Tapping into long-standing, popular gothic fantasy traditions—like the vampire or shape shifter—demands an understanding of how those beings have been previously presented world-wide in folklore, classic literature and film, and contemporary pop culture.
A lack of such understanding generally lends itself to derivative work, perhaps passing muster among those new to the genre but not seasoned readers.
In contrast, a mastery of mythology opens the door to the author making a contribution, offering a reinvention that advances the conversation within the building body of literature.
BLOOD READ: THE VAMPIRE AS METAPHOR IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE edited by Joan Gordon and Veronica Hollinger, foreword by Brian Aldiss (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997).
BRAM STOKER AND THE MAN WHO WAS DRACULA by Barbara Belford (Da Capo, 1996).
BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA edited by Jan Needle, illustrated by Gary Blythe (Candlewick, 2004).
"Carl LaEmmle presents Dracula" (Universal Studios, 1999).
CASTLE DRACULA: ROMANIA'S VAMPIRE HOME by Barbara J. Knox (Bearport, 2005).
DRACULA by Bram Stoker, introduction by Peter Straub (Modern Library, 2001).
DRACULA: THE CONNOISSEUR'S GUIDE by Leonard Wolf (Broadway Books, 1997).
A DRACULA HANDBOOK by Elizabeth Miller (Xlibris, 2005).
DRACULA PRINCE OF MANY FACES: HIS LIFE AND TIMES by Radu R. Florescu and Rayond T. McNally (Back Bay Books/Little Brown, 1989).
DICTIONARY OF SYMBOLS, MYTHS & LEGENDS by Didier Colin (Hachette, 2000).
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SUPERSTITIONS edited by revised by Christina Hole (Metro Books, 1961).
"Haunted History of Halloween" (A&E Television Networks, 2001).
HAUNTED TEXAS VACATIONS: THE COMPLETE GHOSTLY GUIDE by Lisa Farwell, illustrated by John Scott, foreword by Dennis William Hauck (Westcliffe, 2000).
A HISTORY OF THE ROMANI PEOPLE by Hristo Kyuchukov and Ian Hancock, illustrated by Allan Eitzen (Boyds Mills, 2004).
HOLLYWOOD GOTHIC by David J. Skal (Faber and Faber, 1990, 2004).
NOT YOUR MOTHER'S VAMPIRE: VAMPIRES IN YOUNG ADULT FICTION by Deborah Wilson Overstreet (Scarecrow Press, 2006).
THE SCIENCE OF VAMPIRES by Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D. (Berkley Boulevard Books, 2002).
IN SEARCH OF DRACULA: THE HISTORY OF DRACULA AND VAMPIRES by Ramond T. McNally & Radu Florescu (Houghton Mifflin, 1992).
"In Search of History: Legends of Werewolves" (A&E Televsion Networks, 1996).
TEXAS GHOST STORIES: FIFTY FAVORITES FOR THE TELLING by Tim Tingle and Doc Moore, introductions by John O. West and John L. Davis (Texas Tech University Press, 2004).
THE VAMPIRE BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE UNDEAD by J. Gordon Melton (Visible Ink, 1994).
VAMPIRE: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE WORLD OF THE UNDEAD by Manuela Dunn-Mascetti (Viking Studio Books, 1992).
THE VAMPIRE ENCLYCLOPEDIA by Matthew Bunson (Gramercy Books, 1993).
VAMPIRES, BURIAL, AND DEATH: FOLKLORE AND REALITY by Paul Barber (Yale University Press, 1988).
VAMPIRES: A FIELD GUIDE TO THE CREATURES THAT STALK THE NIGHT by Dr. Bob Curran, illustrated by Ian Daniels (New Page Books, 2005).
THE WEREWOLF BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SHAPE-SHIFTING BEINGS by Bred Steiger, foreward by Dr. Franklin Ruehl (Visible Ink, 1999).
WRITING HORROR by Edo Van Belkom (Self-Counsel Press, 2000).
In creating the shape-shifters to appear in TANTALIZE (Candlewick, 2007), I drew on the central Texas setting (with the understanding that contemporary shifters could nevertheless engage in modern travel) with the idea that they can be traced back at least to Ice Age Mammals. This added size reference made the transition of the shift more believable.
In addition, I researched the various animals so I could make thoughtful decisions about when to draw on their beastly natures and when an adaptation was in order. I favored illustrated books for their visual references. In addition to studying texts and films, I also took extensive notes at the Austin Science and Nature Center.
THE ARMADILLO by Steve Potts (Capstone Books, 1998).
THE ASTONISHING ARMADILLO by Dee Stuart (Carolrhoda, 1993).
BIG CATS by Jonathan Sheikh-Miller and Stephanie Turnbull, illustrated by John Woodcock (Usborne, 2002).
KIDS' FIELD GUIDES: BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA EAST by Jo S. Kittinger (DK and Smithsonian Institution, 2001).
DIGGING ARMADILLOS by Judith Jango-Cohen (Lerner, 1999).
GRAY WOLF, RED WOLF by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, photographs by William Munoz (Clarion, 1990).
GROWING UP WILD: WOLVES by Sandra Markle (Atheneum, 2001).
IN THE WILD: COUGARS by Stephanie St. Pierre (Heinemann, 2001).
THE LIFE OF MAMMALS by David Attenborough (Princeton, 2002).
NEVER CRY WOLF by Farley Mowat (Little Brown, 1963).
ONE WHOLE DAY: WOLVES by Jim Arnosky (National Geographic, 2001).
OPOSSUMS by Patricia Whitehouse (Heinemann Library, 2003).
NATIONAL GEORGRAPHIC PREHISTORIC MAMMALS by Alan Turner, illustrated by Mauricio Anton, introduction by Richard L. Cifelli (Firecrest Books, 2004).
VULTURES by Deborah Kops (Blackbirch, 2000).
"Walking with Prehistoric Beasts" (BBC, 2001).
THE WOLF ALMANAC by Robert H. Busch, foreword by Rick Bass (Lyons, 1998).
THE WOLF: THE ECOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF AN ENDANGERED SPECIES by L. David Mech (University of Minnesota, 1970).
WOLVES: LIFE IN THE PACK by Chris Witt (Barnes & Noble, 2003).
WOLVES AT OUR DOOR by Jam and Jamie Dutcher with James Manfull (Touchstone, 2002).