When I first decided to try my hand at fiction I had a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head. I actually started and got about one-third of the way through another book but this story kept intruding into my thought process. However, I was very reluctant to write about vampires. Let’s face it, they are everywhere these days (and have been for some time).
So the question really became; what could I add to the genre? Was there anything else to be said? I felt strongly that I did have something to say. I wanted to change the dynamic of the modern day vampire myth. I wanted to make vampires evil again.
The modern day stories have lost this. Today’s vampires are glamorous and sexy. In today’s fiction beautiful people become vampires and their purpose is to live the best human life possible. Free from old age, disease and injury they appreciate art, music, life and love to the fullest.
When modern fiction does veer into “evil vampires” they become monsters, mere charactures of their once human selves. They become grotesque killing machines that nightly must rip apart dozens of victims to satisfy an uncontrollable blood lust. Killing them becomes sport for the hero, almost always a man who had once fallen victim to their crimes, now seeking revenge.
But the real world is not like this. In the real world the villain is the guy who lives next door. He’s the guy who barbecued, who waved when he was coming and going, who chats about the weather and maybe even has a wife and kids. Oh and guess what, turns out he’s a serial killer. “We never suspected”, say the neighbors, “He was so nice”. In reality, evil lurks among us but it recognizes and imitates the good. We are shocked when we find out the guy next door is a serial killer not just because of the terrible things he did but because we can’t understand how evil inside the person co-existed alongside the good he showed the world.
So in thinking about writing the book, I asked myself, what would a “real” vampire look like? Some of those answers were practical, like he would not have to kill every night. That would make it to likely that he would unintentionally reveal himself – he’d get caught. But the other realization was that to be truly evil he would have once known goodness. He knew the good and would be able to imitate the good but he would also hate the good. He would want to destroy the good. And he would have a reason, a purpose for this hate. It would not be uncontrollable like an animal. A shark is not evil because it bites you; it is just doing what it does. On the contrary, Hitler was evil, not just because he hated, but because he systematically acted on that hate.
So then the final question becomes, who would this person be? What would they have to do to become evil enough to warrant being turned into a vampire? The world has seen a lot of evil people come and go and as far as we know none of them are vampires, so what then could make someone evil enough? That naturally, led to Judas, who committed the greatest betrayal in history. People struggle to understand his motivations. If you saw Jesus healing the sick, making the lame walk, and giving sight to the blind, could you betray him? We all like to think we never would. Why then would Judas do it? What were his motivations? Could they ever exist in us? Could the darkness exist right alongside the light in us?
Finally, if the betrayal of Jesus is the act that merits the punishment of being turned into a vampire, what then is the purpose for which the vampire Judas will act? What plan will he be trying to accomplish? I found that immediately multiple possibilities flow from Christian theology.
And so I arrived at Judas, the ultimate betrayer, who suffers the ultimate punishment and then seeks the ultimate revenge.