Saturday, May 08, 2010

Wildcard Weekend: Spreading My Vampire Wings

Silhouette Romantic Suspence Author Gail Barrett bites into the vampire genre

I get very queasy at the sight of blood. Even the thought of it makes me recoil. So you might wonder why I’m reading a book about vampires -- instead of tackling the mountain of romance novels sitting by my bed.

It began with a book signing I did earlier this month. I had the great fortune to sign books at the Turn the Page bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland with a powerhouse of authors: Nora Roberts, Roxanne St. Clair, Susan Donavan, Susan Meier, Michelle Monkou, Ruth Langan, Leigh Duncan, Ellen Dugan, Karen Anders, Lavinia Kent, and Christine Trent. Oh yes, and Charlaine Harris, who writes the hugely popular Sookie Stackhouse series, upon which the HBO series True Blood is based.

(from left): Lavinia Kent, Gail Barrett, editor Ginjer Buchanan, Charlaine Harris. Standing: Roxanne St. Claire.

Even better, I got to sit at Charlaine’s table. I spent the afternoon watching hundreds of her fans parade past -- many sporting vampire regalia. They gushed over her books, had their photos taken with her, got her to sign t-shirts and tote bags.

And I realized with chagrin that I was probably the only one in the room that had not only never read her work, but had never HEARD of her work. I was clueless! So, feeling like a cultural alien, I knew I had to remedy that situation fast. I went to the library, checked out the first book in that series (Dead Until Dark), and dug in.

As everyone (except me) probably knows, the series is based on Sookie Stackhouse, a small town Louisiana waitress with telepathic abilities. It’s set in modern times -- but with a twist. Vampires have become a legally recognized minority. The book is a typical mystery -- a series of murders has occurred, and the race is on to discover the culprit. Sookie’s vampire boyfriend Bill is fast becoming the primary suspect (although I’m guessing the real villain is someone else). The appeal of the story, aside from trying to solve the mystery, lies in watching the interaction between humans and vampires. Charlaine has created an eccentric, but believable, world.

Although I’m enjoying the book a lot -- and can see why it's wildly popular -- I doubt I’ll read the rest of the series. As I said at the start, blood really isn’t my thing, no matter how good the story is. But I’m glad I picked it up. It has been good for me to read something different. I needed to expand my horizons and become more culturally aware.

So what about you? Have you read anything different recently? Have you enjoyed a book you didn’t expect to like? Or did an out-of-the-ordinary book confirm your negative expectations. Please share!!!

Gail Barrett’s May Silhouette Romantic Suspense novel, MELTDOWN, has been named a Romantic Times Book Reviews TOP PICK. For more information about her books and to enter her latest contest, be sure to visit her website:

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