"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Monday, June 4, 2012

Interview with Denise Verrico and Giveaway

It is my pleasure to welcome author, Denise Verrico, to my blog today. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions for us and is giving away her newest ebook to anyone who leaves a comment. So, lets get started.

Giveaway Info:
Every commenter who leaves a contact email at this blog will receive a link and free coupon
code for an Epub and Mobi Pocket ebook bundle of my new trio of short stories, Annals of the Immortyls

1- Tell the readers a little bit about Denise Verrico.

   I was born in New Jersey and grew up in the Pittsburgh area. I'm from a fairly large family. My background was blue-collar, but I always aspired to go to college getting a degree. My parents encouraged me a lot. As a child, I wanted to be a marine biologist or veterinarian. Later, I was bitten by the theater bug and became an actress. I lived in New York City  and Northern NJ for a long time. In college, one of my acting professors used to say I was destined to become a writer because I was so into theater literature. I also used to write humor pieces to entertain my friends. Eventually, I turned to writing plays and fiction. Blame it on Anne Rice. She killed off one of my favorite characters and made me want to write my own vampire world. I live in Columbus, OH area now, with my husband of 22 years and our 19 year old son. We have six pet birds, including a Timneh African Grey Parrot.

2- Can you give us a brief background about the Immortyl Revolution series?

    Cara Mia is the prelude to the revolution. Mia and Kurt are locked up in a biotech lab in California. The story deals with her becoming a vampire and her struggle to survive as a modern woman in an ancient culture. She and Kurt strike the first blow for freedom. In Twilight of the Gods, Kurt rises to become the charismatic leader. My Fearful Symmetry switches POV from Mia to Cedric, who observes the start of the revolution from within the Immortyl ruling class in India. He becomes a pawn of the chief elder and involved in court intrigues. Servant of the Goddess brings Mia, Kurt and Cedric together in NY. In this one, Mia, with Cedric's help, kicks some major butt.

3- I know Book 4, Servant of the Goddess, is out. Will there be anymore in the series or is this the end?

   The next part of the saga won't be written for a while because I have other projects in the works. The next series will be called Immortyl Assassin and will feature Cedric as the main character and deal with an Immortyl "civil war." I'm still developing ideas. For Mia and Kurt, the race to harness the power of immortality is more about finding a cure for vampirism and helping humanity. For Cedric, it becomes a religious quest to vindicate the name of his Goddess. They may not always be on the same side in the future. It will be interesting to see where these characters take me. There is another major player who enters the story in the Servant of the Goddess, and she'll take the story into yet another direction. Luka's story is the one I can't wait to tell.

4- The Immortyl Revolution is different then any vampire stories I have seen before, what was the inspiration for the series?

   I often think that my audience is more a traditional dark fantasy audience than the paranormal romance crossover audience. Not to suggest every reader just reads one genre, but I think there is a strong romance expectation in readers of vampire novels that isn't historically part of urban or dark fantasy. My characters do have relationships, even form deep bonds, but they aren't idealized as in romance. You won't find alpha male heroes or completely monogamous couples or happily-ever-after endings. I do hearken back to more Gothic vampires and even a bit to the sci fi vamps of the fifties.

   Mia, heroine of books one, two and four, came to me in a dream, and I felt compelled to write a story of the vampire experience from a female perspective. My husband and I brainstormed about this. I remember laughing when he proposed the question of a female vampire menstruating. I thought it ridiculous, but it gave me an idea to make my vampires biological mutations rather than "undead." This wasn't a new idea. Richard Matheson's book, I Am Legend, features biologically mutated vampires. The original Dark Shadows films from the early 1970's played around with this idea. I started doing some research and reading about biotechnology. This inspired the race for immortality idea.

   Kurt took the series into yet another direction, the revolution. My subculture of kid vampires, the sewer rats, was just waiting for a charismatic leader to set them free. I found myself wanting to write urban fantasy that had a feel of historical fiction and fantasy novels I've read. Authors of vampire fiction, Anne Rice and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro deal beautifully with historical settings. For my novels, I wanted elements of court intrigue, political and religious factions within their culture, yet have these games played within the context of a contemporary setting.

    My Immortyl culture is centered in India. I love books on vampire lore. I've been reading them since I was six. It struck me that India is the source for so many European vampire legends. A belief in the soul's reincarnation ties in somewhat with stories of beings "raised from the dead." In Indian folklore there are lots of spirits that haunt graveyards or steal sexual potency from victims. I needed a character to observe things from within the chief elder's court near Kolkata. I created a religion for my vampires, based on tantrism, the worship of Shakti, the feminine principle, or Goddess. The Immortyls claim to be children of Kali, the Goddess in fierce form. 

   Don't get me wrong, there is some of the humor and romantic comedy of other urban fantasy novels. It's not A Game of Thrones with vampires by a long shot.

5- Do you have any WIP? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

   I'm writing a fantasy set in an eighteenth century technology. I'd call it picaresque in tone. The world is somewhat inspired by New Zealand and Maori mythology. I'm also writing another urban fantasy that is magic based.

6- Cedric McKinnon Male Vampire Courtesan and Badass has his own page. Who is he is relation to the story and how does he rate his own page?

   Cedric McKinnon, a former rent boy turned adept of the ancient arts. An adept is a devotee of the Goddess Kali, temple musicians and dancers who are essentially sacred courtesans. Cedric is the POV and hero of My Fearful Symmetry, book three, and he gets into major turmoil at court. This book can actually be read first because its action runs concurrent to books one and two. At first, he doesn't sympathize with the aims of the revolution, but events change his outlook. His struggle leads him to New York, where he meets Mia and sees in her the earthly manifestation of his Goddess. He becomes an assassin and will be the major player in the next part of the saga. The boy is a showman. If he'd had his druthers, he would have been the front man for a stadium rock band. My nieces came up with the idea of him having his own Facebook and Twitter account.

7- What types of books do you enjoy reading and do you have a particular author that is your favorite?

   I like all kinds of books, but right now I'm reading a lot of fantasy. Lately, I've been reading Storm Constantine and George R. R. Martin. I love Ellen Kushner. I do enjoy historical fiction as well.

8- What do you do for fun and relaxation?

   Our family pastime is traveling to amusement parks and riding roller coasters. Along the way, we try to hit fun restaurants we see on the Food and Travel Channels. I also love walking on the nature trails in our local park and sighting wildlife.

SOTG Denise Verrico Links:

My amazon Page: http://amzn.to/K3NhVS
Servant of the Goddess Trade PB: http://amzn.to/K8uwPb
Servant of the Goddess Kindle: http://amzn.to/J0R2Id

Barnes and Noble:
Servant of the Goddess Trade PB and Nook: http://bit.ly/IIz7ru

Stay tuned tomorrow for a review of Servant of the Goddess.


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