Unpopular Vampires and Me

Let's face it, the world has been taken over by vampires.

At least, that's what people are saying. Little do they realize, vampires have been an enormous part of our world for a very long time -- my entire life, for certain. Growing up, I watched them on TV and on the big screen, and oh yes, I read about them, devoured every vampire book in sight. So clearly, the love of vampires is nothing new. And who can blame us all for loving them? Vampires are dangerous, sexy, brooding, frightening, and mysterious.

It only made sense that when I decided to write a series of books that it would be about my greatest love -- vampires!

Only... there was a problem.

Love vampires as I do, I've gotten really burned out on that whole girl-meets-boy, boy-turns-out-to-be-a-vampire, boy-and-girl-live-happily-ever-after thing. Have you noticed that recent fiction doesn't focus on the vampire? They focus on the girl who falls in love with the vampire, and frankly, I don't care about the girl. I want fangs. I want blood. I want a dangerous creature of the night lurking in shadowy corners -- one who hungers, one who hurts. I want to be close to the vampire and find out how he's feeling.

Once I realized that I wanted to write about a vampire, I knew it would have to be a boy and I knew that he would be just as horribly, woefully unpopular as I was in school. And that's when the image of a half-vampire/half-human boy popped into my head. wanted him to be more like the old-school vampires that I'd loved growing up, but realistic -- no trust fund, no smooth talking. Just a normal boy, who happened to have fangs.

But most importantly, I wanted to clear my head of all the horrible things clouding it, and I was determined to do that with the help of my new fanged friend.

I've already mentioned that I was unpopular in school. But it's more than that. I was bullied in the cruelest ways. Name-calling, physical assaults, rumors, having terrible things scribbled on my notebooks. My tormentors left nothing undone or unsaid. My self-esteem plummeted and things that happened to me from elementary all through high school stayed with me well into my twenties and early thirties, shadowing my thoughts until I decided to face them with my fiction. I'm enormously thrilled to say that with every one of Vlad's triumphs, I feel better about what I experienced, and because of my series, I'm able to connect with my readers on another level, as many of them are being or have been bullied. To me, writing isn't just fun. It's therapy. And it's making people aware that bullying is still going on in our schools.

And hopefully, it shows readers (whom I affectionately refer to as my Minions) that vampires are people too -- just like that skinny kid in gym class; just like that nerdy girl in the library.

Just like that girl who grew up to write a series called "The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod."

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