I got an e-mail the other day from a fan who wanted to know how and why I decided on some of the "rules" I have in place for my vampires. So I thought I'd share my reasoning here on this fancy blog. **But please remember that these are only my opinions and reasons, none of which are meant to be in any way, shape or form, a knock on any other author or their vampire worlds.
The way I see it:
1. Vampires don't walk in the day. Period. No. Bad. Ouch, it burns. :) Call me old fashioned, but I still hold true to the traditional notion that vampires are creatures of the night. Therefore, unless there is an outside circumstance of some kind that makes complete sense to me and doesn't break any of my already established rules - my vampires won't be sunbathing unless someone is trying to kill them.
2. Vampires are dead, or undead, as the case may be. I run with the idea that as soon as a human is turned into a vampire, their body dies and goes into a stasis of sorts. Their heart stops beating, their body functions cease normal activity, and most importantly, their nutritional requirements radically change. Now, some suspended disbelief has to come into play here, or I'd go crazy trying to explain why a vampire can still cry real tears or still retains some human characteristics. But for those who can’t suspend their disbelief and want the explanation, here it is:
How human a vampire naturally looks (without use of blood magic) is based on their age and how close they are to humanity. A vampire of any age who regularly spends their nights mingling and mixing in with the humans usually maintains semi-warm skin, can cry real tears, blink at regular intervals without focusing on it, and breathe at a normal pace, all without having to use the power of their blood to accomplish it. It’s as if the constant contact with what they once were somehow helps them hold on to that part of themselves. They also tend to be very hard to distinguish from normal humans.
Now, with that being said, you should know that every vampire of substantial age can use the magic inherent in their blood to mimic their once human condition. Therein lies some of the horror of my world. Take someone like Vouclade. He isn’t even remotely human anymore. He doesn’t think like a human, he doesn’t act like a human, and to be honest, he doesn’t particularly like humans. But with a few seconds of concentration he can flush his skin to a golden tan, warm his body to 98.6, bring his heartbeat to a normal rate, cry real tears, breathe and blink normally, and even sweat. And not a single person would be able to pick him out in a crowd of humans. When you think about how powerful he is, considering he can kill most humans with nothing more than a hard stare, then picture him wandering around on streets with everyone else…yeah, I think you can see where that could go horribly awry.
As a side note: Vampires, no matter the age, don’t naturally have a heartbeat. That’s absolutely standard across the board. A vampire’s heart will only beat for two reasons. One, they use their blood magic to make it beat for whatever reason they deem necessary, or two, they find themselves in such a stressful situation, something that drowns them in a veritable tidal wave of human emotions, that it beats on its own. However, reason #2 is not usually a welcome experience. Mostly because if it starts beating on its own…it will eventually stop, and usually when it does the sensation isn’t a pleasant one. I like to think of it almost as nature mocking the vampire. Like it’s saying, here…this is what it feels like to be human again, you’re all excited/worried/sad…but no, you can’t have that anymore, so…here’s the beast instead. Take that.
I could probably go on for 50 more paragraphs about all the little details of my vampire’s bodies and how their state of mind, age, and interaction with humans can affect their internal workings and exterior appearance…but I’ll save it for the books! :D Basically, my vamps have all the body fluids they died with and can pretend to be as human as their prowess with blood magic, or connection to humanity, allows. But at the end of the day, although vampire’s bodies do evolve with time…they’re still very much dead.
3. Vampires DO NOT have natural born children. They may have all the necessary body fluids, but some of those fluids have most certainly lost their potency. So no secret baby plots here! :) Granted, there is ONE and only ONE instance where a vampire in my world could have a naturally born child, but said individual(s) are not solely vampires…and that’s all I’m gonna say about that!
4. Vampires are not good or evil. I know there are series where the vampires are all painted as evil entities, but I wholeheartedly reject that notion. All my vampires were once human, and because of that, I believe each one should be treated as an individual. Sure, some are more creature than human, but not all of them are like that, regardless of age. And really, the good and evil monikers are both so subjective that I’m not sure I could attach one or the other to someone. Do I have characters that could easily slide to either side of that line? Sure. But I also have quite a few who blur that line all the time, just like everyone else out there.
5. My vampires do not, nor will they ever, have fated life mates. No. No. No. No. They are free to fall for whomever they please, for whatever reasons…and I will never take that choice away. Outside forces may put 2 characters in a situation where they have to deal with each other, but there will never be just one person for any of my ladies and gents. :) Dead, undead or living, to me, love has to be freely given for it to mean all that it should.
So there are some of my solid rules and reasons why. If there’s another one that I didn’t mention, or just a question you have about how my world works, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do another blog with the answers. :)
Have a good one!
P.S. Tomorrow the Odin Interviews begin!