Message From The Author
It's Not All Fun and Games
for This Video Champ and Paranormal Author
By Alexandra Kay
Sherrilyn Kenyon has visited other planets, shape-shifted into animal form and killed vampires -- in her books, of course. And she's done it all in a way that's left fans eager for more.
With two books on the New York Times bestseller list last year, another one hitting the list this year and millions of copies of her books in print, the romance author has made a name for herself by bringing readers into a world of vampires, shape-shifters and daimons.
Although Kenyon sold her debut book, Paradise City, in 1994, it wasn't until the first book in her Dark-Hunter series, Fantasy Lover, came out in 2002 that she was catapulted to romance-writing superstardom. "Publishers weren't ready for some of my stuff," says Kenyon. "I had to wait for the market to catch up with me." Now, just a few years later, the author writes under two names, her own and Kinley MacGregor (her pseudonym for historical romances), and has several different series, including the Dark-Hunters, Brotherhood of the Sword, the MacAllisters, BAD and her newest series, the Lords of Avalon.
Readers' love of her writing put her on the bestseller lists, and the feeling isn't one-sided. Kenyon loves every one of the 150,000 fans from 45 countries who each week visit her websites, KinleyMacgregor.com and SherrilynKenyon.com. "I'm grateful for every one of them," says the writer. And this fall, from Oct. 20
to 22, her fans will get a chance to hang out with the author at the first-ever Kenyon/Kinley Convention in New Orleans. Fans are planning to come from as far away as Australia to meet the author, talk about her books and tour various locations in New Orleans, where events in her books happen. More than 200 have already signed up.
Kenyon may live out fantasies through her writing, but her real world is much more down to earth. The 40-year-old writer lives outside of Nashville, Tenn., with her husband of 16 years, their three sons -- ages 6, 10 and 11 -- and an assortment of animals. Her children help to keep her humble. "My kids are so unimpressed," says Kenyon. "I showed one of my sons a picture of me on the back of a book, and he showed it to someone else and said, 'Look, my dog is in a book.' He was more excited about the dog being in the picture with me."
In her spare time -- "I have spare time?" she says, laughing -- Kenyon likes to play with her sons. "We're particularly addicted to video games, anime and manga. And now that they're older, we do some swordplay and mock battles. This summer, we're going to build a trebuchet [a big catapult] in
the back yard."
The author brags that she can move her fingers around a video game controller with the best of them. "I am a video game champ," she exclaims. "I rule, no lie. My kids think that's hysterical. I draw a crowd whenever I play at an arcade
or in a store." Her favorite games -- Dead to Rites, Devil May
Cry and Guitar Hero -- even sound like potential titles for Kenyon stories.
As for her interest in manga, the author notes that a graphic-novel version of the Dark-Hunter series is in the works and a Lords of Avalon graphic novel will be released this summer from Dabel Brothers Productions.
Kenyon can't remember a time when she didn't write, and she was actually published for the first time in third grade, when an essay she wrote about her mother was printed in the local newspaper. As a young girl, she carried around a tote bag crammed with black-and-white composition notebooks. "I had one for each book I was working on at the time," she says. "My teachers always thought I was working really hard because I was writing away in my notebook."
With her new series, Lords of Avalon, Kenyon has created a new slant on an old legend. The idea for the series came to her when she was working on her Ph.D. dissertation in medieval history. "I thought, everybody writes the same story over and over again, but what happens to these guys the day after. What would happen if Morgan had Camelot and the knights had to retreat to Avalon with Arthur?" A new tale was born. The first book in the series, Sword of Darkness, was released in April from Avon.
Meanwhile, her newest book in the Dark-Hunter series, Dark Side of the Moon, will be released on May 30 from St. Martin's. It's the story of were-hunter Ravyn. When tabloid journalist Susan Michaels brings home a stray cat, she gets just a
bit more than she bargained for. But can she actually write the story that could get her torpedoed career back on track? And would anyone even believe her if she did? The book will also feature former squire Nick, now a Dark-Hunter. "There are
a lot of surprises in this one," Kenyon adds.
Though most of the Dark-Hunter novels take place in New Orleans, this one is set in Seattle, where Ravyn has been based since the first Dark-Hunter book. "Since Hurricane Katrina hit, a lot of the squires such as Otto and Kyl have been relocated
to the city," says Kenyon. "New Orleans is home to me, and the hurricane was a hard blow. My old house is gone and I want
to cry every time I think about it. That's why I write about New Orleans. No matter where I live, it's always home to me."
The characters who have recently relocated to Seattle won't give up the city they, and their creator, love. "We will definitely be back in New Orleans with the series very soon," says Kenyon, who made many donations to the hurricane-ravaged region and whose fans sent donations in the name of Nick Gautier, a Dark-Hunter character named for Gautier, Miss., which was also hit by Katrina.
So what's next for the author? "World domination," Kenyon jokes. "You gotta have goals, you know. But seriously, right now I'm working on Lords of Avalon, and after that I get to go and play with the Dark-Hunters again." Not to mention a Dark-Hunter spin-off, Dream-Hunters, coming out in January 2007.
And there's always that trebuchet ... fans everywhere can't wait to see what the author comes up with next.
Looking for all the Dark-Hunter novels? Here's a list in the order of publication.
1. Fantasy Lover, St. Martin's, 2002
2. Dragonswan (Tapestry anthology), Jove, 2002; reprinted by Berkley in 2005
3. Night Pleasures, St. Martin's, 2002
4. Night Embrace, St. Martin's, 2003
5. "Phantom Lover" (Midnight Pleasures Anthology), St. Martin's, 2003
6. Dance With the Devil, St. Martin's, 2003
7. Kiss of the Night, St. Martin's, 2004
8. Night Play, St. Martin's, 2004
9. Stroke of Midnight, St. Martin's, 2004
10. Seize the Night, St. Martin's, 2005
11. Sins of the Night, St. Martin's, 2005
12. Unleash the Night, St. Martin's, 2006
13. Dark Side of the Moon, St. Martin's, 2006
Excerpt from Sherrilyn Kenyon's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
"Boy Eaten by Killer Moths."
Susan Michaels groaned as she read the headline for her latest story. She knew better than to read the rest of the article, but something inside her just wanted to feel kicked this afternoon. God forbid that she ever took pride in her work again ... .
Bred in a lab in South America, these top secret moths are the next generation of military assassins. They are genetically engineered to think their way into an enemy's lair, where they bite the neck of the target and infect them with a concentrated poison that will render the
victim dead within an hour.
Now they have escaped the lab and were last seen heading north, straight for the central U.S. Be on guard. They could be in your neighborhood within the month ...
Dear Lord, it was worse than she'd imagined.
Her hands shaking in anger, she got up from her desk and headed straight into Leo Kirby's office. As usual, he was online, reading some poor slob's blog and making copious notes.
Leo was a short, lean man with long black hair that he always wore in a ponytail. He also had a goatee, cold, gray eyes that never laughed and a strange spider web tattoo on his left hand. He was dressed in a baggy black
T-shirt and jeans with a giant Starbucks travel mug at his elbow while he worked. In his late thirties, he'd be cute if he wasn't so damned annoying.
"Killer moths?" she asked.
He looked up from his notepad and shrugged. "You said we were going
to have a moth invasion, I just had Joanie rewrite the story to make it more marketable."
She gaped in total astonishment. "Joanie? You had Joanie rewrite the story? The woman who wears tinfoil in her bra so that the people with X-ray vision can't see her breasts. That Joanie?"
He didn't flinch or miss a beat. "Yeah, she's my best writer."
Talk about insult to injury ... .
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