Today author Lynda Hilburn is joining us to celebrate 30 Days of Vampires. She’s giving away a copy of her book, Dark Harvest, and the winner’s choice of one of her guided hypnotherapy CDs (can be seen on her non-writing website: www.lyndahilburn.com)
To be entered…Describe the vampire you’d like to see floating outside your window in the comments section of this post. Contest ends December 11 at midnight. Ships to U.S. and Canada addresses only.
Author of: The Vampire Shrink and Dark Harvest, books 1 and 2 of the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series
Favorite Candy: Anything chocolate! (I’m sure I emotionally scarred my son for life by biting the heads off his chocolate bunnies every Easter!)
Favorite Cartoon Character: Count Duckula! A vampire duck – what’s not to love?
Super Power Most Covets: It’s a toss-up between mind reading, being invisible and being able to fly.
Favorite Vampires: I can’t choose one, so I added an “s” to the end of vampire. Bela Lugosi is a fave for filling my childhood with fangs, Frank Langella’s 1980 version of Dracula introduced me to the notion of an overtly sensual vampire. And, of course, my own vampire character — Devereux – 800 years of gorgeous undead maleness.
Q.) First can you tell us about your Kismet Knight series?
L.H.) I’d love to! Kismet Knight is a Denver psychologist who has become a little bored with her life. She yearns for excitement – for professional fame and fortune. When a new client comes to her office claiming to be part of a hidden vampire underworld, Kismet thinks she’s found a new, trendy diagnosis, as well as the key to an Oprah appearance! Vampire wannabes! Of course, she doesn’t believe the story for a minute. Everyone knows vampires don’t exist. Or, do they? When gorgeous, 800-year-old Devereux shows up in her waiting room, she finds herself falling through the Looking Glass into an alternate reality. He says she’s his long-awaited mate. She thinks he’s mentally ill. And then there’s the bad vampire leaving a trail of blood-drained bodies and the handsome FBI profiler . . .
Q.) What about your take on vampires, do you stick with tradition or tweak it a bit?
L.H.) Like most authors, I use what I like and leave the rest. My vampires are nocturnal creatures who love drinking blood. Most of them don’t feel guilty or shameful about their need for the crimson elixir. They don’t have to kill humans to feed, although – like humans – there are “good” vampires and “bad” ones. The bad ones often kill just for the enjoyment of it. My bloodsuckers aren’t affected by religious symbols/places or garlic, and they can use mirrors. (In fact, they’re rather vain!) In my world, the vampires can move through thought. They can travel through space and time, and the main vampire character, Devereux, spends a lot of his days literally living in the past (which accounts for his odd speech patterns and European accent). They can be killed by fire, by walking into the sun, or by having their heads chopped off. Vampires are always so remarkably creative about destroying each other!
Q.) If you were given the option, would you be turned?
L.H.) It would really depend on the situation I found myself in. If I could be like many of the vampires in my fantasy world, and could spend the centuries learning, acquiring knowledge and becoming wise, I’d definitely consider it. Of course, I would have had to be young, built and gorgeous in order to make the most of the opportunity. But if I had to spend my existence struggling to survive: hiding in graveyards or constantly stalking humans for blood, smelling bad, I think I’d prefer to die. I like reading about the monster variety of vampires sometimes, but I wouldn’t want to be that! But if I could hang out with Devereux for a few centuries . . .
Q.) What would you do if you met a “real” vampire? Would you be a vamp groupie or would you dash for the nearest stake?
L.H.) I’m too much like my heroine to make either one of those choices. I’d want to understand him or her. Explore the species – analyze the differences. Write up case notes. Get the bloodsucker on my therapy couch! Unless, of course, the vampire was of the primitive variety, then I’d grab the stake!
Q.) Who makes the best hero–slayer or vamp? Why?
L.H.) I don’t really have a lot of knowledge about this. The hero of my series is a fascinating vamp. There is a slayer in the second book, but he’s a vampire, too! I will be adding in a human slayer character in one of the upcoming books, but this person will be part of the humorous aspect of the story – a less-than-successful vampire killer who can’t quite seem to get the job done. My main female character did take out a vamp in the first book, but she managed to do it by instinct, in spite of herself.
Q.) So, why is a vampire more in need of counseling than say a werewolf or a witch/wizard, or are they? Which do you think would be the best adjusted in real life—have the easiest time “passing” as human?
L.H.) I guess werewolves and witches/wizards are in just as much need of counseling than vampires, but that’s a different series!! LOL. It would probably be easier for a werewolf or witch/wizard to pass as human because that’s how they look. The werewolf only has to worry about his furry appearance occasionally. Being dead, vampires usually have features that stand out as unusual: pale skin, unique dentistry, non-human reactions, and eyeballs that tend to mesmerize. And, since most of them can only come out at night, their “passing” opportunities are limited. While I haven’t personally met any “real” vampires or werewolves yet (but I have lots of unusual clients in my therapy practice and a vampire or werewolf could show up any day!), I do know a few well-adjusted witches!
Q.) Are you a plotter or a pantser? Character-driven or plot driven? Ever try to be the opposite? Do you have a set method you use when starting a book?
L.H.) Things would be a lot easier for me if I plotted, but I’m a pantser. I never know what’s happening in a story until my fingers start to move on the keyboard. Sometimes I laugh out loud at what I see on the screen. (I know – I need to get a life.) I haven’t tried plotting yet, but I think often about writing an intricate synopsis. Yes. I think about it, but I don’t do it. Maybe tomorrow, grin. I’m definitely character-driven. It is possible I could write a plot-driven story, but I suspect I’d have a hard time. What I like to write – and to read – are stories about people. About their feelings, thoughts, choices, influences, and psychological patterns. “Inner action” as well as outer action. I just tend to lose interest in a story if I’m not given the opportunity to explore the interpersonal aspects. I don’t really have a set method. Mostly I nag myself until I sit in front of the computer and start writing. I seem to resist beginning, but after that, I can become obsessive. In fact, if I have a deadline and I’m excited about a project, I’m a typing fiend.
Q.) What is the smartest thing you’ve done so far as advancing either your writing or your writing career? What is something you wish you had done differently?
L.H.) The smartest thing I’ve done was to join Colorado Romance Writers, my local RWA chapter. I had no idea such an extensive romance network existed or that there were so many great resources available to me. Romance writers are the most generous and creative writers I know. As for doing something differently, I wish I would have understood more about the business of writing before I started subbing. I probably would have saved myself some pain and made less mistakes. But then, every writer has to pay her/his dues, I guess.
Q.) Can you describe three things in your writing area that tell us something about you?
L.H.) The first thing people notice about my writing area is that it’s messy. Papers, books, files, manuscripts, supplies, promo materials everywhere! Sticky notes abound. And, along with my writing materials, there are all the books, files, papers, etc. for my psychotherapy business. It looks like a tornado touched down. I think my space is a perfect symbol of my inner world: chaos!
Q.) Any new projects on the horizon? What would you like to try next?
L.H.) I’m working on the third Kismet book and thinking about ideas for an additional series about a psychic who lives here in Boulder, CO. I’m a paranormal fan, so I’ll probably focus predominantly on that genre, but I’d also like to explore some other areas of psychological fiction – maybe a thriller or mystery. I look forward to the release of The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, which contains my story, “Blood Song.” I was going to submit a story in Kismet’s world for the anthology, but this other idea – involving sound healing and vampires – just wouldn’t leave me alone. I hope I get the opportunity to participate in more anthologies. It’s nice to write something short once in a while.
Thanks for interviewing me, Lori! It was fun.