Will Anne Rice’s Prince Lestat Signal the Return of the Gothic Vampire? by Amanda M. Lyons
We’ve long bemoaned the rise of the modern romance vampire of Twilight fame, but will we rejoice at seeing a return of the romantic vampire many of us grew to love as teens? And will it mean the return of the aged rogue, the introspective creature of the night that was left behind for more sexualized fair?
Lestat De Lioncourt was a brilliant and shining example of the gothic vampire antihero, spawning a ten book series, graphic novels, films, art and even an annual ball in the author and the character’s honor. A decade ago, the author chose to leave him and her other vampires in her past, citing the fact that he was based on her husband who she had lost recently and that as a result he had become painful to write about. It also fell shortly before a religious outpouring of faith by the author and, in some ways, it seemed that the author had left it behind in order to make her faith more clear and unmuddied despite her claims that Lestat was always as faithful as she.
At the time, there were many fans who had grown disenchanted and lost interest in the direction the series had taken, and while there were many authors who wrote a similar style of vampire from different angles such as Mary Ann Mitchell, Jemiah Jefferson, and Poppy Z Brite who might have taken up the mantle, the gothic vampire was soon forgotten.
Or so it seemed.
A whole generation of authors had grown up with the gothic vampire and been influenced by the style, while some ventured out with books in the same format others chose to further romanticize the undead monster and turned him into a fitting hero for paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales. Less and less of the gothic vampires came out and soon the paranormal romance and urban fantasy vampire had surpassed him in popularity, eventually resulting in the characters of series such as Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse who, while now ended, set the scene for many other authors to release their own version of the modern vampire.
In protest, or in honor of the classical vampire, there was now a rise in the creation of brutal vampires, the true monsters of the undead world rending, massacring and leaving no doubt about his intentions via such popular series as 30 Days of Night. A line had been made in the sand, vampires were either romanticized, sexual and swooned over or they were the subject of nightmares, there was no in between. Not if you wanted the book to succeed and not be lost in vast array of the newer sort, that is.
Did this mean that there was no place left for the gothic vampire? For authors writing this style, the answer appeared to be yes, especially in a market flooded with PNR vampires both traditionally and indie published and a readership who either devoured the PNR style or reviled it entirely. You could either write novels that were purely romantic and action oriented or turn them into bloody monsters, not inventing something somewhere in between and certainly not with a plot which laid out the histories of such creatures and their brooding outlook between action scenes. Deadlocked many writers either reformatted their vampires to suit the popular style or waited for fans of their sort to come along.
Now that Lady Anne is making a return, however, things may well change. Will Prince Lestat be the great return to the series and character fans adored? Will it herald a return to form for the author fans had given up on and will it then create a demand for the gothic vampire again? Only time can say, but for authors of the subgenre it would be a welcome change and fresh chance to market books which have been getting overlooked in the shadow of Twilight and 30 Days. What do you think?
Author Bio: Amanda M. Lyons is the author of the Shades of Midnight gothic vampire series. A longtime fan of horror and fantasy, Ms. Lyons writes character driven novels that, while influenced by her darker interests, can also be heavily laced with fantasy, romance, history and magic. Amanda M. Lyons has lived her whole life in rural Ohio where she lives with her fiance and two children. Wendy Won’t Go: Collector’s Edition, Eyes Like Blue Fire, and Water Like Crimson Sorrow came out from J. Ellington Ashton Press this year. She is also the author of Feral Hearts (a brutal vampire choose your own ending tale), with authors Catt Dahman, Mark Woods, Jim Goforth, Edward P. Cardillo, and Michael Fisher; a contributing author to the extreme horror anthology Rejected for Content: Splattergore, and co-edited Autumn Burning: Dreadtime Stories for the Wicked Soul with Samatha Gregory. Look for Under the Bridge, Inanna Rising :Women Forged by Fire, Fata Arcana, and Cool Green Waters (book 3 of Shades of Midnight) in the coming months. Amanda is also Lead Editor US Division with J Ellington Ashton Press and a freelance novel editor. Find out more at: http://amandamlyons.weebly.com/