I'm Amy Gray. I like smoking, carbs, and words. I live in the (currently) sleek humidity of Melbourne, Australia. When not lying horizontally on my life partner, the couch, I write. Just recently I wrote a book about vampires. I know. No, really, I know. Right now your eyebrows are raised, your hand clenched on the mouse or touchpad ready to click away in indignation. It's true: I have contributed to the glut of vampire books on the market.
But I am unrepentant.
Some eleven and a half months ago, I celebrated Christmas with a self-hosted, 40-hour vampire film festival. It started with the sublime Nosferatu and ended, somewhat inexplicably, with the first installment of Twilight.
At the time, my housemate and I nearly came to blows over the film. I was apoplectic over the characters, enraged by the original novel and smug about the slathering fans. How could a vampire book series ignore all the rich, velvety lore surrounding vampires? It was the vampire equivalent of a diet shake — it slaked a thirst momentarily but felt achingly incomplete. How could a new generation unfurl into a love of stylish monsters without the seduction of Carmilla (Dodo Press) by Le Fanu? The lyrical Dracula by Bram Stoker? The complete story arcs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Just what would you give to a fledgling intrigued by these lusty creatures of the night?
That's how the book came about. Presented as a manual for aspiring demons, How to Be a Vampire attempts to cram in over 3,000 years of history about one of folklore's most intoxicating bogeymen. Given almost every culture has a blood-sucking variant in the dark alleys of archetypes, it's a jumping board into a wading pool. There will always be greater and murkier depths to explore.
That's the other thing: I love monsters. Classical myths to men-in-a-rubber-suit films from the fifties and all that lies between. This week's blog posts will not be about the exquisitely ethereal gossamer of highbrow. We're going down, people, down to the heady lowbrow of monsterland and myth, where folklore rebirths as gaudy neon viscera.
Light a smoke and take my hand. It'll be fun.
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Amy Gray is a writer and photographer who is fascinated with art, literature, and the murky side of life. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her daughter.
Books mentioned in this post
Amy Gray is the author of How to Be a Vampire: A Fangs-On Guide for the Newly Undead