Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Guest Blog: Beth Fantaskey

Beth Fantaskey: author of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.

When I first dreamed up the story that became Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, I primarily saw it as an adoption tale – not a vampire story.

Making Jessica’s birth parents vampires was mainly a way of forcing a very rational girl to accept a very irrational truth about herself. I definitely wasn’t “into” vampires, myself.

Then along came Lucius.

As I mentioned in the Q&A, Lucius seemed to walk into my life the same way any stranger would. He just “showed up” in my office, and suddenly I was typing his letters home in his very distinctive voice.

One of my favorite things about Lucius – and I think this is at the heart of why vampires are so appealing – is his self-confidence, bordering on arrogance.

The greater part of the world might perceive Lucius Vladescu as a monster, but he never wavers in his belief that this only makes him all the more special. When other students back away from him in the cafeteria, Lucius perceives their cringing not as distaste, but as deference… which it is, in a way.

Lucius tries to pass this attitude along to Jess, not only in terms of helping her accept her destiny as a vampire, but also her body. Although society has led Jess to believe that she’s overweight, Lucius looks at her and sees a girl with a “presence.”

And Lucius’s opinion is credible. After all, generations of humans have persecuted, even murdered, his relatives for being “different.” If this hasn’t shaken his self-esteem, why should Jess worry about petty sniping by classmates?

Ultimately, Jess comes to value all aspects of herself. And what if we could all do that?

What if we could all see the things that others perceive as faults as assets?

I recently got an e-mail from a girl who thanked me for making Jess a size-ten heroine, instead of a size two. The writer had been struggling with her own self-image, and appreciated how Jess comes into her own – without shedding a pound.

As I replied, I thought about how I used to beat myself up for being super shy. But if I wasn’t shy, I wouldn’t have spent so much of my childhood conjuring up grand adventures in my imagination. Maybe I wouldn’t have grown up to write a book. Maybe being shy is the best thing that ever happened to me.

In a weird way, shyness has become a source of confidence – albeit quiet confidence.

So here’s to having “flaws.” May we all embrace them as profoundly as Jess and Lucius do!

48 comments:

Jessica Kennedy said...

Great post!

Would be cool to read a book where the main character has my name.....

:)

H said...

This is such an interesting post! I love the idea.

Reverie said...

great post and so encouraging

Carrie said...

I really love this book and I can't wait to read more from Beth. Great post!!

Chicklish said...

Brilliant post! Thanks so much to you and your guest, Jenny!

Pissenlit said...

Hear, hear! Excellent guest post!

Adele said...

One of the many reasons I really loved the book!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Great post, although a size 10 girl is still very slim. Do you know what that is in UK sizes?

Ladytink_534 said...

Yep, you hit the nail on the head! That's exactly in part why people love vamps lol. Sounds like a good story and I love the embracing of precieved "flaws"!

Janssen said...

This SOLD me on the book. Time to pick up a copy next week.

Jessica Kennedy said...

This post truly did sell me on the book. I was not a fan of this book's cover or title before this post. The author's tone and writing style on this post hooked me in! I ordered the book the same day I read this post. I finished it in one day and LOVED it. I'll be posting my review on my blog this weekend. :) I'll be looking for more by this author for sure!

Anonymous said...

I love this book so much. When i read it i was luaghing and crying at the same time. It is one of my favorite books.

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