Ever since I began writing the Morganville Vampire series of novels, people always ask me: why vampires?
Truth is, I have always loved vampire stories since I was a child – Dark Shadows was a particular obsession. When I could pick my own adult books to read, I immediately chose Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, which cemented my fascination with the creatures of the night.
In fact, the first original novel I wrote and published was The Undead, and it was … you guessed it, a vampire novel. (I also did a follow-up called Cold Kiss two years later.) Anne Rice’s Lestat series had opened up the mainstream market, and vampire detective stories from writers like P.N. Elrod and Lee Killough were starting to push the boundaries of vampires out of horror fiction and into mystery, so it seemed like a good time to write those stories. And it was, for a while, but after a few more years vampire stories stopped selling, and I stopped writing them, mostly.
Then a funny thing happened. A writer named Laurell K. Hamilton published a crossover genre series – Anita Blake – that combined romance, mystery, suspense, horror and action – all with a female protagonist and vampires. Around the same time, a television show named Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed us that vampire stories could combine humor, horror and so much more. The walls were breaking, and it was a good thing.
Around the same time that a book called Twilight was published, my publisher offered me the chance to write a young adult series. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore my love of vampire fiction again. But having seen already that the tendency was to make the female main character fall in love with the mysterious and deadly vampire, I decided to go old school – the vampires weren’t the heroes. They were the antagonists, if not the villains. I wanted a story that cast them as arrogant, stubborn, dangerous and self-involved – and about living in a town controlled by them.
Sounded simple enough when I started. My contract was for three books, with the first out in 2006. By the time the third book was underway, my publisher let me know they were open to continuing the series for another three books. Well, I thought, that’s huge! A six book series! I was delighted; I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to read a young adult series any longer than that.
Yet they did, and even more surprisingly, I wanted to write it. I felt like I was just starting to explore the complex layers of Morganville. Now, it’s fifteen books. Incredible.
It’s been a little like a marathon. Seven years. Fifteen books. And like a marathon, you concentrate on taking the next step, reaching the next milestone – not on the total distance. When you turn back, it’s amazing how far it’s come. Morganville has transcended years, but also distance – because it’s worldwide. The books have been translated into more than twenty languages, and there are more than two million copies in print. I have my readers to thank for all that. The last novel, Daylighters, is dedicated to all of them, for their enthusiasm, support and for running this marathon with me.
While the series ends here, in my mind, Morganville continues on … through short stories I will write, and through the web TV series we are currently developing for 2014. I also suspect that some readers out there might be busy writing their own adventures; I hear from so many people that this series has ignited their love of storytelling, and that is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
I hope you enjoy Daylighters, and remember the town motto of Morganville: you’ll never want to leave.
You’re welcome any time.
You can purchase Daylighters from Hive here
You can follow Rachel on Twitter here: [@RachelCaine]