Okay, so this title reflects multiple truths for vampire romances especially this year. My original prompting for this article was the stunning new covers for two upcoming releases from the Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schrieber: “The Beginning” (April 21) and “Royal Blood” (May 19) . Of course, ‘Vamplore’ basics dictate one or more bites by or of a vampire (stories vary) will change a human into a vampire (if they live through it). On a larger scale, we are also seeing a major increase in readership and demand for “books with a bite” aka: the Vampire Romance subgenre of Fantasy-Fiction. The rise in vamplore popularity among teens and young adults is now also effecting change across merchandising, fashion, media and literature too, much like the piratology (skulls and cross bones) frenzy. But let’s get back to these new book covers and change they follow in merchandising.
Personally, I loved the artsy feel of the first five illustrated covers in this series. But I must admit the new gothic-inspired photograph in dramatic black & white with splashes of red or violet tones is a good move. This change should help bring them into the same limelight as bestsellers Twilight, Vampire Academy, House of Night, and Blue Bloods. Ellen Schreiber writes well-developed humorous teen love stories anyway, complete with captivating fun characters (Alexander and Raven are so cute together!) So Vampire Kisses has captured and held my attention already, as well as the hearts of many teen readers across America. But I believe these covers will attract new readers and perhaps an older audience of college students and adult readers. You might say Vampire Kisses is showing its fangs this year in YA fantasy marketing and it will likely place a sizeable bite on the vampire romance vein, draining it of some very sweet profits!
On a larger scale, the Vampire Romance genre is growing with great energy and effecting change in readership, classification, and related merchandising across markets of all ages over the past several months. This sudden surge was prompted by, fed by or at least confirmed by the popular Twilight Saga novels and movie last fall (and yes Robert Pattinson as Edward). Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight) suggested this success may be largely due to the hole in fantasy-fiction left by the aftermath of the Harry Potter series. But HP books never tapped into the romance genre or the hearts of love struck females ages 10-70 worldwide like Twilight has (and still going!)
But now “vamplore” addicts have flung that door wide open drawing attention to similar genres Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy and Dark Fantasy. Thankfully, a mass of writers and publishers are meeting our demands with an onslaught of “Immortal Fiction” bearing similar marketing appeal including vampires, were-animals, shape-shifters, mythological creatures, ghosts, faeries and magical creatures of The Fey, all kinds of immortal, paranormal, spiritual or otherwise supernatural beings, most of whom interact with and often fall in love with humans. As if we would hold any real appeal for such spectacular creatures, right? But we like to believe it, perhaps so we won’t mind too much having to return to the real world after such a great adventure!
I am a prime example of the newly obsessed fantasy-fiction fan with particular tastes and a ravenous appetite for immortal fiction, especially vampire romance. I check out what I can from my local library and rent books from BookSwim.com. I read and buy in-store from Barnes & Noble & Borders, online at Amazon IF, ImmortalFiction.com, Ebooks.com, and HarperCollins.com and I download audio books from Audible.com.
I cut my 45 year old literary teeth on Harry Potter books from the library last year. But nothing else caught my attention to keep me reading until four books of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga which I devoured four times each in September 2008. In October, I gave in and read an excerpt of her unfinished complimentary novella, Midnight Sun (great!) and her cool sci-fi novel, The Host. (read EW’s article this week on Stephenie!) Then on Meyer’s recommendation I read Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, another riveting sci-fi novel with a sequel release due this year. But neither of these captivated me quite the way Twilight did with its innocent first love in normal life setting with an otherworldly twist and dangerous adventures, all told in personal perspective diary mode.
That’s when I realized maybe it wasn’t just Meyer’s writing style. I had developed an insatiable hunger for books in one very specific vein (pun intended) — Vampire Romance. I dont’ enjoy plain romance or vampire horror, but dangerous exotic love that runs deeper than expected is intriguing. I decided there HAD to be other books and authors I would like this much and I just had to find them… right? So I started by looking at recommendations from others who felt the same about Twilight as I did and I found Goodreads.com and it has been a great resource with wonderful interaction from readers without time wasters like unrelated ads and spam. I rarely get or have to look at anything I haven’t signed up to specifically do there and receive there. So kudos to all of you there.
Now, I guarantee you won’t like everything you see in the vampire and paranormal romance world but I seldom come across one I just don’t like as long as there’s a vampire in there somewhere and a touch of sweet or sexy love. But there is definitely enough variety available now and continually being written, considered, and published. Most books in this genre are written and marketed by brilliant, humorous, sexy, mysteries and quirky authors who love the same things we do! I went from reading only 3 books in the last 20 years to reading 81 books in 4 months! So I have definitely formed some opinions along the way and I have great enthusiasm to interact with you about them!
So have I kept you guessing long enough about which books I recommend and why? I’ll be writing about that next time but as a hint go look at the books in my POLL (and please VOTE!):
* What 2009 book are you most excited about? *