The dictionary describes a vampire as a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth.
Dracula by Bram Stoker, published in 1897 set the stage for modern vampire literature. Although he was not the first to write about these creatures, they often have a common thread in that they abhor daylight, have fangs, drink blood, and are portrayed by someone wearing a high collar and cape. Stoker depicted vampires as having a disease of contagious demonic possession. Garlic, crosses, stakes through the heart, and beheading are ways to repel or permanently kill a vampire, who are often immortal. Believe it or not, it wasn’t Stephanie Meyer or even Anne Rice who turned these monsters into romantic figures. Gothic romance writer Marilyn Ross made her vampire, Barnabas Collins a poetic and tragic hero, and since then there have been numerous paranormal romance books and series whose vampires are actually romantic figures.
Anne Rice, who authored The Vampire Chronicles has stated her vampires are “a metaphor for lost souls.” Books in the horror genre that have vampires include of course, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice, P.N. Elrod’s Vampire Files, The Vampire World series by Brian Lumley and Children of the Night by Dan Simmons.
Popular paranormal romance authors whose books fit into romance and science fiction, that focus on a vampire theme include J.R. Ward, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Nina Bangs, Lynsay Sands, Tanya Huff, Laurell B. Hamilton, Kresley Coles, Cherry Adair and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Ward writes a series called the Black Daggar Brotherhood and Meyer is well-know for her Twilight series written for a teen/young adult audience but read by many adults as well.
Charlaine Harris is well known for her The Southern Vampire Mysteries, also called the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Kresley Cole writes The Immortals After Dark series, and Sherrilyn Kenyon is popular for her Dark-Hunter series. All of these feature vampires. From Dracula to Sookie Stackhouse, many of these books have been made into movies and television series.
Vampires continue to be an extremely popular subject for books.