Friday, August 5, 2011

Vampires vs. Zombies by Caroline Bernard-Smith

Vampires were everywhere just a couple of short years ago.  They were the hottest monster on the block, strutting their alabaster abs and mesmerizing eyes all over town as if they owned the place.  Vampires are still everywhere of course, but now they have some competition.  The zombies have awakened, clawing their way out of their shallow graves and slapping back in what’s left of their teeth to groan and shuffle their way into the pages of the latest bestsellers.  The war to decide the coolest monster is on.  

We’d already had Max Brooks’s World War Z and the numerous works of horror aficionado Brian Keene, but when the festering undead stumbled into Jane Austen’s universe in Seth Grahame-Smith’s regency romance and zombies mash-up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, it was obvious they were here to stay (as long as their rotting bodies held out, anyway).  One of the latest offerings, and what really brought my attention to the genre due to its ridiculously beautiful cover, is Diana Rowland’s My Life as a White Trash Zombie, a pretty little tale of undead rednecks in the swamps of southern Louisiana. 

So what do zombies have that vampires don’t?  They’re fun to smash up, certainly.  So fun to smash up in fact that that’s one of the reasons they’ve remained popular in horror movies for decades.  But a good novel needs more than just blood and gore.  Perhaps that’s why zombie writers have somewhat copied their vampire-loving counterparts and shifted the point of view from the hapless victims on the run from the marauding undead, to the zombies themselves.  This is a tactic I tried myself in my novella, The Undead Alliance.  It tells the story of Gabriel, a normal nine-to-five guy who has the misfortune to meet the wrong kind of woman on a night out and subsequently wakes up dead.  It even has romantic elements, which I thought was kind of edgy at the time but which I’ve since discovered is becoming pretty standard fare (just check out Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies if you don’t believe me!)  The problem I came up against was the ‘grossness factor’.  In the end I couldn’t bring myself to make my characters go through with their bedroom scene.  Human Daisy discovers the nest of maggots busily eating their way through a good portion of Gabriel’s back and sensibly pushes him away in disgust.  This ‘grossness factor’ is why I prefer me a good vampire.  Both monsters can be exceptionally fun to write, causing mayhem and tearing through the world with little more than a casual regard for human life, but only vampires can kiss you without making you want to throw up in your mouth (unless you have a real aversion to the imbibing of human blood...)       

They’re both dead(er) in the water anyway, I have it on good authority that mummies are the next top monster.

Book blurb: JINN NATION
Once, the vampire Dylan had feared nothing and no one. He'd rampaged throughout the world on a seemingly never ending quest to fill his eternal years with the finest, most outrageous extravagances; with exquisite, soft-limbed young women and copious amounts of rich, vibrating blood. But life, however full of joy, inevitably changes. 

Finding himself alone for the first time in his long unlife, Dylan turns to the preternatural race of savage creatures called the jinn - a path that inevitably leads him to Christa, a strangely childlike woman with the power to control minds and read thoughts. Mutually intrigued by each other, they set out on a blood-soaked road trip that crosses the United States and the Atlantic Ocean, finally leading them beyond the world itself to the mysterious fae kingdoms of the Inbetween.

Author Bio:
Caroline Barnard-Smith has been writing stories since she was five years old. Having graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, she now lives in Devon, England with her husband and baby daughter where she writes about ruthless vampires, lovelorn zombies and heinous blood cults. Her short stories have been published in numerous small press magazines, including Ballista, Hungur and Night to Dawn, and on the web at Dark Fire Fiction.

Caroline’s debut dark fantasy novel, Dunraven Road, was published by Immanion Press in June 2009. For various exciting reasons she’s since turned her hand to indie publishing.  Jinn Nation is her first full-length independently published novel. When she’s not writing, Caroline is busy running her handmade craft business, CazzCraft, selling both online and at craft fairs.

Where to buy Jinn Nation: