Cemetery with old gravestones and moon

Lynda Hilburn is an author living in Boulder, Colorado. Her Vampire Psychologist series is a dark, contemporary fantasy series featuring a witty female psychologist who encounters a vampire in her office. Soon, the psychologist finds her life changing drastically as she is pulled deeper and deeper into the dark world of the vampire subculture.
Hilburn puts a fun, modern, and sexy spin on the vampire legend. These books are the perfect, spooky read for October. In addition to Hilburn’s affinity for writing about the undead, she is a licensed psychotherapist, and has been a professional university instructor, hypnotherapist, and psychic, just to name a few careers. Hilburn agreed to spill a few of her dark secrets to Flatirons Literary Review. Read her answers; they’re to die for.
 Q. You have had many different career paths over the years. What brought you to writing and why do you keep returning to it?

A. I have a love-hate relationship with writing. I’m one of those writers who enjoys “having written.” The actual process of writing is like pulling teeth for me. Like a lot of writers, I started putting words on paper as a way to express and understand myself, first through journals (preteen angst provides such juicy motivation), then nonfiction articles, newspaper columns and research papers, and finally fiction. Coming up with plot ideas isn’t a problem, but holding onto the necessary discipline to fulfill a daily word count is. I’ve stopped feeling guilty if I don’t want to write during any given time period. I just trust that the desire will re-emerge in the right time, in the right way. Bottom line: I keep writing simmering on the stove (often on the back burner) because I enjoy making money!

Q. You love to write about vampires. What draws you to vampires and why do you think they make such interesting characters?

A.  I’ve thought about that a lot over the years. I think I like vampires because they were once human, but became more. Whether we’re speaking of the horror variety — something very like ourselves who changed from what we consider “normal” to something monstrous in a heartbeat — or a tortured, romantic figure, we can’t totally relegate bloodsuckers to the realm of “other.” In most mythologies, a simple ritual could turn Uncle Harry into The Count. There’s something exciting and frightening about that. And, as a psychotherapist who listens to human dramas daily, I appreciate the “extraordinary” nature of vampires. How amazing to know the creature needs our very blood to exist. And, of course, there’s the immortality aspect. Most of us believe we’d like to live forever. (I wouldn’t.) Or that we’d like to find a vampire to love us eternally. I don’t think it would live up to the hype! (Laughs) I often wonder about things like blood breath.

Q. Many of your novels are set in the Denver area. How does it feel to write about a location you know so well?

A. I only write about things/locations/circumstances/situations I know well. I’m not a fan of research. So far, everything I’ve written takes place in Colorado or Detroit, Michigan, where I was raised. It’s even easier to write about Boulder. I guess I’m a research sloth.

Q. Who is the favorite character you have written and why?

A. I’ve written most about Kismet Knight, the psychologist main character in my series. We share a career path, so she’s easy for me to understand. But she’s younger, thinner, and having lots more close encounters with gorgeous men. Maybe she’ll trade places with me. I tend to write about characters involved with psychology (traditional and nontraditional), music and the intuitive arts. All the men I write tend to be clever and intellectual. My dream man, I guess.

Q. If you could have any vampire power, which one would you choose and why?

A. In my vampire world, the older bloodsuckers can read minds and manipulate others mentally. They can also travel via thought. I’d like all those abilities. But I’d only use them for good, of course.

Q. Tell me about the best part of being a writer.

A. Seriously, for me it’s having written. I like the rewriting process and it’s exciting to have a product to pitch or publish. The absolute best part of being a writer is making money. The worst part is always working in isolation.

Q. And the most frustrating part?

A. Publishing has changed radically since I started writing fiction in 2004. It was always a rough game, but now all the rules have been thrown out and the landscape rumbles constantly. Today’s author must not only write, but be an ace businessperson. Since so many writers (and other creatives) are introverts, the relentless promotion needed to succeed in any form of publishing can be daunting. And there’s nothing more frightening than putting your work out into the world for critique.

Q. In the Vampire Psychologist series, your main character is a shrink. Have you used any of your own experiences as a professional psychotherapist in your books?

A. Absolutely. The series was inspired by a session in my private practice back in 2004. A young woman spoke of her desire to join a non-human group (aliens, in this case) and since I’d been a vampire fan since childhood, it was a short leap for me to begin wondering what it would be like to find a hunky vampire in my waiting room. I went home that night and started typing. All my stories contain aspects from my professional work. I try not to use any clients directly, but rather I mix a few together to create a composite.

Q. What do you love most about being an author in Boulder, Colorado?

A. Boulder is an awesome place to be anything. Everyone I know is amazing in one way or another, so not only am I constantly inspired by their lives, but the town itself is quirky. There are lots of weird and wonderful people here. I’ve often used Boulder as a character in my stories. There’s no place better.

 

To learn more about Lynda Hilburn, explore her writing, or to purchase her books, visit her website at http://www.lyndahilburnauthor.com. Remember to bring some garlic with you…just in case.