Q&A with Dark Harvest author Lynda Hilburn
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 stops by the Boulder Bookstore at 7:30 p.m. tonight (click here for the details) and is part of a 7 p.m. October 29 conversation about all things vampiric at the Highlands Ranch Library (get more information here). She provides a preview in the following Q&A.
Westword (Elena Brown): Why are women suckers (no pun intended) for vampires?
Lynda Hilburn: I think it’s the blood thing. Imagine the level of intimacy that’s required. I would think it’s just something so primal about that. Unlike other creatures that are so monstery, vampires started out as human and they retain quite a bit of humanity. There’s this good-looking guy on you just sucking 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 vampire literature is they (vampires) were just mindless drones. They’ve lived for centuries and couldn’t figure out anything better to do than kill each other and do all these gross things? What if they actually decided to utilize, to learn more, and to become wise? They realize they need blood to exist, but there is no need to be primitive or animalistic about it.
WW: Why do women feel safe with a vampire?
LH: I’m not sure they feel safe, exactly. It’s a woman finding herself so incredibly attracted to this supernatural being, while realizing at the same time he’s a predator and that it’s so dangerous. But women do with vampire what they do with human men. That 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 are terrified of death and we’ll do anything to not face it. So here’s this creature that lives, if not forever, very long -- that has the power to actually bring us over to immortality. That’s an incredibility desirable thing.
WW: And then you add the sexiness factor...
LH: Oh, you bet. Because you know how human women have these fantasies about love forever and the guy we wind up with, we’ll be with together forever. Forever he will love me -- and then with vampires, that takes a whole new meaning.
WW: So we have this guy that has lived forever and has seen so many things and picks you. Talk about an ego boast!
LH: I know. Can you imagine? Talk about the fantasy 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 a sex machine, if that’s what you want.
WW: Is it difficult to blend humor with horror?
LH: Well, you think it would be, but I didn’t think about it when I was writing the thing. 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. Now 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 really easy with this particular series. I have had Goth-type clients and young people that wish they were vampires, but the client that triggered this for me was a client that came in who believes they had been abducted by aliens. I was just thinking afterward, as I was writing my case notes, wouldn’t be just so cool if there was a real vampire waiting 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 mostly I’m really attracted to dark-harried guys. I was shocked 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 weird. I don’t think my book is everybody’s cup of tea. I could have done some things differently if I wanted to appeal to a larger market share. And I probably could have done a standard romance with a happy ending, but that’s not the way my brain works.
WW: Were you a weird kid?
LH: I was a very weird 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. And 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. 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 are a lot like people in that there are some really awful ones and there are some that are thoughtful and wise. So some of the vampires in the books are just animals. They just look for bodies so they can eat and just discard them. None of my vampires subscribe to human moral codes.
WW: How would you treat a "real" vampire?
LH: Ohhh…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, and no interpersonal stuff at all, that would just terrify me. But if it were Devereux, I’d probably be like every other women he encounters and I’d be so attracted and aroused I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Because he also can read thoughts.
WW: Tell us about Devereux. Is he Denver’s protector?
LH: He has no moral human stuff. And he’s used to being the boss. But he has his own personal moral code. He doesn’t have a lot of tolerance for what we humans do. He just wouldn’t get involved with us, unless he’s running The Crypt, a club he owns, which is modeled after The Church downtown.
WW: Tell us about the beauty of vampires...
LH: That mysterious bad boy that 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 needs me. It’s so attractive. Usually women are pretty cautious and lead cautious lives. We would not let a troublemaker in, especially non-human. But with someone that inspires such primal instinct and emotions, like Devereux? Would we let Devereux in? I would!