Lyon, France: An Inspiration for Writers and Vampire Fans
Experience the mystery...
Mysterious traboules of Lyon
Lyon at twilight
18th c. Fashion
A mystical city.
Mystical is defined as "having a spiritual meaning that is difficult to see or understand" (Webster's dictionary).
When I first arrived in Lyon, France, I was struck by the city's beauty and cleanliness. I was destined to spend 6 months there, so I decided to learn as much French as possible, eat, drink, and soak up the culture.
As the weeks went by, I became aware that its citizens were not only polite and hospitable, but also well-read. Book stores and book fairs abounded, and Lyon's many cafes were meeting points to discuss literature, politics, and social issues. Theater is also popular, as is the live music scene. In short, I found myself in a mystical city where the arts truly flourish.
Walking along either of the two rivers (the Rhône and the Saône) during the twilight hour, I admired the barges- some used as homes and others as bars. The city came to life at night.
My favorite neighborhood is Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), which resembled my beloved Florence, Italy due to the fact that most of it was constructed by a wealthy Florentine banking family during the Renaissance. In addition to the gorgeous architecture, I reveled in the city's medieval traboules- exciting secret passageways where adventure and intrigue were just waiting to happen!
What a fertile playground for an author's imagination!
Known for its fine silk, Lyon's looms were active throughout the middle ages and Renaissance, but the textile business boomed in the 18th century. French royal households and the nobility demanded fine fabrics for their outrageous attire (including Marie Antoinette).
By my second month a story brewed in my head. When I walked in Old Lyon or along the river, I was no longer in the 21st century, but rather in the 18th century. Sipping wine at an outdoor cafe, I saw pretty ladies in exquisite gowns and mysterious cloaked figures on horseback. No one else saw these people, of course.
Then, inspiration struck- VAMPIRES. Not of the Twilight or Nosferatu variety....but elegant, educated, and deadly vampires. Sexy, dangerous vampires.
I stalked the city's libraries and museums to gather as much information as I could, and even traveled to Marseilles and Annecy for the sake of my story (the latter looked like a town right out of a Grimm's fairy tale).
In the end, I blended my passion for historical fiction with my infatuation of vampires to produce something unique. A tale of lust and blood. I've been a vampire fan since childhood and remember watching reruns of Dark Shadows on Saturday afternoons ("Creature Double Feature"- yes, I am aging myself here).
In my humble opinion, vampires should seduce and kill- and these two acts should be performed with a certain cold elegance. It is not enough to write a sex scene with gore and blood. The scene must possess an artistic flair, it must possess intrigue, and (above all) it must be done in good taste.
Angelique, my protagonist, was born and raised in 18th century Lyon and marries a sadistic duke who whisks her off to a lonely chateau in Annecy. There, he subjects her to horrors unlike anything she had ever known. Her life changes drastically during a birthday party in Versailles when she meets a mysterious stranger with an unusual accent...
Being a visual person, I wanted to provide my readers with images of Lyon, Marseilles, Annecy, and 18th century fashion in order for them to enjoy my story to the fullest capacity. For this reason, I've created several storyboards on Pinterest.
Pinterest storyboard: The Duchess de Nuit: A Tale of Lust and Blood
Recently, my vampire novel was featured in an Australian blog (VAMPED) where it received a good rating. Also, I should add that unlike the YA vamp novels out there, my story is meant strictly for adults only.
As always, thank you for reading!
C. De Melo