Monday, August 6, 2012

Author Spotlight - Denise Verico

Denise Verrico is a New Jersey native, who grew up in Pennsylvania. She attended
Point Park College in Pittsburgh, where she majored in theatre arts. For seven seasons
she was a member of The Oberon Theatre Ensemble in NYC with whom she acted,
directed and wrote plays. Denise has enjoyed vampire stories from the time she was a
little girl and a fan of the Dark Shadows television series. She enjoys reading non-fiction
and fiction of all kinds, particularly historical fiction, thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, manga and
graphic novels. Every April through October you can find Denise climbing to heights of
four hundred plus feet at speeds exceeding one hundred and twenty miles per hour on her
favorite roller coasters. She currently lives in Ohio with her husband, teenaged son and
flock of six spoiled parrots.

Cedcric's Twitter @cedricmackinnon


Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

You are the master or mistress of your destiny. Mia, my heroine, is born to be a leader,
but she’s been pushed into the background because of politics within her culture. Instead
of waiting for power to be handed to her, she begins to learn how to take it.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I’m always looking for ways to make my stories original. There are thousands of
vampire stories out there. The key is to find something unique that will make your book
stand out from the crowd. I make myself think out of the box and ask lots of “what if”
questions. Research reading helps. I started doing research on India, where my vampire
culture came from and that gave me a springboard to create a multi-layered society with
its own customs and religion.

I’m not fond of the final revisions and editing. However, these are important, and I put
my novels through a year of revisions and re-writes now. Having great critique partners
eases the strain. Taking time to walk in the woods or spending time with my husband
and son riding roller coasters recharges my batteries when I’m stressing over things.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I’ve written four in the Immortyl Revolution series, Cara Mia, Twilight of the Gods, My
Fearful Symmetry and my current release, Servant of the Goddess. They tell a continuing
story, but can be read stand alone.

I have to say that My Fearful Symmetry is my favorite. It’s the one where I really got to
get into the Indian roots of the culture. The book is set at the court of the chief elder in
the Hill Country in India. The vampires there live much as they have for three thousand
years, but they use modern conveniences and technology.

The main character is Cedric MacKinnon, a nineteen-year-old who lives on the streets,
selling himself to survive. He contracts AIDS and turns to playing the guitar and singing
in the underground for change. An Immortyl named Raj discovers and takes Cedric to
India. There Cedric becomes an adept of the ancient arts, a devotee of the goddess Kali
and sacred courtesan. He’s exploited by the chief elder in political intrigues and becomes
disillusioned and sympathetic to the rebel forces.

It was fun to take aspects of Indian culture and mythology and combine it with vampires.
India has such a rich and varied cultural tradition. The costumes, architecture and art
forms, like Indian classical dance are inspiring. In my research, I learned that vampire
myths of Eastern Europe were most likely brought from India by the gypsies and traders
on the Great Silk Road. This book has more of that “once upon a time” feel to it. It
made me realize that I needed to start writing other types of fantasy.

If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who
would you pick and why?

I definitely see Cedric played by the young British actor Nicholas Hoult, who is very
tall and gorgeous. I was a big fan of the British series “Skins”. Nick played Tony, the
ultimate bad boy. He was also in X-Men first class as Hank McCoy, Beast.

When did you begin writing?

I didn’t start writing seriously until my late thirties. As a child, I wanted to be a marine
biologist or veterinarian. My career as a writer has been a bit unorthodox. I didn’t start
out wanting to be a writer, but in high school, I wrote comedy sketches and song parodies
with a friend of mine, just for fun. Okay, maybe for five minutes I dreamed of writing
for Saturday Night Live.
In college, I majored in theater and learned a lot about building characters and dramatic
action from acting and analyzing plays. I wrote some humor pieces and bogus theater
reviews to amuse my friends, but never considered myself a serious writer. One of my
theater professors encouraged me to start writing, but like many twenty-two-year olds, I
completely disregarded this advice and pursued a career in acting. 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.

How long did it take to complete your first book?

Well, if you consider that I was learning about writing and just messing around with
it, it took me fourteen years. I’m a firm believer in the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm
Gladwell talks about in his book Outliers. The theory is that to master something,
a sport, an art form, music, anything, you must practice it for 10,000 hours. During
this fourteen year period, I was experimenting, reading books on writing and building
a world. When vampires became a big thing with the Twilight saga, my husband
convinced me to start querying publishers. My books are nothing like Twilight, but
vampires were suddenly in demand.

Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles were a big influence. I love the sensuous, Gothic feel,
although my style is much sparer than hers. Robert Graves’ Claudius books and Mary
Renault’s Alexander the Great historical novels are favorites of mine for their chatty,

first-person narratives. I read Marian Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, over and
over, for the strong female characters.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I love when I’m creating the world and characters, when I’m really in the zone and
can write compulsively for hours on end. This is closely coupled with research. I do
preliminary research, but I’m researching as I go along. If I get stuck, I hit the internet
and start looking up things.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Servant of the Goddess: Steamy intrigue and mayhem!

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your

I’m taking a little break from the vampires, but I do plan on writing about Cedric’s
adventures in the Immortyl Wars and developing his relationship with Lord Liu.

Right now, I’m moving into writing other types of fantasy and lighter urban fantasy. I’ve
done dark and though I love it, sometimes you need to come out into the light. Also, I’m
writing more about magic in my newer projects, whereas there isn’t any real magic in
Immortyl Revolution. Well, if you ask Cedric there is. He’s convinced that the Goddess
Kali works through him and Mia.

I’m almost done with the new urban fantasy, which is about a prophetess. It takes place
in a small town in Ohio that is troubled by a demon that is killing young men. The
heroine experiences visions of the demon’s murders. In the midst of this, she becomes
involved with a young man, who is ordained by higher powers to carry out a mission.

The other fantasy novel is set in an alternate world, in an eighteenth century technology.
The setting is based somewhat on colonial New Zealand, but mirrors other colonial
societies, even colonial America. The indigenous people in the book are inspired by the
Maori, but there are elements of other cultures added and imagined. The main character
is a mixed-blood, seventeen-year-old actress whose family is hired by a nobleman to
present plays in a very repressed town. Native magic is outlawed, and Feona is heir to
her late Grandmother’s shamanic legacy.

Can an Immortyl society survive in a modern world?

From the ashes of the first battle of the Immortyl Revolution, vampires Mia Disantini and Kurt Eisen set out to build a new Immortyl society. Trouble arrives in the person of Cedric MacKinnon, a runaway adept of the ancient arts, who brings tidings of upheaval at the chief elder’s court that threatens everything Mia and Kurt have accomplished. Mia finds it hard to resist when Cedric pledges his service and tempts her with the legendary skills he learned as an Immortyl courtesan. Facing opposition from both within and out, Mia begins to doubt Kurt is up to the task of leading their followers to his vision of an Immortyl Utopia. Torn between her loyalty to Kurt and Cedric’s insistence that she is the earthly manifestation of the Goddess Durga and destined to lead, Mia confronts the greatest challenge of her life.

Links to Purchase


*Every commenter who leaves a contact email at this blog will receive a link and free coupon code for an Epub and Mobi Pocket ebook bundle of my new trio of short stories, Annals of the Immortyls.*

1 comment:

Denise Verrico said...

Thanks for hosting, Cami! I'm happy to be here today.

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