The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is an international association of writers, publishing professionals, and supporters of horror literature. The HWA recently announced the nominees for the Bram Stoker Vampire Novel of the Century Award, which will be presented on March 31, 2012, upon the centenary of the death of Abraham (Bram) Stoker, the author of Dracula. From a field of more than 35 preliminary nominees, a jury of writers and scholars chose the six vampire novels that they believe have had the greatest impact on the horror genre since the publication of Dracula in 1897. Eligible works must have been first published between 1912 and 2011 and published in or translated into English.
The Soft Whisper of the Dead, by Charles L. Grant (1983). Grant (1946-2006) was a prolific American writer of what he called "dark fantasy" and "quiet horror," writing under six pseudonyms as well as his own name. Grant also edited numerous horror and fantasy anthologies. The novel is part of Grant's 12-part series, set in the fictional small town Oxrun Station, Connecticut. Grant was a former president of HWA and received its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King. First published in 1975, this was only the second work by the now-legendary American author of dozens of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and horror stories, comics, and novels. Set in the town of Jerusalem's Lot, Maine, it tells of a man's return to his hometown, where he finds a plague of vampirism. The book has twice been made into television mini-series and has been recorded by the BBC. King's work has won countless Bram stoker Awards from HWA, and King (1947-), a lifelong New England resident, was recognized with HWA's Lilfetime Achievement Award in 2002. (This is the very first horror novel I ever read. I just re-read it, and it still gives me chills. The old 1979 TV movie—not the awful 2004 film—is also bloodcurdlingly good. You can still purchase it online.)
Interview with the Vampire, by American author Anne Rice, first appeared in 1976 and achieved enormous popularity, selling more than 8 million copies. The book introduces the vampires Louis and Lestat, who, along with a dozen other unique individual vampires, appear in a long series by Rice known as The Vampire Chronicles. The novel was filmed in 1994 starring Tom Cruise as Lestat and Brad Pit as Louis, and was produced as a Broadway musical in 2006. Another work in the series, Queen of the Damned, was filmed in 2002. Rice (1941-) has written numerous other Gothic fantasy novels, selling more than 100 million copies worldwide, and has won many awards, including HWA's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Hotel Transylvania, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, published in 1978, is the first of a 25-book (so far) series featuring le Comte de Saint Germain, a 2000+-year-old vampire. This novel overlaps in many details with the actual historical facts of le Comte de Saint-Germain a mysterious historical figure. An American writer, Yarbro (1942-) publishes three or four books a year under various pseudonyms in a variety of genres, including mysteries and romance tales. She was Awarded HWA's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.