Author Interview: Lynda Hilburn

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Lynda Hilburn is the talented and multi-skilled author of the recently released The Vampire Shrink; which is the first book published by Jo Fletcher Books, a Quercus imprint. I loved the book and the little bit I had discovered about Lynda so thought I would track her down and see if she would share some more of herself with us! I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did.

The Vampire Shrink has just been released on our shelves, what can you tell us about it?

The Vampire Shrink is the story of Denver psychologist Kismet Knight, whose life is turned upside-down by discovering that the vampire-wannabes she’s studying are the real thing. She meets an 800 year old, gorgeous bloodsucker, a cocky FBI profiler, a serial killer, other assorted unique characters, and lots of neurotic vampires. The paranormal story blends genres and has romance, mystery, sex, humor, horror and some metaphysics thrown in for good measure.

I believe you had self published The Vampire Shrink previously. Can you tell us a little about the difference between self publishing and now having it published by Jo Fletcher Books?

The Vampire Shrink has now been published three times. It just refuses to stay in its grave! It was first published by a small print publisher in 2007. My agent back then managed to hold onto the e-rights to the book (and the second in the series) for me, so I had them re-edited and put them up on Kindle, Barnes & Noble, etc. myself. They became best sellers there, which is how my new agent found me and arranged the new deal with Quercus/Jo Fletcher Books. The good thing about self-publishing is being in charge of everything myself — being able to select my cover, make marketing decisions and keep all the money. The good thing about being with a publisher is the diverse distribution. Through Q/JFB, my books will end up everywhere! Kismet will finally get the wide exposure she wants. And, best of all, I had the talents of Jo Fletcher, who is an excellent editor. Her suggestions made my book much better.

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This one is mainly for me because I was looking for information on Blood Therapy the very second I finished reading The Vampire Shrink. The original 2nd and 3rd books were Dark Harvest then Blood Therapy. The new Book 2 will be Blood Therapy. Is this correct and what can you tell us about it?

I originally turned in two books to Quercus/Jo Fletcher: The Vampire Shrink and Dark Harvest, numbers 1 and 2 in my Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series. Jo thought the second book jumped too far ahead in the series arc and we agreed that I’d write an in-between book to fill in the time right after the end of book 1. I had the title Blood Therapy all ready for the next book, so it seemed like a good name for this new story. The book that used to be called Dark Harvest, will eventually show up, rewritten/expanded and with a new title. I’m not sure if it will be book 3 or book 4. I’m in the midst of writing Blood Therapy, and I hope to have at least the whole first draft done by the end of 2011.

Have you got a specific number of books in mind for the Kismet Knight novels? Or will you just play it by ear?

I’ll just keep writing them. If future books aren’t contracted with a print publisher, I’ll self-pub.  The only thing limiting the series is ideas for plots, and I have plenty of those.

(Michelle adds: well if you do end up self publishing I would love for you to let me know) 

What sparked your fascination with vampires?

I’ve always been a fan. I think the reason I like vampires so much (even more than other preternatural creatures) is because they still appear (mostly) human. So, even though they’ve transformed into another species, they have traces of humanity (obvious and hidden), which complicate their existence. The idea of a creature needing our very blood to exist is exciting. And when you add in the relatively new romantic vampires, the combination of sexuality and blood drinking — not to mention the thing humans fear most: death — makes an intense and intriguing subject.

You have done a lot of things in your career up to this point, do these experiences help you with your writing?

I use everything with my characters. Especially Kismet Knight, who is an idealized version of me. I’ve attributed all my idiosyncrasies to her: social anxiety, nerdy-ness, being fashion-challenged, work-obsession, challenges with romantic relationships. All my characters are born out of my experiences — real or imagined.

How does it feel to be the first publication of Jo Fletcher books?

It’s so much fun. As much as I want The Vampire Shrink to be a huge success, I want Jo’s imprint to be a smash hit. She’s a lovely woman. I’m very grateful to Jo and Quercus for this amazing opportunity.

I was reading your biography and you have been a hypnotherapist, a psychic/tarot reader and a psychotherapist, among other things, Do these very different fields contradict each other?

Actually, I think they add to each other. I started doing tarot readings when I was a teenager. That morphed into spiritual/intuitive counseling. Then I began unofficially using hypnosis/guided imagery, which led me to seek out actual certifications. During all that time, I was completing my undergrad and graduate degrees in psychology and counseling. I just keep adding skills. I also have training and experience in sound/music healing, which is why there are so many musical references in The Vampire Shrink (plus I sang rock and roll for years). Now my clients reap the benefits of all my various modalities and training. I often tell them I can’t take the therapist out of the intuitive, and I can’t take the intuitive out of the therapist. They get the whole package.

I have found that a lot of authors are prolific readers. What is your all-time favourite book?

That’s a really hard question. I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula more than any other book, so maybe that qualifies it as my all-time favorite. But I also enjoy Tom Robbins’s books and there are a few metaphysical/spiritual books I’ve re-read a lot. Same with Anne Rice’s vampires and witches. They’re all my favorites!

(Michelle: Anne Rice and Bram Stoker’s Dracula are some of my all time favourites also. One day I will have time to re-read them again)

What are you reading at the moment?

I just read the latest Dexter book by Jeff Lindsay, Dexter is Delicious. I really enjoy the books and the TV show. Who knew I’d be a fan of a serial killer? I definitely have a dark side.

(Michelle’s add: I read and reviewed that one too, I enjoyed it as well. But I don’t watch the show, because I never remember and I just don’t have time) 

And finally, what does being a woman mean to you?

I feel very fortunate to be a woman. I’ve been a feminist most of my adult life. I like the statement “Feminism: The radical notion that women are people.” While there are limitations I wish we would evolve past as a species, and safety issues for women that men don’t face to the same degree, I think the fact that women are encouraged to use all parts of our brains: intellect, intuition, emotions, etc. makes us an amazing gender. Being a woman means expressing every part of the self while being heart-centered and mindful. We are creativity incarnate.

Thank you so much for your time Lynda, good speaking to you.

Thank you for having me! I so appreciate your support.

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