Monday, January 7, 2013

The Vrykolakas Deviation by Sherri Lackey

This week I interview Sherri Lackey, and feature her YA Fantasy, The Vrykolakas Deviation.  Sit back relax and learn a bit about Sherri and her book.


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.

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I answered, "Hello again, Sweets. What important detail did you forget to tell me about in our previous conversation?"

A familiar voice said, "Where are you, Keeva? I need to see you, and Sweets here won't give me your address."

I sat up, heart racing. "Severin?" Had he returned to kill her – again? "Why do you have Mandy's phone? Where is she?"

"She's sitting on the couch across from me. I took her phone and found your number because she wouldn't just give it to me when I politely asked for it. I'm in her house."

"What are you doing there? I told you to stay away from Caldwell."

"I told you already; keep up with the conversation. I'm trying to find you!"

"You'd better not hurt her, Severin. Or I swear, I will hunt you down and kill you!"

"I didn't hurt her and I have no intension of doing so. I just want to see you. I need to see you. Tell me where you are and I'll come to you. That's all I want."

His silken voice caused my stomach to flutter despite my panic. “Why do you want to see me?"

This is what I had wanted, right? I wanted him to come back to me, except I wasn't there when he finally returned. Was I getting what I deserved by being so foolish to fall for him in the first place? Sickening dread fell over me because I had left Mandy alone in Caldwell.


What are your roots?
My dad’s side of the family is a mixture of Scottish, German, and Choctaw. My dad was on the rolls of the Choctaw nation. He was proud of his Native American roots and I am too. My mom’s side of the family is Irish and German.

Has your own family story impacted your writing at all?
I was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, but my parents bought a fast food restaurant in Alpine, Texas, when I was a toddler and we lived there for seven years. My formative years were spent playing by myself in the back storage area of that place while my parents ran the business up in front. There were no neighborhood children to play with. My brother is ten years older than me and we had nothing in common.

I think growing up in the gloomy back portion of my parent’s business is what fostered my imagination and inspired me to become a writer. At the time I didn’t see it. I hated that place. I just wanted to live in a normal house in a normal neighborhood. That never happened, even after they sold the business and moved back to New Mexico years later. While my life has never been normal, I think it has given me a unique perspective on the world at large.

How do you describe yourself as a writer?
I’m highly introspective and that comes out in the characters I create. I’m also an introvert. That doesn’t mean I’m shy. It just means I spend a lot of my time observing and thinking. All of this observation comes out in my writing as well. Writing is my preferred method of communication. I more aptly express what I am thinking when I’m writing. Unless I’m giving a prepared speech, conveying my thoughts out loud doesn’t work well for me. I’m happiest and most comfortable when I write.

What do you think is the special power of the genres you write in?
I started out writing science fiction and gradually moved into writing fantasy as well. Storytelling in general is one of the best ways to communicate an idea. Scholarly articles have their place but stories touch people’s hearts. I think science fiction and fantasy both convey ideas to readers in a unique way. There are fewer constraints placed on these genres which make the relaying of your message all the easier.

Contrast this, for example, to historical fiction where there are many constraints placed upon that genre since it involves actual people, places, and events in the past. That’s not to say that you cannot use actual people, places, and events in science fiction or fantasy. Abraham Lincoln made a convincing vampire hunter, for instance, in Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel. His novel isn’t a historical fiction novel though. He takes a lot of liberty with Lincoln’s real and actual life in the past. It’s that sort of freedom that makes science fiction and fantasy my preferred realm of writing.

Why was it important for you to write this particular novel?
I have toyed with the idea of writing a vampire novel for several years. I challenged myself to write a different sort of vampire tale. I didn’t want it to be cut from the same mold of other vampire stories. I am a do-it-yourself kind of girl and I made a different kind of vampire from a mold I fashioned. I did use an actual vampire legend, the vrykolakas of Greek origin, but I made the vrykolakes look, act, and think the way I wanted them to.

What was hard for you in writing this novel?
The actual writing of the novel was easy. I wrote it in about twenty-eight days. The hardest part was editing and polishing it afterward. I had to swallow my pride on more than one occasion as I had beta readers take it for a test drive. I lost count of the times I took that manuscript back to the writing desk to re-write, edit, and polish it again and again.

Are there themes that recur in your work?
There is always a strong family dynamic in my work. I suppose this is because my family is what inspires and encourages me throughout each and every day of my life. Hope is also recurring theme, along with the darkness that threatens that hope. Slavery and freedom are frequent themes in my writing.

In The Vrykolakas Deviation all of these themes are present. Sandor and his daughter, Keeva, provide a strong family dynamic. Hope is embodied in the character of Sandor. Slavery is portrayed by the vrykolakes who do not even perceive their enslavement to their unending pursuit of narcissistic pleasure.  Sandor and Keeva are the only two vrykolakes on earth who are not enslaved in this way. Yet, Keeva does not fully appreciate the freedom she has and falls in love with her father’s bitter enemy, Severin, fully knowing he could only cause her pain and heartache.

What are you working on now?
I am working on the second book to The Narcissus Legacy series. The Vrykolakas Deviation is book one. Book two is The Darkness Below which will continue the story through the eyes of Keeva’s daughter, Kaie, who accidently ends up in another realm called Subtenna. Once she arrives there she learns that there is no escape from that realm as it is a prison the aes sidhe devised long ago for the dokkalfar (dark elves).  She desperately seeks a gateway back to earth, determining to forge her own doorway if she has to. What starts out as a solo journey for Kaie, eventually leads to some strange alliances which make her life’s goal more complicated but interesting. Especially when she is arrested for thievery by a handsome dokkalfar named Amaury who captures her heart.

What would you like to write in the future?
After I finish The Narcissus Legacy series, I want to work on a manuscript I wrote in 2011 titled The Architects of Paradise. It is science fiction, focusing on a girl named Adina. It follows her throughout her life, beginning when she was a frightened child of ten, the day earth was invaded and conquered by an alien race from a planet known as Paradise.

If you had to give one piece of advice to women who are searching for something more in their relationships, what would it be?
The grass is never greener on the other side of the fence; it’s an illusion, like a mirage. Life is hard. Your partner, family, and friends aren’t perfect and neither are you. That said, once the above is acknowledged, relax. Savor the good moments, and work through the bad moments, learning from your mistakes, taking note of them and resolving to do better next time. Don’t hold a grudge, forgive, and each time you want to rehash that past hurt and get angry all over again regarding something you thought you forgave, let that anger go because it will destroy not only your relationships but you as well. We all know bitter people. Those folks let their anger consume them. Don’t do that to yourself or the ones you love.


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.

Contact Sherri: website | facebook | twitter

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

Sherri will be awarding a $25 Gift  Card from Amazon to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Remember, the more tour stops you visit and comment, the better your chances of winning.

Tour Stops

January 7:  Maggie's Meanderings (You are here!)
January 8:  Christine Young
January 9:  Andi's Book Reviews 
January 10:  The Bookcast
January 11:  From Me to You ... Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
January 14:  Donna's Blog Home
January 15:  SnifferWalk
January 16:  Christy McKee Writes About Women in the "Sweet Spot" of Life
January 17:  Loose the Hounds
January 17:  STOP 2  Booked and Loaded
January 18:  Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
January 21:  Welcome to My World of Dreams
January 22:  Carly Fall - Where Fantasy Meets Romance
January 23:  Books and Other Spells
January 24:  My paranormal book review
January 25:  Reader Girls


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Sherri Lackey said...

Hi Maggie! Thanks for having me here today! If your readers have any questions, I'd love to answer them!

Ingeborg said...

Great interview, thank you. I enjoyed learning more about Sherri.


Maggie Jaimeson said...

Yes, Sherri does a marvelous interview. Sherri as I am west coast it may take awhile for my readers to wake up and respond so do check back. In the meantime, I have another question. Is the term Vrykolakas one you made up or is it used in some semi-vampire circles?

Anonymous said...

Interesting interview...I'm curious to learn more about the origin of the Vrykolakas, too!


Sherri Lackey said...

Thanks Maggie! I did'nt make up the term vrykolakas. The word has Greek origins and the vrykolakas (vrykolakes - plural)is sometimes called the bloodless vampire. I'd never heard of them before I started doing research for my book. My vrykolakes are different from the traditional vrykolakes which are said to wander about a village knocking on people's doors.

Evelyn Bohn said...

This sounds like a cool idea and I LOVE the book cover. Definitely makes me want to read it. So, if your vampires are bloodless, does that mean they don't drink blood and make others into vampires? I guess I want to know a little more about how your vampires are different from the norm. And are there good Vrykolakas and bad Vrykolakas or are all of them bad except your protagonist? eviebohn (at) gmail (d0t) com

Sherri Lackey said...

Hi Evelyn! My vrykolakes feed on humans by draining the life-force from their victims. The actual legends of the vrykolakas were not clear on this point and so I took some liberties with it. My vrykolakes sometimes turn humans into vrykolakes. Once the human is turned they are forever enslaved to the vrykolakas who turned them. All vrykolakes are self-serving narcissists, except for Keeva and her father, Sandor, who are considered deviants by the other vykolakes.
Thanks for your questions!

Catherine Lee said...

It sounds like your childhood was very lonely. Sometimes, that can make a child's imagination develop.

Sherri Lackey said...

Thanks again Maggie and everyone who commented! Hope to see you around the blogosphere!

Sherri Lackey said...

Catherine it was lonely at times but it did develop my imagination. :)

Gala said...

Actually the concept of vrykolakes sounds quite intersting, not you like a well used trope of vampires.

galaschick78 at gmail dot com

Misha Gericke said...

Ooh this story sounds amazing! All the best!

Mary Preston said...

It's fabulous that you were inspired by a Greek legend & I love the fact that you went for a different kind of vampire story.


Karen H in NC said...

Sorry for the late post. I’m playing catch-up here so I’m just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Gala, Misha, Mary and Karen, thanks for stopping by and checking out Sherri's book. I'll drop her a line so she knows you all came by. I suspect she's off to other stops now but I know she'll be happy you dropped in.

Sherri Lackey said...

Hello again! Maggie did let me know some others dropped by! Thanks for your comments! Using the vrykolakas instead of the traditional vampire has its challenges. Especially when it comes to pronunciation! I'm still glad I chose them for my story even if it's Greek to me and everyone else. :) Thanks again! I'll probably stop back by again later this week!

Vidya Ravi said...

Great giveaway! "The Architects of Paradise" is real good..all the best!

Emiliana25 said...

Vrykolakas sound intriguing, how did you came up with the name?


Lena said...

I'm enjoying reading the interviews and the excerpts, thank you for sharing.