My real introduction to the world of vampire fiction was not Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. I will admit to owning and reading nearly all of her books.
I am not such a rabid fan that I cannot admit to her writing’s shortcomings (the overuse of the word “preturnatural” for one), but despite those flaws, I was mesmerized by the tales she told. Lestat is one of my favorite literary figures of all time. I cannot say I always liked him, but liking him isn’t the point. I was fascinated and captivated by him. I always wanted more at the end of the book. Though I do not have the same descriptive writing style (some would say she can be a bit TOO descriptive), I do strive to give my characters the same sense of vitality and depth of personality that makes Anne Rice’s novels so appealing to me.
It’s their humanity in spite of having transcended it that is at the core of every plot. It doesn’t matter how much power or sex or money or fame the characters are able to amass. It is their drive to understand and be true to their humanity that made the characters compelling to me. And that is something I hope I can give to my own stories. Characters who are more than just stereotypes, but people with real feelings, real hopes, real aspirations, real disappointments, and real desires. People to whom their sense of self is of the utmost importance.
That is what makes for good storytelling, in my opinion. Because stories are not about plot points–getting from point A to point B. Stories are about the people in them. Their journeys, which in my opinion should be just as much internal as physical.
Every few years, I reread my Anne Rice collection, and each time I’m swept along for the ride. I only hope that my own writing can do that for people who read what I’ve written. That is a high bar to set for myself, and I may not always achieve it, but I will keep working at it every day. What matters most to me is that I’m writing a story I would want to read, a story that pulls me in and won’t let me go until the very last page. To me, that is success.