Christmas for Vampire Lovers!December 18, 2007
Christmas comes early for the vampire lovers here at the paranormal romance blog, as both Caridad Pineiro and Maureen Child offer us their insights on how they came up with the concepts for Holiday With a Vampire! First up is Caridad Pineiro…
There are two things I would never have thought to put together – Christmas and a vampire. So how did it happen?
This past year I was lucky enough to do an online novella for Harlequin – DESIRE CALLS. I loved the changes that the shorter length created in the story, namely a faster pace and instant intensity. I loved it so much that I talked to my editor about possibly doing another novella in an anthology and shortly after that discussion my editor called and said, “How about a vampire holiday anthology?”
A vampire holiday anthology? I immediately wondered how to put two such disparate ideas together. Vampires are dark and tortured, and crosses cause all kinds of problems. For me Christmas is all about lights, happiness and the birth of Christ. How could I meld the two?
My brain started considering how many holidays a vampire must have survived and what had happened during those holidays. Had they been happy? Had the vampire ever had any joy? Had there even been a Christmas at the time when the person became a vampire? That was when the whole concept for the novella came to me! I realized that the vampire had to be someone who had been turned before December 25th became Christmas. Then I began to wonder whether that day had been some other special holiday for the vampire?
I found myself doing an intense amount of research into the pagan holidays, events and traditions that have shaped the many elements of a modern Christmas. That led to the vampire hero – Hadrian – being turned during the Saturnalia holiday in ancient Rome. Some of the things that we do today for Christmas – hanging ornaments, garlands, giving gifts and wearing special hats – also occurred during this Roman holiday. In fact, the timing of Saturnalia (December 17 to December 23) coincides with Christmas. Another tradition that came from this Roman holiday is the Lord of Misrule which was popular in England during the yuletide season.
Besides being turned during Saturnalia, Hadrian also experienced a number of other tragedies that have led him to be the ultimate Scrooge about Christmas. Hadrian’s family was killed during one holiday season and to avenge them, Hadrian joined up with a legion of vampires fighting for their freedom. The battle occurs during Sol Invictus – also close to Christmas – and results in almost all of the vampires being wiped out. Historians say that rumors abounded that a cross of light had appeared prior to the battle and that an apparition had told the Roman emperor Constantine to place the cross on all his standards. I tweaked the battle to have the crosses also appear on the soldier’s shields and reflect the light of the coming dawn which helps defeat the vampire legion. The twist in the story is that the vampires and humans had been getting along until some sun worshipping extremists began to bully and then cart away the vampires to purify their world.
So what brings light, happiness and the spirit of Christmas to Hadrian? A bell-ringing Santa that is parked across the street from Hadrian’s New York brownstone. Connie Morales is the do-gooder who is trying to solicit donations for a homeless shelter that her law firm has adopted. Connie truly wants to do well to help them and is eager for the Christmas holiday so she can celebrate with her family.
When a grouchy Hadrian asks Connie to stop ringing the bell she refuses and what follows is a test of wills as Hadrian uses his vampire elder power to force Connie into his brownstone to punish her for her defiance. Although Hadrian imprisons Connie by tying her to his bed, he cannot shackle her spirit nor can he frighten her with his threats to drain her. If anything, Hadrian admires her spirit and finds himself attracted to Connie. In exchange for a promise not to make her his dinner, Hadrian tells Connie about the many tragedies that have befallen for him during the holidays. As he relates the tales, Connie feels his pain and realizes that beneath the shell of the demon is a man with great heart and love – if he can only learn to believe in the possibilities again. The possibilities that Christmas brings with it every year.
I very much enjoyed being able to incorporate so much history into the novella as well as exploring what it is that makes Christmas special – love freely given and small acts of kindness. I also enjoyed being able to expand on the mythology in THE CALLING miniseries by having a very special event occur at the end of the story. I won’t say what it is, but I will be adding it to the Vampire Rules that you can check out at www.thecallingvampirenovels.com. I’ll also be using that new bit of the mythology in a future book when THE CALLING series continues in late 2008.
I hope you’ll enjoy exploring the origins of Christmas with me, as well as the uplifting tale about how love changes this Christmas holiday for both Hadrian and Connie.
You can check out this video trailer for FATE CALLS as well!
Happy holidays to everyone!