I rolled into the 2011 San Francisco Writers Convention feeling confident and excited. With several detailed synopses of my first book elegantly placed inside custom binders and tucked neatly inside my briefcase, ready to hand out to every agency that catered to urban fantasy/paranormal romance, I headed down the elevator and made a beeline for the registration desk. My nerves were racing, heart pounding, and my excitement only grew as I got my schedule, then took off through the halls, smiling and waving at several strangers along the way. However, during my very first workshop, the literary agent instructing the course stated explicitly, “If your manuscript has the word *vampire* in it, I don’t want to see it!” which of course totally threw me for a loop because that’s exactly what my debut novel, *Crimson Groves*, was—a fresh twist on the sought-after undead that I thought we couldn’t get enough of. And even though most of the workshops I attended after that also discouraged anything and everything vampire, I held in my disappointment, jotted down as many helpful notes about writing, building your social platform, how to get an agent, etc., as I could, and then, at the end of a long, butt-busting day, I returned to my hotel room in tears. “How could this be?” I demanded of my husband, who had come to San Francisco as my support system, handling his own business affairs while I attended the five-day convention. Unfortunately he didn’t have an answer and was just as perplexed as me.
For as long as I can remember vampires have been around, and they surely don’t seem to be leaving us anytime soon, yet I can’t help but wonder why so many literary agencies seem to disagree. Perhaps their disinterest has something to do with the *Twilight* saga, assuming people would be burned out on yet another story about vampires? Ironically, every one of those movies has sold out with hordes of crazed fans lined up outside the theaters for days before release. And there’s still one more installment to go before it’s over, set to release sometime in October 2012. However, since I’m no literary agent I can only assume, but with all the new books, movies, and shows coming out about vampires, including the hugely popular new season of *True Blood*—with over 10 million “likes” on its Facebook fan page (and novel turned into an HBO series)—just wrapping up with one hell of a season finale, *Vampire Diaries* (another novel turned TV series) on schedule for its new season beginning October 2012, and Jeaniene Frost’s *Once Burned *ranking in the top ten ebook downloads for almost six straight weeks, it seems proof enough to me that the agents were *dead* wrong.
My obsession with those sexy-as-hell undead creatures is imbedded inside the deepest fibers of my mind, where there are tons of preternatural beings—mostly vampire, of course—fighting their way to the forefront, urging me to tell their story. And there’s hardly a way to ignore them as they’ll only continue pestering me if I don’t listen. So instead of paying attention to all the literary agencies that insisted vampires were a thing of the past, I ignored them altogether and moved forward with my second novel, *UnGuarded*. And though my protagonist in this mature YA/paranormal romance thriller is a guardian angel who can shift into human form at will, she not only loves her best friend and human charge, Caitlyn, but she’s also madly—and blindly—in love with Cole, a vampire she’s forbidden to be with. Add it to your Good Reads shelf now! (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15356720-unguarded)
And to further rebel against the notion of an anti-vampire world, I’m currently working on *Crimson Flames*, the sequel to *Crimson Groves* (book #2 of *The Crimson Series*), which picks up right where we left Abby and her quest to learn more about the sorceress powers that were awakened inside her when she was turned into a vampire—making her a whole new hybrid species. There’s a group of rogue vamps banding together and forming a Resistance against the vampire governing body, The Head Council, and Abby’s newly discovered powers are the key to the Council’s victory. Now the Resistance will do anything possible to remove the hybrid threat, and with no other options, Abby is forced to rely on the aid of the Council, yet can she trust the very vampires that hunt for her human lover? And even worse, can she fight the unwelcome attraction that’s growing between her and one of those ancient vampire rulers?
So what are your thoughts about vampires? Like me, do you think (and hope) they’re here to stay?
Visit me online at: AshleyRobertsonBooks.com
About Crimson Groves:
Abigail Tate was a normal human girl. Until the day Bronx the vampire barges into her life and turns her against her will. Held captive while forced to deal with never ending cravings for blood, Abby prays for a way to escape. Only when an opportunity arises, it’s with the aid of an innocent human named Tyler–except vampires are forbidden to interact with the unbitten. But Abby quickly learns this human has secrets of his own…secrets that can either help her or get her killed. Only Abby discovers that she was the one with the biggest secret of them all.
**June 2012 Extras added to the e-book version only (including the first chapter of the sequel Crimson Flames (book #2 of The Crimson Series)