From College Professor to Vampire Slayer (or at least Vampire Writer)

FictionReboot2Welcome back to the Fiction Reboot! Today I am pleased to host Margo Bond Collins, author and blogger, who shares a rather similar trajectory with me. Once upon a time, we were both headed toward tenure-track professor careers…and now we, you know, write about vampires. Like you do. I asked Margo to join us an say a bit about this journey–and I jumped over to her blog and did the same!

About the Author

158ccae60c980a82390b6f.L._V354516721_SL290_Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

Welcome, Margo!


So, how does a college English professor end up writing urban fantasy books about vampires?

That’s a question I get more than I expected when I first started this fiction-publishing journey.

Over on my own blog today, my fabulous host here is doing her own guest post. We decided to trade posts because after meeting online, we discovered that we both have Ph.D.s in eighteenth-century British literature and write about vampires.

In some ways, that similarity is perhaps unsurprising. The eighteenth century is full of vampires, starting with the great vampire debate of 1732 (see this post for more details) and continuing through a number of stories, poems, and plays—enough to fill a book, and then some!

indexMoreover, the eighteenth century saw the development of gothic literature, starting with Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto—and we can trace the influence of that gothic literature pretty much through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and right up to today’s urban fantasies.

So I can certainly point to some nicely academic reasons for writing a book like Legally Undead. And as my edited collection of early vampire stories illustrates, my interest in vampires is a long-standing one.

But honestly? I wrote this book because it’s what I wanted to read.

I love urban fantasy. It’s my favorite escapist fantasy.

But when I started writing Legally Undead, there weren’t nearly enough of the kinds of vampires I wanted to read about. The thing is, I like my vampires to be brutal and bloodthirsty—as much as I enjoy the recent trend toward sexy vampires (because YUM), I think there’s a reason that we, as a culture, keep coming back to the kinds of vampires who are absolute monsters. Both kinds of vampires—those we want to devour and those who want to devour us—are the expression of the human id, that part of us that is unsocialized, that wants what it wants without thought of consequence. The hot vampires of paranormal romance allow us to fantasize about one kind of unsocialized behavior. But the murderous vampires allow us to explore even darker fantasies.

The vampires in Legally Undead don’t have a sparkle among them; they are definitely more beast than beauty—and that’s what I like best about them.

I’d love to hear from other folks, too. Tell me: What do you like best about vampires and vampire fiction?

Connect with Margo

cLegally Undead

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.


Excerpt 1:

The worst thing about vampires is that they’re dead. That whole wanting to suck your blood business runs a close second, but for sheer creepiness, it’s the dead bit that gets me every time. They’re up and walking around and talking and sucking blood, but they’re dead. And then there’s the whole terminology problem–how can you kill something that’s already dead? It’s just wrong.

I was twenty-four the first time I . . . destroyed? dispatched? . . . a vampire. That’s when I found out that all the books and movies are wrong. When you stick a wooden stake into their hearts, vampires don’t disintegrate into dust. They don’t explode. They don’t spew blood everywhere. They just look surprised, groan, and collapse into a pile of corpse. But at least they lie still then, like corpses are supposed to.

Since that first kill (I might as well use the word–there really isn’t a better one), I’ve discovered that only if you’re lucky do vampires look surprised before they groan and fall down. If you’re unlucky and miss the heart, they look angry. And then they fight.

There are the other usual ways to kill vampires, of course, but these other ways can get a bit complicated. Vampires are notoriously difficult to trick into sunlight. They have an uncanny ability to sense when there’s any sunlight within miles of them, and they’re awfully good at hiding from it. Holy water doesn’t kill them; it just distracts them for a while, and then they get that angry look again. And it takes a pretty big blade to cut off someone’s head–even an already dead someone–and carrying a great big knife around New York City, even the Bronx, is a sure way to get arrested. Nope, pointy sticks are the best way to go, all the way around.

My own pointy stick is actually more of a little knife with wood inlay on the blade–the metal makes it slide in easier. I had the knife specially made by an old Italian guy in just about the only ratty part of Westchester, north of the city. I tried to order one off the internet, but it turns out that while it’s easy to find wood-inlay handles, the blades themselves tend to be metal. Fat lot those people know.

But I wasn’t thinking any of this when I pulled the knife out of the body on the ground. I was thinking something more along the lines of “Oh, bloody hell. Not again.”


Legally Undead Trailer:


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