Interview and Prize Giveaway
Meet today's guest author, the delightful Sherri Lackey
Lackey, born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, now lives in Montana where the cold
northern climate inspires her to write. She writes science fiction and fantasy
with dashes of speculative fiction, a pinch of steampunk, and a touch of urban
fantasy. She lives with her husband, Paul, and their three children. She also
has a faithful dog named Raymond who likes to sit by her side while she writes.
Author name or pen name. If writing under a pen name, why did you choose this particular name?
I chose to publish The Vrykolakas Deviation under my real name. I’ve tried a pen name before with a blog I used to have, but I wasn’t happy with it. The strange thing is that I cannot completely erase that pen name from my life. It still shows up in the chat feature on my Google + account. If I try to track it back to its source it says that name does not exist in Google’s database. Yeah, right.
When did you tell your family and friends that you were a writer? How did
telling them make you feel?
I was a child when I told my parents that I wanted to be a writer. I also wanted to be a movie producer but that didn’t work out. I suppose at the time, being a child, it was just a matter-of-fact kind of statement. My mom always encouraged me in my writing endeavors after that. I don’t remember my dad saying much about it, but he might have and I simply don’t remember. That is to say, he encouraged me in a general sort of way. His standard phrase of encouragement to me was: You’re as good as the best, and better than the rest. He meant well at any rate.
Today I get mixed reactions from people when they find out I am a writer. Some get quite excited about it, some look skeptical, and others look at me with a funny expression as if I just spoke to them in a foreign language. They quickly change the topic back to something they are interested in - which is certainly not writing books.
What would your grandmother think if she met the hero in your book?
I never knew my paternal grandmother since she died several years before I was born. My maternal grandmother on the other hand, I called her Granny, would have liked Keeva, my main character and hero of my book The Vrykolakas Deviation. Granny married my PawPaw in the roaring ‘20s. The first thing she did was cut off her long hair which her father had forbidden her to cut. She also liked working on small engines and driving fast cars. Yes, she would have liked Keeva.
What is the most romantic thing a man/partner has ever done for you?
When we bought our Suburban, my husband knew I’d be the main driver and so he decided to surprise me by personalizing the license plate to read: SPCLONE. He came home and presented the paperwork to me with a smile. I was puzzled. I said, “SP clone?” He explained that it is “Special One” the term of endearment he often used when we were first dating. To this day folks will ask us why our license plate says SP clone. Hardly anyone ever figures out what it really is supposed to say, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
If you were planning a seductive dinner in front of a crackling fire, what would you serve? How would you serve it? What would you wear?
After twenty-two years of marriage, I know what my man likes to eat. I would serve up a nice juicy steak with a baked potato on the side. Good food is a direct path to his heart without a doubt. How would I serve it? I’d hand him his plate along with his steak knife and fork. He’d be sitting in his rocking chair which is located on the right side of our wood burning stove and I’d sit in my rocking chair which is on the left. Now, as to what I would wear. I live in Montana where there are two seasons: road construction and winter. Therefore, I would be wearing my jeans and a wool sweater in front of a crackling fire, probably a double layer of socks over my long johns too. To wear less than that, I would need that fire to be a roaring blast furnace. That probably explains my husband’s endless quest to find the perfect heating source for our home.
Clothing is an important part of each scene. A low cut tank top sparks more male appreciation than a conservative button down, rolled up sleeve shirt. From a male perspective, compare the two opposites I mentioned above or choose your own for comparison.
For a male who is out for instant gratification, a low cut tank top fits the bill for what he is looking for. I can’t imagine that sort of man having a clue about the subtle nuances of love making. I appreciate a male who isn’t out for instant gratification. That sort of male appreciates his lady for not gratuitously displaying her assets for all the fellows out there to enjoy. That said, I don’t think a woman needs to wear a sack which hides her feminine curves. I would never dress my female characters in such unflattering attire unless such attire fit the scene or the personality of the character.
Besides being unfaithful, what quality in a man—no criminal acts—would be a deal breaker? Why?
There are some personalities which clash when they come together. This would not be conducive to a healthy relationship. I think most would agree, but throughout the years I have met couples who make me wonder what brought them together in the first place. Their personalities are entirely incompatible. I know they say opposites attract, but sometimes this divide seems vast. I suppose that would be the deal breaker for me, and I did experience that on several occasions in the past. Before I met my husband, I dated a lot of guys who would have kept dating me despite the incompatibility of our personalities. I didn’t want that. I felt a disconnect with them that I couldn’t bridge. The bright side of that story is that when I met my husband I knew right away that he was the one. We didn’t have to build a bridge because it seemed like it had always been there for us to cross.
Do either your heroine or hero have a vice (drugs, chocolate, expensive jewelry, cigarettes, etc.)? How important is it to the story?
Keeva is prone to depression and reckless behavior at times. She’s not one to drink or take drugs to drown out her sorrows. She is more likely to engage in something highly dangerous to her well being, like capturing a vrykolakas, a vampire of Greek origin, and taking him back to her apartment as a prisoner where she proceeds to drop her guard around him and not take the necessary precautions with him that she should take.
You’ve been dating Mr. Practically Alright for a month. He’s been to your house several times. Finally, he asks you over to his place to meet someone who is important to him. You are thinking it’s a child or perhaps his visiting mother. Wrong. It’s a big Labrador retriever who puts his paws on your shoulders and washes your carefully air brushed face from ear to ear. The biggest dog you’ve ever been around was the size of a meatloaf. What are the first words out of your mouth? If your date doesn’t offer antibacterial face wipes and says—by the way—Fido sleeps with him every night, what’s your next move?
The first words out of my mouth would be something like: He’s a really big dog. While my mind would be struggling with what to do next. Run away?
This is the sort of thing I was talking about two questions ago. A deal breaker sort of thing. I actually knew a couple who divorced over a similar issue. The man refused to get his beloved pet its own bed. To make matters worse, the dog was old and incontinent, often wetting the bed! I think the wet bed was the deal breaker for the woman.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog (he’s a Bichon Frise), but just like my children, he has his own bedroom to sleep in.
In your work, regardless of genre, do you consider the environment and do you exhibit an awareness of practices that can make a difference? It could be something as simple as motion activated lights or lights on timers.
I think the environment in any novel is key. It is essentially another character in the story. While it may sit in the background largely unnoticed, if that character were missing, it would put a gaping hole in the story. In my book when Keeva brings Severin back to her apartment as her prisoner, I relied heavily on environment to set the tone for his arrival as well as the first days afterward. Starting with Keeva’s shady neighbor, Darrin, stepping out of the darkened shadows of the apartment complex to help her lug Severin’s unconscious form into her apartment, to the scent of Severin that she finds alluring each time she enters her home, to the apartment itself as it is dark when she enters it, and finally culminating in the strange sounds she hears in the night hours. Environment plays a huge role in those scenes.
Do you think readers would embrace a hero—not a struggling artist, sculptor or writer—who earns only a fraction of what the heroine earns? Please explain.
I don’t see why they wouldn’t. I think heroes who are ordinary guys doing ordinary things are sometimes more appealing to us as a society than the guys who seemingly have the world on a silver platter. Some of us can relate to the ordinary guy who is not the CEO of a large corporation, maybe he’s simply a humble janitor. I think I would enjoy exploring the depth of character such a hero might have hidden away. Perhaps he would be placed in a position of leadership and struggle with knowing how to lead if he has never done that. How would he step out of the crowd and rise to the occasion? Would he fail miserably? Would he learn to turn his failure into something else? So many possibilities for such a hero!
Congratulations, your book has just been optioned by movie producer. Of course you’ll be a consultant to the casting director. Who would you chose to play your heroine? Hero? What song would you pick for your soundtrack? And since you’ve convinced the powers to be that you must write the screenplay, what will you be wearing to the Academy Awards to accept your Oscar for best screenplay? Include jewelry!
Hooray for me! The casting director will probably hate me for not being current with the popular actors of this generation. I have given this a bit of thought though. I would put forward two names for the roles of Keeva and Severin: Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder from the TV series The Vampire Diaries. To me, they would make the perfect Keeva and Severin. The casting director no doubt would disagree with me and offer up two names I’ve never heard of. I would defer to his greater knowledge of such things only to regret my decision later.
My children would think it only natural that I should put together the soundtrack for the movie as I have a knack for picking tunes that go well with movies and TV shows. If I could get Coldplay to write an original song for my movie soundtrack, that would be sweet! Hans Zimmer could do the musical score. If I can’t get an original song, I might choose the song The Road I’m On by 3 Doors Down as it could exemplify Keeva’s state of mind throughout my book. The chorus says - I know you feel helpless now and I know you feel alone. That’s the same road, that same road that I’m on. All right, that takes care of the songs.
Now, for what I’ll wear to the Academy Awards. My first inclination is to wear black. But wait, why not go with red. It’s not like I get to go to the Academy Awards every day is it? Yes, I’ll wear a red evening dress, nothing too flashy but not plain either. The main thing I’ll be concerned about is whether or not I can wear a nice pair of leather boots with it. I am obsessed with boots and if I have a signature style it has to include boots. I don’t care if the boots are ankle boots or over the knee, I just have to find a red evening dress that looks good with boots. Otherwise, I’ll have to rethink the whole evening dress issue. I’ll still keep the color red however.
Then, for my jewelry, I’ll be wearing an original one-of-a-kind necklace with matching earrings which I have designed for the occasion. I like to design my own jewelry pieces and this will give me the perfect opportunity to present to the world my masterpiece. Assuming I’ll have time to work on it with all the casting, putting together a soundtrack, and screenwriting that I’ll be doing as well.
I’ll do my own makeup too, but I’ll have to bring my hairstylist with me. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind taking a day or two off to do that.
And now for the blurb...
Keeva lives her life on the run, changing identities and personas. She is running from monsters she has never seen - vrykolakes, vampire creatures her father, Sandor, has told her stories about all her life. She had almost convinced herself that these monsters had all died in a volcano eruption on the island of Strongili long ago.
But when a vrykolakas named Severin kills Mandy, her best friend, she discovers the vrykolakes are alive and well. Keeva knows about Severin from her father’s stories, and her first impulse is to kill him and rid the world of the evil vrykolakas. She feels drawn to him however, and takes him prisoner. She hopes to better understand the vrykolakes and perhaps better understand herself. She is over two thousand years old. She doesn't know who or what she is, but she wants to find out. In order to do that, she has to discover her past. Severin might be the place to start looking for a connection to the past. Or, he could be the worst mistake Keeva has ever made.
I answered, "Hello again, Sweets. What important detail did you forget to tell me about in our previous conversation?"
A familiar voice said, "Where are you, Keeva? I need to see you, and Sweets here won't give me your address."
I sat up, heart racing. "Severin?" Had he returned to kill her – again? "Why do you have Mandy's phone? Where is she?"
"She's sitting on the couch across from me. I took her phone and found your number because she wouldn't just give it to me when I politely asked for it. I'm in her house."
"What are you doing there? I told you to stay away from Caldwell."
"I told you already; keep up with the conversation. I'm trying to find you!"
"You'd better not hurt her, Severin. Or I swear, I will hunt you down and kill you!"
"I didn't hurt her and I have no intension of doing so. I just want to see you. I need to see you. Tell me where you are and I'll come to you. That's all I want."
His silken voice caused my stomach to flutter despite my panic. “Why do you want to see me?"
This is what I had wanted, right? I wanted him to come back to me, except I wasn't there when he finally returned. Was I getting what I deserved by being so foolish to fall for him in the first place? Sickening dread fell over me because I had left Mandy alone in Caldwell.
Where in the world can you find Sherri?
Sherri will be awarding a $25 gift card from Amazon to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn host. The more you comment the better your chances of winning. Follow along on the tour to up your odds for being a prize winner.
Tour dates and locations: