Sternendach: A Vampire Opera in Verse

Two things there were, to say it plainly,
That Kunigunde grew up with:
A name, romantic but ungainly,
And knowledge vampires weren’t a myth.
The Heller clan, for generations
Had hunted such abominations
With varying degrees of luck
Until the year a deal was struck.
And thus, when Kunigund’ turned seven
Her Oma, as was her devoir,
Joined girl and mother in the car,
And to the castle all were driven.
There they would meet, at eight o’clock,
The vampire Graf of Sternendach.

Last year I completed my first novel, and I’m currently shopping it for publication. It’s a vampire romance (shut up) written in Pushkin sonnets. This form was invented by Russian author Alexander Pushkin for his novel Eugene Onegin. The sonnets consist of fourteen lines each, with a prescribed pattern of masculine and feminine rhymes.

Kunigunde Heller has prepared her whole life to keep the peace between the vampires who rule Sternendach and her family of hunters. She has studied. She has trained. And she has fallen in love with the Graf of Sternendach, the very creature who murdered her great-great-grandfather and trapped the rest of her family in a Devil’s bargain: Hellers don’t kill vampires, and vampires don’t kill humans. If either side breaks faith, people she loves will die.

Kunigunde’s grandmother still nurses dreams of revenge for the Graf’s bloody wrongs. Kunigunde sees the Graf as the man who gave her a diamond pendant, access to his magnificent library, and a spectacular view of the stars from the highest tower of his castle. And a stash of old letters in the Graf’s library reveals a different story from her grandmother’s. Kunigunde must decide whether to risk her grandmother’s wrath to be with the one she loves, or to fulfill her duty to become his enemy. There will be no easy answers or happy endings.

Coleridge’s Christabel is a spiritual ancestor to my piece, and I was also influenced by Child ballads, Verdi operas, and Revolutionary Girl Utena. This is poetry for the vampire fans and vampires for the poetry fans.

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