Posted on February 18, 2011 by Flames
Titan Books presents Angel of Vengeance, the original never-before-released novel that inspired the vampire TV series “Moonlight.”
Written by Trevor Munson, the co-creator, writer and producer of “Moonlight” (the CBS series which attracted 7 million viewers and still retains a loyal, devoted fan base and cult following), Angel of Vengeance offers a new twist on the classic Dracula vampire tale and blends it with Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled P.I. detective fiction.
Angel of Vengeance: L.A.-based P.I. and vampire Mick Angel has been hired by a beautiful red-headed burlesque dancer to find her missing sister. The apparently simple case of a teenage runaway is soon complicated by drug dealers, persistent cops, murder, and Mick’s own past. Mick must learn the hard way what every vampire should know – nothing stays buried forever, especially not the past.
Flames Rising is pleased to present an exclusive design essay from author Trveor Munson. Trevor tells us about the creative process as well as the challenges of in redefining vampire lore for this book.
Trevor Munson’s Angel of Vengeance
When “Moonlight”, the CBS series which was inspired by my novel, “Angel of Vengeance”, first came on the air, I remember some of the early interviewers challenging me on why I had so drastically altered some of the beloved, time-tested, tried-and-true vampire mythology in creating my own world. This was my first glimpse into the nature of the strong opinions held on such things by hardcore genre fans, and was the first time it occurred to me that rather than responding positively to it, people might actually be resistant to the ways in which I had altered the mythos.
For me, this was very strange. As a creator, the whole point of attempting to write something in the genre I loved was to figure out a way to build on what already existed in a way that felt fresh and interesting. The idea for a hard-boiled, noir vampire story came to me after rereading “Dracula” and following it up with a Raymond Chandler novel, and right away it seemed like it held a lot of potential to be that.
What resulted, was the character of Mick Angel, a sort of blood-sucking Philip Marlowe who was turned in the forties and who now finds himself unwilling or unable to get in step with the modern world in which he lives. Although I retained some of the traditional rules, such as vampires needing to be invited in in order to be able to use their powers, and being unable to go outside during the day because sunlight kills them, just because I liked them, my basic approach in redefining classic vampire lore in writing my novel was to attempt to “noirify” (not a word) the mythology. In general, I wanted to recreate the rules to reflect the themes I saw repeated over and over in noir storytelling. This is why I had Mick take his blood with a needle, sleep in a freezer to stave off his slow decomposition, and see the world in only black-and-white-and-red.
Other core mythology changes came from just wanting to make more sense of classic rules, such as the idea that vampires are unable to see their own reflections. It didn’t make sense to me that a body with mass wouldn’t cast a shadow, or a reflection, so I altered it so that Mick can see his reflection, but when he does, he always sees the inner monster inside. Thematically this felt like it worked for a story where the main character views himself as a monster and generally hates what he is.
Yet another alteration came from my feeling that the idea of destroying a vampire simply by “staking” it seemed too easy a way to kill such a powerful being. In the course of my research I had read articles that suggested the origin of “staking” actually stemmed from the practice of vampire hunters using stakes to pin suspected vampires to the ground while they went about destroying the creature in other ways, such as by burning it or cutting off its head. As a result, I decided that in my world, a stake through the heart would incapacitate and paralyze vampires, rather than destroy them.
Finally, I also departed from the general mythology by having my vampires actually have to die in order to turn. In many current vampire tales, (Moonlight included) vampires are turned by being taken to the brink of death and then being fed the blood of their sire. In my novel, however, I wanted a more defined death process. As a result, I came up with the idea that the vampire bite transmits the infection, turning the bitten person into a carrier until the time of their death whenever that may be. Then, after a period of incubation, the newborn vampire rises again.
In the end, playing with the rules and adjusting them to fit into the modern noir landscape as seen through the world-weary eyes of Mick Angel was one of the things I enjoyed best about writing “Angel of Vengeance”. And while I love traditional vampire lore in all its forms, for me, it is the tweaks and changes vampire writers make that keep the genre feeling fresh, exciting, and to use a really bad vampire metaphor– eternally undead.
Trevor Munson – 2011