Today, they come in so many shapes and sizes that you might as well be ordering off the menu at a drive-thru restaurant. "Would you like some sparkles with that?" They are now heroes, villains and everything in between. They've come a long way from the black and white creatures of Stoker's immortal tale.
Vampire lore has existed forever and in nearly every corner of the world. Even countries without specific, or "standard," vampire mythos have something like it. Historical figures such as Vlad Tepes (inspiration/title character for "Dracula") and Elizabeth Bathory have been notably called "real life" vampires. Whether accurately accused of their bloody crimes or not, the legends persist.
The popularity of vampires today is not really anything new, but the popularity of the vampire hero is from books to movies to television shows. It gives paranormal writers a far broader range of options.
So, what's a writer to do?
Far be it from me to say that every paranormal writer is writing a cultural treatise. For most of us, it's just fun. But there is a lot of lore to choose from and even more freedom to just make things up. (After all, no one has ever had a vampire knock on their door to tell them they got it wrong. At least, not that we know of.)
Do you want your vampires to sleep through the day, or can they survive in the sun? How about that silver allergy? Can they eat human food, or just humans? Can they shapeshift to wolf or bat or mist? Can they fly? How about if their faces change when they 'go vamp,' and what about religious items?
There are a lot of choices!
When I began writing my Adelheid series, I had read my share of old and new vampire fiction (cut my teeth on Anne Rice and P. N. Elrod, still adore "Dracula"), had seen movies and shows (from the popular "Angel" and "Underworld" to the less known "Demon Under Glass") as well as literature on different views of vampires through history and around the world. I picked through it to choose what lore to combine into "my" vampires, and what would work with my stories the best.
I've gone further to create a setting where a law exists that makes vampires, and all the other supernatural creatures, legal citizens. I look at what might happen when a vampire has to be just like "everyone else," obey human laws, and blend in with a society that until recently believed vampires were a myth and now meet with acceptance from some and hatred from others, even anti-preternatural groups like LOHAV: the League of Humans against Vampires.