I don't know if you know this...but I'm kind of a fan of folklore and mythology. Hard to believe right what with every single thing I write being pretty much based around the subject. So as you can expect, I went delving when it came time to right about vampires. Not a whole lot mind...don't think that I went on a whirlwind tour of ancient sites of arcane importance. Mostly I just used Wikipedia and whatever other random facts I've stored up over a history of watching vampire documentaries on History Channel. So here are a few tidbits you might find as you peruse the pages of An Unattractive Vampire...
WARNING: Spoilers to follow...
Often referred to as the "Chinese Hopping Vampire," it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like...a vampire from China who hops. The reason? Rigor mortis stiffens their limbs and makes it so that's the only way they can move. The stories originated (taking from Wikipedia) from peasants paying priests to transport bodies back to their hometowns for burial (or reanimating their bodies and teaching them to hop home.) Rather than drinking blood, the jiang shi drains their victims life force from their body. Also, there are several Chinese films dealing with these vampires. Fun Fact: I haven't actually watched one yet...though I've been meaning to.
The firefly vampire of Togo and Ghana, the Adze is a representation of Malaria. It takes the form of an insect, sneaks into houses, and feeds on the blood of its victims, preferably children, making them ill. It cannot be stopped. There is actually no way to defend yourself from an Adze. No cross, no garlic, no silver. If you try to capture it in insect form by, say, putting it in a jar (as I did in an early draft) it reverts to its human form where it can either a) possess you and turn you into a witch or b) rip out your heart and eat it. Fun Fact: I had my Adze facts wrong until ridiculously late in the game. It was only through my avid listenership of the podcast Blurry Photos that my facts were corrected and I was fortunate enough to be able to makes changes during the developmental edit.
The Aztec god of night, war, sorcery, and the founder of human sacrifice. Plus, he has the head of a jaguar. I went looking for a Mesoamerican vampire and hit the jackpot. While not strictly a vampire, I'm not the first person to make a connection between Aztec human sacrifice and creatures of the night (looking at you Jim Butcher). Also sort of the point of including him was that being a god and a vampire are not mutually exclusive. And did I mention...jaguar-freaking-head.
A huge help, again late in the game (I suck at research guys) was the Obsidian and Blood book series by Aliette de Bodard: Aztec mysteries where the gods often appear and take part. Check them out guys.
Cosimo de Medici II
I went looking for a Medici to make into a vampire and I found the name Cosimo. In fact, there were 4 Cosimo de Medici's. And I chose the most worthless one. Because....reasons.
So in the midst of these very real vampire myths...I went and added one that is entirely made up in Arru. Why? Because a weird petrified mummy of a vampire with a tendency toward spiders was a cool visual. Sue me. I always knew however that I wanted her to be from Akkad. Why? Well other then Mesopotamia being about as ancient as they come (outside of China), it was a little more obscure than Babylon and a little easier on the eyes than Urr. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Akkad was a lost city, supposedly destroyed by a curse. And so...I took all that, named the character Arru (which means curse in Akkadian) and moved on.
(Fun Fact: a possible location for where Akkad once stood is present day Baghdad.)
So...when I was in elementary school my favorite book was an old children's history of Halloween. It came with an appropriately orange cover and had black and white pictures. One showed a farmer marveling at a tractor on the roof of his barn (a trick). One had the ancient festival of Samhain (actually pronounced Sau-when because Ireland). And one was the Irishman as I described him in my book. Over a decade later, I was driving in my car trying to think up play ideas and that image popped into my head. So I wrote an entire play about him, one that, some day, might become a book. And because that particular legend doesn't get near enough play, when I decided to write this story I decided to seed him in there too. Before that, the part of person in the bar who relates info to Yulric was played by another story idea I had...an Egyptian mummy detective (No...really.)
There are lots of random shout-outs that appeared in the book and many more that were cut. Here are a few:
Brahmarakshas: not to be confused with just a regular rakshasa *Jazz hands shout out for my Critical Role fans*. This Indian vampire was the soul of an unfaithful priest who would eat people. Also, it wore intestines on its head, hence why I threw it in my book.
Preta: a Buddhist creature, again cursed for bad behavior. It has an insatiable hunger that it cannot satisfy. Sometimes due to a physical deformity such as a neck to thin to let food pass or a really tiny mouth or just plain old magic. Would often resort to eating the dead (or possibly people...though this appears to be a rarer circumstance in the actual mythology.)
The Bacchae: "In Greece, which was Catherine’s favorite trip, the vampires discovered that the cult of ravenous Bacchae women had finally died out in the face of competition from rave clubs."
A reference that was cut to the Dionysian cult of women known to occasionally rip men limb from limb.
Santorini: Once an important scene in the book (that was later placed in Tuscany) the Isle of Santorini was renowned as a vampire burial site. If you were in Greece and thought you had a vampire on your hands, you would ship the suspected corpse to this island to be dealt with.
There are probably lots of other references I'm forgetting...which leaves it open for me to do a Part 3 (or possibly a first blood part two) so if I missed something that you're curious about, let me know. Until then...