Friday, November 14, 2008

Local Newspaper Asks Me About Vampires & CRW at the Library Con

Elaine Levine, me and Melissa Mayhue at the Colorado Association of Libraries conference. We had a blast.

Here I am at the Boulder Bookstore signing with authors Carrie Vaughn and Esri Rose.

(Telephone interview by a newspaper staffer.)

The Vampire Chick Lit crowd has welcomed new author Lynda Hilburn into the fold. She has penned two books on vampires: last years The Vampire Shrink and its follow-up, Dark Harvest, which was released earlier this month.

Hilburn, a real life licensed psychotherapist, will discuss why women love vampires and the paranormal at two events this month. She provides a preview in the following Q&A.

Westword: Why are women suckers (no pun intended) for vampires?

Lynda Hilburn: I think it’s the blood. Imagine the level of intimacy required. There's something so primal about that. Unlike other monsters, vampires started out as human and they retain quite a bit of their humanity. Here’s this good-looking guy sucking on your neck. There’s nothing more intimate than that, because he needs your very blood to exist.

WW: Is it necessary to have a vampire with a touch of humanity?

LH: One of the things that bothered me about some early vampire books is they (vampires) were just mindless drones. They’ve existed for centuries, yet couldn’t figure out anything better to do than kill each other and do ridiculous things? What if they actually decided to utilize their years, to learn more, and to become wise? They realize they need blood to exist, but there's no need to be primitive or animalistic about it. (Unless it's a monster-type vampire story.)

WW: Why do women feel safe with a vampire?

LH: I’m not sure they feel safe, exactly. The woman finds herself so incredibly attracted to a supernatural being, while realizing at the same time he’s a predator and she's in danger. But women view vampires as they do human men: we see what we want to see. We want to believe he wouldn’t really do anything to hurt us.

WW: Is it our secret desire to be de-moralized by submitting and becoming immortal?

LH: We're terrified of death and we’ll do anything not to face it. So here’s this creature that lives, if not forever, very long -- who has the power to actually bring us over to immortality. That’s an incredibility enticing and desirable thing.

WW: And then you add the sexiness factor...

LH: Oh, you bet. Because human women have such fantasies about love. We want to believe the man we're with will stay with us forever. That our passion will burn for the rest of our lives. Forever takes on a whole new meaning with vampires.

WW: So we have this guy who has lived forever and has seen so many things and he picks you. Talk about an ego boost!

LH: I know. Can you imagine? That's the idea of the soul mate. Waiting for the one who's yours. This guy's been alive for centuries and he wants you. I mean, how much more desirable could you possibility feel? And of course we’d assume that he has incredible sexual stamina. He’s not human. He really could be -- resilient -- if that’s what you want.

WW: Is it difficult to blend humor with horror?

LH: Well, it seems it could be, but I didn’t think about it when I was writing the book. I don’t know if it was easy, because it’s kind of dark humor and that’s how my mind works. Blending genres has become popular. These days, the idea of blending horror, humor, romance, mystery and sex -- well, everybody’s doing it.

WW: You imagination is, let’s say, different than most. Tell me about your process from thought to paper.

LH: It was quite simple with this particular series. I've had Goth-type clients and young people who wish they were vampires, but the client who triggered this for me talked about having been abducted by aliens. I was just thinking afterward, as I wrote up my case notes, wouldn’t be exciting if there was a real vampire sitting in my waiting room? I went home that night and started writing.

WW: How did you visualize the vampire in you waiting room?

LH: He’s the Devereux character. And I was shocked because I'm mostly attracted to dark-haired men. I was surprised that the vampire in my waiting room had long, light-blond hair. I didn’t see that coming.

WW: How do you connect and engage the readers to Kismet?

LH: I modeled the heroine after an idealized version of me. But I give my heroine a lot more permission to be eccentric.

WW: Were you a weird kid?

LH: I was a very strange kid. I grew up in a situation where my relatives came from the south and the Appalachian areas, where there are "wise women" and laying on of hands. I always saw things that nobody else saw and heard things that nobody else heard. That was really awful; it wasn’t normal and it wasn’t okay. So, I just kept to myself. I was a lonely little girl. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I discovered it was cool to be weird in the way that I am. I’ve learned over the years I actually like my weirdness.

WW: What are the codes of vampires?

LH: In my world, they're a lot like people, in that there are some really awful ones and some who are thoughtful and wise. A few of the vampires in the books are just animals. They look for bodies so they can drink them dry before discarding them. None of my vampires subscribe to human moral codes.

WW: How would you treat a "real" vampire?

LH: Ohh . . . I don’t know. If they were like the one in Stephen King’s novel Salem’s Lot -- that is, just looking for blood, a predator, with no interpersonal aspects at all, that would terrify me. But if it were Devereux, I’d probably be like every other woman he encounters, and I’d be so attracted and aroused I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

WW: Tell us about Devereux. Is he Denver’s protector?

LH: He has no moral human agenda. But he has his own personal ethics code. He's not very tolerant about what we humans do. He wouldn’t get involved with us, unless he’s running The Crypt, a club he owns, which is modeled after The Church in downtown Denver.

WW: Tell us about the beauty of vampires . . .

LH: The draw is to the mysterious bad boy who is forbidden and incredibly alluring. And the notion that this powerful being needs my life force to exist -- needs me in a way that no other being does. It’s so attractive. Often, women lead cautious, thoughtful lives. We wouldn't let a troublemaker in, especially non-human. But with someone who inspires such primal instincts and emotions, like Devereux? Would we let Devereux in? I would!


What I've learned about giving telephone interviews and will do in the future: speak slowly, choose my words more carefully and use a cheat sheet of good quotes!!


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