Monday, June 28, 2010

Guest Author Denise Verrico

Hello friends!!! And here we have it! The long awaited blog! I apologize to Denise and all of you for my tardiness on getting it posted—I will leave it up partway into tomorrow to make up for it… how’s that?! I love the take that Denise has on these paranormal creatures… fresh and innovative! But I should let Denise tell you about it!

And without further ado… Welcome Denise!

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Hey, what’s with this vampire obsession? Well, for me in started back in the early seventies when I was a little kid and a fan of Dark Shadows, a Gothic soap opera. No, I wasn’t around when Vlad the Impaler lived, but I’ve been around awhile. Vampires were scary, but they were the ultimate in cool to me, kind of like a dark super hero. This was long before they were teen idols. Vampires were smarter and better looking than zombies, didn’t have the hairy factor and time of the month issues like werewolves. Who wouldn’t want to live forever and have super powers? I didn’t want a vampire boyfriend; I wanted to be a vampire. Of course, I also wanted to be Mary Poppins and a veterinarian.

I was a weird little kid. Masterpiece Theatre was one of my favorite things to watch on TV. Like other girls, I played with Barbies, only mine were cast as characters out of Tudor court dramas. Going the mall with Ken was nothing compared a good beheading. I’ve always been into the whole politics and intrigue thing. A lot of my favorite books are historical fiction. I love Mary Renault’s books about Alexander the Great and Robert Grave’s Claudius books. When I started my vampire series, Immortyl Revolution, I drew on my love of history to create characters from many different cultures and periods. Writing about vampires gives me a chance to throw them together and see what sparks fly. When I hit writer’s block, I always go back to the research, because I find inspiration. At one point, I was reading a lot about India. This led me to create a tantric vampire cult in the Chief elder’s court which figures very prominently in my third book in the series, Fearful Symmetry.


Being into biological science, I really wanted to make my vampires into biological beings rather than the undead. I did keep a lot of the traditional qualities, but I really wanted to approach them as people with a unique mutation. Taking this tack, I gave myself what if questions. What if a rather ordinary young woman had to deal with not only this weird physical condition, but also a society with ancient customs?

I deal a lot with the physiology and psychology of the vampire. To me they are a predatory animal with an intellect and a range of emotions. Some of them revel in the bloodlust, others view it as an inconvenience, and still others see it as a divine gift. Rather than saying I have good vampires and bad ones, I would say there are better and worse individuals among them. I really try not to just write off a villain as “evil”, but give him or her an agenda that makes them act as they do. Likewise, my more sympathetic characters have their warts and sometimes do nasty things.

I enjoy humor and my heroine, Mia, has a rather acerbic but funny outlook on things. One of my characters, Philip was an Elizabethan actor and is very loud and witty. A rule of thumb for me is, when I hear too many violins playing, it’s time to crack wise. I always liked Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I found the series to have a perfect mixture of humor, horror, drama and even pathos.

I spent a lot of years kicking Cara Mia, around, before I really sat down and got serious about writing it. A lot of that time, I was learning about writing and doing research. The world building took time to evolve, becoming a culture based on an amalgam of ancient cultures. I started with four characters in search of a story. Then I started reading about Biotechnology. I thought, “Hey what if someone tried to figure out what gave vampires immortality and super strength?” That led me to think some vampires would want to profit from this. And wouldn’t there be the traditionalists who would abhor such an idea? Now I had my story.


Seven hundred pages later, I discovered I had a series. I sent out a few queries to agents, but didn’t get too far. A cross-genre book can be a hard sell. Cara Mia has a strong sci fi component for urban fantasy and is bloodier than paranormal romance, although it has romantic elements. I edited the book down to around three hundred pages and targeted small presses who published sci fi and fantasy. I sent out two queries initially, mentioning that I’d already written a second book and started a third. Both publishers asked for more and then passed with suggestions. Two more queries went out. Lisa Smith from L&L Dreamspell requested more pages and eventually the entire manuscript. They offered me a contract and Cara Mia came out in January of 2010.
Working with a small press has been a positive experience for me. I like the personal attention and input I have on things like the cover design. Book two, Twilight of the Gods will be out this fall.

Cara Mia is available in trade paperback and multi-format e-book online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and Fictionwise. Author-signed copies can be purchased through my sites:
http://www.deniseverricowriter.webs.com/
http://www.immortylrevolution.blogspot.com/

You can follow me on Twitter and at my Facebook fan page, Immortyl Revolution.


DeniseVerrico is a New Jersey native who grew up in Pennsylvania. She attended Point Park College, in Pittsburgh, where she majored in theatre arts. For seven seasons she was a member of The Oberon Theatre Ensemble in NYC with whom she acted, directed and wrote plays. Cara Mia, is her first novel. Denise has enjoyed vampire stories from the time she was a little girl and a fan of the Dark Shadows television series and Chiller Theater. She enjoys reading non-fiction and fiction of all kinds, particularly historical fiction, thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, manga and graphic novels. A roller coaster fanatic, she can often be found climbing to heights of three hundred plus feet and plummeting downward at speeds exceeding ninety MPH. She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, teenaged son and flock of seven spoiled parrots.

14 comments:

Slushpile Slut said...

Wow! this book sounds stellar!! What a kick-ass concept...Love the title too. Great post Hart & Denise

Slushpile Slut said...

Hey Hart! Just a heads up...I don't think the links are working...but I just googled Denise and all's well :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Let's hear it for small press success!

Watery Tart said...

Denise-your humor here comes through loud and clear--I think these sound like FABULOUS books!

*off to double check link trouble* (blogger is hating me lately)

Watery Tart said...

HA! solved! If there is an error in the website then I guess you get sent whereever the infinite wisdom of google thinks is 'close enough'... both should be fixed though...

Denise Verrico said...

Happy to be here! I knew I was going to love this site when I first saw the name. I'm a Python fan from way back. I feel that I'm among kindred spirits here. Thanks, Alex and Slushpile Slut!(Love the name)They are so author-friendly and put out a great product! I can't say enough about my publisher L7L Dreamspell.

Denise Verrico said...

That's L&L Dreamspell. I have this habit of forgetting to hit the shift key.

Watery Tart said...

I DO have a fabulous group of readers here! Fun bunch! And also love to find other Python fans.

Hopefully the morning rush of blog readers will also catch this all tomorrow. I will definitely wait to do a new post until late morning so you get your full day. (people read like clockwork, so I need to hit all the times!)

Creepy Query Girl said...

Congrats Denise! This book sounds like a great read and I wish you much much success! I love your humor and I think ecclectic tastes and interests like yours would enhance your story all the more. Fabulous guest spot Hart!

LTM said...

First thought: Shouldn't that be an apology for your "tartiness"? (pa-dum, pum)
Also, great guest blog! Best of luck to you Denise! Sounds like a cool series~ :o)

Old Kitty said...

Wonderful interview and a fab intro to a writer I'd certainly keep an eye out for - what a fantastic idea for a series. I love the research done to erm.. flesh out vampires more!

Thank you Watery Tart and Denise!

Take care
x

Watery Tart said...

*snorts* I don't make apologies for tartiness very often... tardiness though.. yeah... don't like to be late (it's my FOMS)

Thanks everyone!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Ok, I admit I really never got into the vampire thing nor am I a Sci-fi fan, yet I find the premise of your book very intriguing - uh oh, I feel a conversion coming on...

Denise Verrico said...

Resistance is futile. Do you feel the love?