Today I'd like to welcome Lynda Hilburn, author of the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series. Kismet is a Denver psychologist who one day found a vampire in her waiting room--and now she's counseling the undead. Not to mention she's fallen in love with the sexiest vampire of them all! Lynda's books have lots of action (of both the adventurous and romantic varieties), and a great big dollop of humor (and you know how I love that!). So pull up a chair, pour your favorite beverage, and spend some time with Lynda. She's also offered to give away a print copy of Blood Therapy to one lucky winner, so be sure to scroll down and enter!
Hi, Lynda! Thanks for stopping by. For a start, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I never know how to answer this question without sounding terribly boring. I work as a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, professional tarot reader, workshop presenter, instructor, singer and paranormal fiction author. Outside of that, I’m the single mom of a grown son who lives with his two furry children in a nearby town (I’m in Boulder, CO). I spend my free time reading, walking, attending conferences and other writing events and eating out with friends. See? Yawn city.
Your series is about a vampire psychologist, Kismet Knight. What inspired that idea?
The idea for the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series came from a client session in my psychotherapy office. I was listening to a young woman talk about how she wanted to join a non-human group, and her words began to remind me of some of the paranormal romance novels I’d read. I started to wonder what it would be like to find a gorgeous vampire sitting in my waiting room, so I ran home and started typing. I’m still waiting for him to show up.
Can you tell us about your most recent book?
The most recently released book in the series is a brand new book #2: BLOOD THERAPY. It continues Kismet's story, as she finds herself up to her neck in actual vampires. Rewritten book #3 (which used to be old book #2) is CRIMSON PSYCHE and it will be released in the UK in the fall of 2013. I’m not sure about the release date for the USA version. I expect Kismet to have lots more adventures.
What’s the hardest part of writing a book/being an author? What’s the most fun part?
The hardest part of any writing for me is the doing of it: making myself keep my butt in the chair. I’ve never been disciplined about that! Another challenging part is dealing with all the potholes on the road to publication. The most fun part of writing a book is typing the words, “the end.” What I like most about being an author is hanging out with other authors at book signings or conferences. I get to feel special!
What attracted you to paranormal fiction? Why do you think vampires and other paranormal creatures are so appealing to readers?
I love paranormal fiction and nonfiction. Since I deal with human problems on a daily basis, I need the escape of focusing on the supernatural/occult. There are only so many human soap operas I can deal with! I think most paranormal readers want to step outside their regular lives and dream about/imagine non-ordinary worlds. Especially paranormal romance fans. They yearn for more in their lives. Who wouldn’t want to be desired by a gorgeous immortal?
Your series has had a somewhat unusual publishing history: the first two books were published by a small press, and you were successful enough that it was picked up by your current publisher, who asked you to rework the books for subsequent editions. What has that experience been like for you?
I can honestly say that I’ve made every mistake a new author can make. Back when I first wrote THE VAMPIRE SHRINK, publishing was still in the “only one path to success” mindset. I’d gotten so much positive feedback right out of the gate, that I was sure I was on my way to fame and fortune. But, no. Due to extreme “newbie” insecurity, I jumped into decisions faster than I should have (ah, the joys of hindsight). After selling two books to the small publisher (against my agent’s wishes), that pub and I came to a parting of the ways due to a difference in visions for the books. They wanted the series to be paranormal romance. I didn’t. I’m a blended-genre fan. The agent and I also said good-bye, so I tried to find a new publisher to pick up my series. At that time, they still said things like “you can’t move a series from one house to another.” Good thing that’s proven to be untrue. But I’d hit a wall. No options on the horizon. Or so I thought.
Thanks to the advice of successful author/self-pubbing guru J.A. Konrath, in March 2010 I was able to upload the e-book versions of my 2 novels (plus several shorter things I’d written and sold to epubs) onto Amazon and all the other e-book outlets. Within a couple of months, my novels were best sellers. I couldn’t believe it! That best seller status drew the attention of a new agent who said he could get me a new deal for the series. And he did. I signed a 3-book deal with UK publisher Quercus Books/Jo Fletcher Books, partnered with Sterling Publishing USA (Barnes & Noble). The experience has been very, very stressful (don’t try this at home, kids). Luckily there are more options for authors now.
Do you use an outline? Or just write the first draft “as it comes to you?” What other prewriting/story planning activities do you do, if any?
I’m a pantser. But I’d love to scoot in the direction of plotting. Never knowing what’s going to happen isn’t only stressful – it’s time consuming.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created (besides your two main series characters)? Which character is it, and why?
I like the guitar-playing, kick-ass female character in UNDEAD IN THE CITY. She’s wounded but courageous. Despite horrible odds against her, she’s working toward her dream. She doesn’t take any crappola – a trait I need to copy.
Is there a book or a story that has had a profound impact on you at any time in your life? What was it, and how did it impact you?
Bram Stoker’s DRACULA was highly influential. I’d never considered it possible for a monster to have human traits before that book. And when the 1980 version of the movie (major sensuality/sexuality) came out with Frank Langella, my ideas about vampires took an erotic detour. In my personal life, I remember watching the movie DANCES WITH WOLVES so many times I’m embarrassed to say the number. The metaphor of life transformation (he surrendered to his death, then was reborn) spoke to me and was the most meaningful time period I remember.
What are some of your favorite words? (Syllabub? Xylophone? Whizbang? Taradiddle?)
LOL. They’re all swear words. Something about them makes me laugh.
What are the hardest types of scenes for you to write? The easiest?
I find writing action scenes to be difficult, but sex scenes (I guess those are action, too!) are a close second. The easiest scenes for me are dialogue/conversations.
What’s something people wouldn’t be able to guess about you just by looking at you?
Despite my love of the spotlight, I’m an introvert. Being in large groups of people makes me run, screaming. If I have a clear role (presenter, performer, teacher, reader, counselor, etc.) I’m great. If I’m just one of the crowd, I panic. I’ve spent more conferences in my hotel room than I care to remember. Strange but true.
What can we expect from you in the future?
More money-making activities! LOL
How can readers get more information about you and your work?
Thank you for asking!
Author Blog: http://paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com
You can find all Lynda's books at Amazon.com, or through her website and other online retailers like Barnes & Noble.
Also, just for you all, Lynda has offered to give away a free print copy of Blood Therapy. Enter below!
(Note: Due to potential postal/shipping issues, we reserve the right to offer a substitute prize (such as an ebook) if the winner resides outside the U.S.)
__Lauren Sweet is the author of the Bitter Snow series, a modern fairy tale in nine novellas, and Aladdin's Samovar, the first of a series starring Amber Polaski and Jasper the genie. Lauren lives near Portland, Oregon, where she is a freelance writer and editor.