives and exploiting us.

They can represent the hunter and the hunted. One of the simplest themes of a vampires story is the hunter and the hunted. As in the case of Dracula (and so many other stories) there are often multiple layers, with the vampires stalking innocent victims, and vampire hunters (in turn) trying to kill the vampire himself. This perspective on vampires plays into our own fears of victimization, whether it's our fear of being mugged in a dark alley or or something far more horrible (like serial killers). The vampire as hunter and prey is immediately compelling to most readers because the stakes are clear and obvious.

They're almost like us! There are so many monsters out there, but you might notice that the most popular ones in stories are the ones, like vampires, who are almost human. They look sort of like us. They have feelings and act like us and talk like us. Vampires- in some ways- are us on a really, really bad day. Interestingly, it's this immediate connection and empathy that makes them so interesting.

It's this elasticity of character, this ability to be so many different things: a lover, an addict, an agent of corruption, the hunter and prey, and-sometimes- just a very flawed person, that keeps vampires interesting. I think that this ability to be the blank slate- to take on many roles- will keep vampires fresh and keep people coming back to vampire books for many decades to come.

~ Armand Inezian is the author of VampCon, a dark fantasy thriller containing thousands of bullets, hundreds of vampires, two portals to damnation, and one bloody chance at redemption. Available now on Amazon, for Kindle, and for Nook.

Armand Inezian

Genre: Fantasy, Fantasy Thriller, or Dark Fantasy Thriller.

Publisher: Greyhart Press, Bromham UK.

ISBN: 978-1478279525

Number of pages: 310
Word Count: approximately 95,000

Cover Artist: Banchick Illustration.

Book Description:

Jonathan Stoker is a reluctant vampire who wants nothing to do with the dark world that turned him. He isolates himself, sucking nonlethal quantities of blood from helpless drunks and making a marginal living. However after he learns that someone he holds dear has been lured to the VampCon, a cut-throat vampire summit, Jonathan is forced to deal with his kind again.

But Jonathan and company quickly discover that the VampCon is much more than a meeting. It’s a conspiracy that holds the key to both the creation and possible extinction of all vampires.

Now Jonathan has no choice but to come to terms with his own dark side while working with a small band of troublemakers to stop a nightmare from coming true.

About the Author :

Armand Inezian resides in Boston with his wife, two children, and three cats. In addition to writing, he also works two day jobs, one in grants administration and the other in teaching English, and he is grateful for both. He graduated from Emerson College with an MFA in Creative Writing. His short stories have appeared in various literary journals including The Missouri Review and Glimmer Train. In 2003, his short story, Baer, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Another of his shorts, See Me, won the Glimmer Train Story Open in 2008. VampCon is his first completed novel.

No comments: