It is no secret that I am a big vampire fan, so when I saw that NineStar had an upcoming paranormal release with a vampire, I had to get on board! So what if I was moving countries and internet-less? Vampire!!!
Fortunately, Julia Leijon was able to indulge my enthusiasm for vampires with a guest post about what attraction vampires hold for her. The Warm Taste, her novel, will be released August 15th–I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it! Thank you very much Julia for stopping by to talk vampires with us!
I fell in love with vampires a month or so before I turned fourteen, which means that on some level they’ve always been about that incohate, heady teenage mix of lust and fear for me. So many hundreds of thousands of words have been written about the psychosexual appeal of vampires, and I think that’s pretty telling.
The queerness of vampires is an extension of that, to me — if all this sex and death is centered on their mouths, rather than their genitals (though, obviously, their genitals have quite a role as well in this particular novel) then that means gender’s not part of the equation anymore, doesn’t it?
Their couplings aren’t procreative in the sense of having children, only (depending on your lore) as a method of creating more creatures just like them. Sex without the potential of pregnancy, sex without prescribed genital combinations.
I was a teenager in the nineties, when attitudes to sexuality and gender identity weren’t generally as evolved as they are in a lot of places now. So I was used to queerness being coded as monstrous or villainous in the things I watched and read, and identifying with that despite the attitude the other characters and the text itself might take towards those characters or themes. In time, that ‘despite’ because ‘as well as’, and villainy/monstrousness itself came to be a kind of queerness for me in the media I consumed.
The monsters broke all the rules: they slept in the day and woke in the night, they fed off society rather than contributing to it, they lived forever instead of growing old. Vampires were like rock stars, for me (it’s not a coincidence, I think, that rock stars and vampires have found themselves in the same story more than a few times over the last century or so).
But there’s an inherent tragedy in the vampire that’s appealing too, I think: to never die means they aren’t living. To be sustained by blood means never experiencing the simple pleasures of food. They don’t get to warm their cold skin in the sunshine. And any love affair with a human will always be doomed, in one way or another.
This is just one way to look at vampires–it’s not even the only way I interpret vampires for myself, let alone all the ways that I like reading about from others. They’re endlessly fascinating to me.
I could write about for them for the rest of my life, and very probably will wind up doing just that.
And having read your nuanced and thoughtful take on vampires, Julia, I would not be opposed to you doing that either! The Warm Taste is currently available for preorder on the NineStar website for 20% off until August 15th!
Can a dark creature find a home in the light?
Robin appears to be a quiet, attractive young man, but the exterior hides his true vampire nature: ageless, unchanging, and bloodthirsty. His current obsession is Martin, the personable and generous owner of a coffee shop, The Warm Taste.
All Robin’s careful plans to remain unnoticed are ruined, however, when Martin asks him out on a date. Can Robin really have something so good and sweet as an ordinary relationship, after such a long existence of cold loneliness?
And if things fall apart, and Robin goes back to his old ways, will Martin survive it?
Julia Leijon fell in love with writing at the age of twelve, and with vampires a year later. Despite being in her midthirties now, very little has changed.
Her one moment of infidelity was when she was eighteen and read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, briefly switching her allegiance over to werewolves in the aftermath. Though she still writes shifters and weres from time to time, Julia now counts herself as a permanent member of Team Vampire.
Julia Leijon © 2016
All Rights Reserved
It was well past evening. The windows of the coffee shop spilled warm golden light out onto the cold sidewalk. Robin’s breath didn’t steam on his exhales, and the temperature of the air didn’t bother him, but he wore a bulky coat and scarf for show.
He’d learned years ago that if he made sure that the people around him had no reason to notice him—if his dress was seasonal, his manner unremarkable—then he was forgotten almost before he was gone. It was possible to behave in a very inhuman fashion without drawing attention, provided he at least looked the part.
Most of the patrons inside the coffee shop at this hour were students from the local college, studying late. The campus was nearby, and it was still early enough in the semester for all the young scholars to look fairly bright-eyed and confident, not panicked and exhausted like they would when more weeks had passed.
The light inside was bright enough that Robin couldn’t see even a faint reflection of his own face in the glass of the door. If it had been darker inside than out, there would have been a mirror image, despite what superstitions about vampires usually said. Robin knew well enough what he looked like.
His eyes were blue, with enough gray lurking in the color that they could pick up a tint of green if there was a particularly vivid shade nearby. His hair was blond and he wasn’t tall, or broad-shouldered, which could have had the effect of making him look even younger than his unchanging eighteen years, if not for the confident grace he’d always had to his movements.
To those who only met him briefly, Robin probably appeared around the same age as those college students on the other side of the glass; just starting out toward the world of adult life before the cynicism set in.
If anybody knew him for a longer length of time, they would have begun to see flashes of hardness and darkness in his sweet, fine-boned face; flashes that made him look much, much older. But Robin made sure nobody ever knew him for long enough to notice things like that.
He pushed the door open, the wave of warmth and sound reaching out onto the cold street to envelop him and draw him into the small enclave of life inside.
Martin was behind the counter because Robin wouldn’t have bothered visiting the coffee shop in the first place if it had been the man’s single weekly night off. Robin had taken the time to learn Martin’s schedule, in order to avoid unnecessary ventures out into the living world. There was no point in spending time among the students and their books and coffees unless Martin was there.
His knowledge of Martin extended beyond knowing the man’s working days. Little facts and slivers of information had been collected by Robin, piece by piece, until he’d managed to build up a comprehensive picture of the coffee shop’s attractive, personable owner.
Martin was thirty-five years old. He didn’t have any brothers or sisters, and had lost his parents in his early twenties, coming into a considerable insurance payout when they died. That money remained largely untouched, however, with Martin only dipping into the funds once in all the time he’d had it. That had been when he’d bought the coffee shop. He’d named it The Warm Taste and had worked there ever since.
He had brown eyes and brown hair with the first glints of silver shot through it. He was tall and lean; his body kept in shape through energetic games of Frisbee and fetch with his dog on days off.
Robin liked Daniel’s dog. She was a black-and-white fox terrier cross with a truly obnoxious personality, barking viciously at innocent bystanders as if they were dire threats but instantly cowering from the slightest hint of real danger. She had Martin wrapped around her metaphorical little finger; he would have done anything for that rotten little brat. It made Robin smile to watch.
The dog’s name was Nora, and she liked Robin. Dogs always liked Robin. They noticed him much more often than people did.
Check out our events calendar for information on additional blog stops for The Warm Taste and other upcoming releases!