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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jinn Nation on Tour: A Vampiric Education

Welcome to Caroline Barnard-Smith, author of Jinn Nation. Today's stop will give you a little education in different vampire books.

A Vampiric Education

These days, due to the massively popular movies and TV series, when you mention vampire fiction people tend to only think of Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse novels. There’s an enormous range of undead-related frolics to be had though, with the trend dating all the way back to 1897 and the publication of Dracula by Bram Stoker. For those who want to delve deeper into the vampire genre, I’ve put together a short list of sometimes overlooked but often massively influential novels.

I Am LegendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson 
Sometimes feeling more like a zombie novel than a vampire story, this is a bleak tale of apocalypse set in a world overrun by a plague that turns people into blood-thirsty monsters. The far-reaching influence of this novel on the writers of the twentieth century is plain to see, inspiring George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Stephen King's Salem's Lot.
Lost SoulsLost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite  
I bang on about this novel far too much but it was one of the first books that really blew me away. This is how I want to write horror, not obscuring but enhancing the visceral images with gorgeous lyrical prose. Christian whiles away his afterlife in his bar in New Orleans, lonely for his own kind. When the vampires Zillah, Molochai and Twig drop in one night during Mardi Gras and avail themselves of one of the regulars, events are set in motion that will change all their lives forever. Nothing is born nine months later, working a shred of pink flesh between his tiny baby gums, and Christian decides to leave him on a doorstep in suburbia, hoping he’ll have a normal upbringing but little knowing he has condemned Nothing to a life as lonely as his own. For me this novel is all about the vampire as outsider and the lengths we’ll go to in order to make a connection with those we consider our own kind.
Hotel TransylvaniaHotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
This is the first in a long series of novels about Le Comte de Saint-Germain, a 5000-year-old vampire who gradually becomes more human. The historical elements are intricately researched (sometimes too much so), spiced up with a simmering sexuality. Gothic vampire novels to satisfy Anne Rice fans.
Vampire JunctionVampire Junction by S. P. Somtow 
Now viewed as the granddaddy of splatterpunk, Vampire Junction is a violent, stylistically schizophrenic novel about a 2000-year-old vampire and rock star who looks like an 11-year-old boy. Vampiric children are by no means original, but Timmy Valentine takes the myth to an entirely more disturbing level.
Fevre DreamFevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
Although famous for writing the A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series (or A Game of Thrones for fans of the recent HBO mini-series), not many people know that George R. R. Martin has also written a vampire novel. Fevre Dream is a highly original story set on a 19th century steam boat carrying a vampire intent on traversing the majestic Mississippi for mysterious and maybe world-changing reasons. Some readers have complained that it is slow-paced, but this only adds to the other-worldly ambience.
The HungerThe Hunger by Whitley Strieber
A fresh and chilling approach to the vampire myth, The Hunger is about the ancient vampire Miriam and her search for a lover who can withstand the ravages of time, or spend eternity rotting and conscious in a box. There are definitely no brooding vamps to be found here, Miriam and her lovers kill at will, viewing humans as little more than cattle. 
The rise of indie publishing has meant some exciting new vampire novels have appeared that might have been overlooked by traditional publishers only interested in finding the next tween sensation. One of those novels is Changeling, the first in a trilogy about the truly remorseless monster, Dreyfuss, who takes a human prisoner and derives great pleasure from attempting to break her down. Strictly for the strong-stomached!
Jinn NationJinn Nation by Caroline Barnard-Smith
Which brings us neatly to Jinn Nation, my very own vampire novel (well, I had to mention it somewhere!) I’ve attempted to create my own vampiric anti-hero in Dylan, an immortal who can be cruel and sadistic, but also loyal and often humorous. He meets the mysterious Christa in a jinn bar in the middle of the Arizona desert and is instantly intrigued, fascinated by her ability to control peoples’ actions and read their thoughts. Setting out in a stolen RV, they traverse the United States on a wanton joyride, little knowing their good time will soon be cut short by the growing tide of jinn hungry for flesh.
Once, the vampire Dylan had feared nothing and no one. He'd rampaged throughout the world on a seemingly never ending quest to fill his eternal years with the finest, most outrageous extravagances; with exquisite, soft-limbed young women and copious amounts of rich, vibrating blood. But life, however full of joy, inevitably changes.
Finding himself alone for the first time in his long unlife, Dylan turns to the preternatural race of savage creatures called the jinn - a path that inevitably leads him to Christa, a strangely childlike woman with the power to control minds and read thoughts. Mutually intrigued by each other, they set out on a blood-soaked road trip that crosses the United States and the Atlantic Ocean, finally leading them beyond the world itself to the mysterious fae kingdoms of the Inbetween.
 Caroline Barnard-Smith has been writing stories since she was five years old. Having graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, she now lives in Devon, England with her husband and baby daughter where she writes about ruthless vampires, lovelorn zombies and heinous blood cults.
Her short stories have been published in numerous small press magazines, including Ballista, Hungur and Night to Dawn, and on the web at Dark Fire Fiction.
Caroline’s debut dark fantasy novel, Dunraven Road, was published by Immanion Press in June 2009. For various exciting reasons she’s since turned her hand to indie publishing. Jinn Nation is her first full-length independently published novel.
When she’s not writing, Caroline is busy running her handmade craft business, CazzCraft, selling both online and at craft fairs.
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