Novelist Diana Laurence’s Inner Life (and Vampires)
Milwaukee-native Diana Laurence is a published novelist who transverses genres with a unique and broad repertoire of work, including the award-winning Soulful Sex anthology and vampire fiction like Bloodchained and Looking on Darkness.
I understand some of your inspirations include Jane Austen, Stephen King, Ayn Rand, etc., but what inspires you? At the risk of sounding dramatic, what is your quest?
Ever since childhood I’ve had a very vivid inner life—I actually used to narrate to myself while I was playing, as in, “The young girl followed the train tracks, hoping to come to a place where she might find food.” I was born a storyteller, and you can’t tell stories without someone to listen. So I’ve always been driven to find as big an audience as I can, and my quest is to touch other people’s imaginations by the words that spring from my own.
Your work includes self-help, contemporary romance, erotica, vampire fiction and a do-it-yourself guide. Is it a challenge to switch between styles?
Not really… I’m an eclectic person. I also feel that when you write, it’s about the reader just as much as it is about you. (That’s why I wrote Bloodchained with a team of 63 fans.) Because readers come in all stripes, I work in different genres to reach as many as possible.
Meanwhile, I believe the realm of imagination is closely linked to psychology (it’s a Jungian approach, for those familiar with Jung’s work). Stories have a psychological impact, and that inspires me to explore different genres, because each one touches the soul in a unique way. And because love, sex and romance are such powerful subjects, I’m happiest writing on those themes both in my fiction and also in essays, like on my “Erotica with Soul” blog (www.eroticawithsoul.blogspot.com).
How does your vampiric literature differ from other series in the increasingly popular genre, like the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris or the work of Stephenie Meyer?
The great thing about vampire fiction nowadays is that you can do whatever you want with it and readers will accept it. And I’ve taken several different approaches myself. I wrote my story “Pints” about a traditional vampire who tries to be good, much like the Cullen vampires in the Twilight series. In my story “Women Love Vampires” I present a sexy undead fellow who is as rotten as they get, as if to say, “Sure, they’re attractive…but think about it for a minute, ladies.”
I’ve gone more far afield in my novel Bloodchained, which is about a race of blood-drinkers with some similarities to vampires, but different origins and “rules.” And in Looking on Darkness, I explore a form of psychic vampirism.
The one common thread in all vampire fiction is the principle of dominance and submission, which I believe is very basic to sex, but extremely complex in its manifestations—as varied as vampire fiction is today!
Speaking of vampires and those who love them, I was recently asked by a publisher to write a self-help/humor book called How to Catch and Keep a Vampire. I get to explore the appeal of these beings in full, as well as write lots of fictional vignettes. It’s a book that I hope will be meaningful to fans of any sort of vampires.
The official How to Catch and Keep a Vampire launch party will be held at Borders in Fox Point at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. Laurence will talk about the book and perform a reading, Q&A and signing.