Now that I have your attention, welcome to part two of the discussion I said I’d get to eventually — the one about S-E-X. Kind of. Just enough to get you interested (I told you I’d get to it eventually! I wasn’t lying!).
There is some (not much, but it is there) sexual content in Suburban Vampire. Those of you unfamiliar with the vampire genre will ask why this is — well, sex sells, of course. But that is a lazy man’s answer (I am, after all, a lazy man), and is not the actual truth (sex sells sometimes. But if there’s nothing but sex, then you have porn, and that’s not my deal, thank you). A writer friend once made a comment, and I am probably butchering it here, thanks to my shabby memory, but it went along the lines of “part of the rationale behind the vampire genre is dangerous sexuality”. I at first said “not necessarily” (all sex is dangerous — even in the most tame, monogamous, and dedicated relationships, you run the risk of kids!), but then I thought about it — and came to the conclusion that my friend was right. Sexuality and the vampire are, for better or worse, intertwined, almost from the beginnings of the genre. One only needs to look at one of the earliest works of the genre, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, published in serial form between 1871 and 1872. This work predated the gold standard of the genre, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (published in 1897). Carmilla was a series of stories about a lesbian vampire — that’s right, a lesbian, back in the stodgy Victorian era (although it was not explicit, considering the era, one can easily deduce the author’s intent that, yeah, this vampiress digged chicks). Even in Stoker’s Dracula, there is certainly a less-then-completely explicit undertone of sexuality (Drac stalks Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray. Because of blood. Yeah, that’s it. Plus, he has a harem of ‘brides’. Just because he likes having them around, I guess). Now, the basic story has been embellished since Stoker wrote his book, with the inclusion of a subplot in which Dracula believes Mina to be the reincarnation of his long lost love, a modern invention which has become part of the canon. Some have commented that the underlying sexuality in the Stoker novel may have been derived from Victorian-era fears of miscegenation; this seems a reasonable theory if one considers the attitudes of the place and day. Of course, over time, the sexual element in the vampire genre has evolved, to become more explicit and obvious; the combination of dangerous sexuality and violence speaks to us on a visceral level, reminding us that we, humanity, are greater monsters to each other than any vampire could be. Depressing, huh?
So what does that have to do with Scott Campbell? Well, in remaining true to the genre, sexuality cannot be avoided; it is part and parcel of the story of the vampire. More importantly, in telling Scott’s story, I had to go to some dark places; it helped that I was experiencing some personal darkness during the time I wrote the first novel (no, not going to go there now). Anyone who knows me knows that, personally, I am very conservative and old-fashioned when it comes to sexual matters, in fact I’m darn near prudish (not enough to avoid writing about sex but… eww! Cooties!). But then, Scott Campbell was pretty conservative himself, at least until he became a vampire. Then he started succumbing to the temptation to act on these new feelings — his dangerous sexuality (and his propensity for violence). So we can see, in Suburban Vampire, dangerous sexuality — and its consequences. Scott gets called out for his loutishness, and has to deal with the fallout from that embarrassment. Dangerous sexuality and its consequences — where are we hearing about that, these days? Did I just make Suburban Vampire socially relevant? Gee, I didn’t mean to…
And, of course, there is a little Walter Mitty in all of us. We all want to be irresistible, to be the alpha, and that includes matters of sexuality. Many of us can’t be; those of us who can find ourselves restrained by our own senses of morality and decency (which is a good thing). So, we find release in things like vampires (or James Bond, or any action hero, for that matter). It is often times better to observe these things on the silver screen, or in the pages of a book, than to try them in real life — we don’t want anyone going to jail, after all.
So, what’s my point? Vampires are sexy and dangerous, I guess. In any case, despite all the above, as Freud once mentioned, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”. Your mileage may vary. Sleep tight!