Hello there, welcome to Vampire Chat with Lana & Oleander!
Oleander: Thank you for stopping by Lana, it’s always great to talk to another writer with a fondness for those sexy bloodsuckers. Do you remember how old you were when you read your first vampire story and can you us the title?
Lana: Beyond The Count in Sesame Street (I was a huge fan!), I wasn’t into vampires until quite late on. Frankly, I wasn’t in touch with my shadow until my late twenties, so my first enthusiastic encounter came through Buffy the Vampire Slayer — and this is one of my main influences in the Stepbrother Blood Lover series, and has also inspired other books that I’ve written. I have friends who were saved like I was by Buffy. I can honestly say that, given the amount of times I thought of ending my life in my twenties, Buffy went a good way towards saving me — and I know many fans of Buffy have had similar experiences. The series showed me that it’s possible to be heroic in the face of a dark world that others refuse to acknowledge, without going crazy. I always say Buffy is a little like Shakespeare because Whedon and co. wrote it for the people, not necessarily the literati, and you can really feel that in Buffy — it’s fun, but also savvy and full of heart. In my mind, Buffy is popular TV that really looks at what it’s like to be a young human and to live through darkness. The relationship between Buffy and Spike in the series was especially important to me emotionally, and continues to be so. (I could rattle on about that all night, so I’ll probably come back to it later!!!)
Frankly, I’ve been more influenced by vampires on-screen than in books, which is possibly why I tend to own screenplays and graphic novels! What was your first vampire story, Oleander, and has it influenced Horatio Slice (which I’m hugely excited about!)? I get the feeling you are very well-read in terms of our fangsome predators!
Oleander: Great answer, Lana! “…it’s possible to be heroic in the face of a dark world that others refuse to acknowledge…” Yes! Huge Buffy fan, and I completely agree with that statement. Plus, the hero was female, which never happens!
Now as for your question, the first vampire book I ever read was Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, but it wasn’t until I got older that I realized vampires were sexy. In fact, it was the Anne Rice classic, Interview With the Vampire that jump started my interest in gay erotica. I wanted to know exactly what Louis and Lestat did when they shared that coffin. Since Anne Rice didn’t tell us, I made up my own story. That went on to inspire more gay erotica, which lead up to Horatio Slice: Guitar Slayer of the Universe.
When I began Guitar Slayer, I didn’t have a vampire character in mind. But halfway through the second chapter Snake, the space pirate, grew fangs, and they suited him. He was destined to be a blood sucker. However, he is not your average vamp, and does not bite people on the neck. I won’t give away that secret just yet, but I will tell you this, he is a very sexually charged creature.
I think vampires and erotica just go together, and after reading Stepbrother Blood Lover, I think you agree! But, why do we find vampires so sexy?
Lana: Oh, I love it that you went on to make your own story out of what Louis and Lestat did in that coffin! What a wonderful start to the world of erotic writing! Did you enjoy the film version of Interview with a Vampire, by the way? I actually did, and I was skeptical beforehand. I have never read Salem’s Lot. Damn, I love what I’ve read of Stephen King, so I must!
Snake: the sexually charged! Awesomeness. Freud would adore this, yes? Speaking of the Father of snakes…no wait, I mean Father of Psychology…I think vampires are sexy because of all that darkness they contain. Don’t many of us secretly long for death and its release? For death to seduce us sexily, with a little sensual, BDSM pain? The orgasm or “little death” can be such a cliff fall when it’s a biggie, and the idea that our tumble into life’s ending might grasp us with sensual fingers, and a little coolness on the breast, and sharp teeth in the neck as the dizziness takes us over, well, what could be sexier?
My own vampires series, Stepbrother Blood Lover (thank you for reading, Oleander!) is all about a taboo desire between step-siblings — a craving that can only be sated when one of them becomes a vampire, and no longer has the same fears or qualms. But more than that: vampire-human taboo orgasms, which are far deeper, longer, and higher than ordinary human orgasms, have the chance to save the world in this series! I really do believe that the courage it takes to break the rules and follow your desires can bring light out of the darkness in a huge way.
What do you think about why vampires are sexy? And does Snake the space pirate (honestly, who could not love this book?) have a sexiest moment?
Oleander: I loved the film version of Interview with a Vampire! The casting threw me off, but once I started watching, I kind of forgot it was Tom Cruise playing Lestat. And Brad Pitt with long hair? Hot. So hot.
I love your description of the vampire’s bite, which in itself is overtly sexual – first the seduction, lips on skin, and then fangs sinking into flesh. Talk about penetration! The blood drinking is also, to me, a metaphor for sex. Biting and sucking, drinking bodily fluid, so erotic, especially when the bite causes instant orgasm, which might be the sexiest thing about Snake. He also needs sex just as much as blood, so it’s no wonder he’s buddies with the perpetually horny Horatio.
Speaking of sexy vampires, I love, love, love Darren (from Stepbrother Blood Lover). Did you have a specific idea of what his character would be like, or did he evolve as your wrote the story? Also, did you model him after anyone?
Lana: You describe the blood drinking beautifully! And yes, I understand exactly what you say — all that pouring of liquids, that gushing…. (Phew, did it suddenly get hot in here?) And the fact that Snake’s bite causes instant orgasm is quite knee-quivering, isn’t it? I LOVE this. The more instantaneous the better! Instant gratification. There is such erotic inventiveness and downright FUN in your work — we can’t wait to publish Horatio Slice: Guitar Slayer of the Universe. What a page-turner.
I’m also thrilled that you love Darren! Thank you! Great questions — who did inspire this fierce, intense character? You know, I did have a strong idea of him before I started the story, partly because I knew how his vampiric transformation would be. He’s so worried by his sexual attraction to his sister Helene before he becomes a vampire, but after, all that worry is turned into certainty, and that’s a transformation I adore. Many of my darker characters are partly inspired by Spike (in Buffy!) both before and after he regains his soul. But there’s a chilling focus in Darren that is tempered by his love and desire for his sister and the unwilling vulnerability this brings out in him. Ultimately, this transforms into a wish to save (at least a few!) humans rather than destroy the whole human race. He’s a hunter like dark Spike and also Willow-gone-evil, and there’s a good dose of Anais Nin’s Baron from the Hungarian Adventurer in Darren — that sense of no rules, no restraints save for those that serve his desires. A powerful Dom. A thirsty lover, who tries to fight any vulnerability. As he develops as a vamp, he starts to possess the self-awareness and protectiveness of True Blood’s Bill Compton, but never the politeness! So I’d say all those amazing characters helped to inspire Darren. Thanks a million to their creators!
Your turn! Who, if anyone, inspired the characters in Horatio Slice? Did you know them well before you put pen to paper?
Oleander: I love that a bit of Spike and Willow are in Darren! He is a complicated character and watching him evolve through the story is an example of why I love the book so much. Characters that grow and change as the story progresses are really important, IMHO, they enrich the entire reading experience.
I would say Horatio’s character is a mash up of Chris Cornell, who is serious and poetic and Kip Winger (or any 80’s hair band singer), with a touch of Vin Diesel, because MUSCLES! He was the only character I did a sketch of beforehand, everyone else evolved as I went along. I love contrast, and hate stereotypes, so I wanted Sugar’s character to be petite and androgynous but a total badass. Gunner is a genius computer geek, but muscular and feisty. Snake is a mash up of Captain Jack Sparrow and Lestat, dusted with sweetness, he can be fierce, but also loveable.
I am a visual type, so I like to scour the internet for models/actors/rock stars who fit the vision in my head. Occasionally, I find people who fit perfectly. When I’m stuck, I look at the pictures, they really help me to get in the characters head. Sometimes, I sit down, close my eyes and play the scene in my mind like a movie. What sort of tricks do you use to develop characters and scenes?
Lana: You know, your writing is so joyful and vivid — it makes total sense to me that you would create this way, using vivid images that really carry personality and encompass so much, as part of your process. We’re so excited to be publishing Horatio over at Go Deeper — the visual elements really POP! Such a wonderfully creative world. And aha! Captain Jack Sparrow and Lestat? No wonder Snake turned out to be pure awesomeness. Then again, *all* your characters are.
You know, I was a drama nut for years (they kept casting me as mature men and animals, actually! But that aside…) so as a writer, I tend to run through all sorts of scenes in my head, many of which I never write, in order to get to know my characters. I see characters at different points in their lives too, often early on during the writing process — when I’m writing darkly, I tend to see things through a sort of Sin City filter, with all the darkness and light and broad strokes. Like many of us who love the visuals, my head’s a bit like a cinema screen!
Now, I know we’re coming to the end of this delightful discussion. It’s been simply fantastic! (And thanks so much for your kind words about Darren, by the way!) But I’d love to ask you one more question. What’s one of the sexiest vampire moments you’ve ever encountered, either on the page or on the screen? Or indeed, one of the sexiest horror moments, if you prefer?
Oleander: First, thank you for your kind observations, (you’re making me blush!), and just so you know, Snake’s ego has grown by leaps and bounds, he wants me to change the title to Snake Vinter: Awesome Vampire of the Universe. Sorry, dude, no can do.
Sexiest vampire moments that is a great question. My vote for the written word version is the first encounter between Darren and Helene in Stepbrother Blood Lover. The heat between those two leapt of the page straight into my panties. For example:
“His stare burned on my skin and it felt like fingers touching me—like actual, physical fingers. When he stared down at my left breast through my T-shirt, I felt as if his hand was cupping the flesh, pressing against my stiff nipple.”
Just his sexy vampire gaze made her insane with lust, people, I mean, he hasn’t even touched her yet! Trust me, the heat factor in that scene builds until you need a cold beverage to pour into your bra, or maybe a few moments alone. If you, like me, enjoy a lusty dose of vampire erotica, you do not want to miss this series.
As for film, my favorite movie of all time is Bram Stoker’s Dracula (directed by Francis Ford Coppola). While not overtly sexual, my favorite scene in the film is definitely erotic and also touching. Mina is crying. Dracula catches her tears and clutches his fist. When he opens up his hand, Mina’s tears have turned to diamonds. I cry every time I watch that scene, and I’ve viewed the flick a bazillion times. *long angsty sigh*
Thank you, Lana, for joining me in this epic vampire discussion, I have a feeling you and I could keep this dialogue going for weeks! Before I close, I have one last question for you:
Are you going to write more vampire erotica? (Please say yes!)
Lana: Now you have seriously MADE MY WEEK by using a moment from Stepbrother Blood Lover for your sexiest moment!!! I wish you could see me. I’m all glowing. It is an extra special compliment coming from such a vivid, exciting, and downright DELIGHTFUL writer as yourself. (Those reading this interview, you’re going to have an absolute BALL with Horatio Slice. I can’t gush enough about the sheer imaginative FUN OF IT!!!)
Am I going to write more vampire erotica? Yes, I definitely am. I had such a blast with the Stepbrother Blood Lover series. But you know what sucks? Orgy of the Soul (Book 2) has been hidden on Amazon, and Orgasmic Blood of Lavender (Book 3) has been banned by them — and other places too, including Apple, actually. You can still get Book 1 on Amazon, and you can buy all three books in the series from Go Deeper, All Romance, and Barnes & Noble.
Oleander, will *you* be writing more vampires after Horatio Slice is pubbed? (*Waits with baited breath*)
It has been such a pleasure! Thanks a million for having me. Yes, I could chat with you about vampires for weeks. Let’s do this again!!!
Oleander: Am I going to write more vampire erotica? YES! Actually, I have rough drafts of about 8 more full length books, including a series, that are all about vampires.
Thank you for joining me in this fang-tastic discussion, Lana (and putting up with my ridiculous attempts at humor)! This was a blast, and I agree, we need to have round 2!
And, if sexy hot vampire erotica is your thing, you will LOVE Lana’s new series, I guarantee it!