‘Blood and Other Cravings’ author roundtable (& Giveaway!)


Fall into (Urban) Fantasy with VBC and MBWWe may talk about the sexy vampires here quite a bit at VBC, but sometimes you long for the vicious, the horror-style vampires. Ellen Datlow has put together a collection of short stories focused on the predatory side of vampires, as well as those being that feed off souls and leech life. The authors in Blood and Other Cravings (pre-order, releases Sept. 13) are some great names in horror, and we couldn’t resist talking vampires with them.

We asked several Blood and Other Cravings contributors to tell us: What draws you to the idea of vampirism and vampires?

Ellen Datlow, editor
For me as an editor the vampire and its many variations continually provides fertile reading material when the stories are unique and well-told by writers who don’t just throw the same old too-obvious manifestations of vampirism around. In fact, this is the third anthology I’ve edited about “vampirism”, which included more than just blood sucking.

Kaaron Warren, author of “All You Can Do is Breathe”
I’m drawn to the idea of vampirism because it represents the very worst that humans can be. It’s all about taking, not about giving. It’s about using someone until they are spent, then dropping them like rubbish. This heartlessness, the remorseless search for satisfaction, is, to me, what horror is all about, both in fiction and in the real world.

Elizabeth Bear, author of “Needles”
It’s not something specific that draws me to the idea of vampires–it’s that vampires themselves are so useful a tool for describing so many of the themes that speak to me: age, and loss, and the struggle to live in unfamiliar worlds. And monsters, of course.

Always monsters.

Blood and Other CravingsReggie Oliver, author of “Baskerville’s Midgets”
The idea of the vampire for me has always resonated on two levels. In the first place, the myth explores the way in which some people with strong and egotistical personalities can “drain” others, and how their victims are usually half willing. Many close relationships are to some extent vampiric, and extreme examples are horrible if fascinating to watch and terrible to experience. Secondly, the myth of the vampire is about time and eternity: how we all seek eternal life even if we don’t believe in it, and how we can’t decide whether we love or hate the idea. In other words, the vampire myth is one which embraces the two great preoccupations of the human mind: love and death. Vampires appear to subvert both.

Richard Bowes, author of “Blood Yesterday, Blood Tomorrow”
Fantasy tropes, as I see them, are metaphors. Zombies are like Wells’ Morlocks, an underclass boiling over into revolt. Ghosts represent our curiosity/fear of the afterlife. Fairies are…well you get the idea.

Vampires are all dark glamour, forbidden fashion. They’re the newest thing. They’re exclusive, an ultimate in-group. One rarely see an unattractive vampire! And one never sees a poor one! Fashion is a cyclical phenomenon and we will loose interest. But we know that high style never dies. That amazing top found in a vintage thrift store, that haircut in the old photo: we are fascinated and want more. And the whole scene starts again.

Steve Duffy, author of “X For Demetrious”
It wasn’t that I’m consistently drawn to the theme – I write about all sorts of things, but vampires, hardly ever, as it happens. My story is more a kind of grumpy old man’s protest vote against what the vampire seems to signify these days: the moody (yet sparkly) romantic antihero, the troubled boyfriend no one else can understand – not so much about the gore, as about the Lesley Gore. Of course, I realize this process has been under way ever since Dracula was fitted for his first opera cloak, and I also realize that millions of readers ask for nothing more in their vampire fiction; but still, I wanted to pay homage to what remains, for me, the über-vamp, Count Orlok, Murnau’s Nosferatu of the silent screen. No sparkles there.

Melanie Tem, author of “Keeping Corky”
Vampirism interests me as a metaphor for relationships and situations that drainn us and that we seem to be powerless to extricate ourselves from. My first published vampirism story, “The Better Half,” was the best way I could come up with to understand a husband and wife I’ve known since college and the disturbing shifts I’ve watched happen– she from vibrant intellectual to wan housewife, he from goofy yokel to a man of power and self-confidence. My novel PRODIGAL is about a therapist who creates distress in his clients and feeds off it–again, a metaphor for a phenomenon I’ve observed: therapists who seem most alive when their clients are most in trouble. “Keeping Corky,” my story in BLOOD AND OTHER CRAVINGS, is about a desperate mother who isn’t able to understand why she’s lost her child, only to feel the anguish of it that drives her to use an ability she only barely realizes she has–again, vampirism is a metaphor for filling profound emptiness, a way of telling the story i wanted to tell.

Lisa Tuttle, author of “Shelf-Life”
Midges, ticks and mosquitoes are annoying pests and I don’t find the notion of blood-drinking interesting in itself, but the idea of intellectual/spiritual/emotional vampirism is quite compelling. I like exploring obsession in my fiction, and my favorite stories about vampires are chilling, and not at all romantic.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf, author of “First Breath”
I’ve always loved to read about the supernatural invading the mundane.

Even when the result is chaos, part of me revels in defying the word “impossible.” And vampires are such an intimate example of that: they steal from you with a kiss, after all. You have to invite them in.

It’s not just an encounter with the supernatural–it’s a union, and a downright sexual one at that. It’s no wonder this blood-sucking predator is so often cast as a love interest. But it’s a doomed love affair, despite recent literary attempts to cheat the consequences.

It’s a love that kills, one way or another. So you’ve got that bittersweet romantic tragedy interwoven with the wonder of watching “impossible” get broken into hundreds of possibilities–that’s an incredibly rich tapestry to get lost in, body and soul.

Laird Barron, author of “The Siphon”
Vampires don’t inspire me. On the other hoof, vampirism cranks my rotor, and specifically as it applies to and may be extrapolated from the natural world . Spiders, assassin bugs, leeches, hagfish, lampreys, cordyceps…For the love of all that’s unholy, you have to ask yourself who designed a horror such as the geography cone. Not a creator I want to meet in a dark alley. But, yes, in a gruesome, dreadful fashion, this micro-scale bloodletting makes for enthralling research and even creepier stories.


We have one copy of the Blood and Other Cravings anthology to giveaway. To be entered, simply leave a comment on this post telling us what draws you to vampires.

1. To enter, you must leave a comment on this post with what draws you to vampires.
2. You do not need to follow Vampire Book Club to be entered, but we sure do like it.
3. This contest is open to U.S. addresses only.
4. Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. CST on Monday, Sept. 12.
5. The winners will be selected using Random.org. Then each will be contacted via email and given 48 hours to claim her prize. If we do not hear from the winner(s) within that time, a new winner will be selected.
6. Entrants must be at least 18 years old or have their parent’s permission to enter. Please review our privacy policy, if you have any questions as to how Vampire Book Club uses your information. (Short version: we’ll only use it to contact you for this contest.)
7. Though unlikely, Vampire Book Club has the right to change or cancel any giveaway at any time without prior notice.
8. Vampire Book Club is not responsible for prizes lost or damage in transit.

44 Responses to “‘Blood and Other Cravings’ author roundtable (& Giveaway!)”

  1. Amy Feltus says:

    I’m drawn to vampire books because of the intrigue to their lives. The dangers that follow with them and the fantasy they can create.

  2. kingraham321 says:

    The complexity of vampire’s personalities is what intrigues me, how they interact with humans and what makes them feel.

  3. Kayla Bouy says:

    I think what draws me to vampires is how long they can live for. I’d love to meet someone from a different century, if only to ask them questions about their way of life.


  4. Jodie Pierce says:

    I am drawn to vampires for their sensuality, entrancing desire and the sheer horror they can create.

  5. I’m interested in vampire fiction because the overuse of the basic concept has inspired talented contemporary writers to develop inventive variations on the myth, and on other forms of vampirism. Making the familiar strange is one of the virtues of horror fiction, and making the vampire strange again is a fascinating province.

  6. Teawench says:

    I’m drawn to vampires for their immortality. Both literally & figuratively. I’ve always loved vampires and will never tire of them.

  7. jocelin knight says:

    I am a big fan of all things vampires.Modern & classic.

  8. Doc RedBat says:

    For me it was an early exposure to Dark Shadows. Never looked back!

  9. kelsey d says:

    Wow there’s so many reasons to be drawn to vampires. There’s such a vast amount of really good books about them. I’m drawn because they can be sexy and frightening at the same time. Plus some have amazing abilities and powers. I love because there are infinite possible stories.

    Poisnivyred AT gmail.com

  10. Sam wicked says:

    I’m drawn to vampires by their thriving nature. They survive despite many downsides.

  11. Ilene says:

    I’m drawn to vampires because of their sensuality and the idea of immortality. I like books that explore all that they have the opportunity to experience by living forever.

  12. Julie Witt says:

    I’m drawn to vampires because of their immortality and the idea of finding somebody who will literally love you forever 🙂

  13. ML says:

    I’m drawn to vampires for the immortality, the beauty, the power, their predatory nature. They are never victims of sickness or old age and infirmity. They are rarely prey so they don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of. They have very few weaknesses. There is something attractive about the whole package.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  14. Denise Z says:

    I think what draws me to stories of vampires is a fascination with all things supernatural. I love a good story that lets my mind adventure into the what if. You escape from the everyday mundane and can enjoy the ride. I do not see vampires as romantic, beautiful, ugly, kind, good, or evil they are what every the author portrays them to be in the story and I enjoy following the different takes and that is an open road that can lead anywhere. Of course that is the fun part of the ride 🙂 Thank you for sharing the fun giveaway opportunity today and all the kibitzing.


  15. Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I am drawn to vampires because I think they are very hot, mysterious, strong and very powerful. They live forever. Please enter me in contest. I love reading about vampires and I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

  16. Love vampire novels! Thank you so much for the awesome giveaways!

    Kitty Bullard

  17. Anne R says:

    I am drawn to vampires because they are made to be a horrific creature-one that feeds on human blood, and the other characteristics make them all predator yet stories mold them to be a desirable creature. They are often portrayed as strong, gorgeous and sexy.

  18. Anne R says:

    I am drawn to vampires because they are made to be a horrific creature-one that feeds on human blood, and the other characteristics make them all predator yet stories mold them to be a desirable creature. They are often portrayed as strong, gorgeous and sexy.
    areeths AT new DOT rr DOT com

  19. Jeffrey Hamblen says:

    I drawn to vampires for many reasons – immortality, dark, mysterious, sensual, horror, predator, supernatural and much more. I’d love to win a copy of the Blood and Other Cravings anthology. Thanks for doing this giveaway.

  20. Angela K says:

    I love all the different twist authors uses on vampires.

  21. Emily D. says:

    I am drawn to vampires because they are unknown.

  22. Vilmarys says:

    I love vampires because of the world that I get introduced to. The fantasy of it all. The idea of immortality and the darkness that each vampire has. Also, the romance of loving someone for literally all eternity.

  23. Terri Matlock says:

    i really love them with their dark, mysterious, & sexual nature and the idea of fangs is always hot. 😉 thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

    terri m

  24. Ever wonder why so many of the stories about vampires say that there is no reflection? It’s because I believe all the vampire lore is really just a reflection of our species. Are we not all monsters in some way shape or form? How do we overcome the shadow selves? How do we control or live with that which makes the shadow self? That is why I love the vampire stories — to explore and discover answers to these questions.

  25. Ange Robinson says:

    I’m drawn to vampires for their struggle, especially in the early stages- did they choose it? Were they turned against their will? How do they handle that transition between human/immortal ethics?

  26. Jenna says:

    I’m drawn to vampires because of how universal they seem to be. There are myths worldwide featuring creatures we’d recognize as vampires, and immortality at the expense of others is a common thread. There are so many facets on this particular jewel, and I deeply enjoy seeing them handled well.

  27. Dee Hudson says:

    Vampires have been part of my life since childhood when we watched
    ‘Dark Shadows.’ Immortality is not top of the list but to live in a body that is strong and heals itself has infinite appeal. Who would choose to live in a body slowly betraying you, weak with cancer and racked with pain and fatigue?

  28. Beth says:

    I like vampire story because they are about relationships between people with very different levels of power. It’s the inequality between the people that interest me, whether it’s a love story or a battle.

  29. Reanna says:

    I enjoy vampire stories because vampires are sexy! Their super human abilities, their seduction abilities, and their conflicts. Just like humans there are good vampires and bad vampires and I love reading about them all!

  30. ariana b says:

    I am drawn to vampires because of how mysterious they can be. I also love how unnatural they are they’re completely opposite of humans. Plus they live forever. Hope I win. My email is ariher91744@aol.com

  31. David Chamberlain says:

    I enjoy vampires in fiction (?) because there’s so much range in what they can do and how they respond. Watching each author’s unique approach to the myth is half the fun!

  32. NancyIbarra says:

    Since I was about 10 years old I fell in love with Vampires my first book back then was The Kiss by Katheryn Reines and although it was an adult book I loved the story. I love vampires because of the life experiences each charater brings forward, the mortality, beauty, power, love, lust, passion, etc.

  33. Stephanie says:

    It is how many different myths there are. I mean sun or no sun, what kills them, do they actually sleep in coffins, turn into bats? I mean every story is unique which is something I really enjoy.

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  34. Britta says:

    I always enjoyed how vampires had to hide their identities. That isn’t always a theme in all books but it’s what initially drew me to them. Perhaps that’s why I love superheroes as well?


  35. Meghan Dzik says:

    I enjoy the mysteries of vampires, thanks for the giveaway!

  36. ann bozek says:

    I will read anything paranormal, but especially love vampire and werewolf books!

  37. Immortality and there is just something so romantic as eternal love. I like that the struggle for most book vamps is to be good when instincts are not. We all feel like that sometimes.

  38. Amanda says:

    I love so many things about vampires… They are usually hotter than Hell, completely sarcastic, rich, cocky, and go for what they want. Most have been around the block a few times, so they know how to pick their battles so to speak. Some fights just aren’t worth the trouble, while others are worth risking it all. 🙂


  39. karla says:

    I’m drawn to vampires because they are my escape from real life. Whether they are sexy or the horror-style ones…I love them!!

  40. Pam S (pams00) says:

    I like the darker edge that is usually associated with them and the life of solitude they often lead.

    pams00 @ aol.com

  41. Matthew says:

    What draws me to vampires is their sense of humor about their lives. In every vampire film I’ve watched, humor has made or broken the subject of people drinking human blood.

  42. I love how vampires are just so sexy. And the fact that they like to get close to your neck and bite… mmm, yummy!

  43. Jessica F says:

    I love vampires because they are sexy and dangerous… always something alluring about being forbidden!

  44. Re Baskerville’s Midgets: I’m 4’9″ tall (his midgets are 4’3″) and I use all regular-height furniture, no problem! I buy my clothes in the petites section of department stores. Oliver isn’t doing his math here . . .

    Besides, you know that slumlord I rented an Edwardian flat from back in the early 1980s? The slumlord who died in 2009, and his heirs found out he was way, way overextended on bank loans, and his entire real estate empire collapsed along with the rest of the housing market? Well, *I had nothing whatever to do with that!* Honest.

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