Today I'm really excited to welcome author Christopher Farnsworth to the blog to share with us just a little information about what sets his vampires apart from their literary contemporaries and predecessors. Book two in his Blood Oath series, The President's Vampire, releases tomorrow so be sure and add it to your lists. Thanks so much for stopping by Chris!
Let me start by saying thank you to Stephenie Meyer. Seriously, I owe that woman big time. If she drank, I would buy her a beer. (I’m sure she’s too busy lounging on furniture stuffed with $100 bills to take me up on it but still, the offer is out there.)
She tapped into something primal and powerful, and she helped bring back our cultural obsession with vampires. She woke the worlds of publishing and entertainment to the huge audience waiting for stories that played with this archetype. If not for Meyer’s Twilight saga, I don’t think I would have been published, even though our vampires could not be less alike.
I’ve said before that vampires have never been romantic figures in my mind. They simply scared the crap out of me when I was younger. That’s the kind of vampire I set out to create when I began writing about Nathaniel Cade, a vampire who’s bound to serve the President of the United States by a blood oath.
In other words, he doesn’t sparkle.
Meyer has already gotten a fair amount of derision for this – there’s even a mini-industry dedicated to mocking sparkly bloodsuckers – but I’m really not trying to make fun of her variety of vamp. There have been weirder ideas in vampire fiction. (Check out Brian Lumley’s much darker take on the genre to get an idea of what I mean.) I just want to get to the bottom of the feeling that Meyer evoked and discover why vampires still have such a powerful attraction for us.
Like the rest of his fictional brethren, Cade has an options package that most of us dream of – superhuman strength, senses, speed, and a near-immortal lifespan.
But none of a vampire’s capabilities are as interesting without his limitations. If you have a vampire who can walk around in daylight without sunscreen and can skip blood for a cheeseburger, there isn’t much downside to being an unholy terror of the night. How much sympathy can any reader muster for a superhuman, even if he has fangs? If he can know real love, then he might as well be human.
Vampires, in my writing, are predators. They don’t see humans as love, but as convenient snack-packs. There is nothing actually stopping Cade from killing and feeding on humans – as long as they don’t work for the president and haven’t betrayed the United States – except his own iron will. He refuses to give in, even though he believes he’s already irrevocably damned.
That’s what gives Cade his edge. If Cade were able to walk in the light, he wouldn’t be a vampire anymore. More important, he wouldn’t be very good at his job.
He knows what evil really means, because, down at a cellular level, he is evil. And he knows the necessity of fighting evil, no matter what the cost. We’re simply not built for that kind of ruthlessness. Cade is.
Because in Cade’s world, vampires are not the worst things that threaten humanity – not even close. He’s prepared to do the unspeakable to kill the unthinkable.
That’s not something a human being can do, not without losing his soul.
Fortunately, we’ve got Cade to face the darkness for us.
Christopher Farnsworth is the author of THE PRESIDENT’S VAMPIRE, the second in a series of books about Nathaniel Cade, a vampire sworn to protect the United States from supernatural threats. It will be available everywhere on April 28, 2011 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Learn more at presidentsvampire.com
THE PRESIDENT'S VAMPIRE (from Goodreads)
For 140 years, Nathaniel Cade has been the President's Vampire, sworn to protect and serve his country. Cade's existence is the most closely guarded of White House secrets: a superhuman covert agent who is the last line of defense against nightmare scenarios that ordinary citizens only dream of.
When a new outbreak of an ancient evil-one that he has seen before- comes to light, Cade and his human handler, Zach Barrows, must track down its source. To "protect and serve" often means settling old scores and confronting new betrayals . . . as only a centuries-old predator can.