Mixing Mythologies in Urban Fantasy

Are you a purist or a free-thinker when it come to your urban fantasy lore? Or, like me, somewhere in between?

Some cases in point:

Vampires. The bulk of vampire mythology was developed before vampires became romantic heroes. They drink blood. They can’t go out in sunlight. They can’t abide garlic, crosses or holy water. The best way to kill them is a stake through the heart.

Werewolves have also been changed as they became heroes instead of monsters. Traditionally, they can only be killed by silver, and their changes are dictated by the cycles of the moon.

These days, we have some vampires who only avoid sunlight because it makes their skin glitter (okay, that one REALLY bothers me), who can live off animal blood–or off each other. They don’t like garlic because they don’t eat, and crosses/holy water might or might not bother them. The “new” vampire death methods extend to fire, removal of the heart, or decapitation,and in addition to their superhuman strength, they also can sometimes zip along at 90 mph, or even fly (or glitter in the sun as they climb trees like monkeys…grrr). They also might have an aversion to silver. Weres, on the other hand, can  usually change at will these days–although they don’t have an option of not changing during the full moon.

So when I set out to create my own vampire society, I had a lot of old and new traditions from which to cherry-pick. My Penton vampires cannot go out in sunlight without becoming crispy critters,can’t fly, and only feed from humans–they’re old-fashioned that way. But I also gave them some of the newer traits–silver doesn’t kill them, but it zaps their strength to human-size (puny), they are fond of drinking alcohol, and can be killed by removal of the heart or head. Nice.

I’m still working around, and generally ignoring, the age-old question: Do vampires have to go to the bathroom? I mean, if they’re drinking alcohol…I’m just sayin’.

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

5 thoughts on “Mixing Mythologies in Urban Fantasy

  1. I like having new rules for Vampires. I’m sure we have to keep some of the old rules in place a little. But a fun, new spin on them is always good! Keeps it intriguing, you know?

    LOL on the bathroom thing.

    Have a great day!!

  2. I like both. I really love when an author comes up with a creative new twist on the mythology. However, I think sometimes they take it too far (I wouldn’t even consider the Cullens to be “vampires”).

  3. Yeah, it’s hard to view the Cullens as Vamps, isn’t it. . . But yeah, it’s a new spin, that’s for sure, right?
    Gret posts here. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the comments, guys! I was on a mad dash today to finish up my own vampire tale. No sparklies for me, and I left the bathroom question unanswered–LOL. And I don’t consider the Cullens real vampires either, but def a new spin!