If you love paranormal stories, especially those featuring vampires, you’ll enjoy hearing about today’s guest. Margaret L. Carter fell in love with the genre at an early age and the rest as they say is history. Her Web site is Carter’s Crypt, http://www.margaretlcarter.com. She also has a monthly newsletter:
Susan Palmquist (SP)-You have a background and degrees in English…were you destined to be a writer?
Margaret L. Carter (MC)-Even if I wasn’t originally destined to be a writer, my fate was sealed when I read DRACULA at the age of twelve. The following year, I decided to be a writer and started composing vampire and other supernatural fiction because it was too hard to find enough of the stories I wanted to read. I majored in English on the theory that I could grow up to get paid for reading.
SP- Many of your books are vampire romances…why do you think the vampire hero is so appealing?
MC-The vampire appeals to me personally mainly because of the eroticism of blood-drinking, as a symbol of sharing one’s innermost self with another person, and the nature of the vampire as almost human but not quite, the alluring Other who offers a skewed perspective on the human race. Other factors: The image of a nearly immortal being who has experienced history in a way we can’t. The dark hero who can be redeemed only by the heroine, whose armor only she can pierce; he has the ability to love, but only she can awaken it. In some cases (not mine, because my vampires are another species), the lover who can bestow supernatural long life on the beloved.
SP-Lots of writers are penning vampire and paranormal novels these days, how can they keep their ideas fresh?
MC-I believe it helps if the writer becomes familiar with versions of vampirism that have gone before, folklore and classic fiction as well as currently popular concepts of the vampire. That way, when she brings her own vision to the archetype, she won’t fall into the risk of imitating one particular other author’s concept, as if that model were the one and only. Her image of the vampire will grow out of broad exposure to the field and combine the different facets that appeal to her in a new synthesis. Knowing what lots of others have done, I think, is a good way to come up with one’s own variation rather than “reinvent the wheel.” Or, conversely, a writer could do what Anne Rice apparently did; judging from her biography, it doesn’t appear that she’d had much exposure to previous vampire fiction at all — her inspiration seems to have worked with general ideas of vampires floating around in the cultural ether. But it doesn’t seem likely that most writers interested in creating vampires nowadays would start from such a “tabula rasa” position; they might therefore be more susceptible to the pitfall of being overly influenced by one or two books or series.
SP-If writers want to research vampires any good sites or books to check out?
MC-Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, AND OTHER MONSTERS is an attractive and informative reference book. The Links section of my website lists many fun and useful vampire sites:
SP-What are you working on right now?
MC-A novella about the descendant of a long line of vampire hunters who captures a female vampire and finds himself dismayingly attracted to her.
SP-Any genre you want to try but haven’t got around to it yet?
MC-I’ve sometimes thought that I would like to write a mystery, a genre that takes a daunting amount of skill in plotting. I enjoy the outlining phase of writing, but the intricate plotting required by mysteries doesn’t come naturally to me.
SP-You’re a member of EPIC, do you think it’s essential writers join groups like this?
MC-Maybe not essential, but I think it’s a big help. Writers’ groups are good for networking through meeting editors, agents, and other writers, and such organizations also supply useful information about the publishing industry with an abundance, reliability, and timeliness that would be hard for any individual to find on his own.