Let’s face it, vampires are made of cool. Possessing super-human strength, irresistible seductive powers and a jaded worldliness that only comes from immortality, vampires got it going on. From Anne Rice‘s epic The Vampire Chronicles, to camp-cum-cultural legend, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to teen treacle, Twilight, the mutability of vampire mythology offers something for everyone.
And no one loves vampire mythology more than lesbians. What else feeds our obsession with relationships that last forever, allows us to fantasize about a sexual abandon we wouldn’t dare in real life, and for some of us, indulges our love of black leather and staying out all night?
Trinity Tam, co-author of everafter, the new lesbian vampire novel from Bold Strokes Books, understands the appeal: "Dark, brooding, tortured, possessive, dangerous – [these] are elements that are kind of hot in a chick."
Trinity Tam is actually Jane Chen, producer of the award-winning, offbeat 2005 film, Red Doors. With veteran lesbian romance writer, Nell Stark, Chen makes her fiction debut with everafter, the tale of a lesbian vampire, her mortal lover and their fight to stay together against all odds.
Nell Stark and Trinity Tam (aka Jane Chen)
From publisher, Bold Strokes Books:
"When medical student Valentine Darrow is bitten by a Vampire on her way home to propose to her lover, Alexa Newland, her life becomes a nightmare. She is consumed — both by a craving for human blood, and by an obsession to find her attacker and bring him to justice. Alexa is determined to be everything that Valentine needs, but when Val’s appetite outstrips Alexa’s ability to nourish her, Alexa risks her life to save her lover."
Far less harrowing is Stark and Tam’s relationship — in addition to being writing partners, they are a happy couple. AfterEllen.com talked to Nell and Trinity about how they came to write their first novel together, the autobiographical nature of its story, and who would win in a fight: a werewolf or an angry feminist?
AfterEllen.com: How did you come to collaborate on everafter?
Trinity Tam: The idea came to me one day and I posed it to Nell as a hypothetical premise: "What if you were a vampire and I was the only thing preventing you from losing your soul?"
Nell Stark: Trin wondered what our relationship would be like if I were a vampire. Nice of her, huh? By the end of the conversation, we had the premise for everafter.
TT: Nell encouraged me to write it and when I balked, she offered to co-author it with me. It never would have gotten done if we didn’t collaborate.
NS: Trin had only written short fiction and screenplays up until that point, so I promised to lend her my novel-writing experience.
AE: It’s a good thing the question wasn’t, "What if you were a hot warrior princess and I was your cute little blond side-kick?" I guess that’s a different kind of conversation.
TT: How cool would it have been if we could’ve claimed that the premise to our novel was a naughty pickup line? I was an [X-Files fan fiction] Scully Slash writer, so it would have gone more like, "What if you were a hot FBI agent and I was the bug-eyed alien that abducted you?"
AE: Well, lesbian vampires are sexier than bug-eyed aliens, so thanks for going with the vampire question. In everafter, the first half of the book is told from vampire Valentine’s perspective and then switches to her lover, Alexa’s voice. Did you each write your own section?
NS: The original plan was for me to write Valentine and for Trin to write Alexa. Trin is an amazing conceptual thinker — most of our plot points originate with her, and I help to refine them during our conversations. My strong suit, on the other hand, is cranking out 500-1000 words per night. We’re complements in that way. I write significantly faster, so I also wrote the second half of Alexa’s section.
AE: So, you were writing simultaneously?
NS: Indeed we did. As soon as one of us finished a chapter, she would show it to the other. It felt like Christmas!
AE: Did you ever disagree about what or how the other one was writing?
TT: You know, the writing process was really smooth. I think the biggest debate we had was over how powerful the vampires and werewolves would be in our universe. Nell wanted the vamps to be really badass and I wanted them to be very human. We ended up compromising and I think the end result is an interesting blend of power and vulnerability.