by Portia Da Costa
I always wanted to write a vampire story. I wanted to write one way back in 1996, when I had the idea for GOTHIC BLUE. But at the time, I was advised that vampires=erotic was a bit of a cliché, and that Anne Rice had just about cornered the market in sexy vampires anyway... How bizarre does that sound nowadays, when vampires are one of the most popular themes, perhaps the most popular theme in paranormal erotic romance writing?
Anyway, knowing that I was tackling the vampire genre, my Black Lace chum Janine Ashbless was curious to know how a lover of nice guy heroes and Happily Ever After like me would portray an undead bloodsucker who preys on humans. So she sent me a bunch of questions about BUDDIES DON'T BITE...
Janine Ashbless) How long have you been writing paranormal erotica? Is it something you've always been interested in, or is it a taste that has evolved?
Portia Da Costa) I’ve actually been writing paranormal erotica since the early 80’s. The very first things I ever wrote were a quintet of erotic romance short stories in which the hero was a zombie. When I eventually reached publication standard, the first short story I ever had published – The Man in Black, which appeared in Forum – was a ghost story. My first full length paranormal novel was Gothic Blue, published in 1996. So you could say I’ve always been interested in the juxtaposition of sex and the supernatural.
JA) "Buddies Don't Bite" is the gentlest take on Vampires I think I've read - very romantic and emotional. What made you decide to reject the normal "arrogant predator" type?
PDC) It wasn’t so much that I rejected the ‘arrogant predator’ type, it was more that I was drawn to a different kind of vampire. I was interested in what would happen if a decent, noble, humane man became vampire and was able to retain those qualities of humanity. I wanted to write a proper romance and I used a classic category romance device, the ‘friends to lovers’ story, only where one of the friends just happened to be a vamp.
JA) Why do you think Vampires are so popular with readers? What is it about them that appeals to you in particular?
PDC) That’s hard to quantify. I think it must be something to do with the eternal youth and beauty, the preternatural strength, and the sensuality of taking blood at the neck. I think I probably like vamps for pretty much the same reason as the next reader, the unique blending of danger and sex.
JA) Is there a real life model for your vampire Zack?
PDC) Well, I’ve been going through a phase where many of my heroes are inspired by different faces of one of my favourite actors, Vincent D’Onofrio. Zack is very much a young, romantic Vincent, much as he appeared in the early scenes of the movie Salt On My Skin.
JA) I have a theory that people who like cats like Vampires. They're so much in common: the nocturnal lifestyle, the grace, the aloof independence, the recreational cruelty ... So, are you a big cat fan?
PDC) I’m totally devoted to cats. I’ve lived with them for nearly 30 years and I dote on them as my constant companions. Yes, they are cruel sometimes, but it’s simply a part of their nature, and because they are beautiful, I excuse them. I’m not keen on having to deal with the mice they ‘release’ into the house though!
JA) Zack's a virgin - is the experienced woman/uninitiated man a favourite theme of yours?
PDC) Yes, I think this must be a favourite theme of mine, although I don’t know why. I’ve had ‘innocent’ men in several of my books, including The Tutor, Lessons and Lovers and The Stranger. But my ‘innocents’ are always extremely quick studies and have great instincts where sex is concerned. ;)
JA) How do you feel about writing to novella length?
PDC) I thought it would be hard to write novellas. Too long for a short story, too short for a novel… But actually, I’ve found it quite easy. Almost second nature. It’s possibly because I’m not a great plotter, and the short length means there’s no space for a complex plot, so one of my simple ones works quite well.
JA) What gave you the idea for the wedding setting?
PDC) Well, it’s a classic setting for a romance novel or story, and I think I may perhaps have watched ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ around the time I was cooking up the idea.
JA) Who's your favourite TV/movie Vampire?
PDC) I think my favourite TV vamp will always be Spike, although I didn’t really start to like him until he began his long, tortuous struggle towards being a good human man again, despite his vampire state. He had many false steps and setbacks, and fell prey to his demon nature again and again, but in the end, he became a true hero. As for movie vamps, my favourites are the diverse Count Draculas of Gary Oldman and Frank Langella. In Gary's interpretation, even though the Count is a ruthless killer, some justification for his actions is offered in the story and in the nuances of his performance. In Frank's there's not quite so much of this justification, although he does give hints of the loneliness of his life and the persecution of his kind...
PDC) Yes, I’d be tempted, but only if I could be one of my ‘good’ vampires, and had a like‑minded companion to walk beside me in the eternal night.
JA) Please give us an excerpt from Buddies Don't Bite...
PDC) Here you go, Janine... Teresa and her house buddy Zack are in the kitchen discussing a wedding invitation... and somehow they find themselves kissing!
He had the most glorious backside. Tight and hard and round like a brace of ripe apples. And when she grasped it, he growled in his throat in a most astonishing way. Deep and fierce, like the call of a jungle animal, it bounced off the kitchen walls and filled her ears. If she hadn’t had his tongue in her mouth, Teresa would have said, ‘What the fuck is going on?’
But their tongues were dancing and she felt like growling too.
Deep in her belly, a famished hunger was gnawing at her. It was a long while since she’d had good sex. A real, hard, long wonderful fuck. She’d held back with Steve, and had been hoping this weekend would be their romantic first time. But now, she thanked every lucky star in heaven that she hadn’t succumbed.
She’d never articulated it to herself, but she’d been waiting and saving herself for Zack, sure in the knowledge that her abstinence would be worth it.
Oh, I want you, she cried silently to him, massaging his sensational bottom, and squirreling herself around against his cock.
Zack’s answer was to growl again, a low feral sound. His lips crushed hers, his tongue thrusting, thrusting, just like the sex act. Where the kiss had been gentle and controlled at first, it was clear off the rails now. His mouth started to rove, moving roughly, messily, thrillingly over her face, along her jaw, as his hips rocked and jerked in that explicit rhythm that met and matched hers.
It was like being a horny teenager all over again, but magnified to the n’th degree. Every part of her was hot. They were rubbing against each other like crazy animals, and Teresa was the one making moaning noises now, unable to contain herself as Zack’s hands went all over the place. Her breasts. Her thighs. The cleft of her bottom. He was surveying her physical geography, and he was impatient. His fingers wriggled between their bodies, tugging at her skirt and searching for access to her sex.
And all the while he was kissing, licking, tasting… and nibbling.
Nibbling? More than that… as his mouth reached her throat, she suddenly yelped and jerked beneath him.
Dear God, that is so hot! He’s biting my neck!
It was pure sex… shocking and primal… Painful but in a way that made her hips lurch against him of their own accord, seeking the touch of his fingertips where they pressed against her panties.
Am I flying? This is weird…
She wriggled and parted her legs, not sure where the pleasure was… only knowing that it was like melting, dissolving, expiring… coming?
The rail-backed kitchen chair was hard beneath her thighs, and the glass cool in her hand. Her heart was thudding, and there was a silvery hum ringing in her ears. But despite this strange physical phenomenon and an accompanying sense of dislocation, she felt calm, almost serene… apart from a vague prickle of curiosity. She’d been panicking and fretting about something, but it was okay now. Zack had come up with a solution, hadn’t he?
Looking up, she was surprised to see him standing by the sink. His mouth was uncharacteristically tense, his lips tightly pursed and his eyes looked huge and very dark. She felt a jolt of worry. Had her silly invitation distressed him?
BUDDIES DON'T BITE is part of the Lust Bites anthology along with two other stunning vamp novellas written by awesome Lustbiters Kristina Lloyd and Mathilde Madden. It's published on 8th Nov 07 in the UK and on 1st Jan 08 in the US. If you'd like to win a copy of Lust Bites and a copy of my vintage paranormal erotic romance, GOTHIC BLUE, please leave a comment on this post and you'll go into a prize draw.
And finally here's a treat for Janine in the form of another Count Dracula! ;)
Images of Zachary Trevelyan courtesy of The Velocity of Vincent.
'Vampire Pleasure' image by 'betterthantheworst'