Thursday, May 6, 2010

Beware The Stranger: Yes, it's a novel about vampires!

It seems that my plan, to keep the nature of my novel's villain a secret, has been foiled. The novel, Beware The Stranger, has been out since last Christmas, so I guess it was inevitable. The novel's official synopsis, which is available at the novel's website and which has been printed in several Egyptian magazines and newspapers, reads as follows:

"The novel revolves around the adventures of Ahmed and Amr (both 11 Years-Old), two best friends who love horror movies, love hanging out at the mall, but only like school. But their normal lives are turned upside down when one of them receives a warning from an old beggar, a man called Am Abdo, telling him that there is a killer loose on the streets of Cairo, and whom is out to get them. A killer who might not be human, but a monster who comes out at night, looking for blood!"

Yes. I know that the mention of a monster out looking for blood sort of gives a big clue. But, you see, I didn't want it known that the main villain of the novel is a vampire. Why? Because of a couple of things, really.

For one thing, the vampire fiction of late has been mostly awful, especially vampire fiction for Young Adults. You have manipulative, unimaginative dreck like the Twilight series, and numerous stories about teens turning into vampires and becoming tortured superheroes. To me, that's not the way vampires should be depicted. Vampire stories that I loved reading while growing up, the ones that stand the test of time - like Bram Stoker's Dracula, in which the grand daddy of all vampires is depicted as a monstrous, merciless creature of the night, whose nature is sadistic and who lacks any redeeming qualities - retain an ageless ability to haunt readers' nightmares decades, sometimes even centuries, after the novel is first published, mainly because of how memorably frightening the vampires/monsters in these stories are. Although I did like some of Anne Rice's novels about the anti-hero vampire Lestat, I could only bear them in small doses, and to me, they were never really frightening (well, maybe the first novel in the saga, Interview With The Vampire, was somewhat scary and disturbing).

The vampire in my book, Nina, is a monster. She abducts women and children, and traps them to feed on their blood. She is conniving, ruthless and, beneath her guise as a woman, looks like something out of a really bad nightmare. She scared the hell out of me when I was writing the book, and, hopefully, she scared readers as well.

During my book-signing tour (Beware! The Tour), I never mentioned that Beware The Stranger was, to some extent, a vampire novel; mainly because I think it is much more than that. It is more of a dark fantasy novel than a vampire novel, but, according to readers' emails, it is scary, even too scary for some children.

After getting emails from readers telling me that the novel is, according to them, a scary, vampire/horror novel, and that that should be made clear to readers, especially since the novel is marketed toward Young Adults, I decided to do just that by writing this piece.

So, I declare that Beware The Stranger is a vampire novel. There. It's done.

So, if you are between the ages of 10 and a 110, and you would like to read a story about vampires that are scary, monstrous and might give you nightmares, instead of reading about heart-throb vampires who are torn between loving helpless maidens or drinking their blood, read Beware The Stranger, you might like it.

- Beware The Stranger is available to buy in Egypt from these stores. For readers outside Egypt, it is available to buy from from Amazon Kindle, or from the publisher.

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