VK Inspiration

What was the inspiration for Vampire Kisses? Well here it is!

In the summer of 1998, I wrote Vampire Kisses. It was published in Belgium in 2000 (YAY!) and the fabulous Katherine Tegen of HarperCollins bought it in 2001 to be published in the fall of 2003.

The idea for Vampire Kisses came to me in three ways...

1. A character.   2. An image.   3. An obsession.

In the late 90s, Id read an adult novel that I thought was kind of bland except for a very minor character--a rebellious teen girl. I thought if the book was about her, it would be interesting. That thought must have stuck with me--the idea that Id like to write about a character I thought would be interesting to read about. Beyond being rebellious I wanted to make my character confident, feisty, headstrong, fearless, and an outsider. And of course, shed have a sense of humor. And instead of her being the sidekick, the friend, or even worse--the antagonist--shed be the heroine!

At the time I was living in a four family apartment building which had a view of a small playground. It was the beginning of a hot and sizzling summer and I saw two goth girls standing on swings and swinging. The contrast of their black outfits, make-up, and hair against the rays of the blazing sun really caught my eye. At the time, I thought one day I might write a poem and call it Dark Angels.

The character and image merged into my head and I couldnt get it out. I was ready to write. Once I married my character with the goth image, I decided she would be obsessed with something--and then it popped in my head--vampires!

When I wrote Vampire Kisses all the vampires I was familiar with were bloody, violent, and negative.
I wanted to write about and explore the romantic vampire, without the gore. I liked the idea that a guy could be in love with a girl for all eternity and wanted to write about that kind of strong internal and eternal drive and relationship. My vampire would be rebellious too--in his own way--not the typical violent vampire--but the thirsty for love kind. And of course, hed be hot, hot, hot!

So the hot and sexy vampire that Raven would fall for wasnt going to be malevolent. He was looking for true love and a relationship he could sink his teeth into. That set him apart from other vampires in his world, and like Raven, hed be an outsider, too.

That was how Raven was born. Back in that summer of 1998 when everyone was out getting a tan and jumping in the pool, I was holed up in my apartment with my computer that faced a bare white wall. I began writing and creating the kind of character I wanted to read about-- a headstrong girl, who was fearless, feisty, and confident. I decided shed live in a conservative environment and dress differently than those around her. And to her it wouldnt matter. She wasnt about to conform--because that was who she was.

When I wrote Vampire Kisses I imagined Alexander as a young Johnny Depp. Hello! Need I say more?
Again, he wasnt going to be the typical vampire--he was going to be searching for a girl who he could love for eternity. Wed see him from Ravens perspective, hed be sexy, dreamy, and of course, mysterious.

I started with his appearance. He was based on a guy Id met while waiting for a plane at the airport. He had blond hair and piercing green eyes. I used him for the physical attributes of Trevor. Trevor was intended to be a character that offered romantic tension for Raven in the beginning of the novel. However, when I write I just sit down and put fingers to key board and Trevor began showing up in every scene! He was originally intended to be a small part, but he just kept showing up and driving Raven--and me-- crazy. Ultimately, by the time I finished the book, he had became a major character in the novel and now the series.

Aunt Libby is a combo of my Aunt Esther and my long time friend in Chicago. Everyone should have an Aunt Esther! Shes really loving and kind and always into talking about my love life. My friend, Andrea, is a totally hippie-girl, but much more successful in the arts than Aunt Libby. I think shes Jim Morrison reincarnated.

David Bowie has two different eye colors and I always thought that was cool. And twins always fascinated me--the bond that they must share must be so intense. So I had Jagger and Luna be twins--only one was born a vampire and the other born a mortal.

Way before I wrote VK, I spotted a woman who was dressed head-to-toe in white. She was so striking I guess she stuck in my mind. When Raven got a job at Armstrong Travel, suddenly that lady showed up. She wound up being a great contrast to Raven, who is always in black.

I placed Raven in a small town where it was most likely shed be the only one like her and could really stand out. And in a small town rumors spread quickly.

At the time, I felt like I was living in my own Dullsville. Even though I lived in a city-- I was pining for my own true love. The one that you can truly be yourself with and that you cant stop daydreaming about!

I always get the question... where is Dullsville? Is is based on a real place?
Dullsville is a state of mind. Most of it lies in my imagination, but a few parts are based on places Ive driven past. My mom came from a small town in Illinois and she told me they had events like a spring carnival. So I used that as a setting for the end of VAMPIREVILLE.
My husband and I would go for rides in Ohio--corn fields, barns, and pastures for miles. I used one of those houses for Beckys.

Again, a town I created that isnt based upon a real place. Its a mixture of my imagination and streets in Chicago. Some readers ask if its Yellow Springs, Ohio. It isnt but Id love to go there--as it sounds like an awesome place!

As I began writing the novel, I didnt have any idea of plot or other characters. I just sat down and began to write. Trevor was a very minor character--just meant to be a blip on the radar screen. And at that time, I hadnt even thought of Jagger, Luna, and Valentine--or the Coffin Club.

VAMPIRE KISSES was first published in Belgium by Facet in 2000. It was called- De kus van de vampier.

Since my friends and family cant read Dutch, my brother Mark was kind enough to print some up in English. I didnt have an agent (here in the US).

I remember thinking, when I originally began writing Vampire Kisses... I thought maybe I could submit it to Facet, the publisher in Belgium that published Johnny Lightning. I had no idea it would go further than that. Now there are going to be at least eight novels and six volumes of mangas and both are published in other countries.

Im so happy I chose not to get a tan that summer. It pays to stay out of the sun, just like a true vampire!

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