Eldren

I'm definitely a classicist when it comes to vampires. Mine are mostly evil blood-sucking bastards with bad breath and little clothes sense. To them teenage girls are food, not objects of desire.

That said, I have sometimes strayed from the lone vamp as predator meme. In my Watchers series for instance, I have a whole army of kilted Highland vampires facing organised bands of slayers.

And in that same series I explored the idea of vampires being a product of an alchemical experiment gone wrong, one of the paths on the Great Journey that is not often taken.

But I rarely stray far. It's the blood-urge, the need for food, that inspires me to write about vampires, and I can't see that changing. Gothic lounging and moaning about your condition in life (or undeath) is all well and good, but it bores me to tears, both in fiction and on film, and I find myself shouting: Bite something for god's sake!

The protagonist of Eldren: The Book of the Dark, Jim Kerr has no supernatural gifts, and he's no hero, at least not at first. He's a man who lost a family to vampires, and has been unhinged in the process. Normal people find him more frightening than any threat of a vampire, purely because he's more visible: to them he's a wide-eyed psychopath with a crossbow and pockets full of garlic.

Jim's journey to personal redemption is one of the main themes of the book. To fulfill his goal, he may have to descend to the level of his quarry. The questions that poses, and how he handles them, provide much of the tension for the book's climax.

I hope I never get accused of over-romanticizing the vampire myth. I work hard at keeping my books grounded in a harsh reality, where bad things happen to good people. Plus there's the fact that Eldren takes place in a working-class town in the West of Scotland. It's hard to over-romanticize people's existence in a place where unemployment is rife and life is hard enough to start with without blood-sucking fiends getting in the way.

In fact, for some of the townspeople, vampirisation is a step up the social scale, allowing them free rein to some base urges that had been bubbling just beneath the surface.

Eldren: The Book of the Dark is out now in an ebook edition.