Please help me welcome fellow Vamp author, Thomas Winship to the blog today! He's here to share why...
Hear Me Out
Hello everyone. I’m so excited to be Rachel’s guest blogger today! I’m Thomas Winship, author of Væmpires: Revolution and Væmpires: White Christmas. Both books are part of a new, ongoing vampire series that explores the question: what if vampires evolved?
I know what you’re probably thinking: not another vampire series!
Now, before you click away, further damaging my already-fragile psyche and perhaps doing something you’ll regret later … why not stay and give me a chance? After all, I’m not asking for a long-term commitment; I just want to entertain you for a few minutes.
If that isn’t one of the great “don’t go” lines in history, I don’t know what is.
Nevertheless, the sentiment is sincere. Rachel asked me to entertain you today, which is a terrific privilege that I vowed she wouldn’t regret (actually, she insisted I entertain you … and the price of failure included some very frightening, albeit creative, threats that introduced an entirely new level of desperation to my nightmares).
I’m sure the entire experience will help me grow as a person and a writer, so I’d better get started.
You see; Væmpires is unlike any other vampire series on the market. Yes, it is typically characterized as urban fantasy/dystopian, but it is even more than that. Væmpires blends fantasy, sci-fi, horror, action, and romance in presenting a post-apocalyptic future in which humans and vampires are pitted against mutated væmpires—some of whom have special powers.
My world has two races of vampires—vampires and væmpires. Neither completely conforms to the usual stereotypes, because I chose not to follow any particular vampire mythology or mode of thought in creating my world.
Certainly, my vampires have some similarities to “traditional” vampires in that they are undead creatures with enhanced abilities and senses, they require human blood for sustenance, and that sunlight kills them.
However, they differ from traditional vampires in that they were created from the radioactive fallout from WWIII, new vampires are born (not made), and they age naturally (although they are immortal). Additionally, the creation of synthetic human blood frees them from the need to feed on humans and provides protection from the sun.
My vampires may be immortal, but that doesn’t mean they are invulnerable. Decapitation, stopping the heart, bleeding them dry, or even causing injuries that overwhelm their healing abilities can kill them, of course.
They don’t sleep in coffins or dark basements. They don’t turn humans into vampires. They aren’t susceptible to garlic, crosses, or holy water, although they don’t have much use for any of them, either—with the exception of garlic, perhaps. It’s an essential ingredient in so many recipes that it’s hard to swear off entirely.
The vampires of Væmpires are inhumanly attractive, on average, although they tend not to flaunt it. In fact, the models used for the covers of all the paranormal romance novels are either: a) humans pretending to be vampires; b) teenage vampires determined to shame their parents c) adult vampires determined to shame their children; or d) the cryogenically-preserved remains of a certain Mr. Pattinson (proving that he did, in fact, “live” forever. Ms. Stewart, alas, faded from the public eye after an ill-advised cameo in 2032’s “Twinlight,” the first of an intended series of movies based upon the misadventures of Jacob and Renesmee’s conjoined fraternal twins. One twin is a dhampir/wolf hybrid with amazing abilities, affectionately named “Dampy” because her fur is always, well, damp. The other twin, Kenny, is a normal human afflicted with debilitating cases of aquagenic urticaria and an allergy to pet dander. When the movie flopped, Kristen supposedly sought refuge in a “Team Jacob” commune in upstate New York and was never seen again.).
On the other side of the conflict are the væmpires. Væmpires are mutated vampires. No one knows why the mutations occur or how to stop them. Each væmpire is a bigger, stronger, faster version of its former self, with a second thumb on each hand and an altered physical appearance, to boot.
While this may sound advantageous, it is not without a price—those who mutate end up as warm-blooded beings who must feed on vampire blood to survive. Attempts to create a synth-blood variant have been unsuccessful.
As I mentioned earlier, a percentage of væmpires also have special powers. Some don’t simply feed on vampire blood; they are able to pull memories from the person they are feeding upon. There aren’t many of these “Readers,” and the majority of the world’s population writes their reported existence off as urban legend or fearful conjecture. However, when the væmpires rise up in revolution they reveal a darker truth—not only do “Readers” exist, but there are also væmpires who can teleport, walk through walls, create a wall of flames, etc.
Here’s a related excerpt from Væmpires: Revolution:
Daniel’s father would have the situation under control; he’d stop the killing. He was the captain of the guard. He trained for these situations. Hell, Daniel trained for these situations.
There was no answer for three seconds, four seconds, and a finger of fear formed in his stomach.
“Hello.” It was a whisper.
“Daniel, where are you? Tell me you’re not in the city.”
“I am. I’m coming, Dad.”
“No! Don’t come here.” Someone screamed in the background. “There are only a handful of us left.”
“What! How is that possible? Every guard in the city was there.”
“They tricked us, Daniel.” His father’s words were pained. “We were so blind. The væmpires are not only stronger and faster than we realized, but some of them have powers, Daniel.”
“I know, Dad. Some of them can Read memories in our blood.”
“I’m not talking about Reading, Daniel, I’m talking about other powers.”
“Other powers! What do you mean—”
“Shut up and listen! I haven’t got much time.” His father’s whisper was like a shout in his ear. “Some of them teleported. One created a wall of flames. One killed with a touch of her bare hand. And some of them, some changed shapes—they looked like people we knew, other guards, dignitaries, and then they reverted to their true forms before our eyes and attacked.”
“How is that possible?” Daniel cried. “How is any of that possible?”
“How doesn’t matter, Daniel! What matters is that they are much more dangerous than we ever suspected. They killed King Brant, Queen Anne, the human president and the First Lady before we even realized we were under attack. It was a slaughter.”
The words reverberated in Daniel’s mind. The king and queen are dead. Cassie’s parents are dead.
“What about Mom? She’s okay, right?”
“She’s gone, Daniel. I couldn’t save her.”
“Listen to me, Daniel! Get out of the city!”
“No. I’m coming to help. I can—”
“Flee, Daniel. Now!” An explosion made his ear ring. He heard rubble hitting the floor and then labored breathing.
“Daniel.” His father’s voice was weak and thin. “Run. Once they know I’m dead, they’ll come for you. You’ll be the acting king.”
“Who cares about that?”
“The people do, Daniel.” The voice was so low it was almost imperceptible. “Vampires and humans just lost their leaders in one afternoon. The væmpires attacked at least a dozen major cities around the world, vampire and human cities. There’s no telling how many people will be killed before the world even realizes we’re at war, and there’s no telling how the humans will react to being attacked. You must bring this conflict to a peaceful conclusion before it’s too late.”
“Humans wouldn’t dare unleash atomics,” Daniel said, experiencing a wave of unease at the thought.
“There are no limits to what humans will dare,” his father whispered. “Never forget that. It’s their greatest strength and their deadliest weakness.”
So, vampires have their work cut out for them if they are to survive.
In many ways, the dynamic between væmpires and vampires parallels the traditional dynamic between vampires and humans. After all, if the literary world is going to insist on humanizing vampires, then I believe vampires should discover what it means to be human.
In other words, to be prey.
My main characters are teens, but Væmpires isn’t a YA world. The obstacles these teens face are decidedly adult and decidedly deadly. They are thrust into a war they didn’t choose, with the fate of the world lying in the balance.
I hope you’ll give Væmpires a chance. Honestly, I never set out to write a vampire novel. The idea of mutated vampires came to me … oh, probably a decade ago, and although I did my best to ignore it, the darn idea just wouldn’t go away. Now that it’s born fruit, I wish I hadn’t waited so long, and I’m rather eager to share it with the world.
Before I sign off, I want to clarify something I said earlier. Actually, I want to retract it—you see, Rachel never threatened me, explicitly or implicitly, with anything. I simply said that for effect.
I’d like to thank all of you for stopping in and offer a very special “thank you” to Rachel Firasek for hosting my Dark Mind Book Tour and for inviting me to swing by today. I hope you enjoyed my guest blog. I’d love to hear what you think of it and/or answer any questions you may have. Post comments or questions below and I’ll be sure to respond.
Feel free to stop by my website and reach out. I’d love to hear from you if you check out Vaempires.
Below are links where you can find me.