Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight just wants a little excitement in her life. A little publishing fame and fortune. She doesn't believe in the paranormal. Especially not comic book children of the night. But when a new client pulls Kismet into the vampire underworld, and introduces her to gorgeous Devereux -- who claims to be an 800-year-old vampire -- Kismet finds herself up to her neck in the undead. Not to mention all the other bizarre creatures crawling out of Denver's supernatural Pandora's Box. And if being attracted to a man who thinks he's an ancient bloodsucker isn't bad enough, someone -- or something -- is leaving a trail of blood-drained dead bodies. Enter handsome FBI profiler Alan Stevens, who warns her that vampires are very real and that one is a murderer. A murderer who is after her. In the midst of it all, Kismet realizes she has feelings for both the vampire and the profiler. But though she cares for each of the men, the reality that vampires exist is enough of a challenge . . . for now.
"This was all over the place for me, but in a good way. What started out as a day in the life of a fairly closed off, thirty year old woman, stuck in a monotonous routine of her clients' therapy sessions, ended up being something completely out of left field. With elements of fantasy, crime procedurals and erotic love triangles, I was flipping desperately through, even resorting to reading by candlelight for more of Kismet's adventures when my power went out during a thunderstorm . . . Adding in the cop aspect helped ground some reality into the fantastical. Although, once you get into the bulk of the story, you really need to check your concept of reality at the door and lose yourself in it. Dr. Kismet Knight, PhD, has one of the wildest lives I've seen in adult fiction and I can't wait for more of it. With lots of sex, cute special agents and a snarky, often stubborn leading lady you're sure to find of a lot fun in this new series." -- Demons Read Too
"This is Lynda Hilburn's first novel and it was previously a self-published e-book with huge numbers of downloads in the states. This alone would usually pique my interest but when I saw that Kelley Armstrong, one of my favourite supernatural writers said it was "A refreshingly original twist on the vampire story..." it jumped to the top of my reading list. Thankfully I was not disappointed. Kismet is a really interesting character, she is practical, cerebral and definitely has both feet placed firmly on the ground. It makes her continued disbelief in the existence of vampires very realistic. I love the way that she becomes a "Vampire Psychologist" not because she believes in the supernatural world but because she's in need of gripping material for a potential psychology bestseller. Also, the special abilities that Kismet has been trying to deny and her crippling social shyness, particularly with men hint at an intriguing back story. The romance element was expertly written, the romantic triangle between Kismet, Devereux and FBI Agent Stevens was both tender, funny and a joy to read. As if that wasn't enough, the plot was fast paced, thrilling and kept me turning the pages at quite a speed. Overall, I really enjoyed The Vampire Shrink, great to read a novel with a heroine who thinks and feels and is not all "kick-ass", all of the time! Will definitely be reading the sequel when it's published. -- Syrupa Figs Book Crypt
"This author has created another world within the normal city limits of Denver. Kismet is forced to face the reality that vampires actually do exist and that one of them has picked her out for his mate. The vampires themselves are not all that different from the humans they once were, and Kismet finds treating them as rewarding as treating the living. Her association leads to some very exciting and suspenseful situations as well as some very hot love scenes between herself and both Devereux and Alan. I found it hard to put this story down and waited with baited breath for her to choose one or the other, I definitely had my favorite." -- The Romance Studio
Lynda Hilburn writes paranormal fiction. More specifically, she writes vampire books. After a childhood filled with invisible friends, sightings of dead relatives and a fascination with the occult, turning to the paranormal was a no-brainer. In her other reality, she makes her living as a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, professional psychic/tarot reader, university instructor and workshop presenter. Her first novel, The Vampire Shrink -- which introduced us to Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight and a hidden vampire underworld -- was first released in 2007 and is being re-released (the rewritten, expanded version) by Quercus Books in 2011 and Sterling Publishing/Silver Oak in 2012. Several more books are planned. Undead in the City, an erotic paranormal novella, and Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker, a satire/parody, are now available in e-form from Amazon.com. Her short story, Blood Song, is part of the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance anthology, April, 2009. For more information, visit Lynda's web site: www.lyndahilburnauthor.com.
An Interview with Lynda Hilburn
By Holly Hewson for The Romance Studio
HH: Lynda, thank you for talking with us at TRS! Your featured book is The Vampire Shrink. What can you tell us about this book's journey since it was written?
LH: The Vampire Shrink has had an amazing journey! I started writing the book in 2004 and sold it to a small publisher in 2007. It had modest success as a trade paperback. I published the second book in my series with them and then we parted ways in 2008. During the negotiations for that initial contract, my then-agent kept the e-rights of the books for me. I didn't understand why he'd do that. Back then, nobody was talking about e-rights! After I left the small publisher, I became very confused and frustrated. I'd spoken to lots of agents and editors and was told repeatedly that it was impossible to move a series from one publishing house to another. So, I thought I'd had the shortest publishing career in history! Nobody was interested in my series. I stopped writing and focused on building my psychotherapy practice. I figured my writing days were over. In late 2009-early 2010, self-published ebooks really started taking off. The old stigma of self-publishing was easing in the face of so much good material being put on Amazon, Smashwords and other e-outlets by well-known authors. I'd been reading JA Konrath's blog and his examples of putting his own work up on Amazon, etc. He was very generous with his guidance and feedback. I decided that since I owned the e-rights to my novels, why not put them on Kindle myself? What was there to lose? So I found someone to convert the books, and someone else to create covers. I uploaded the novels in March of 2010 and by April, they were Amazon best sellers. Nobody was more surprised than me! I was making money (nice money) monthly and people were enjoying my books. During that time I was contacted by another agent, who asked if I was interested in being represented. We talked and I signed with him. A couple of months later, he put together a 3-book deal (The Vampire Shrink and the next two books in the series) for me with Quercus/Jo Fletcher Books in the UK and Sterling Publishing/Silver Oak (Barnes & Noble) in the USA. My books would come out worldwide in all formats. So, as of now, The Vampire Shrink has had three incarnations. After the new USA version comes out in April, 2012, it will have four incarnations! And, the best thing was being able to rewrite and expand the book, adding in new chapters. What a wonderful experience!
HH: What does it have to offer that is new and fresh in vampire romance?
LH: I think the relationships my heroine, Kismet Knight, has with various vampire characters brings a new level of understanding to what it would be like to connect with such non-ordinary creatures. Not only does she have the beginnings of a romance with Devereux, the 800-year-old master vampire, but she also has various interactions with other vampires. And let's not forget the sensuous interlude with a human FBI profiler. The series is about her experiences in all areas and would be considered contemporary dark fantasy/urban fantasy with romance elements.
HH: What do you like best about Kismet and why will readers relate to her?
LH: My favorite thing about her is her vulnerability. Even though she's pretty cerebral – she analyzes everything – she also has a lot of varied emotional responses to the situations and people in her life. Her intellect is constantly at war with her emotions and her intuition. She slowly grows throughout the course of the book and will continue to grow and change through the series. Even though she thought she knew who she was -- a psychologist -- she discovers that's only the tip of the iceberg. I think readers will relate to her confusion and authenticity.
HH: What do you like best about Devereux and why will readers love him?
LH: I like the fact that he has used his long life to acquire knowledge and wisdom. Instead of becoming bored with immortality, he constantly challenges himself to become even more. He doesn't succumb to his primitive aspects and regress back into stalking unwilling humans for food. He remains in control of himself because it's important to him that vampires don't draw the attention of the mortals -- that vampires remain free to exist in a parallel reality. I think readers will love the soft side hidden under the veneer of the powerful master vampire. And, of course, he's gorgeous. I wanted him to have dark hair, but he insisted on being blond, and who can argue with an ancient bloodsucker?
HH: What sort of research did you do for this series?
LH: My series is contemporary-reality based. The only element in the story that isn't "real" is the vampires. Everyone else is based on composites of actual people. My research consists of listening to my clients' stories, observing the people around me, and enjoying my vivid imagination! Kismet is an idealized version of me, and I get to have so much fun living through her. I choose to write contemporary books on purpose because I hate doing research!
HH: What else do you have in the works?
LH: Right now I'm madly working on the new book #2 (Blood Therapy) in the series. When my editor and I were discussing the previous book #2 (formerly called Dark Harvest), she said she thought the story jumped too far ahead in the series arc. So, we decided I'd write a totally new book. I only have 14 more weeks til my deadline, so I've got to write faster! After that I'll work on more books in the series. The USA publisher asked me to write a short story in Kismet's world, so I'm working on that, too.
HH: How do you view the future of ebooks?
LH: Since I was fortunate enough to have a positive experience with putting my books on Amazon, etc., I'm enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of ebooks. I agree that people will continue to utilize e-readers more over time, and it very possibly could become the most popular way to read. I don't think print books will ever disappear, though. I think there is plenty of room for all the forms. I think entire businesses will continue to spring up to support self-publishing: people who convert the books, design the covers, offer all the types of editing, promotion experts – this is a fascinating and brave new world.
HH: How much of your day is devoted to your writing career?
LH: Well, that depends on the day. Since I have a regular job (psychotherapist at a mental health center) in addition to seeing private clients, I don't have as much time for writing as I'd like. Sometimes it isn't even that I don't have the time. After doing my job, I come home exhausted and my brain simply won't cooperate! But in support of my writing, I spend a lot of time doing promo, networking with other authors and publishing professionals and connecting with readers. I can say I spend at least two hours per day on writing-related activities.
HH: What's your favorite way to interact with readers?
LH: I appreciate all the social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, blogs and email. I try to answer every contact I receive. I love getting positive emails from readers! I also enjoy talking with readers at conferences and book/author events. But, truthfully, since I'm one of those introspective, introverted (very shy) writers, I like the internet because I can communicate with a reader anywhere in the world while sitting at my desk, drinking coffee and wearing my pink robe.
HH: Any conference or appearance plans this fall?
LH: This fall I'm going to the Novelists, Inc. conference near Tampa, FL and the World Fantasy Con in San Diego. My editor, Jo Fletcher, is one of the guests of honor at WFC. I've never been to that convention and I hear it's very, very big. An introvert's nightmare! But my editor said I can hang around with her, so that should help! Next year I'm going to a ton of cons. That will certainly challenge my social anxiety, but I'm up for the challenge!