If Bram Stoker gave us the granddaddy of all vampires, Anne Rice gave us their most famous bratty cousin.
I am, of course, talking about Lestat, vampire, actor, rock legend and general all round undead superstar.
He first appeared as the antagonist in Interview with the Vampire, but in The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned he became the protagonist of the ongoing Vampire Chronicles.
And what a protagonist he is. Vibrant, decadent, at once thoroughly evil and utterly beguiling he is the centrifugal force around which all of Rice’s devils orbit.
And while there are no vampires in Badlands, he was very much a driving force in my early writing, and a touch point against which all my later vampire tales were created.
What Rice did so brilliantly with Lestat and to a lesser extent Louis was create sympathetic devils, creatures who are tormented by their blood lust, but revel it all the same.
This is particularly true of the Lestat we see in Interview with a Vampire. By the sequel, Lestat was a vampire with a conscience. But conscience or not, he was still a predator of the highest order, a ruthless killer who’s selfish aims nearly bring the whole world, vampire and mortal crashing down.
It would be a stretch to say that the antagonists of Badlands resemble Lestat in any real sense, but like Lestat, there is a warped morality behind there actions. A phrase I kept in mind during the writing was “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and I believe that applies equally to Lestat and my non-vampiric antagonists.
Moving away from Badlands, in my wider writings, I’ve returned to writing vampires this year, but rather than write lesser versions of Lestat, I’ve gone the other way. My vampires are more a primal force, all brute hunger and crazed bloodlust.
If you want a glimpse of how I’ve done this, sign up to my mailing list on my homepage, and get free exclusive access to my vampire tale, Curse of the Ancient.