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Vampires Can Help: J.R. Ward on the (Sexy) Bloodsuckers That Shaped Her Life

Posted by Hayley on April 17, 2017


J.R. Ward's The Chosen was released this month, the 15th book in her beloved Black Dagger Brotherhood paranormal romance series. Since the bestselling author has now spent more than a decade writing about vampires, Goodreads asked her to share her thoughts on the enduring appeal and power of the "children of the night."


OK, it just so happens that I love talking about vampires. Which is kind of handy, considering how much time I spend with them! And the question which is most often posed to me is this: Why? Why are these dangerous, sexy, mystical creatures so fascinating both to authors and readers?

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I think the most compelling reason for vampire stories, and their enduring appeal, comes from the conflict that they bring to any narrative. In my mind, all story is driven by conflict, and for the reader to be satisfied and entertained, the conflict has to be credible, resolvable, and unpredictable: Cue the children of the night. Vampires are like the Holy Grail of Holy Sh*t Did That Just Frickin' Happen. Whether they are the protagonists or antagonists, because of their superhuman powers, preternatural allure, and—at times—questionable moral compasses, they provide higher stakes and all kinds of story possibilities that, if Homo sapiens were trying to pull them off, would fail under the NFW (No F**king Way) rule.

Vampires also come with a commonly known lexicon. Instantly most folks get the gist of these marvelous creatures: the no-sunlight thing, the possible immortality, the taking a vein, the seduction. All of these particulars, and more, can be tweaked by the author, but there is not a lot of explaining and setup that needs to be done when you're jumping into a story with them. People get it, instantly, and are intrigued and excited. Exposition is the kiss of death for any story—the old adage of "show, don't tell" is as true now as it ever was—and when a vampire arrives, he or she carries the weight of all that have gone before. As an author, I don't have to explain much at all to get your attention and hold it with vampires.

And then there's the leather pants (!!!!) thing. There is a lot of romance in my books, and when you're trying to present a hero that makes readers think, "YASSSSSSS, absolutely I'd swipe right on that," you can't go wrong with a vampire. Seduction is their calling card, the air of deadly power their cologne, their glowing eyes and descending fangs the stuff of both nightmare and fantasy. They are the wild predator walking among us, only partially camouflaged by the trappings of civilization. The beast that is tamable by love.

But for me, there is also one other reason I like to have them in my books. (Not that it was a choice. The Brotherhood showed up and took over more than a decade ago, and they're still driving my bus!) Life is so hard. It can be brutal and cruel and mercurial. Because of this, people need an escape, and sometimes it's better to step into the shoes of something Other than us. We can watch things that have perhaps affected us personally through a prism of Otherness. It's like a buffer. Vampires have many human characteristics, good and bad, and in their struggles we see insulated reflections of ourselves. It's vivid but not glaring (if that makes any sense).

At the end of the day—or the night, as the case may be—vampires have shaped my life, and I will always be forever grateful to them (and my readers!) for lighting my way as I do what I love for a living!


J.R. Ward's latest book is The Chosen. Follow Ward on Goodreads and discover more of her books here.

Comments (showing 1-50 of 156) (156 new)


message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I'm only interested in this because she's holding a Cavalier.


message 2: by Janice (last edited Apr 17, 2017 08:23AM) (new)

Janice Bolick I love the vampire stories where the vampires can be the "good guys/good gals" that want to protect and love the humans that they feed on, and don't treat them as cattle, and lesser beings, that the y choose to torture, and /or murder. I love the funny vampire stories. Beautiful dog.


message 3: by Debbie (new)

Debbie JR I'm just amazed that after 15 BDB books and other spin offs these novels are still fresh, exciting and I learn something new in every read. Thank you from this fanatic fan of these impressive creatures of the night!!!


message 4: by Robin (new)

Robin LOVE J. R. Ward's Brotherhood, and the Legacy series!
What she says about being able to look at our lives through Otherness is bang on! I have seen real life parallels in her books which jerk me to attention and make me see things from a different perspective than I might have initially. (Phury's story anybody?)
Keep 'em coming Ms. Ward! I'll read them all :D.


message 5: by Alli (new)

Alli love reading her books. (jr, i run a dachshund rescue if you ever want to support rescues!!) and hate finishing them. i've read every series...even the ones i was not very interested in, just to keep reading. her writing style and word combos are interesting and unique in many ways. the plot twists are not always what one expects from a romance novel's formula, and therefore they are 'catching.' i keep waiting for the next angels book (stuff was left hanging there), plus the bourbon kings, the legacy series, in addition to the bdb boys. other similar authors get my time only when there is not a ward book to read!


message 6: by Paula (new)

Paula Sarah wrote: "I'm only interested in this because she's holding a Cavalier."
I know right. Particolors as flashy but Black and Tans still hold me heart.


Heather LitChick4ever As long as you keep writing the BDB series and BDB Legacy series, I will keep buying and reading! Love these books.


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle I love reading these books. They take you away to a whole different world just for a little while. Even after 15 books they are still going strong. What I like about JR Wards style is she doesn't just write one couples story and you never hear from them again. She keeps bringing the entire "family/crew" into each story. Simply phenomenal! Can't wait for the next book, just hate that it's a year between the books, but so worth the wait.


message 9: by Alli (new)

Alli Michelle wrote: "I love reading these books. They take you away to a whole different world just for a little while. Even after 15 books they are still going strong. What I like about JR Wards style is she doesn't j..."

agree. i forget what's happened it's been so long between books. i have to go find other series lol.


message 10: by Janice (last edited Apr 17, 2017 08:27AM) (new)

Janice Bolick I find I have to be in the "exact" right mood to read the BDB, and the Legacy series. I've been trying to figure out the roles of the human and vampire women in the BDB, and the Legacy series. It's seems like they are just used, but not really loved. If so, I'm glad I don't live in that world.


message 11: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie Williams The BDB is just the best. As soon as I finish one, I can't wait for the next one. Now that Wrath has taken on Xcor's group, I know we'll have lots more stories. Keep them coming.


message 12: by Judy (new)

Judy Wiersma That was a fun article! Makes me miss her stories. Love her humor and writing style.


message 13: by Melissa (last edited Apr 17, 2017 08:40AM) (new)

Melissa Davis J.R. Ward is in my top 5 fav's. BDB & FA rocks my world in a way that makes me wish that they were real. Thanks for creating a world that sucks me in and leaves me in awe of the brothers & their ladies. <3 Also, THIS --> "Life is so hard. It can be brutal and cruel and mercurial. Because of this, people need an escape, and sometimes it's better to step into the shoes of something Other than us." This is it exactly. Thanks for getting it.


message 14: by Oma (new)

Oma Her books are really good...


message 15: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Ku J.R. Ward has long been a favorite of mine...The BDB feels like family to me and I hope she never stops writing about them.


message 16: by Carla (new)

Carla Her vampires are one of my favorites! I still remember the day I picked up the first book in the BDB and couldn't put it down. Each of them has it's own demons and burdens and you can't avoid falling in love with each and every one of them!


message 17: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Higgins J.R. Ward is my first writer i go to just can't wait for the next book to come out. It would be great if she could let Wrath see in one book so he would know what his family looks like. Great work!


message 18: by Terry (new)

Terry Love the series but be warned, the latest one dips in quality though the characters remain excellent.


message 19: by Valentina (new)

Valentina Filipović J. R. Ward is my favorite writer. I love her books and her writing style.


message 20: by April (new)

April S I've been with the brotherhood since the beginning. I have a big attachment to all of them. They became great friends. J R Ward has done so fucken great with this series. Not many authors can keep a series going this long. She is hands down my favorite author. If you have not read the BDB do yourself a huge favor and read it. You will not be disappointed.


message 21: by Moutiaa (new)

Moutiaa Bensalah I am so deeply in love with J.R Ward 's BDC and I am mesmerized with her writing style


LOURDES (ChaptersWeLove) I love the BDB! been reading the series for many years now and I can't get enough!


message 23: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Schultz Favorite author and series by far!!! Only problem is - I lose too much sleep because I can't put the books down, makes it a tough day when you have to get up at 5:00 am! I am yet to find a series that the men have it all - hot, huge (in all ways!!), sexy, protective, loving, fighter, dominant, intelligent.....this list is never ending. Then add in a sense of humor - her books are an escape every time you start reading.


message 24: by Tjaša (new)

Tjaša Konovšek Sarah wrote: "I'm only interested in this because she's holding a Cavalier."
Same here :D


message 25: by Marguerite (new)

Marguerite Nardone I love your books and writing. I agree that you feel reading is an escape. I think it is. Escape to a happy place and reading is just that.


message 26: by Steph (new)

Steph Aknative I thoroughly enjoy your books and will continue to be a fan! You ROCK!!


message 27: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I knew the moment I finished reading my first J.R. Ward book that I would read every book she wrote. I have been let down. There's an incredible release I get when I fall into a book. With BDB, I could escape a become a part of the fantasy and that is driving force for any passionate reader. We wouldn't get through most days without knowing we have an escape at the touch of our fingers! Thank you so much from a grateful and passionate reader.


message 28: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I love all the books I have read so far. I'm in the middle of The Shadows. This series is amazing.


message 29: by Antoinette (new)

Antoinette Maxwell All I can say is...J.R. Ward...You have rocked my world! No going back for me!


message 30: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jones I love your books.


message 31: by Zebella (new)

Zebella Terry wrote: "Love the series but be warned, the latest one dips in quality though the characters remain excellent."


I agree. The ending of the new book was so rushed that it felt strange to read it. I honestly thought I had skipped an entire chapter by accident until I went back to look.


message 32: by CARISSA (new)

CARISSA E I have loved every book in this series. Some more than others of course. I just bought The Chosen and will be starting it as soon as im done with the book im currently reading. I cant get enough of the BDB and have read several of the books many times. My favorite brother is Zsadist but my favorite couple is Blay & Quinn. A Lover At Last is definetly my favorite book in the series. what a Great series!!!!!


message 33: by Missy (new)

Missy JR Ward your the best! I love the BDB series and others you have written. I was never a fan of vampire books until a friend suggested I read the BDB series, she said I wouldn't be disappointed. I was still skeptical cause I'm not gonna lie, I was a little scared. Then I started having nightmares lol about fighting lessers and sucking them down like Butch! (I even woke up with stomach ache!) BDB fan for life!!


message 34: by debbie mason (new)

debbie mason I have been reading g BDB sine the beginning and still not wanting the end to be in sight. Thank you so much and will continue to read. You are one of few authors I one click without even looking at the cost. This would make great HBO series❤️


message 35: by Biondatina (new)

Biondatina Thank you for this amazing series!

Me and my friend Marila, we have 2 dates every year!
We are waiting the releases of BDB and Legacy series books... We love love love the books....some more than others of course.
And after we read the new book, we have a long coffee date to talk about the new things, the details, what chance or the new details in the every day life of the BDB members.

The spinoff of Legacy series, yes its a new story but it is like a open window in the house.

Thank you for creating these wonderful guys!!! Oh pls write more about Wrath!!! I cannot stop loving him....

Thank you Mrs JR Ward!


message 36: by Maureen (new)

Maureen I'lenve had Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for 19 years. We've had four Blenheims and one Tricolor. Right now 2 Benheims. Love love love this breed!


message 37: by Robin (new)

Robin I agree. The ending of the new book was so rushed that it felt strange to read..."

Agreed!
I would have thought that particular place in certain relationships would have been months, if not years, in coming!
I loved the book up to that point though.
If you want to go more in depth about The Chosen with me, message me here or on Facebook since I don't want to give spoilers to those who haven't read/finished it yet.


message 38: by Katerine (new)

Katerine Alvarez I Love the BDB and Legacy series. I find that I can't put down the books and finish them in 2-3 days. The only thing I hate is having to wait a whole year for a new book to be released lol.


message 39: by Robin (new)

Robin Katerine wrote: "The only thing I hate is having to wait a whole year for a new book to be released lol."

August 1 is the release of Devil's Share, the third in the Bourbon King's trilogy, and the next Legacy book should be released in the fall, so not toooooo long to wait :D


message 40: by Aivil (new)

Aivil I can't say much, 'cuz I don't really KNOW what else to say but: I. Love. You. And thank you for your amazing stories <3


message 41: by Ronnie (new)

Ronnie I LOVE JR Ward's BDB....been reading her books for years!!! You rock JR Ward!


message 42: by C (new)

C Debbie wrote: "JR I'm just amazed that after 15 BDB books and other spin offs these novels are still fresh, exciting and I learn something new in every read. Thank you from this fanatic fan of these impressive cr..."

I agree with Debbie. I loved the fact that I'm still surprised and intrigued. Thanks JR and keep writing. Love it!


message 43: by Jelissa (new)

Jelissa Broadbelt I never liked much of vampires. It was a recycled role over and over again. But damn it J .R ward you have captured me and locked me in the brotherhood cage and I can't come out. I finished The Choosen in two days and am now depressed waiting on the next. Their driving my bus too and won't stop for gas or nothing. I need the Next book and have to wait. I usually don't reread a book I have finished but yours rock me even when I know what's going to happen again and again! You are a force to be reckoned with concerning vampires!


message 44: by Amani (new)

Amani Haak Never read her books. Maybe I should give it a try.


message 45: by Carlabulian (new)

Carlabulian I loved your books! You are the best! Congrats!


message 46: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Anderson Janice wrote: "I find I have to be in the "exact" right mood to read the BDB, and the Legacy series. I've been trying to figure out the roles of the human and vampire women in the BDB, and the Legacy series. It's..."

I must say i completely disagree, the brothers love their women, vampire or human, with everything they are. Even when one falls for a human and had to feed from a chosen, it's still all about love and the relationship.


message 47: by Heather (new)

Heather These books are by far my favorite. Each and every book is better than the last. Each story is better, fresher and more exciting. My only complaint is more. I want more than one a year. I will continue to purchase two of every new book. Why you ask well one for my library the other I read till the pages discolor and the backing breaks. Thanks for letting your readers slip into a new realm if only for a day.


message 48: by Monique (new)

Monique Tjaša wrote: "Sarah wrote: "I'm only interested in this because she's holding a Cavalier."
Same here :D"


The first thing that I also noticed was the adorable lil' dog. :)


message 49: by Candy (last edited Apr 17, 2017 05:23PM) (new)

Candy Varty J. R. Ward is one of the reasons I became an author, she has inspired me far beyond what I thought I could write, She is amazing and I love her books, I just love Vishous .. V.. V


message 50: by Yvonne (last edited Apr 17, 2017 01:18PM) (new)

Yvonne Barbosa I thought I had read everything there was on Vampires, but I was wrong! A friend told my daughter and I about the BDB and I now wait impatiently to hear when a new book will be out. After reading The Chosen I can't wait to see what will be in the next book soooo many things to see where and how they will go. It's a series I will read and read again. And I thoroughly enjoyed JR Ward's Bourbon Kings. She has a great way with words. Thank goodness most of the BDB books were out when I started them 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😃 I thank you JR Ward for bringing me back to the love of reading.


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