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Monday, May 7, 2012

Author Interview - Denise Verrico

Please welcome Denise Verrico to The Far Edge of Normal! How can we find you?!/Immortylrevolution!/cedricvampire!/deniseverrico

What do you currently have in print and where can we find them?

The Immortyl Revolution series: Cara Mia, Twilight of the Gods, My Fearful Symmetry and Servant of the Goddess.  They are available through all the big online outlets like Amazon, B&N, Fictionwise, Omni Lit etc. in multi format ebook and trade paperback.  They can be ordered through major bookstores.  Some indie bookstores do carry them.

What genre do you write?

Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Sci Fi and Horror

Do you have cats or other pets? Why or why not?

I have six birds, belonging to the parrot family. I love parrots because they are so intelligent and entertaining.  They’re social creatures that form strong bonds with their human “flock members”.  They also tend to see one person as their “mate”.  My two favorites are my Timneh African Grey, Gromit and my son’s cockatiel, Pippin.  The funny thing is, Pippin chose me as his person, while Gromit, who is my bird, chose my son as his favorite.  I like to put parrots and other kinds of birds in my books. Rooks, birds related to crows and ravens, feature in a book I’m currently writing.

What inspires your stories?

Gosh, I find inspiration everywhere.  I love reading about science, history and other cultures, which helps in world building. I usually come up with characters first and create the world and plot around them.  Mia, the heroine from my vampire series, came to me in a dream when I was reading a lot of Anne Rice. 

What events do you have coming up?

I’m at the Ohioana Book festival on May 11th and at The Piqua Ohio Public Library Author Fair on May 18th.  I’m currently on a blog tour, and I also have an online book launch event put on by Bewitching Book Tours on June 2nd.

How do you like your romance, sweet or spicy? Or do you like romance?

I’m not a fan of romance as a genre, but I do like an exploration of relationships as a subplot in all kinds of stories.  I find the romance genre puts too many restrictions on an author and idealizes relationships too much.  My taste in men isn’t conventional, and I don’t like that the hero has to be a stereotypical “alpha male”. I’m far more attracted to edgy, artistic types, and my heroes tend to be pretty rather than rugged—but they are tough and smart, not wimpy. My vampires are pansexual, poly-amorous creatures, so no monogamous romances for them.  I’m an earthy gal, and I tend to like the sex hot, but not parts specific.  Blood is drawn and vampire tantra practiced. 

What is your current WIP?

I’m writing a fantasy set in an eighteenth century technology.  I’d call it picaresque in tone.  The world is somewhat inspired by the geography of New Zealand and Maori mythology. 

The island nation of Maritania has just emerged from an oppressive theocracy.  Feona Carmodi, the main character, is a seventeen-year-old actress of mixed blood who secretly practices native magic.  This leads to all kinds of trouble for her.
It’s a lot of fun for me, because I get to draw upon my theater background and write lots of what I hope is witty dialogue.

I’ve also got some shorts and another urban fantasy novel in the works.

Do you write to music or not? If so, what type of music inspires you the most?

I listen to a lot of music, but I love rock and classical best.  I’m a freak for Queen and David Bowie.  Cedric, one of my vampires, is a musician who adores Bowie.  Kurt, another of my vamps, was child prodigy classical pianist.  Someday, I’m sure I’ll have a character that belts out show tunes.  Hmm… Sounds like a role for John Barrowman.

Queen and Bowie, gotta love them. What hobbies do you have that you want to share?

I’m a roller coaster enthusiast.  Last estimate, I’ve ridden over 100 different coasters on the East Coast and in the Midwest.  I’ve yet to make it to parks in the West.  My favorites are Millennium Force and The Raptor at Cedar Point in Ohio.   Living in Central Ohio is great because I’m about halfway between Cedar Point and King’s Island.

Did you always want to be an author? Who inspired you?

No, as a child, I wanted to be a marine biologist or veterinarian.  Later, I was bitten by the theater bug and became an actress.  In college, one of my acting professors used to say I was destined to become a writer because I was so into theater literature and 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. 

What are your favorite movies, tv shows, or books to read? Is there one that you could watch/read over and over without ever tiring of it?

I love Robert Graves’ Claudius and Mary Renault’s Alexander the Great novels.  I read Marian Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, over and over, but my favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.  My favorite TV shows are Game of Thrones, Dexter, Torchwood, Being Human, Dark Shadows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.  Movies, hands down, are the Lord of the Rings films.  Yes, I’ve watched them and all of the appendices about thirty times.  Of course, the eye candy makes it easy.  I’m obsessed with Elijah Wood.

What characters are your favorites from your books?

Kurt Eisen in my Immortyl Revolution books is one of my most complex characters.  He was in Dauchau as a teenager and was forced into a sexual relationship with an SS officer in order to survive. Later, his vampire master, Brovik, rescues him.  Kurt falls deeply for Brovik, only to find himself second in his master’s affections and a slave in status.  Then Kurt meets Mia.  These two slaves are jaded by the corruption and oppression of Immortyl society.  As a Holocaust survivor, Kurt sees the implications of vampirism all too well.  

Kurt is full of contradictions and torn by aspects of his nature, both sexual and vampiric.  He’s driven by bloodlust, but he has an innate sense of justice that makes him want to rectify things by finding a biological cure for his condition and others.  Kurt keeps his own counsel and is intensely private, yet he becomes a revolutionary leader.  He’s shy, but can be eloquent when he’s moved to speak.  He loves and admires Mia, his fierce consort, more than anyone he’s ever known and swears to never hurt her, yet he denies her political power.  He also takes male and female lovers.  Of course, Mia is no angel either in that respect.  She fights tooth and nail for recognition and power.

From any work of fiction?

Doesn’t everyone want Atticus Finch as a dad?  I thought he was the coolest character ever, standing up for what he believes in, even though it’s dangerous for him and his family.  I admire his moral courage.

I also love Bagoas from Mary Renault’s The Persian Boy.  Bagaos was a real person, a male courtesan in service to Alexander the Great.  He was someone who had to navigate a lot of intrigue to stay alive, but eventually gained some power and status.

Bagoas inspired me to create another of my favorite characters, Cedric MacKinnon, the male vampire courtesan in My Fearful Symmetry.  Courtesans are interesting figures because they have to be smart and talented as well as beautiful. They often are involved in political intrigue.  I needed a character that could observe and move within my vampire ruling class.  Because the chief elder’s court in India is somewhat cut-off from the modern world, it gave me the opportunity to do some neat world building for Cedric’s book.  I liked writing about a world so apart from our own.  This is when I discovered my need to start writing some fantasy projects outside of the urban fantasy sub-genre.

If you could meet one historical person for dinner, who would it be and why?

It’s a toss-up.  Elizabeth I of England spent her childhood and young womanhood always on the edge of danger.  She never knew what her fate would be.  By all accounts, she was fiercely intelligent.  I’ve read a lot of books about her.  I don’t think we’d be cozy friends, but I do admire her.  I’d also love to have Oscar Wilde over for dinner and hear him say say wicked, witty things.  I’d warn him to stay away from Bosie, but I know he’d never listen. 

If you could travel anywhere on Earth, where would you want to go? If you could travel anywhere, fictional or real, where would you go?

I’d love to go to New Zealand and India.  I fell in love with the topography of New Zealand from the LOTR, and the Maori have a fascinating culture.  Sure, I also want to watch the toilet water go down the opposite way. 

I did a lot of research on India and Indian culture, art and mythology for My Fearful Symmetry.  Indian classical dance is amazing.  Also, so much of vampire lore can be traced back to India.

Fictional, I’d have to say either Hogwart’s Castle or Rivendell.  Hogwart’s has the moving staircases and living paintings.  Rivendell, as seen in the films, is just so cool and art nouveau that I want to live there. 

If you could time travel, what is one event you would want to see in person, either future or past? 

The Big Bang.  I want to be there at the beginning. 

What's your favorite color? Food? Reading spot?

My favorite color is red, the color of power and blood.  I also look my best in it. 

My favorite food is lobster.  I never get enough!

I read mostly in bed, because that’s the only time I get to relax.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Sure, I’d like to ask the readers who their favorite fictional character is and why.


Thank you for stopping by and sharing a bit about yourself. I love getting to know other authors. So, readers, who's up for the challenge? Tell us who your favorite fictional character is and why. There may even be a prize of some sort... 

From Denise: I'm giving a free ebook of Annals of the Immortyls to all commenters. Simply provide an email, and I'll send you a coupon code as soon as it's released.  Also, to enter my monthly blog drawing to win an e-copy of Servant of the Goddess, follow this link and comment on this post: