I want to hear about the Creative Process
BRoP: Do you have a specific writing style?
DV: I tend to write in a conversational fashion. I’m big on showing as much as possible in dialogue and not given to long narrative passages. My Urban Fantasy is all first-person, but I’m writing more in limited third right now. I’m playing around a bit with style and language in the fantasy novel I’m writing. It’s in an “eighteenth century”, somewhat picaresque setting, so I’m going for the wit and slightly formal style of dialogue.
DV: I find writer’s block is when I veer too far off the main character’s objective and inner conflict. Sometimes I’m trying to force the story where the character doesn’t want to go. It helps to step back a bit. I’ll do some research, take a walk, watch a movie etc. I find this gets my imagination flowing again. A glass of red wine never hurts either.
Sounds good... Cheers
DV: I start with characters. The idea for the Immortyl Revolution series evolved over a period of time. I kicked the first novel around for a long time before I sat down to finish it. Back when I was reading a lot of Anne Rice, I had a dream about a female vampire. I’d never read a book about one at the time. My husband and I brainstormed a little. He suggested exploring the fact that my protagonist was a woman and the implications of being both female and a vampire. Vampire sexual politics--who knew? I based a lot of the Immortyl culture on ancient ones. I created a multi-layered society that enslaved three fourths of their population. Then I got interested in biotechnology and came up with the idea of a race to harness immortality.
DV: I’m a combo of both. I have a vision of where the characters will start and where they end up, but how depends on their whims. In my vampire books, the revolution was Mia’s lover Kurt’s idea. The little bugger decided to take the series this way. It’s funny how a character can hijack a story. Cedric MacKinnon, the hero of the third book, started out as a love interest for a character I’d planned for later novels. He soon became one of my favorites. His story begged to be told. An entire religious cult and art form were born from his creation. This is why I love speculative fiction so much. You can do things like this. I really get into building the world and the characters.
DV: I rely heavily on my crit groups. I love the range of reactions I get and the ideas they contribute. In the theatre, we workshop plays, so I was completely open to doing this as a fiction writer. It helps to throw your work in front of someone completely new when writing a series. Your crit group knows your world, but you need the perspective of someone who is reading your work for the first time. They will see things that might be passed over by a reader who is familiar with your books. I had a beta reader from the UK for My Fearful Symmetry to make sure my British was “spot on”. Of course, you have to weigh all criticism carefully. If one person has an opinion that others disagree with, it could be that person’s taste or prejudice, but it can also be a valid point that other readers missed. I’m fortunate in that my critique groups are tough, but helpful and professional. They’ve taught me a lot.
DV: I love doing research. Currently, I’m researching the Maori and other Polynesian cultures for my in-progress fantasy novel.
I did a lot of my research on vampire lore when I was writing Cara Mia, and decided to go with a more sci fi take, with the race for harnessing Immortality as the series plot. For that, I read up on biotechnology. The books are mostly set in NYC (except book three) and it gave me a good excuse to go to New York once a year to take pictures, visit neighborhoods and museums. I used to live there, and I miss it a lot. I’m always looking up cultural information, foreign language, names, places etc.
The bulk of research I’ve done is on the third book, My Fearful Symmetry, which is set in India at the chief elder’s court. I did a lot of research on Indian culture, religions, costume, music, dance and mythology. Not that I’m trying to replicate actual life in that rich and fascinating culture. What I set out to do is to create a vampire subculture that has assimilated elements of that culture. My POV character, Cedric, is a Scottish rent boy turned Immortyl temple dancer and courtesan. Luckily I have a writer friend who was around in the sixties who found me great information on tantric sex rituals. Most of the stuff I found was scholarly and didn’t really get into what the process is like. Not the book is pornographic, but if a character is a practitioner of sexual rituals it’s important to know what he’s doing in his profession.
I use the internet a lot, of course, but I also like books and documentary films, especially for visuals like costume and setting. I recently did a panel with Tamora Pierce, and she said she learns more about a culture from their cookbooks than any other source. As an Italian-American, I appreciate that. Food is a huge part of our culture.
CV: Fight scenes. I love a good scrap, but I’ve never been in physical combat (except for a little stage-combat), so I watch battle scenes and swordfights in movies and try to research warfare. You probably won’t see epic historical epics with big battles from me anytime soon. My rule of thumb is, whenever I write a fight scene, it’s only half as long and fleshed out than it needs to be. So, I take it to my crit group. They will confirm my suspicion, and I’ll re-write it and present it again. After three or four revisions, I might get it right.
Servant of the Goddess
Book Four of the Immortyl Revolution
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.
Thanks so much for joining us Denise. For those who wish to follow her, here's a few links.
SOTG Denise Verrico Links:
My website: http://bit.ly/JhW2sw
Servant of the Goddess Excerpt: http://deniseverricowriter.webs.com/excerptbookfour.htm
My Trailer: http://deniseverricowriter.webs.com/apps/videos/videos/show/12715998-immortyl-revolution-trailer
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Servant of the Goddess Trade PB: http://amzn.to/K8uwPb
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