Pass the tanning butter
Before I start on today's subject let me thank Nina and Ron Else for hosting Sunday’s signing at the Denver Book Mall. I had a co-signing with the brainy and well-spoken Carrie Vaughn
, author of the werewolf DJ novel, Kitty and The Midnight Hour
(the subject of a future interview). We had a great turnout. Later that afternoon I attended a salon reading by faculty of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop
at the swanky Jet Hotel
. I felt so literary.
Now, in today's news: In the myth building of superhuman characters, the mightier the creature, the more ordinary his or her weakness. The ancient gods of Olympus kept falling victim to their own vanity. Superman fears green kryptonite, whose rays are harmless to everyone else. The Wicked Witch of the West was done in by water, probably regular tap water at that, nothing fancy like Fiji or Evian. And vampires fear the warm, friendly beams of daylight.
Opposing the daylight is the night. People have always been afraid of the dark. Weird things happen at night. All kinds of creepy crawlies come out. The most ferocious of the hunters, wolves, jaguars, and tigers, are nocturnal killers. Darkness is a metaphor for ignorance, desolation, isolation, confusion, and the unknown. Night is the time for evil. Anything that thrives at night does so because it's in league with the Prince of Darkness, the devil. Vampires and the other great monsters of legend all wear the cloak of darkness.
But today we don't fear darkness or the unknown as we did. The electric light and a 24/7 schedule means that there is no time for the vampire to find shelter. The modern vampire has become a victim of a shrinking habitat.
Years ago, foxes, mountain lions, and coyotes shunned human contact. But as their habitat shrank, these animals lost their innate fear of humans and are now in the suburbs munching on Kitty and Fido.
Like these hunters, the modern vampire has adapted. With no place to hide, the vampire hides in plain sight, right among us. The one compromise is that the vampire had to learn how to cope with daylight. In my stories, Felix and his fanged friends use a mix of hyper-effective sun block and makeup. I like the anxiety they feel over the most ordinary of events--the sun and especially the rays of the dawn. Some authors have vampires who can withstand sunlight. Others choose to adhere to the canon of traditional vampire lore.
When do your vampires like to prowl?