Saturday, September 05, 2009

Paranormal romance author Lynda Hilburn's Vampire Psychologist series

Author Lynda Hilburn is a whole lot more than a paranormal romance author--one quick look at her Web site makes that abundantly clear. Lynda is nationally-known for her psychic/intuitive abilities and she is a frequent guest on radio and TV programs. She writes for mainstream and metaphysical publications, and she teaches seminars, workshops, and classes on psychological and spiritual topics.

Hi Lynda. I'm very happy to have your here as a guest and I look forward to exploring your Web site in more depth. What else would you like to tell us about you, up front?

I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to being a paranormal writer, I’m a licensed psychotherapist, certified clinical hypnotherapist and professional intuitive. I work four days per week at a community mental health center and see private clients another day or two. I used to sing professionally and I really miss performing (there are so many hours in the day!!) I have a grown son who lives in a nearby town with my two furry grandchildren (my son loves dogs).

Congratulations on your latest release! How many books do you have in print now?

Two books in my Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series are out so far: The Vampire Shrink and Dark Harvest. They’re in trade paperback from Medallion Press. In addition, I’ve sold 4 short stories and a novella to epubs. I’m currently working on the third book in the Kismet series, plus expanding the novella into a novel and brainstorming an outline for a series about a couple of psychics in Boulder, where I live.

I loved reading about your new book, Dark Harvest. The Vampire Psychologist series is exciting! Tell us more about that?

My most recent release is Dark Harvest, the second book in the Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series. Here’s a blurb:

Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight counsels vampires. Her life changed forever when she discovered a preternatural underworld, met Devereux, the powerful leader of a vampire coven, and was forced to rethink her notions of “reality.”

Still adjusting to her new role as an expert on all things paranormal, she schedules what she believes is simply another radio interview. She couldn’t be more mistaken. Not only does the radio host behave very strangely, but an ominous, on-air call from day-walking vampire Lyren Hallow turns Kismet’s world upside-down -- again.

Shortly thereafter, Maxie Westhaven, a tabloid newspaper reporter in search of a juicy story, befriends Kismet, leading her into a bizarre world of role players, lost souls and death. Enter Victoria Essex, Devereux’s building manager and resident witch, who discloses a startling secret of her own.

Meanwhile, Luna, Devereux’s hostile femme fatal personal assistant, recognizes a perfect opportunity to throw a wrench into her boss’s blossoming relationship with the human psychologist, and, to complicate matters further, Kismet’s old boyfriend, self-absorbed Psychologist Tom Radcliffe, shows up with his own outlandish request.

I also have a short story, “Blood Song,” in the recently released anthology, Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance.

What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? A night owl?

Since I’m working so much these days, my writing schedule is chaotic: I just try to sit in front of the keyboard whenever I have a minute! I used to write in the evenings (before I took the structured position at the mental health center), but now I come home so tired it’s a challenge to even think, much less type. But I’m rethinking my priorities and expect to move writing back toward the top of the list.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I’ve learned a lot about the business of publishing in the last few years. I learned through making every mistake possible! Here’s what I think now: write what you love to write, and don’t follow trends and fads. Find your voice/style and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Explore critique groups until you find the one that is right for you. Being with the wrong critique partners can kill a writer’s creativity, confidence and growth. Remember when you’re looking for an agent that you’re hiring her/him – not the other way around. That individual will be working for you. Ask lots of questions and make sure you find someone who believes in you, your writing and who shares your goals for your writing future. Make sure the two of you are similar in communication expectations. Submit, submit, submit. Never give up. Begin again, begin again, begin again . . .

Book promotion seems to be on every author's mind these days. What kinds of things do you do?

I do everything! Discovering the amount of promo I’d be responsible for as an author was eye-opening! I had the fantasy that my publishing company would handle all my promotion – that I would just show up for the book signings, author events, conference appearances, presentations they set up for me. That I’d bask in the excellent book sales triggered by their awesome marketing campaign for me. Uh, nope. My publisher ran ads for both my books in several appropriate magazines, which was great, and I did the rest. I have an author website (and a different website for my clinical work), several blogs, a myspace page, a facebook page, I belong to 90 yahoo groups/loops where I promote when they allow promotion. I have an author group. I schedule book signings with other authors every weekend I can. I give talks/workshops/presentations for writing groups, conferences, community organizations. I guest blog and comment on other authors’ blogs. I have other authors guest blog on my blog. I take every interview opportunity that comes my way. I belong to many writing organizations (online and in person). I record portions of my books and post them on my website so people can listen. I have book trailers made. I have begun exploring Second Life. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it. Name recognition is key!!

If you could interview any of the characters in your books, which one would it be, and why? What shocking thing might that character say?

My psychologist character, Kismet Knight, Ph.D., has asked me to let her vent a little about a question that comes up often from readers: Why did it take you so long in the first book to accept the reality of vampires, even after you met several real vampires?

Kismet: I was very surprised by this question when it started showing up. I’m a psychologist – a scientist. Why on earth would I believe in vampires just because certain mentally ill individuals insist they’re the undead? I have clients in my practice who say they’re demons, possessed by demons, alien abductees, aliens, angels, walk-ins, zombies – the list goes on. I’ve worked with these clients for years and have never been persuaded to believe their delusions. But, suddenly, I’m supposed to throw my clinical training and professional discipline out the window because a few strange folks insist they drink blood? Hey! Claiming to drink blood isn’t specific to vampires! I’ve worked with many individuals who are fixated on blood. Even now, as I look back at the situations I shared in the first book, I can come up with logical, linear explanations for most of them. I’ve seen young women move objects with their minds. I personally know many psychics who can “read” emotions/thoughts. Even I have the ability to simply “know” things. And, most important, I’m acquainted with professional hypnotists who can trick subjects into believing whatever they wish them to believe. So, having seen all that, why would I believe in vampires? I think I should be given credit for being willing to open my scientific mind as quickly as I did! After all, the events in the first book took place over a few days – not a few months!! I think I got with the program very quickly. But I do understand the frustration, since so many paranormals these days start with the assumption that preternatural creatures exist. Maybe readers expect that now. But my experience wasn’t like that and it isn’t likely that I’ll ever accept things at face value. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts! I’ve got to run now. My “fear of sharp, wooden objects” therapy group for vampires starts any minute...

How can we find you online?

Here are my links:

http://www.lyndahilburnauthor.com
http://paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/lyndahilburn

Do you like learning about new authors? Check out additional romance author interviews by Maddie James.
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