Thursday, February 24, 2011
Interview with Author, Denise Verrico
Denise Verrico is an author of urban fantasy. Her newest work Twilight of the Gods, Book Two of the Immortyl revolution is available from L&L Dreamspell.
How did you come up with the title?
It’s an allusion to the Norse idea of the Ragnorak. In Norse mythology, Loki is the “mischief maker” and is foretold to bring on the Ragnorak.
What is Twilight of the Gods about?
In book one, Cara Mia, vampires Mia Disantini and Kurt Eisen have done the unthinkable and rebelled against their elder, Brovik, who was funding research on vampire immortality. In addition, the lovers have stolen data that proves that Immortyls are mere biological mutations of human beings. In their culture, to even suggest this is punishable by death.
Mia and Kurt’s motivation is to find a cure for their condition, a rival elder, Gaius, is trying to harness the power of immortality for profit. Kurt builds a force among bands of cast-off teenaged and child vampires called sewer rats to battle Gaius. They give Kurt the nickname Loki. This soon inspires a worldwide revolutionary movement.
Meanwhile, Mia, his strong and independent partner, dislikes being shunted into the background in the “man’s world” of Immortyl politics. To add insult to injury for her, Kurt has formed a romantic attachment to Arturo, an Immortyl who saved his life. She is forced to make a difficult choice for the good of the revolution and her relationship to Kurt.
What books have most influenced your life most?
In my genre, I have to give credit to Anne Rice. I love her dark romanticism. I’m not against books like Twilight, but I do prefer a darker vampire. My next biggest influence would have to be historical fiction authors Mary Renault and Robert Graves. I love the accessible first person narratives in books like The Persian Boy and I Claudius. Court intrigue and politics fascinate me. I also loved Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’d have to say that my next book in the series, My Fearful Symmetry, owes a lot to Renault’s The Persian Boy. Renault’s book is told from the POV of Bogoas the companion to Alexander The Great. The tone of Renault’s writing is very conversational. I like that all of this history is happening around the characters, but that personal stories are so accessible.
I loved the idea of writing about a male courtesan, only mine is a vampire and he’s a temple artist in service to the Goddess Kali. His name is Cedric MacKinnon. He’s a nineteen-year-old Scot. Cedric is funny and irreverent; a modern teenager who wants more than anything to be a rock star, but life has dumped him at the bottom of the heap. A chance encounter with a mysterious Indian gentleman leads him to the chief elder’s court and lands him in the middle of a hotbed of political intrigue. I really wanted a character that sees Kurt’s revolution from the inside of the ruling class, but I didn’t want that POV entirely opposed to the idea. Cedric sees and experiences terrible things and does a lot of growing as a character. In a nutshell, the book is about a boy who becomes a vampire and fights to become a man.
What are your current projects?
I’m working on the fourth Immortyl Revolution novel, Ratopia, and a magic-based urban fantasy with a variety of paranormal characters.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find it hard to do things fast. I don’t know how some authors can get books done so quickly. The research and world building takes time, and I work a full time job. I come from the theatre and dialogue is easy for me. Usually, I write it first. The trick is in balancing how much narrative detail is needed against the dialogue arc of the scene. That’s where the art comes into the craft, and that is where those extra pairs of eyes from writer’s groups come in handy.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Join a critique group if you haven’t. My groups help me so much. Also, strive to be original. Even though I like Anne Rice, I knew I wanted to write something very different. With the glut of vampire books out there, one of the most gratifying things I hear in reviews is that my books are very unique in the genre.
Twilight of the Gods, Book Two of the Immortyl Revolution
Narrowly escaping the implosion of Genpath laboratories, vampires Mia Disantini and Kurt Eisen are on the run from Gaius Lupus their rival in the Forbidden Science. When Kurt is captured by their enemy and rescued with the aid of feral vampire kids known as sewer rats, Mia witnesses first hand the charismatic spell her lover casts over these would-be revolutionaries. Setting up base in Manhattan, Kurt builds his forces to face off with Gaius, while independent-minded Mia navigates the minefield of sewer rat politics, which she finds very much a man’s world. The lovers’ deep bond is put to the test by both the beautiful Arturo and Kurt’s followers, who see Mia as standing between them and their beloved “Loki.” Matters are further complicated when the chief elder, Kalidasa, arrives from India to investigate rumors of heresy and revolution. With the threat of war with Gaius drawing ever closer, Mia ands Kurt prepare to meet the biggest challenge of their lives.
Twilight of the Gods, Book Two of the Immortyl Revolution
“Mee-ya? Darling, it’s past nine.”
The kerosene lamp beside the old four-poster bed sputtered. My eyes opened on Kurt’s in the flickering light. Paul Newman in his prime on a really good day couldn’t compete with those big blues. “Hello, gorgeous.”
He chuckled and eased his slender body over mine, lips searching my throat for the landmarks, while something warm, hard, and smooth begged for entrance below.
“I dreamed about Ethan.”
He paused in his delicious pursuit to scowl. “Again?”
“I still chose you.”
A smile fluttered over his alarmingly pale mouth. “I must go out tonight to meet Carol.” He gestured to a plastic bag filled with red liquid sitting in a bath of warm water. “Only a pint left.”
“You take it. I had two last night.” I stroked the warmth poised to enter me. “Amazed you still manage. Better wait.” His lower lip pouted. “I’m not going anywhere.”
He pulled away sighing and sat up, stretching and running his fingers through tangled golden curls, a marble angel with a single blemish, inky and obscene on his left forearm, a vestige of his captivity long ago in Dachau. He lifted the plastic bag out of the basin and inserted a straw, drinking it down. The white linen napkin he used to wipe his mouth came away smeared with red. “I’ll take the bike.”
“I’d feel better if you took the car.”
Brushing damp hair back from my eyes, he kissed me. “The wind feels like freedom.” He pulled on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Despite the late August temperatures of Northern Virginia, it was necessary for him to conceal the tattoo. People might not take too kindly to what looked to be a boy in his late teens making an apparent mockery of others’ misery. Unfortunately for Kurt the misery was all too real and personal. I rolled over on the huge bed, sheets sticking to my skin. “We really need an air-conditioner.”
Kurt frowned as he buttoned his shirt. “We been through this—no electricity—no noise.”
“I’m tired of tepid baths. I’m dying for a hot shower. Jesus, even Ethan believed in hot running water.”
“Darling, no one must know we’re camping out here. I don’t like it, either. Hopefully, it won’t be much longer. Carol says she has a meeting with the Justice Department next week about a safe house.”
“Yeah, real safe—level four maximum security.”
“We simply won’t agree to it. We’ll figure out something.” He lifted my chin to kiss me.
His lips were chilly. He needed lots more than the pint he’d just consumed. “Back in half an hour.”
“Be careful. Take a gun.”
He patted a slight bulge under his shirt in the vicinity of his hip. “Don’t worry.”
Kurt left the room. Moments later, gravel crunched as he walked Ethan’s motorcycle down the long drive and through the gate to the road. The bike growled and then buzzed into the distance. I worried about Kurt out there where our enemies might be lying in wait. Where did he get off becoming so annoyingly male and protective on me? He wasn’t trained to fight. He was small and slight and against a bigger, stronger vampire he was no match. I was a better shot than he, and I’d already saved his life once.