What was the
inspiration for Vampire Kisses? Well here it
In the summer of 1998, I wrote Vampire
Kisses. It was published in Belgium in 2000
(YAY!) and the fabulous Katherine Tegen of
HarperCollins bought it in 2001 to be
published in the fall of 2003.
The idea for Vampire Kisses came to me in
1. A character. 2. An image.
3. An obsession.
In the late 90’s, I’d read an adult
novel that I thought was kind of bland
except for a very minor character--a
rebellious teen girl. I thought if the book
was about her, it would be interesting. That
thought must have stuck with me--the idea
that I’d like to write about a character I
thought would be interesting to read about.
Beyond being rebellious I wanted to make my
character confident, feisty, headstrong,
fearless, and an outsider. And of course,
she’d have a sense of humor. And instead of
her being the sidekick, the friend, or even
worse--the antagonist--she’d be the heroine!
At the time I was living in a four family
apartment building which had a view of a
small playground. It was the beginning of a
hot and sizzling summer and I saw two goth
girls standing on swings and swinging. The
contrast of their black outfits, make-up,
and hair against the rays of the blazing sun
really caught my eye. At the time, I thought
one day I might write a poem and call it
The character and image merged into my
head and I couldn’t get it out. I was ready
to write. Once I “married” my character with
the goth image, I decided she would be
obsessed with something--and then it popped
in my head--vampires!
THE ROMANTIC VAMPIRE
When I wrote Vampire Kisses all the
vampires I was familiar with were bloody,
violent, and negative.
I wanted to write about and explore the
romantic vampire, without the gore. I liked
the idea that a guy could be in love with a
girl for all eternity and wanted to write
about that kind of strong internal and
eternal drive and relationship. My vampire
would be rebellious too--in his own way--not
the typical violent vampire--but the thirsty
for love kind. And of course, he’d be hot,
So the hot and sexy vampire that Raven would
fall for wasn’t going to be malevolent. He
was looking for true love and “a
relationship he could sink his teeth into.”
That set him apart from other vampires in
his world, and like Raven, he’d be an
That was how Raven was born. Back in
that summer of 1998 when everyone was out
getting a tan and jumping in the pool, I was
holed up in my apartment with my computer
that faced a bare white wall. I began
writing and creating the kind of character I
wanted to read about-- a headstrong girl,
who was fearless, feisty, and confident. I
decided she’d live in a conservative
environment and dress differently than those
around her. And to her it wouldn’t matter.
She wasn’t about to conform--because that
was who she was.
When I wrote Vampire Kisses I imagined
Alexander as a young Johnny Depp. Hello!
Need I say more?
Again, he wasn’t going to be the typical
vampire--he was going to be searching for a
girl who he could love for eternity. We’d
see him from Raven’s perspective, he’d be
sexy, dreamy, and of course, mysterious.
I started with his appearance. He was based
on a guy I’d met while waiting for a plane
at the airport. He had blond hair and
piercing green eyes. I used him for the
physical attributes of Trevor. Trevor was
intended to be a character that offered
romantic tension for Raven in the beginning
of the novel. However, when I write I just
sit down and put fingers to key board and
Trevor began showing up in every scene! He
was originally intended to be a small part,
but he just kept showing up and driving
Raven--and me-- crazy. Ultimately, by the
time I finished the book, he had became a
major character in the novel and now the
Aunt Libby is a combo of my Aunt Esther and
my long time friend in Chicago. Everyone
should have an Aunt Esther! She’s really
loving and kind and always into talking
about my love life. My friend, Andrea, is a
totally hippie-girl, but much more
successful in the arts than Aunt Libby. I
think she’s Jim Morrison reincarnated.
David Bowie has two different eye colors and
I always thought that was cool. And twins
always fascinated me--the bond that they
must share must be so intense. So I had
Jagger and Luna be twins--only one was born
a vampire and the other born a mortal.
Way before I wrote VK, I spotted a woman who
was dressed head-to-toe in white. She was so
striking I guess she stuck in my mind. When
Raven got a job at Armstrong Travel,
suddenly that lady showed up. She wound up
being a great contrast to Raven, who is
always in black.
I placed Raven in a small town where it was
most likely she’d be the only one like her
and could really stand out. And in a small
town rumors spread quickly.
At the time, I felt like I was living in my
own Dullsville. Even though I lived in a
city-- I was pining for my own true love.
The one that you can truly be yourself with
and that you can’t stop daydreaming about!
I always get the question... where is
Dullsville? Is is based on a real place?
Dullsville is a state of mind. Most of it
lies in my imagination, but a few parts are
based on places I’ve driven past. My mom
came from a small town in Illinois and she
told me they had events like a spring
carnival. So I used that as a setting for
the end of VAMPIREVILLE.
My husband and I would go for rides in
Ohio--corn fields, barns, and pastures for
miles. I used one of those houses for
Again, a town I created that isn’t based
upon a real place. It’s a mixture of my
imagination and streets in Chicago. Some
readers ask if it’s Yellow Springs, Ohio. It
isn’t but I’d love to go there--as it sounds
like an awesome place!
As I began writing the novel, I didn’t have
any idea of plot or other characters. I just
sat down and began to write. Trevor was a
very minor character--just meant to be a
blip on the radar screen. And at that time,
I hadn’t even thought of Jagger, Luna, and
Valentine--or the Coffin Club.
VAMPIRE KISSES was first published in
Belgium by Facet in 2000. It was called- De
kus van de vampier.
Since my friends and family can’t read
Dutch, my brother Mark was kind enough to
print some up in English. I didn’t have an
agent (here in the US).
I remember thinking, when I originally began
writing Vampire Kisses... I thought maybe I
could submit it to Facet, the publisher in
Belgium that published Johnny Lightning. I
had no idea it would go further than that.
Now there are going to be at least eight
novels and six volumes of mangas and both
are published in other countries.
I’m so happy
I chose not to get a tan that summer. It
pays to stay out of the sun, just like a