Welcome to the virtual book tour for The Vrykolakas Deviation by Sherri Lackey. Get to know this author a little better and then follow the tour for more interviews and reviews!
What was the inspiration behind The Vrykolakas Deviation?
The inspiration behind the story is the culmination of a lifelong fascination I’ve had with vampire tales. With all of the other vampire novels on the market, I got to thinking: How would I write a vampire novel? The Vrykolakas Deviation answers the question how I would write a vampire novel. I wanted vampires who are wicked through and through, and then I wanted something miraculous to happen in their midst, something they would consider a threat to their way of life. I wanted a vampire to be born who would be considered a deviant among the other vampires.
I have pretty much only known about your run-of-the-mill, standard vampire, with a few minor tweaks to fit the fancy of each author. What is a vrykolakas? Is this something you created, or have they previously existed in literature? And how would you pronounce that?
A vrykolakas is a vampire of Greek origin. Some of the legends closely link them to werewolves. Their general physical description is similar to Dracula in Brahm Stoker’s novel. The major difference between a vrykolakas and a traditional vampire is that they do not drink the blood of their victims. Exactly how they killed their victims is a mystery.
Legends say that the vrykolakas would wander around a village knocking on the doors of houses. If the occupant answered the door on the first knock, the vrykolakas would disappear. Soon afterward, the occupant would die and become a vrykolakas as well. To this day, some folks in certain parts of Greece will not answer their door on the first knock. The legends often depict the vrykolakas sitting on the chest of his victim. One illustration I found shows a hideous, skeletal creature sitting on a man’s chest with its boney fingers wrapped around its victim’s throat.
I did tweak and change certain aspects of the vrykolakas in my book. For one thing, I didn’t want them to be hideously ugly. I don’t have them going around town knocking on doors either. I did keep their Greek origin and I interwove other Greek myths into my tale as well, like the myth of Narcissus and Echo. I kept the bloodless aspect of their murderous ways, but I needed to have their method of killing to be more defined. My vrykolakes drain their victim’s life-force by an electrical transference, sort of like you might drain a battery.
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how to pronounce the word “vrykolakas”. I pronounce it as - Vree Cola Cos. My husband, on the other hand, pronounces it as a one syllable word that sounds like a sneeze when he says it. I prefer my pronunciation best. I do know that “vrykolakas” is the singular form of the word, while “vrykolakes” is the plural form.
So many kinds of vampires now exist. Why do you think we are so fascinated by them?
I think the modern day interest in the romanticized version of the vampire has something to do with the fact that some women are attracted to “bad boys”. Maybe they hope to save the bad boy vampire from himself. Maybe the fascination also stems from a desire to live life on the edge, or at least live life vicariously through a character in a story.
As for the ugly, detestable, and traditional versions of the vampire, I think they are an expression of all that is wrong with mankind in general. They are monsters; they are us.
In my vampire tale, I incorporate a little of both the romanticized and traditional versions. Severin, my leading vrykolakas, is essentially the “bad boy” that my main character, Keeva, falls in love with. The vrykolakes in my story are an expression of the baser parts of human nature. My vrykolakes have room for only one person in their lives and that person is always themselves. They are narcissistic to their very cores.
Will there be a sequel to this book?
Yes, I am working on a sequel. It is titled The Darkness Below, and I hope to have it out by August 2013. It is the second installment for the series I’ve titled The Narcissus Legacy. In it I explore the origins of my vrykolakes, introducing readers to the homeland and current whereabouts of Narcissus, the progenitor of the race. I introduce a new character, Kaie, who becomes a powerful vrykolakas. She is free of the narcissistic tendencies of other vrykolakes, but she has other troubles. She is trapped in Narcissus’ homeland which is far from her home realm - earth. The nightmare realm she finds herself trapped in is called Subtenna because it is always night there. She is faced with a harsh environment, ravenous creatures, proud dark elves, and a nameless darkness which lurks beneath the surface in a wretched place called the Belows where all the unwanted denizens of Subtenna are sent.
Who is your favorite character? Your least favorite?
I have a soft spot in my heart for Sandor, Keeva’s father, the original, deviant vrykolakas. Deviant because he is not narcissistic like his wicked parents and because he does not have the ability to kill humans like other vrykolakes. I like Sandor because, despite everything that happens to him during his extremely long and painful life, he keeps a hopeful outlook. He never gives up and he never gives over to despair.
My least favorite character is Aspasia, Keeva’s grandmother and Sandor’s mother. Keeva blames Aspasia for everything that went wrong in Sandor’s early childhood. She knows that Aspasia, like any normal vrykolakas, has love only for herself, but Keeva can’t help believing that Aspasia should have been able to rise above this self-love in order to protect her young son from his abusive father, Delius.
What are some of your other current projects?
I have a third book in The Narcissus Legacy series that will follow The Darkness Below. Its tentative title is The Darkness Within, and it will follow the path of Kaie’s good natured and studious older brother, Connor, who transforms into something other than a vrykolakas. He becomes a creature that is wholly a weapon of destruction. Actually, the creature he becomes was inspired by a drawing my artist daughter dreamed up one day. I’ve never seen anything like it, all sharp angles and blades. It needed a story of its own.
How do you make yourself stand out in a market that is saturated with the paranormal?
Now that’s the trick isn’t it? I have tried to do this by choosing a revenant creature, the vrykolakas, which is unlike the traditional blood thirsty vampire. My hope is that readers who like vampire tales, but long for something new and different, will give my tale a try.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Keep writing and don’t give up. Don’t let roadblocks deter you. Go around them, over them, through them, whatever it takes. Keep honing your craft; buy all the wonderful types of dictionaries that are out there like The Bibliophile’s Dictionary by Miles Westley. Keep reading. Read your genre of interest, read other genres, read nonfiction. Use all the information you glean from reading and from life experiences to build rich worlds that your characters will inhabit.
What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Little, Big by John Crowley. It is touted as a modern classic fantasy centering around faeries. Since writing The Vrykolakas Deviation, I have become increasingly interested in faery stories. For that reason alone, I started reading it. I can say that it is unlike any fantasy novel I’ve ever read. It is subtly nuanced and you barely get a glimpse of the faeries, although you know their presence is there nonetheless throughout the story. If I had to describe the book in one word it would be: surreal.
What is your favorite book? Which book has had the most influence in your life?
My answer to that question can change depending on the day you ask it. Right now I would say it is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which is book one of a trilogy called The Kingkiller Chronicle. I like his world building, his motley cast of characters, and the way he is able to bring the past and present together as his main character, Kvothe, recounts his life story.
What is something about you that readers may not know or be surprised to learn?
Readers might be surprised to learn that I am married to a Southern Baptist pastor. I know it certainly surprised some Southern Baptist congregants to learn that a pastor’s wife would write a vampire novel! Not only that, but most folks assume all pastor’s wives should be able to play the piano, but I do not. Shocking, I know. I also listen to rock music and I adore a well played electric guitar. Maybe I should learn to play the electric guitar. I did want to play in a rock band when I was a teen. I even have an unwritten story floating around in my brain revolving around a young woman in a rock band. Maybe I’ll write it someday.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would love to have everyone come over to my website: sherrilackey.com and say “hi”. You can follow my blog there where I will give updates on the release dates of my books as well as have information on where to purchase them.
Thanks for having me here today!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherri 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.
The Vrykolakas Deviation
by Sherri Lackey
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.
Read an excerpt:
"Why? I am a vrykolakas and that is all that matters," he said harshly. "You are not a vrykolakas. You are nothing, less than nothing, daughter of Sandor. You are nothing but a freakish aberration, a mistake yet to be remedied – erased."
This conversation was not going in the direction I had hoped it would go. "And yet," I said, "here you are tied up in this room. This less than nothing aberration managed to drag your practically lifeless body back here and tie you up. That is something to think about isn't it?"
He gave me that cold smile again. "You are such a naïve little girl. How have you survived this long?"
I suddenly felt foolish. I clearly was not on top of my game here. I was failing miserably and his last words cut me deeply. I walked out of the room slamming the door behind me. I was frustrated by my failed first attempt at interrogation. On top of that, I couldn't think clearly with him around.
That night, I was restless again. At times it seemed I was in some realm of being half asleep and half awake. At one point, I thought I woke up to see Severin standing over me, looking down at me with that wolfish grin. I came more fully awake. He was not there, but his distinct odor was pervasive in my room. I got up and got a drink of water from the kitchen. I listened quietly outside his room and heard nothing.
Sherri will be awarding a $25 GC from Amazon to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!