In our work, we feature a great deal of what is considered supernatural. I say considered because everyone’s perception of what is supernatural in a story is varied. Or at least what they believe a supernatural character should be is varied.
I must admit, I experience a certain glee in giving the standards a kick in the butt. Take vampires. A fan girl’s favorite. They are always portrayed as super sexy. Creatures who can make a woman’s knees go weak. Who, with a look, can have a human doing whatever they want them to do.
Even as they are portrayed as evil, this only highlights their sexiness and power. They are the undead. They are superior to humans in every way except the whole need to drink blood thing.
No wonder they are often written in the classic romance style. You know what I mean, the heartthrob that can’t be had. The young girl who loves someone she can never be with. Romances are tragedies and vampires fit that bill to a tee.
This version of vampires has been handed down to us story after story. Few writers of the genre present them as evil. In fact, there is a difference between horror and supernatural genres. They blend together often but many will argue that True Blood is a supernatural story while Salem’s Lot is a horror story.
They are both about vampires, aren’t they? Yet, those who favor romances will argue to the death that a vampire is a romantic idol. Young fan girls believe they are the epitome of romantic while women lean more towards the erotic side of the idea of vampires. What woman doesn’t enjoy eroticism mixed in with their romance?
Vampires suit this well. However, for me, I want something different. Across the board different in all categories of the supernatural genre. Which is why I commissioned Wilhelmina Folsom to challenge the accepted notions of what we consider a vampire to be. What we think of as werewolves and zombies and angels and demons and witches.
Willie and I had a long talk about a series I wanted to create about a psychic detective. I wanted to create in the old school film noir style a detective who was psychic. Wanted the detective to solve mysteries about vampires and demons and witches among us. Wanted it dark and brooding and told through the eyes of a different type of detective character.
I wrote up a synopsis of story arcs. Wrote up my versions of what vampires are. Did the same for werewolves and zombies and witches and angels. Ancient gods. Spent a great deal of time on all this backgrounding.
Willie looked it all over and wanted to take over. She liked my take on vampires. They’re dead so how can they experience intimacy? If they live so long and are all powerful, how come they hide? My take on werewolves and zombies and other supernatural phenomenon amused her as well.
I agreed to let her take over the series. She took my original protagonist and changed her into something quite fun. Someone that will make you smile and laugh. An original style detective. She removed the noir style. Focused on the characters more than the plot.
In the end, we found ourselves with Fannie Mae Bergstrom, The Physic Detective. It is a fun series. Book one is on the shelves and book two will be out soon. Willie has taken my concept of challenging the roles of the supernatural and changing them to heart.
All it took was to ask her a question. I asked why would a werewolf be a mindless killing machine when in animal form and a bad boy when not? Publishers have sold millions of books based on that theme. Good girl tames bad boy only to discover he is a werewolf.
It’s a gold mine. So then, why am I messing with it? The answer is simple. Because I like to mess with the accepted norms. Why are vampires always the elite and werewolves blue collar biker types? Why do zombies eat flesh? Why are witches either extremely beautiful or devastatingly ugly? Are genies real? I mean, who among us who grew up watching I Dream of Jeannie didn’t wish they were Major Nelson? Whose dreams of Jeannie were a whole lot more X rated than PG?
The list goes on. I am a fan of messing with the ancient gods as well. Why do they have to be the way the media has portrayed them? When you read the stories, the original ones, the ancient gods were monsters. Zeus was a serial rapist, and the story of Medusa should make you cry.
What have you come to accept as the normal for your supernatural characters? Are vampire’s sexual beasts in need of love or are they evil incarnate? Are werewolves’ bad boys filled with unbridled sexual passion or something else? Are ghosts real? What can you do with the concept? What story can you tell if you set aside what is considered normal among the non-normal and use your imagination?
Where will your imagination lead you if you let it?
I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at the Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.