Doree Shafer over at The New York Observer has some interesting, and not entirely true, ideas of the origin of the current vampire trend in YA novels:
Anne Rice’s books, which started, and defined, the contemporary vampire trope—Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in Interview With a Vampire announced to the world that vampires, though technically dead, were also sexy—are targeted at adults, though certainly countless teenagers read them when they first came out. The difference is that when Ms. Rice’s books were topping the best-seller lists, the craze had not yet fully trickled down into the young adult market. Sure, there was Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and, well, The Lost Boys—but neither of them spawned the literary craze that has the nation’s teenagers in a chokehold.
Instead, it took a book by a young Mormon mother of three, who says the idea came to her in a dream, to kick-start the latest vampire craze.
I understand showcasing Stephenie Meyer’s work was the driving force here, but isn’t it a bit much to say she “kick-started” the trend? And Anne Rice “started and defined” contemporary vampire “trope”? I think, since Rice’s novel was published in 1976, and the movie wasn’t released until 1994, perhaps we should be looking at other authors who brought vampires into popularity. Laurell K Hamilton? Kim Harrison? In fact, 1992 saw the release of the movies “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, then Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures was published in 1993, all of which likely contributed to Rice’s movie being made. When Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking was published in 2004, reading fantasy was not nearly as in vogue as it is today. Without offense to Hamilton, folks loved her early Anita novels, but didn’t recommended them as highly, or as often, after Obsidian Butterfly (2000). If it wasn’t for Harrison (and JK Rowling, let’s not forget), in my opinion, we might not have had the resurgence in contemporary fantasy that we have today.
Perhaps this reporter has never heard of Hamilton or Harrison or Rowling? Or maybe folks are just tired of giving these three all the credit. Is it too much of a stretch to see the Harry Potter phenomenon collide with Gossip Girl and spin out into vampire stories for teens?
It’s probably best not to even get me started on how far back fantasy in YA originates… Nor how far back vampire literature goes… Poor Bram Stoker and Lord Byron. Always being left out.