Cecilia Tan is the amazing author and editor of several deliciously wicked books full of vampire erotica. Let’s just say those filthy fun sex scenes in True Blood have nothing on Tan’s hot and heavy stories. I was lucky enough to get an interview with the brilliant author (cue fangirl squeals of joy), check it out:
What got you interested in writing about vampires?
I’ve always been interested in both the fantastical and the erotic, and the vampire is a perfect example of both. I remember reading a “Dracula” comic book when I was a child and being truly frightened, yet excited by the idea of a mysterious man visiting me in my bed at night.
Why do you think vampires make such excellent subjects for erotica?
The idea of the vampire as a sexual figure comes to us from those grand old repressed pervs, the Victorians. Bram Stoker, Sheridan Le Fanu, and the other writers of that era who portrayed the vampire as a monster did it with a very heavy undercurrent of sexuality. This was an era that feared sex, that saw desire and lust as monstrous powers that could destroy everything a man held dear, namely his reputation and his family. Thankfully, most of us don’t feel that way about sexuality much any longer! So we still view the vampire as a figure of perfect lust, only now we LIKE that idea rather than fear it.
What do you consider to be the key elements of a great vampire story?
There has to be a mixture of darkness and intrigue to add spice to the sexuality. But there are so many ways to weave those threads. When I edit a book of vampire stories, I’m looking for stories that sizzle on the page, but that are constantly finding new twists in the vampire mythos we know and love. So, it has to be erotic, and there has to be some element of a vampire’s magic or the fantastical in it. Vampires are not just hotties who happen to have fangs. Give me a strong and interesting plot and unique characters!
One of the many things I love about your erotica and those in the books you have edited is how free and empowering they are – you push those modern barriers and give us readers a hell of a ride. But it seems like very few authors are willing to do that – do you ever wish more authors would stop playing it safe?
Aw, you make me blush! But yes, there are authors I wish would go a little farther sometimes, and who I think only hold back because they are afraid of what the marketplace or their editor or ‘society’ might think of them. But ultimately, repression isn’t healthy. This doesn’t mean every book needs an X-rated sex scene. But many books that choose to turn away from exploring the erotic are short-changing the reader on important characterization. But I push the envelope partly because it helps to carve out “safe” territory for those who don’t go quite as far, making it easier for them to go farther than they might have if I hadn’t cleared the way.
What is your opinion on the new popular vampire books/movies/shows such as Twilight or True Blood?
I haven’t read Twilight or seen the films but I have read some of the Sookie Stackhouse books and saw most of the first season of True Blood. I loved it! The TV producers weren’t afraid to really go for it and explore some pretty explicit territory. I miss that the books have a kind of lighthearted wry tone of Sookie’s internal voice that is lost in the action of the TV show, but they made it a hot, fun show anyway. Thank goodness for cable television and their ability to push the envelope themselves, sometimes.
Personally, which do you prefer? The classic dark monster-like interpretation of vampires, or the modern, sexier version?
See, that’s the thing. I don’t think it’s the vampires that have changed, it’s our attitudes about sex that have changed. What was once seen as monstrous and to be feared–unbridled lust–is now something we can embrace.
I’ve noticed that most of the authors I follow on Twitter talk about the music they’re currently writing to. What kind of setting/atmosphere do you find most conducive to your writing?
In the last ten years or so I’ve settled on mostly music that doesn’t have words/lyrics, or that if it does, they’re not intelligible or not in English. So there’s a mix of goth industrial, world music, new age and movie soundtracks, and “modern classical.” Apocalyptica, Einsturzende Neubaten, Nusrat Fetah Ali Khan, Dean de Benedictis, Arvo Part, Philip Glass, etc…
If vampires were discovered to exist today, do you think our society would accept them or try to destroy them?
Oh, I have no doubt we’d try to destroy them. I think humans would not be good at accepting anything that might threaten their superiority.
Do you believe in vampires?
Only in that humans will always need to believe in a monster who embodies the qualities in ourselves that we fear. As we embrace our erotic side more and more, other monsters come to the fore. The zombie represents our fear of becoming mindless, decaying drones as office jobs and politics sucks the life out of us. The vampire will always be with us in some form in our own minds.
And finally, what projects are you currently working on? Any goodies we should watch out for?
Fans of my paranormal and dark fantasy erotica will want to check out a series I’m writing for Ravenous Romance called Magic University. Think if Harry Potter went to college and discovered sex, drugs, and rock and roll…. or at least sex. One of the main characters is a “blood mage” which is as close to being a vampire a human being can get, and our hero gets himself into all kinds of erotic magical situations. (In his sophomore year, he decides to declare his major in sex magic.) The Siren and the Sword is the first book in the series, followed by The Tower and the Tears. The third book, The Incubus and the Angel, will be out this summer in ebook form, and the whole series will be coming into print from the company Red Wheel Weiser starting in Fall 2010!
Eee! After the interview I like her even more! You guys have got to check out her sexy vampire stories, as well as her new books. They’re amazing!