Here are posted my musings on vampires and various other fictional, paranormal critters. Comments from readers and writers of said literature are always welcome.
Sep 17, 2008
Interview with Lynda Hilburn
Lynda Hilburn has had a life long fascination with the paranormal world. She says, "After a childhood filled with invisible friends, sightings of dead relatives and a fascination with the occult, turning to the paranormal was a no-brainer." In 2007 Lynda published The Vampire Shrink. This October 1st the sequel Dark Harvest will be available. Recently I reviewed The Vampire Shrink and found it completely mesmerizing. I will be reading Dark Harvest as soon as possible!
Following the interview look for contest rules. Two lucky commenters will win either a copy of The Vampire Shrink or Dark Harvest.
PVN: Lynda, welcome and thanks for being here!
PVN: There is a minor character I found so intriguing - Cerridwyn - the Tarot Card reader. Could you talk a bit about her? Will she appear in other works?
LH: Cerridwyn is a composite of several tarot readers I know (including myself). When I wrote about her being on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, I used my experience from years ago, when I gave tarot readings in Boulder on the Pearl Street Mall. She combines the best qualities of all my psychic friends: wise, funny and very gifted. I do expect she will show up in other books, probably the third one where Kismet becomes more involved in expanding her own intuitive abilities. She’ll discover her new circle of friends includes Cerridwyn – who is likely to become one of Kismet’s teachers.
PVN: How much, if any, of yourself is in Dr. Kismet Knight?
LH: She’s a fantasy version of me. She’s younger, prettier, thinner, having much more sex and lots more fun than me! LOL. She has my social awkwardness, my impatience, my tendency toward perfectionism, my cerebral nature, and my bizarre sense of humor. I get to live vicariously through her and her adventures. In the first book, Kismet talks about having lost the initial enthusiasm she had for her career as a psychologist, and she begins counseling the vampire wannabes in an attempt to remedy that lack of excitement. As a therapist, I can relate to that. I still love my work, but sometimes I daydream about opening my waiting room door to find a handsome, extraordinary (vampire?) male waiting for me. If he’s decked out in leathers, that would be okay, too! My clients bring paranormal issues to therapy, but so far I haven’t met a real vampire. (But there’s always tomorrow.)
PVN: Devereux is a complex character - he is highly moral, a lustful seducer, a sorcerer, and perhaps we'll learn more about him in the future. How would you describe him?
LH: Even while mortal, Devereux was wise beyond his years. He attributes his wisdom to his lineage, which is made up of witches, wizards and Druids. In the first book, he talked about the influence of his mother, who was/is a force to be reckoned with. He was born with the gift of Sight. When he became a vampire, and acquired additional preternatural abilities, he kept his strong personal foundations. He’s moral, but not in any human sense. He doesn’t concern himself with things humans would consider important, but he adheres absolutely to his own ethical code. He has lived so long (800 years), and has recognized and assimilated his primitive, vampiric nature. It is my intention to show him as multi-layered: he’s not only a powerful vampire – a natural leader – but he has retained the best of his humanity and expanded/deepened it. He has emotional depth, a quest for knowledge and an understanding of higher consciousness. Plus he’s great looking! He believes Kismet is his mysterious “mate.” We’ll find out more about Devereux as the series unfolds.
PVN: Besides vampires you mix in other paranormal persons a ghost, a mystic tarot reader, and a witch and sorcerers. (Did I forget any?) How were you able to blend all of this so smoothly into your story?
LH: Thank you for saying I blended them smoothly! I appreciate that. I love to write about what I know, so adding ghosts, mystic tarot readers, witches, sorcerers, etc. is easy for me. I’ve experienced ghosts, auras, and all things psychic my entire life and I have lots of friends, acquaintances and clients who identify themselves in the other categories. I’ve always been lucky to surround myself with other people who are as fascinated with the paranormal/metaphysical as I am. Most urban fantasies today have various supernatural – or at least unusual – characters. I just added vampires (I simply love them) into the mix.
PVN: Without any spoilers would you tell us what to expect in Dark Harvest.
LH: Dark Harvest takes place 5 months after the end of The Vampire Shrink. Kismet is still trying to get used to the bizarre paranormal Pandora’s box she opened when she began counseling vampires. She’s also trying to figure out a way to have Devereux in her life without losing her independence. He is definitely used to getting what he wants. Kismet appears on a morning radio program where she’s contacted by a day-walking vampire: Lyren Hallow. From that moment, everything is madness. If she thought being involved in the vampire underworld was frightening before . .
PVN: Where does this series lead? Will there be more books?
LH: I hope there will be more books! I’ll have to finish writing the third one (in progress) and sell it. Fingers crossed! In my imagination, there are at least 10. There is simply no end to the situations Kismet can get herself into.
PVN: What attracts you to the paranormal?
LH: Originally, I was attracted to the paranormal because it was exciting. Growing up as a very weird child who saw and heard things others didn’t, I felt comfortable with the idea that the universe is more amazing than we can imagine. I was like a kid in a candy store: there were so many things to explore – so much to learn – so many doors to open. I’ve always had a foot in both worlds: “normal” and extraordinary. And, within those two worlds, I balanced between the psychic aspects of myself and my Inner Scientist. I’m still just as fascinated by neuropsychology and higher consciousness studies as I am by ghosts, reading auras and doing candle magic. Today, since I work with clients who have a wide range of everyday issues, I enjoy writing about characters who are not normal – not usual. I guess I just find the paranormal universe astounding.
PVN: What sort of books do you like to read? or TV or Movies that you like to watch?
LH: I read vampire books – and – paranormal mysteries, paranormal romances, paranormal chick lit, urban fantasies, dark contemporary fantasies, some horror, humor, psychological thrillers, psychological mysteries, and lots of nonfiction in my various fields of interest (psychology, hypnotherapy, psychic abilities, tarot, etheric energy healing, sound and music healing). I will (of course!) watch anything on TV or at the movies about vampires. I’m a “House” fan, and I enjoy shows like “Criminal Minds,” “Dexter,” “Torchwood,” “The Closer,” “Burn Notice” – LOL! I think I spend too much time watching TV!
PVN: Where and when do you write? Describe the ambience.
LH: I have my computer set up on a table in my bedroom, and I can’t have music playing while I’m writing. It’s too distracting. I do like to keep the TV on in the next room just for background sound. I don’t have a particular time of day that I write – just whenever I can. While I was working on the second Kismet book, I had a nice routine going of writing a few hours per day. After I turned that book in, my discipline fell apart. So, I need to institute some new structure! I tend to write a few paragraphs, get up and stroll around for a few minutes, then sit back down and write a few more paragraphs. It would be okay with me if I found a more productive schedule!! It was easier to get my writing in every day when I only worked for myself. I saw clients when I wanted to. Now I work three days per week at a community mental health center, so I’m not home as much, so I have to take advantage of whatever extra time I have.
PVN: Do you have other fiction or nonfiction projects you are working on?
LH: In addition to working (slowly) on Kismet book #3, I’m finishing a short story which I sold to an anthology. The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance comes out Feb., 09 and my story will be in it. I love anthologies and would like to be invited to do more. I’m also brainstorming a series about a psychic who lives in my home town of Boulder, Colorado.
LH: More information about me and my books can be found on my website: www.lyndahilburnauthor.com, my blog: http://paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com, and my MySpace page: www.myspace.com/lyndahilburn
Thanks so much for interviewing me, Patricia! I appreciate it.
PVN: It was my pleasure, Lynda!
Now for the contest information.
Two lucky commenters will win either a copy of The Vampire Shrink or Dark Harvest. (Thank you, Lynda!)
For a chance to win do one (or more) of the following:
*Comment on any subject from the interview. Each comment on a different subject counts as an entry.
*Ask Lynda a question. Each question counts as an entry.
*Link to Patricia's Vampire Notes and send me the URL. Each link counts as an entry.
Be sure to include enough email information so that I will be able to contact you.
This contest ends at 11:59 pm September 18, 2008.
Winners will be announced later in the week.
Posted by Patricia Altner at 4:00 AM
Labels: ghosts, psychology, sorcerers, tarot cards, vampires, witches
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I'm wondering, which do you find more difficult to write, your novel-length books, or the short stories for anthologies?
I'm taking a short story writing course, and I find it really difficult to wrap my mind around the whole conncept of telling a complete story from beginning to end in 1500 words. To me that constitutes a scene, not a story.
Do you read anything outside your genre, but still within the fiction realm? If not, what's the lure of the paranormal for you?
What a fascinating person you are Lynda. I think we could have some very interesting conversations. I have always adored vampires and as I got older that broadened to include pretty much anything paranormal.
I can't wait to read your books and I saw that Romantic Times gave Dark Harvest 4 stars. Way to go!
Hi, Judi. Thanks so much for stopping by today. I enjoy writing both novels and shorts. My favorite length for a short story is between 10-15,000 words. With that many words, the theme can get fleshed out better. The anthology story I just finished is 7,500 words and the shortest one I ever wrote (and sold) was 2,500 words. There's something satisfying about being able to finish a story in a brief time period, because my novels take much longer!
Have a great day and good luck with your writing course!
Hi, Margay! I like reading psychological thrillers, in addition to books about the paranormal. Figuring out the twisted minds of serial killers, socio/psychopaths and brilliant evil-doers appeals to my Inner Scientist. I also enjoy "psychic fiction," like Kay Hooper's books.
Thanks for commenting!
Morning Lynda! Thanks you for taking the time to chat with us today.
Do you envision any particular people (actors, models, etc) portraying your characters when you write? Sort of putting a face to a name. If so, who do you see for which characters?
(Posted for Cynthia by Patricia)
The Vampire Shrink? I think I've met one...Ha! Looks like a couple of fun and interesting reads - throw my name in the hat! Thanks for providing this giveaway
Deidre: Thanks so much for the kind words! RT's review was nice. Dark Harvest also got some good feedback from several other sources so far.
I've been a vampire fan since I read "Dracula" as a kid. I'll probably keep writing about them in addition to anything else I write. It really is so much fun to step outside the issues I deal with (with clients) on a daily basis and to focus on something unusual.
Enjoy the day!
Daelith: Good question! I don't have any actors in mind for my characters. Perhaps Kate Beckinsale (hope I spelled that right) would make a good Kismet if she could be satisfied to spend a lot of time sitting in the therapist's chair. I'd be very interested in who others might think would be good actors for Kismet and Devereux!
I like to read books that are total escapisms myself - I spend enough time in my daily life trying to figure out the twists and turns in the minds of my relatives, so I want to get away from that in books!
Cynthia: Thanks for dropping by. I've never met a "Vampire Shrink" yet (outside of my fiction character), but wouldn't be surprised!
Loved the interview! I would absolutely love to read one of your books! I've been to your blog quite a few times and did some checking up on your books. They are right up my alley!
My question for you is: How did you get beyond the idea for your books?
Another question for you Lynda is:
If you could live in another decade and somewhere else than where you live, when and where would that be?
I think this question is pretty interesting. I can't wait to see what you say!! :)
I also blogged about the contest and interview here:
Ruth: Thanks so much for being here! I appreciate you mentioning my interview and contest on your blog.
I hope I understand what you meant by "getting beyond the idea" for my books. I think you're asking how I took it from idea to reality?
The idea for The Vampire Shrink came directly from client interactions. I'd only begun writing fiction (as opposed to nonfiction) a few months before the idea "struck," and was having so much fun writing. Because I didn't know any better, I started entering contests (mostly RWA contests) as soon as I finished the first three chapters and wrote a synopsis. I was shocked to final in a bunch and, soon after, to win some. I got lots of positive encouragement from the contest judges, some of whom are paranormal authors. If I'd known any of the "shoulds" back then, I probably wouldn't have jumped in with both feet. (But I'm glad I jumped.)
I'm going to give the short answer to your "where would you live" question, because I have to run out the door to get to my job (I work part time for a community mental health center). I'd live in England, and not very long ago -- maybe during the 1960s (when the Beatles burst onto the music scene). Once a musician, always a musician . . .
I'm going to take off for work now. I'll check in today as often as I can and answer questions. Then I'll catch up when I get home this evening. Have a great day, everyone, and thanks for participating!
Hi Lynda -- I love Devereux!
Great to see you over here!
I know I have both of your books but I don't have one signed...so I have to think of a question that I haven't already asked you and nobody asked here....
Where would you like to live if you could live anywhere in the world and why?
Hi, Helen! Good to see you. I love Devereux, too! grin.
Your books sound intriguing and quite frankly, I apologize for having missed the first when it was published. I can only blame my local Borders, they are "Meh" when it comes to the paranormals.
Rest assured, I will be hunting down THE VAMPIRE SHRINK and DARK HARVEST as soon as my book budget allows.
Amber: Hugs! Thanks for dropping by! (I'm happy to sign a copy of my book for you any time.) I'd probably live in the UK, because I'm obsessed with castles. When I visited London a couple of years ago, I was blissed out thinking about walking on ancient cobblestones and sitting in one thousand year old churches. I'd like to find out more about my British ancestors.
Dear Debi: Thanks so much for your willingness to hunt down my books! I hope you like them. It was interesting to me that many bookstores had more of my first book in stock 8-9 months after my release date than immediately after. A friend told me the other day a local bookstore had a display of vampire books at the end of the aisle, with mine taking up the most space. That was especially great after that same bookstore told me they wouldn't be stocking my book. Publishing! Ya gotta love it.
Sounds like my kind of series. This is my favorite genre to read. My question for you is do you have any particular way that you come up for the names of your characters!
Tetewa: Thanks for commenting! Names are very important to me. I collect them. I'm especially attracted to certain words that can be used as names. The name of the main female character of the vampire psychologist series, Kismet, is a word I've always loved.
When I was young, I went to see the musical "Kismet" on stage at a gorgeous theater in downtown Detroit. It was such a beautiful production (with a magical theme), that it not only energized my dream to be a professional singer, but I never forgot the word. I didn't know how I'd use it in a story, but I knew I would. The character actually let me know that the word was her name.
I have pages of names/words I like. Lyren Hallow's name (from Dark Harvest) came to me in a dream.
Something about unusual names just rings my bell. Thanks for asking!
Do you have any other female authors that inspire you? What other female authors do you enjoy reading? And finally, do you think the market is getting oversaturated with paranormal romance (more of the quickie reads is what I'm referring to).
Thanks for taking the time!
Tricia aka karmapink: Karmapink? I'll bet there's a story to that name! grin. Nice to meet you.
Lots of female authors have inspired me: Anne Rice, Elaine Bergstrom, Kelley Armstrong, Laurell K. Hamilton, P.N. Elrod, Charlaine Harris -- there are tons. I love the JD Robb "Death" books and the humor of Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plum" series. It's true that the number of paranormal romance and urban fantasy books has exploded over the past five years. Both print and e-books. I think they're filling a need in people -- women particularly -- who want to fantasize about nonordinary lives with nonordinary partners. I certainly hear regularly in my counseling office that life has lost its zing for a lot of women. Paranormals definitely expand our ideas of what's possible. Every time I hear that paranormals in general, and vampires in particular, are "dead" (so to speak), that's proven to be untrue. So, oversaturated? I guess not!
Hi, Lynda and Patricia!
Just dropping by to say "hello" and thank you for such an informative interview. No need to enter me in the contest! :0) I have "Vampire Shrink" and an ARC copy of "Dark Harvest".
BTW, I think Devereaux is one of the sexiest heroes I've ever "met"!
Ooh 10 more in the series, I really hope so!! Love Kismet and Devereux. I can't wait to see what happens next.
l1ttl3one AT yahoo DOT com
Great interview! I haven't read The Vampire Shrink yet but can't wait! :)
What made you choose those names for your main characters?
Okay I have a question. I am a wienie when it comes to scary and gory stuff but have just started getting into the paranormal books and have found out that I really like them, are yours the kind that will give the heebie jeebies?
I really enjoyed reading your interview and look forward to hearing more.
Have you watched True Blood on TV or do you like to watch these shows for extra ideas or do you create your own?
I love the idea of your book and have added it to my wish list.
Have the direction of your stories ever surprised you?
Tiffany: Thanks so much for stopping by! I've got to agree with you about Devereux! (of course, grin)
Lilly: Thanks so much! I'm so happy you love Kismet and Devereux! Me, too!
Wendy: Thanks for your question, and for participating! I hope you like The Vampire Shrink. Kismet (the main female character) actually chose her own name. She and I had to think about a last name for a while, but when we landed on "Knight," it was perfect. Devereux actually had another name for a while, but it just never fit. I was looking for a name for him that was old. This spelling of Devereux (as opposed to Devereaux) was listed as being older in one of the research sources I checked. I didn't want him to be French, or any particular nationality. He is from a time when the people of the world and the geographical lines were different. And, I just liked the name!
Sarabelle: I think I'll ask some of the readers who've already read The Vampire Shrink to answer your question. The book really does have a little bit of everything: humor, sex, romance, mystery and horror.
Anyone want to answer Sarabelle?
Dina: Great question. I signed up for HBO for a 6-month trial just so I could see True Blood. TV has a habit of turning great books/stories into crappola (IMHO). I was hoping they wouldn't do that to the Sookie books. After watching two episodes, I think the show has a totally different vibe than the books. If someone was expecting to find the same feel in the show, they'd be disappointed. The books (at least the first couple) have a sweetness to them (I think). The show is more blatant. They've chosen to focus on the violence and sex more. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying it's a different tone. I'm watching the show and judging it on its own merit. What does everyone else think?
As far as watching vampire stories or reading vampire books for ideas, it's more likely that they help me refine what I *don't* want in mine. Like all authors, I enjoy some themes, symbols, styles and voices more than others. At this point, I think there isn't much that hasn't been done with vampire fiction, so I try to concentrate on characters.
Ellory: Thank you for adding my book to your wish list. I hope you like it!
My stories constantly surprise me. I love that part. Like today, I snatched a few minutes at work between clients to type out a paragraph for another short story, and halfway through the graph, something totally unexpected happened. I said out loud, "that's so great! I didn't see that coming." No telling what people in the next office thought. Grin.
I actually have two questions for you if that's ok.
Being that you are so comfortable with all things paranormal, what is something that does scare you?
I was very interested in your answer about choosing the name Kismet, but I was wondering if the meaning of the word (fate, destiny) was relevant to your choice?
Your books look fantastic :)
Book Zombie: Two questions are great! Thanks for commenting.
Some humans scare me.
I've run across an individual so dark and mentally ill that the hairs on my arms stood up. I absolutely knew there was no limit to what that person was willing to do to satisfy his twisted obsessions. Even thinking about it now creeps me out!
Absolutely. The word Kismet (fate, destiny) works really well in my story. Devereux explains that very definition when he surprises her with a revelation.
Will Kismit be in the short story for Paranormal Romance?
MSB: I'm actually writing two stories. One of them is in Kismet's world and the other is something totally different. I'm not sure which one will wind up in the anthology. Thanks for asking!
There is a lot of suspense in The Vampire Shrink. Lives are in danger. That includes Kismit and Devereux. When vampires are involved crime scenes can get messy, but there is no dwelling on the unpleasant. The focus is on the characters and their actions. By the end of the story you feel you know who they are. IMO you'll like this book.
Hi Lynda-- wanted to stop by to tell you how much I enjoy your books. I looked for you this last weekend at RMFW and must have kept missing you! I can't wait for DARK HARVEST.
Hi, Jeanne! Thanks so much for the kind words. I enjoy your books, too! I'm sorry we missed each other at the conference. I look forward to seeing you the first Saturday of October for our paranormal panel at Author Fest of the Rockies in Manitou Springs, CO.
A question for you. Have you considered the possibility of gender shifted/shifting or intersexed characters - vampire or not?
I'm not a huge Vampire fan, last into Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, but your world sounds interesting. As a writer with too many projects going, I'm wondering if anyone's blending gender issues into the mix.
Mary Ellen: Thanks for commenting! That's a fascinating question. I haven't thought about gender shifted/intersexed characters yet. Hmmmm. Maybe I should . . . (ACK! Now you've given me more ideas! My brain was already full. LOL) Seems that would be a great fit with vampires.
Speaking of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. I met her last year at Denver's MileHi Con and spent most of the weekend hanging out with her. She knows everything about the world of publishing. And she's a wonderful woman. I look forward to reading her latest book.
Posted for Adrian
I read both tarot cards and runes. I've found the cards are good for learning about external forces and situations and the runes for learning what changes you need to make within to successfully deal with any events indicated by the cards.
Look at you go girl! This was a great interview. I love the series thus far. Just finished reading The Vampire Shrink. You've really created some wonderful characters :) I don't need to win anything, I just wanted to say hello and congrats! I can't imagine why any publishers wouldn't buy more of these tales!
Dear Adrian: Thanks for dropping by! (Adrian recently did a marvelous guest blog post on my blog.)
That's what I love about all the tools: we each find the perfect way to use them. I find the Tarot is great for looking at the inner world -- archetypes -- as well as the outer world. Sometimes I go hog wild and drag out the cards, the runes, the ephemeris, my numerology texts and the I-Ching! It's all so addictive. LOL
AJ: Thank you so much for stopping by and for the sweet support! I am so happy you liked The Vampire Shrink (and it's so nice of you to tell me!).
Your lips to the universe's ears about the publishers buying the rest of the books. grin.
I have a question. Do you use a Ouija board, or have you ever used one?
Hi. This was pretty interesting but I get the feeling that if they ever made a movie out of your book(s) it would be a 'chick flick.' Do you have any male readers and if so what do you think draws them in? (I have my own theory but I'n not telling!)
Patricia: Yes. I've had a Ouija board for many years, but I don't use it anymore (it's too slow). It's easier to just sit, close my eyes, ask the question and allow the answer to come.
When I was younger, I "consulted" it all the time. Sigh. Sometimes I miss the drama of my early years. grin.
Astroboy: Thanks for a thought-provoking question. Now that you mention it, while I've sold many copies of my books at signings to men, it's *mostly* women who write me saying they like it. One male who belongs to a writing group with me sent me an email immediately after reading The Vampire Shrink to tell me he found it humorous and really liked it. But he's a very nontraditional male. I think a lot of the men who bought the book were influenced by the cover, which looks more horrorish (the second cover looks more romance oriented). If all the interpersonal elements of the book didn't appeal to them, I imagine there were a lot of books thrown against a lot of walls. grin.
What's your theory?
Thanks to everyone who participated! We had many interesting questions and comments.
Lynda, many thanks to you for being here at PNV. It was a lot of fun!
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