Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slayre or Savior of Literature

I’m intrigued by history, enraptured by classical music, fed and entertained by romantic literature and movies. My psyche has been nurtured by Mozart, Beethoven, Michael Jackson, New Wave and Rap. In college, I was forced to listen to Bob Dylan during drawing class and to this day I can’t stand to hear his music, though I do a mean impression. In art school, during a printmaking class, a kid from Oklahoma City swept in disrupting everything I knew about the wonderful land of Rapper's Delight. At first, I thought he was odd, cute but a little off. Then as the days wore on and I saw the caliber of art he produced, I soon grew to respect him and the music he played while creating his phenomenal art pieces. You see, this kid touched me in a new and vibrant way. He brought a miraculous wonder into my life, music by the B-52’s and The Police. This New Wave swept in from Europe and took America, this kid, and me, by storm. The effects of my new appreciation for music soon reflected in my art.

Today we face another kind of invasion, an invasion of literature. Jane Eyre, Little Women, Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility are beloved by young and old alike. In these books, a woman/or women struggle to find love and fulfillment. The reader knows ahead of time that love will be found and a happily ever after achieved. Believed to be the first romance books of their time, these books examined women who had little control over their lives or destinies. The storylines reflected a woman’s mind-set and proved to demonstrate a woman’s intelligence and the kind of devotion that outweighed the pressures of society and a man’s expectations. With characters and places artfully woven into these unforgettable stories, these ‘romance’ books broker no question as to longevity on bookstore shelves or in libraries throughout the world. Can anything shake these literary foundations?

Romance genres have shifted over the years from the 'old bodice rippers' to erotica. Readers thought they'd seen it all until… horror and literary passion combined like chocolate and peanut butter. Thanks to Twilight, the four book series by Stephanie Meyer, and our love for the strange and macabre, the door has opened for a caliber of books otherwise shunned, the rewritten classic. Today, there is a surprising transference of genres, reminding the literary world that Edgar Allan Poe had a great idea brewing back in the late 1800’s with The Pit and the Pendulum and The Fall of the House of Usher.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith started it all.

Soon it was joined by Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H.Winters

Mr. Darcy Vampyre by Amanda Grange hit the shelves

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer

Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin

Little Vampire Women by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina

Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter by A E Morat

Arriving in October: Jane of the Damned by Janet Mullany

Now millions of people can enjoy classics like Emma and the Werewolves, Mansfield Park and Mummies, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim, Robin Hood and Friar Tuck Zombie Killers, Android Karenina and The Undead World of Oz. These literary works aren’t for the slight of heart. In each book, your favorite character not only has to overcome prejudice, passion, society or injustice, but he/she has a destiny to fulfill, saving the world and ridding it of the undead. What more can you ask for? ;)

Do you enjoy this new literary craze? If so, which books would you like to see turned into a Zombie/Vampire/Werewolf novel? If you could make a literary work into a book of the undead, which book would you chose and why? And which undead breed do you prefer?


  1. Great post, Kathy!

    I've only tried one and I did not like it. I should have. It was clever and the author retained the voice of the original. I am gong to try another though. Sometimes when I don't like a book, it just isn't for me at the time. I remember years ago picking up The Color Purple and hating it. I could not believe what all the hype was about. Then six months later I gave it another try and wondered how I had ever put it down the first time.

    So is there really a Huck Finn and Jim Zombie? That might be the one for me.

  2. I haven't tried them yet. I don't really think I want to. I have read the horror genre for years and these new books don't appeal to me for some reason.

    But..in answer to your question, I thought it would be amusing to see Romeo and Juliet redone as vampires (don't say Twilight - I'm talking a remake of real literature by Shakespeare). Imagine everyone's chagrin when, at the pivotal death scene, they just get up. It could be done. Montague and Capulet - two warring houses of vampires. Stakes instead of swords... Might be funny.

  3. Hmm, I haven't read any of them and I'm not sure if I will. I've yet to read any of the Twilight series. Yeah, I know. I'm probably the only person on this planet that hasn't! :-D

  4. Great post, Kathy!

    I haven't read any of those yet. Perhaps I will one day, but I'm with Cheryl. I'd like to see such a twist with Shakespeare, perhaps Macbeth. I've already seen that play set in a different time. Since there is an element of the paranormal already present, a vampiric twist might work well.

  5. Hey Crystal, maybe this is our calling - writing the Shakespeare Vampire Chronicles... Wonder if they'd sell?

  6. Cheryl/Crystal! That's brilliant. I would love to see Romeo and Juliet as vamps. Come on! Write us a scene. Just one.

  7. Jean, reading these books is an aquired taste, I suppose. What I like most about them is that they push the boundaries and reinvent the genre we love. It is an extreme but what we're seeing is more readers returning back to the Classics. And yes, there really is a Huck Finn as well as a Robin Hood book too. ;)

    Cheryl, I really like your idea about Romeo & Juliet. I'm sure someone out there is already contemplating writing it. Wouldn't that be great? No sad ending for our doomed duo but an eternity of love to share. Take that Montagues and Caplets!

    Oh, Sherry! You must read Twilight. Have you seen the movies at least? They are very good.

    Hey Crystal, MacBeth would be awesome! Can you imagine what that book would be like as the hero's father is already a ghost torturing our hero? What more havic could be wrought? MacBethcula? MacBethtergist?

    Cheryl, the Shakespeare Vampire Chronicles is great! Would love to see that series made. ;)

    What about Wuthering Heights? Kathy really isn't dead, she's a vampire torturing Heathcliff with promises of eternity. I give you, Wuthering Frights? Or Wuthering Delights?

    Zombies in the Wind anyone? Scarlet must face the fact that her dead husbands are zombies and they want satisfaction from Rhett. Or her little girl Bonnie Blue has come back from the dead (as in Pet Cemetary). I've got chills....

  8. There's already a Wuthering Bites. There's a vampire Romeo and Juliet. There's a Shakespeare Undead. Gone with the Wind is untouchable, not in the public domain. But keep in mind that "these books" are not all the same. Jane Slayre is really nothing like P & P and Zombies for instance. Seth's approach was more a National Lampoon approach. My approach is more a retelling with Jane as a vampire slayre, occasionally funny but with great reverence for Jane Eyre, the original. If you like Twilight, you might really like Jane Slayre. Rochester is the original brooding Edward. And then again, if you're a literary purist, you might not be enchanted by the trend.

  9. Sherri! Thanks for stopping by to blog with us. I'm reading Jane Slayre right now and LOVE it!! May I ask what drew you to this story? Jane Eyre happens to be one of my all-time favorite Classics. I adore Mr. Rochester. :D

    Thanks for sharing that some of the books we were playing around with were already written. Gives me much more to hunt down. Of the books I mentioned above, I have all except for Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln and Jane of the Damned. I absolutely adored Mr. Darcy Vampyre! And noted that there are several more issues out there about the Darcy or P&P.

    These books excite me because they are making a new generation aware of the classics. And I appreciate you for contributing to this new genre. Any plans on writing another one?

  10. WOW, I had no idea that were so many of them. I have seen a couple of these but didn't know there was such a variety.

    Y'alls ideas sound very interesting! I look forward to reading some sample chapters. :-)


  11. Hi Katherine, so glad you're loving it. I've always loved Jane Eyre, one of my favorites. When my daughter was due to read it for a high school assignment, I picked it up again and I kept thinking of new angles. What if Jane lived with vampires. What if Jane was a vampire slayer. Jane Slayre! And I was just playing around with it, but a friend thought it had serious potential. I talked with my agent, and sure enough, we had lots of interest.

    Jane Austen is really hot, but I think it's time for the Brontes to get some of that attention, too. My next book is along the same lines but with a new "coauthor" out May 2011, and I'm announcing the title on my website next week. You can read the first few chapters of Jane Slayre there to get an idea if it's something you might like, or not. http://www.sherribrowningerwin.com.

  12. I'm not old, but I guess I'm old-school. I don't like this new genre, so I haven't read any of them and don't intend to. Vampires and werewolves are not my thing and I shudder to think what the original authors of these great stories would think of what's been done to their work. Makes me sad, much like fan-fic does.

    And Sherry--you are not the only person who hasn't read Twilight. I have steered clear of it as well.

  13. Dear Folks,

    I am the author of Mansfield Park and Mummies and I put a whole lot of love and effort into writing it.

    I do hope you give it a try! Here are the first three chapters so that you can get a flavor of the story and the writing.

    Enjoy! :-)


    Vera Nazarian

  14. Karen, I can understand your feelings on it. As the author of many books besides Jane Slayre, I can only say that if my work has stayed popular, in the public eye, and so well-known 100 years from now, I would be thrilled for anyone to play around with it. Have at it. What a tribute! If it happens now, no, not the same. Those are my words and not in the public domain.

    But it's not changing the originals or taking away from them in any way. It's merely adding to the legend. By now, the classics have earned their following and proven they're not going anywhere. People know the words, love them, quote them. They're not about to be replaced. I see no harm, and obviously you disagree. You would then have a problem with film adaptations of classics, and plays, too, I'm guessing, but it has been done for years. In books as well, such as Wide Sargasso Sea. This is not really a new thing.

  15. Ah, Cheryl, what a cool calling that would be. Food for thought...

  16. I love fantasy and I adore the classics. So mixing in a bit of magic, monsters and mayhem, just feeds my addiction.

    I do read a chapter from the classic story and then read a chapter of the new. I get a kick out of it, and appreciate the new angle. I am glad there is more coming.

    Just think, don't you think the Tale of Two Cities could do with some dastardly wizards or fiendish ghouls?

    Great post Kathy!

  17. Sherri, I agree wholeheartedly! The Bronte sisters have sometimes been treated like red-headed step children. Their time has come! Thanks so much for bringing a new spin to Jane Eyre. Here's a link to a really funny video about the Bronte sisters. Have you seen it? (By the by, Tony Stephens was the perfect Mr. Rochester in the new Jane Eyre BBC series that ran last year. Positively dreamy!!)


    Karen, thanks for posting to our blog today! I often wonder what the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen would think of literary works today. Having read about the struggles these women faced during their lifetimes, I'm inclined to believe the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen were timely women, invisioning and revisiting the caged mores that inhibited women, whether unmarried or married. It's quite possible they would find the new genre of their works today invigorating and a lovely way to bring our culture back to the written page. We all have our favorite types of books and there is nothing wrong with our choices, some read comics, some manga, others mysteries and so on. It's all a personal choice. If you aren't a fan of horror films, this genre may not be right for you. Ultimately that is the reader's choice.

    As for what these writers would think today... In all honesty we could take this a step further by asking ourselves what would Attila do if he saw modern warfare? What would Ben Franklin say about modern government? What would George Washington Carver and Edison say about how far culitvation and technology has advanced? Would they object and try to put a stop to it or would they applaud mankind? Thought provoking, isn't it? But that's what free will is, our ability to like or dislike something or debate it. It's always a good thing to hear another view point, even if it contrasts with your own. We all have a voice in this world. Thanks for sharing yours. ;)

    Vera! Thanks for posting the link to your book Mansfield Park and Mummies! I'm off to read the first three chapters as soon as I send in my post. I shall look for it at the bookstore tomorrow. We really appreciate you stopping by and wish you the greatest success. What else is in store for you? :D

    Sherri, I agree by putting a new spin on the genre of old classics, we are energizing a steady market that has served generations of readers. This is a win, win situation for you and Vera, the writers, and the legend/mythos of classic literature. Not everyone has to read these books, but most will want to. Some will want to revisit their favorite stories/characters, others will want to experience them for the first time in a way they might not have wanted to in their original form. Win, win. And I thank you and Vera for bringing these fabulous concepts to light. Brava!!!

    Cheryl, you and Crystal really should get together on this idea. Very cool!

    Mary! Thanks for stopping by. :D We are so alike, you and I. Monsters, magic, mayhem galore, hunky heroes, feisty heroines who can wield a stake like no one's business, a 'snuggie' (LOL), hot tea and reading glasses. Who could ask for more? Besides a little Eminem playing in the background during kick-ass scenes, that is. LOL!

  18. Y'all, I am a CR writer tried and true. I don't do undead, zombie stuff and I don't read it. I can't. I'd go nutty and not be able to sleep. But I am so intrigued by the new cross genres and literary mash ups. I'm sure many do enjoy these reads.

    Great post!

  19. Katherine,

    Many thanks for your kind comments, and it is a pleasure to read a discussion about classics mash-ups without everyone negatively prejudging this genre. :-)

    Thanks for being open-minded, everyone! The books are as different as you can imagine, since each one is written by a different author (with their own unique strengths and "voice") and, in many cases, released by different publishers.

    I am currently fast at work on two more hilarious Jane Austen mash-ups: Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons, followed by Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret. You can discover a bit more about it here...

    Thanks so much for letting me drop in!

  20. Christine, thanks for the kind comments about my post. I had lots of fun writing it. Sure wish you would give these books a try. They aren't as grisly as Stephen King's. ;)

    Vera! I can't wait to read your future books! I tried to hunt down Mansfield Park and Mummies but couldn't get it in my local bookstore so I ordered it from Amazon.com. Should have it soon. Can't wait!

    Writing these types of books must be a great experience. What is the best thing you've learned or experienced thus far?