That’s right Brunette junkies… Rhiannon Frater, one of my favorite chicks in the entire world is here today answering questions that she’s surely answered 100 times over- but this time it on the Bookish Brunette!! *SQUEE*
After I read The Tale of the Vampire Bride, I was speechless… but then I had 10 trillion freaking questions for her!!! Here are a few of them:
I actually started writing this novel long before the recent vampire craze. I began writing it in 1996 before setting it aside for nearly a decade. I was heavily influenced by the original Dracula novel and the old Hammer vampire films.
Vampires were actually the boogeymen of my childhood. They absolutely terrified me because they were so beautiful and alluring, but would kill you for your blood. I remember watching one of the movies with Christopher Lee as Dracula where he summoned a lovely, nubile young woman out of her bed and she rushed to him with a rapturous look on her face. I thought he was going to kiss her, but instead, he lowered his head and bit her. That image stayed with me.
I actually dreamed the story of Lady Glynis Wright and decided to write it to face my fear of vampires.
The new “vampires” don’t seem very much like vampires at all. They sparkle, go into daylight, rarely drink blood, aren’t fearsome, and seem to work out a lot. I think they should be called something altogether different.
From the Transylvanian castle to the carriage trekking up the Carpathian Mountain and the dress Glynis wore to the opera… STUNNINGLY REALISTIC! How much research went into making Glynis’ world so completely authentic?
Once I committed to writing the book, I did an enormous amount of research. I read a lot of books on Vlad Tepes, the Regency Era, the history of Budapest and Transylvania, and just about everything to do with the world Lady Glynis lives in. I wanted her world to feel real, but not overburden the reader with details. I felt the best way to do this was to immerse myself in the research, then write the story as though her time period was my own. I knew she wouldn’t go into extreme descriptions of how a carriage works or anything like that, so how she relates to her world is in a very natural way.
One of my favorite things about The Tale of The Vampire Bride is all the elements of witty humor, creep-tastic horror and vampiric seduction that you somehow managed to blend together and create this masterpiece- HOW was this accomplished??
Well, Glynis herself is very funny at times, so her natural personality alleviated some of the harder moments in the book. I wanted to tell the tale of a young woman who is chaffing at her society and ends up in an even more gruesome reality once she becomes a vampire. Her world before and after she becomes a vampire is very misogynistic and sexist. Glynis refuses to bow to the rules being forced up on her.During her time period, the 1820’s, women were property and often treated as such. Her master vampire is from the 1400’s, so his viewpoint is brutally cruel when it comes to women.I love that she fights back and that her sole determination in the whole book is to win her freedom and choose her own way in life. Yes, it is hard at times to see what she suffers, but it is also the fuel that keeps her fighting.As for the seduction aspect, that is what makes vampires so frightening in my eyes. They are beautiful, alluring and seductive. They are predators and can be very cruel. Glynis struggle with her new nature and abilities was also something I found to be very compelling. She has to even fight to claim her own sexuality.I think like real life, the story holds a bit of everything and maybe that is why people love the story so much.
Vlad is a villain… A REAL villain and we so rarely ever see that anymore! Were you ever worried about alienating readers with Vlad’s vicious and often brutal actions?
I started this novel before paranormal romance became so huge in the publishing world. I never regarded this book as anything else other than gothic horror. I liken it to Jane Eyre meets Dracula. Vlad is cruel and charismatic: a true sociopath in every way. He is the villain of the piece, so that he would be such a bastard seemed natural to the story. But also, the fact that he is such a brute makes Glynis’s struggle to be free of him all the more frightening.
Because Vlad can be very charismatic and charming at times, do your readers ever confuse him with being the “romantic hero”, despite his blatant (to me) malicious, evil ways?
Some do, definitely. I was shocked, quite honestly, by how many emails I got from women saying how much they loved him. Vlad is highly manipulative, a trait of sociopaths, and readers have argued via email that he really does love Glynis despite his cruelty. I agonized over those emails. I worked on creating a domestic abuse support system at my church and the last thing I would ever want to do is promote the idea that an abusive man can change through love. My husband finally told me that I couldn’t control how readers reacted to the character. Plus, aren’t vampires supposed to be evil and seductive?I realized in the end that all my research into sociopaths and Stockholm Syndrome had actually paid off in a very dynamic way. The fact that Vlad is so freakin’ cruel, yet so charismatic is actually a compliment to my research and writing, though it does make me uncomfortable.
People usually associate the word “Bride” with weddings and romance, but how did you mean for us to interpret the title of The Tale of the Vampire Bride?
This again shows my great disconnect from the paranormal romance genre! There is a classic vampire horror film from the 1950’s called The Brides of Dracula. It is one of my favorite films. The word “Bride” was in reference to the women that the master vampire makes into his undead minions. Bram Stoker called them “the sisters” and I use both references in the book. It hadn’t occurred to me that people would see the title and regard the novel as something else altogether. Someone wrote that Vlad made a horrible “groom” in a review, and I face-palmed.But I still love the title!
Some of the characters in your book were figures from history! Why did you decide to incorporate actual people instead of sticking to purely fictional characters?
The only main character from history is Vlad Dracula. I studied his life extensively to create my own version of him. The book was based on a vivid dream I had, but I didn’t want to write yet another story about Dracula. Try as I may, I couldn’t make him not be Dracula. I finally gave up and was determined to do the very best I could in my depiction of him. I also studied sociopaths because it seemed clear tome that the historical figure was in the same league as Ted Bundy. I think that research really paid off,because he does come across as a very charming monster. But he IS most definitely a monster.As for other historical figures, there are references to Lord Byron. He was quite the scandal during Glynis’s time period, so a rebellious teenage girl would find him fascinating. Also, there are references to characters from Stoker’s Dracula. The three Brides that Stoker called “the sisters” play a large role in the story. There is also another character that was inspired by the deleted opening chapter of Dracula that was made into a short story called “Dracula’s Guest.”
What else are you working on right now?? Anything coming up SOON?
I’m waiting for my editor from Tor to let me know if I need to do anymore tweaking on SIEGE the last installment of my zombie trilogy AS THE WORLD DIES. I may have to do a little more work on it. We’ll see.The second book in the VAMPIRE BRIDE series will most likely be available by the end of September. It’s called THE VENGEANCE OF THE VAMPIRE BRIDE and I’m really pleased with the sequel.I’m about to start work on a futuristic zombie novel. I held a poll to see which of two story ideas I would work on next and that one won. I hope to work on the sequel to my modern day vampire novel, PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES, later on this year. It’s called PRETTY WHEN SHE KILLS.I’m busy, but I love it.
• Pretty When She Kills (in progress)
You can find Rhiannon at:
Email: rhiannonfrater (at) gmail.com
…AND go visit me over at Smash Attack Reads today!! Here’s a little snippet of the awesomeness:
My next fantabulous guest actually put the sauciness in awesomesauce. It is no secret that this chic and I are like two peas in a pod. She is the Manolo Blahnik to my Ross Clearance Shoes, the WIN! to my HOLLA!, the survival Barbie to my zombie flamingo…