{Guest} Tracey Sinclair

Not Ready To Stick A Stake In My Vampires

Since most of my previously published writing has fallen into in what can best (at the risk of sounding a bit pretentious) be categorised as ‘literary’ – or at least ‘contemporary’ – fiction, it was as much a surprise to me as it was to anyone else when I started down the path of urban fantasy. It was a decision that a lot of people derided: I’ve had more than one embarrassing conversation with friends and colleagues asking about my new book and adding scathingly: ‘it’s not some crap about vampires, is it?’ To which I can only answer a mumbled, ‘erm, yes’ and feel my credibility evaporate.

So why do it? Certainly not for the money: while the shelves may be heaving with urban fantasy books, all the agents I approached were pessimistic – vampires had had their moment, the market was saturated, nothing to see here, move along please…  But I found I couldn’t not do it. What started as a short story written for no other reason than to cheer up a vampire-loving friend somehow grew into a book I couldn’t stop working on, with characters I grew properly attached to, and who behaved in ways that took me by surprise. Every writer knows the joy of feeling your creations have taken on a life of their own, and once they had, I simply couldn’t abandon them.

I also felt – and feel – that there is still a thriving market for urban fantasy, and that I could add something to an admittedly overcrowded field. There’s nothing shabby, easy or cheap in writing about fantasy – some of my favourite authors work in the genre, and I’d argue that writers like Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher or Kelley Armstrong are as talented prose stylists as some of the most acclaimed ‘literary’ writers around. Also, as a feminist, I don’t think that it’s ‘retro’ or ‘sexist’ to like vampire books – whether your particular fantasy is to be the swooning, moody teen or the kick ass vampire slayer, good luck to you, there’s room for every taste. (I can’t stand Twilight, I admit, but plenty of my friends genuinely love it – and as a huge fan of the Vampire Diaries, who the hell am I to judge?)

But in the last few years, I’ve felt that between the Bella Swan at one end of the scale and Anita Blake at the other, there’s an awful lot of middle ground untaken.  When it came to my own novel, I wanted to write about the kind of woman I’d like to be, or at least like to know: a modern woman who has friends and a life and a job and isn’t willing to throw all of that away for a hot man (I was adamant the one trope I wasn’t abandoning was the impossibly hot men – so sue me).  I also wanted to use London as a backdrop, because so much urban fantasy is set in the States, yet I live in one of the world’s most historic cities – what better backdrop to creatures that are immortal? I used to work around the corner from the city’s biggest meat market , which dates back centuries and is set next to an old plague pit – how could that not inspire me to write about vampires?

I also wanted a novel that could be sexy without being stupid, that could have some fun with the

Dark Dates (Cassandra Bick Chronicles) by Tracey Sinclair

familiar without throwing out the rule book (I’m strongly against vamps who sparkle and don’t mind the sun), but also that accepted that if vampires and other supernaturals did exist, they would live in the same world we do – that is, one where people are fascinated by vampires and supernaturals. And the result is something I am genuinely proud of: a modern take on urban fantasy that you don’t have to switch off your brain or your feminist principles to enjoy, but is still primarily just a light and hopefully entertaining read (with some hot men and kick ass action thrown in).

I’m not done with vampires and urban fantasy, either as a writer or a reader: I still love reading it, and I still think there are interesting things to be done in the genre, and a lot of talented people ploughing fertile ground. And as long as I believe that, I want to be part of that crowd – I’m not ready to stick a stake in my vampires just yet.

About The Author

Tracey Sinclair is a freelance writer, editor and blogger. She is the author of three books: Doll, No Love is This (both Kennedy and Boyd) and the urban fantasy Dark Dates.  She is a contributor to theatre site Exeunt, writes the Fangirl Unleashed column for Unleash the Fanboy, and her blog Body of a Geek Goddess was last year shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan Blogger Awards.

Find out more about Tracy at her blog.

Dark Dates is available for purchase at:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About Bek Harrington

Writer, author, vampire fan and historical enthusiast. You'll often find me crusing the internet under the guise of my alter ego, 3000 year old vampire "Bektamun"

Posted on 10/07/2012, in Guests and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This might be everyone else’s thousandth vampire book, but it’ll be my first. So I’m late to jump on a bandwagon — but this was a bandwagon I was going to let roll by. You’ve just convinced me otherwise.

  2. That’s fantastic to hear Lucy. Vampires open up a whole new way of looking at the world. a) this is why I love writing about them. b) why I love showing off what other authors are doing

  1. Pingback: Promoting my ebook: review round up and why self-promotion is hard work « traceysinclairconsulting

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