Back in 2006, I was looking for something to read and a bookseller, knowing my love of medievals and Templar Knights, suggested a new author and series to me – Lynn Viehl’s DARKYN series about a race of ‘vampires’ or the Darkyn who began in the Middle Ages. Intrigued, I read the first book in 2 days and went back for numbers 2 and 3 immediately. I’ve now read all of the series AND the spinoff KYNDRED series, too. And some short stories. . . and novellas. Yes, I am truly and well hooked on Lynn’s stories! So, when looking for a guest blogger, I contacted Lynn who is now beginning a new series for NAL – Disenchanted & Co.

Today, Lynn’s going to tell us about how she transitioned from vampires to, um, something else. Welcome, Lynn!

Trading Fangs for Fichus

            After writing about vampires for nine years, and publishing three paranormal romance series involving them, I was ready for a change of pace.  I wasn’t worried about making the leap; I’ve written in many genres, and I’m always ready to try something new.  As a ghostwriter I’d published some critically-acclaimed historical novels, but nothing under my own byline.  I’d also never tackled urban fantasy or mystery fiction.  This melded together with my love of history into an idea for a steampunk urban fantasy series in a historical era (and so it wouldn’t be left out, my SF side contributed a parallel universe.)!cid_X_MA1_1371149690@aol

The idea seemed great, and I wrote a draft of the first novel during NaNoWriMo 2009.  At that point I discovered many of the differences between writing vampire fiction and non-vampire fiction.  Here’s a list of some important points:

Brotherhoods:  In non-vampire fiction these are typically made up of a less formidable crew who are not so inexplicably bonded, or engage in conflicts that last for centuries, or hang out in bars not getting intoxicated while discussing the many ways in which they despise humankind but still must protect them at all cost.  No, if your characters are in a brotherhood, they generally have the same mom and dad.

Day Job:  Unlike your vampire crew, your characters can seek employment with work hours that begin before sundown; this includes but is not limited to landscaping, lifeguarding or suntan oil testing.

Diet:  Your characters have to eat food.  This would be food that does not walk around on two legs, talk back or fall madly in love with them.

Emotional Relationships:  Your characters are free to form friendships, infatuations and/or fall in love with anyone they want, not just the one surly, resistant, combative individual whom Fate has chosen to be their lifemate.  They can also break up, end liaisons and get divorced without it condemning their former partner to an eternity of solitude.

Immortality:  While we’re on the topic of eternity, in regards to duration of existence, living forever is pretty much off the table completely.  Same goes for non-ageing — your characters will get older, sprout gray hairs, wrinkles, paunches, have midlife crises, go through menopause, etc.

Monologues:  When your characters rant it won’t be about all the millennia they’ve wandered the Earth, how tiresome it’s been to sleep with thousands of clueless humans, or what instantly-regenerative limb they’d sacrifice to be mortal again. Your characters are going to gripe about things like their unpaid bills, their unsympathetic boss, or the dog chewing to pieces their favorite boots.

Morphing Capabilities:  Your characters will no longer be able to flash fangs, make their pupils or irises take on an inhuman glow, or shift into huge, mindless, nightmarish beasts that lay waste to everything in their path.  The closest alternative you have here is like them wearing a really convincing costume at Halloween.

Non-instantaneous Healing:  When wounded, your characters will need a little more time than twelve seconds to recover.  When seriously wounded, your characters will be out of commission for some weeks.  And when fatally wounded, your characters will actually have the bad taste to die on you.

Settings:  The Arctic fortress of solitude, the elaborate underground warren of pre-WWII tunnels filled with priceless antiques, and the remote European castle secretly occupied since the Romans sacked Britannia aren’t really practical places for your characters to inhabit.  Plus they have no access to the unimaginable wealth they haven’t been squirreling away since the Black Death, so they really can’t afford them.

Superhuman powers:  This is also a bit of a problem with the non-vampiric sort.  You may invest your characters with a middling psychic talent or two, but bench pressing a Subaru, or leaping over the Chrysler Building in a single bound?  Not happening.

Although writing my new series has been a challenge in many other ways (no super convenient secret society of vampire haters to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting and blood-dependent), so far it’s been very enjoyable.  I may not have huge hulking immortal warriors to storm into a scene, but my Victorian lady private investigator, her gadget-loving inventor neighbor, the brothel madam BFF and the formidable death mage determined to carry off my lady PI do keep things interesting.   From fangs to fichus, that’s what is most important with whatever you write:  have fun with it.


!cid_X_MA1_1371136358@aol    Lynn has graciously offered a lovely giveaway for one lucky person who comments today —

— a signed bound galley copy of Her Ladyship’s Curse
— a Victorian heart and seashell wall hanging
— a pretty set of note cards, and
— a steampunk pendant designed and handmade by Lynn.
Very cool! So, please leave a note or question for Lynn about series, vampires, steampunk or whatever else interests you! And for more info about her new series, stop by the Disenchanted & Co. blog – lots of news, events and even recipes there.


78 thoughts on “Bring a Wednesday with Lynn Viehl

  1. Mia Marlowe says:

    Love your tongue in cheek voice, Lynn. Your new Victorian series sounds brilliant! I always say a story is only as strong as its villain and your death mage sounds like the ultimate baddy!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      A strong antagonist certainly keeps things from getting boring, Mia (and thanks to you, Terri and all the sisters for having me as a guest here at the Jaunty Quills.) I’ve always liked stories in which the antagonist is just as well crafted as the protagonist, too; seems more like a fair fight then. 🙂

  2. Yeah, not having a castle just isn’t going to work for me. I mean, I have a standards, you know? Here’s a question for you, Lynn: how much does steampunk rely on those cool inventions? Being unable to operate anything more complex than a toaster, I fear I would meet an unpleasant end in Steampunk-ville…

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      I’ve never been what you’d call a slave to genre conventions, Kristin (writing in shackles hurts my wrists) but I think steampunk is more about world-building and characterization than specific gadgetry. The low-tech toys are fun to invent and get on the page, of course, but if you just toss a lot of geared widgets and steam-powered zepplins into a story they can’t by themselves transport the reader to that noir world of pre-iPod existence. One of my favorite definitions of steampunk is “What the past would be like if the future had happened earlier.”

  3. Bwa ha ha. Love this to pieces (to gears, rivets and goggles, even)! I’m with Kristen on the castle (though mostly because I’d miss my moat monster), and you say I *can’t* just pick up my Subaru and take it with me when the situation calls for it? *Makes note to re-up for AAA*
    Then again … what kind of cool gadgets are we talking about here? I love me some cool gadgets, especially when they’re attached to a hunky inventor 🙂

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      You can bench press a Subaru? (Note to self: be very nice to Jesse.)

      There’s a wide range of gadgetry in Toriana, the universe of my Disenchanted & Co. series; everything from a steam-driven automobile (carri) to pneumatic conveyor piping (tubes) that whisk messages and goods around the city. I admit, I had the most fun inventing the ordinary, everyday gadgets, like the BrewsMaid, an automatic tea kettle heated by steam (and you can see a sketch I made of the apparatus it here:

  4. Shana Shana says:

    Great post, Lynn. I never thought about the limitations each subgenre imposes. I do sometimes wish my characters could just drive a car somewhere or make a cell call. It would make things so much easier. And harder. Great giveaway!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Not having modern conveniences like phones in my universe was a big challenge at first, Shana, but it also compels you to be more creative with problem-solving. Originally I invented the city’s tubes simply to move goods around, rather like a pneumatic version of United Parcel Service. Then I thought, if you had an air tube you could use to send a package to any place in the city, why wouldn’t you use it for a letter or message, too? So now the tubes in Toriana deliver everything from your market order to a dinner invitation. 🙂

  5. Laurie G says:

    “steampunk urban fantasy series in a historical era”

    WOW! I haven’t tried steampunk yet . I do love historicals. This sounds like the book to expose me to a new genre. I can’t wait to meet your Victorian PI!

    You mentioned that you wrote as a ghostwriter, are these books still in print? What is the name that was used? How did you feel when these books were published yet you didn’t receive credit? Would you be a ghostwriter again?

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Laurie, the six novels I wrote under the pseudonym Rebecca Kelly, which was for a series writer-for-hire job, are still in print (as far as I know. Sometimes the publisher doesn’t tell you when they OOP a book.) I received full credit for those. I also wrote another three novels under a different pseudonym that the accompanying contract prohibits me from publicly claiming as mine, although no one else took the credit for them; I would never write a novel and allow someone else to say it was their work (not that there is anything wrong with that; it’s just not something I’d personally feel comfortable doing.)

      When you take on writer-for-hire work you know what to expect, and I was well-paid for my efforts. While I would love to make public every book I’ve written, I went into the deal with my eyes open. Oddly enough it’s worked in my favor to have a trilogy no one knows I wrote; all of the novels were critically acclaimed and they look very good on my CV. 🙂

      I enjoyed my experiences as a ghost writer but I prefer to have a little more control over my copyright, so I really don’t miss it much, and I probably wouldn’t do it again. Unless someone wants to offer me a truckload of money; then I might open to negotiations, lol.

  6. Gail says:

    Is there any genre you wouldn’t write in?

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      I try to keep an open mind about writing in any genre, Gail, but I’m not entirely sure I could write inspirational chick-lit. I know a lot of people like it, but the whole “What shoes would Jesus wear with that?” approach really doesn’t work for me.

  7. So glad you could join us today Lynn. Welcome!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Thanks, Nancy, it’s lovely to be here.

  8. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    What a fun post, Lynn–it really makes me eager to read HER LADYSHIP’S CURSE! (As does that fabulous cover!) And of course Terri’s enthusiastic introduction has me intrigued by the vampire books, as well!

    I love your enthusiasm for tackling new writing worlds. It’s a brave way to avoid the dreaded burn-out. Do you think you’d ever go back to vampires, after a palate-cleansing vacation in steampunk, or are you strictly an “onward!” kind of lady?

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Kathleen (and the folks at Pocket Star really came through for me on the cover art; I’m building a small shrine of gratitude to them in my office, lol.)

      After publishing fourteen vampire novels and another seven free e-books I’m still having a bit of author-universe separation anxiety; I really loved writing the Darkyn series. At the same time I know as a creative person that you have to try new things and push yourself in different directions or you run the risk of growing complacent or even stagnant.

      You also have to think about your readership. Let’s say you’ve never read any of my novels, and you pick up my May release, Nightbound. It’s the fourteenth novel I’ve written in the Darkyn universe. While I believe the story stands well on its own, and can be enjoyed by anyone, if you want to understand all the details on the backstory, you’d have to read thirteen other novels first. That’s a lot to ask of any new reader.

      I don’t feel as if I’m completely finished with the Darkyn, but this is a good time in my career for me to take a break and try something new. I’m also confident it will help me grow as an author and bring more to my readership; never a bad thing. 🙂

  9. Anne says:

    Your wonderful post snared me. What a delightful combination, steampunk, historical. Perfect for this long, hot summer. Your creativity is admirable.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      I appreciate the kind words, Anne — and I’ve always wanted one of my books to be a perfect summer read. Can I quote you? Ha.

  10. CrystalGB says:

    Hi Lynn. I love your books. Your new series sounds great. 🙂

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Hi Crystal, lovely to see you here!

  11. ellie says:

    Urban fantasy and steampunk as well as historical is what I need for an escape. Impressive and intriguing novel. This is a winner and I look forward to enjoying a new reading experience.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Ellie, you need to hang out with me on release day. Thanks. 🙂

  12. diane says:

    Hi Lynn,
    Your talent is special and unique. Your new series is captivating and lovely.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      I will do my best to live up to your kind words, Diane, thank you.

  13. Eme says:

    This series seems amazing and the cover is gorgeous!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      I really got lucky with the cover artwork, Eme (and as all the ladies here at the blog can tell you, that is something an author can never take for granted.)

      I’m also blessed with an editor who is very open to input on most every aspect of publishing the Disenchanted & Co. series, so I’ve been able to contribute some ideas on artwork and styling. 99% of the credit goes to the art department, though, and I’m beginning to believe some of them are psychic. 🙂

  14. pearl says:

    Hi Lynn,
    I am glad that you have broadened your scope and have found another area in which to write. This exploration sounds perfect for your writing skills. Engrossing novel where I could imagine new worlds within the pages.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      You’re too kind, Pearl. It helps that part of my family is British; my cousins in the UK were tremendously helpful when I had all those dumb Yank questions about the teeny details of Brit history they don’t teach us on this side of the pond. 🙂

  15. Tami Hertlein says:

    I am a lover of your books no matter what genre you write. But I was laughing the whole way through your post because you’re right: your new characters may actually have the bad manners to die all on their own now of old age! When’s the last time that happened to a vampire? LOL!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Tami! It’s so great that you stopped by, thanks. 🙂

      I had to rewrite a couple of scenes in the first book when I realized that with very little effort my very human characters were surviving definitely lethal injuries (which would have been a stroll in the park for the Darkyn.) I also forget to feed them occasionally, so I’m always on the lookout for missed meals. 🙂

  16. Anne V. says:

    It’s always tough when you forget to feed, rest, and bathe your characters! They get downright troublesome that way. I’m really excited for this new series!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      For one thing they keep bleeding all over the place, Anne — a universe with non-spontaneously-healing characters requires constant cleanup. Then after nine years of blissfully not having to deal with mortal calls of Nature, suddenly everyone needs a bathroom. On my first pass of writing my protagonist’s home setting I kept having this nagging feeling that I’d forgotten something, and it turned out to be the loo. 🙂

  17. Terri Brisbin says:

    Lynn —

    Thanks for joining us today! I imagine it must be difficult just beginning a ‘new world’ after being so firmly entrenched in the Darkyn one.


    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      I appreciate the very kind invitation to call on your readers, Terri; they’re wonderful. You don’t mind if I steal a few of them, do you? Ha.

  18. Maria P says:

    The list of differences about the important points in vampire fiction vs vampire non-fiction was very interesting. It makes me want to read one of your books!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      It’s easy to be clever on paper with a week or two of buffing and polishing, Maria — much tougher in person on the spot (it doesn’t help to be terribly shy, either.) Once I was at RWA National and this reader sat down next to me at the big luncheon and told me how much she liked my first novel and asked what I was working on now.

      Suave author that I am, my mind went completely blank, and I looked down at my plate and mumbled, “Um, the salad.”

  19. Marie says:

    Have this book on advance purchase and can’t wait. Love everything she has written starting with Star Doc and going forward. The release date can’t get her quick enough for me.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Maria, you need to hang out with me and Ellie on release day. 🙂 Thank you.

  20. Lynn, I love your books and I think I just fell in love with this column – not to mention spit-taking my coffee on my keyboard. I think this is my favorite line: “hang out in bars not getting intoxicated while discussing the many ways in which they despise humankind but still must protect them at all cost.” God, we love our romance tropes, but they always sound so hilariously insane when we deconstruct them. Thanks for the laugh!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      If we can’t laugh at ourselves, Vanessa, then it takes all the fun out of the writing life. I’m absolutely guilty of the vampire dudes hanging out in a vampire-owned bar and talking trash. But then, I used to be a bartender in my youth, and I’m pretty sure some of my customers were Jack Daniels vamps. 🙂

      1. Jack Daniels?! My favorite drink when I was younger. I might have been one of your bar vamps!

  21. Sandi in OH says:

    It was a pleasure to meet you. I now have a new genre to try. You have no idea how long my list of books I want to read is.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      If it’s anything like mine, Sandi, it’s partially supporting your roof. 🙂

  22. Kim says:

    I have your latest release preordered on a few devices. I just wanted to comment on not having Superhuman Powers. They may not have them this time around, but they can always be invented 😆

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Too true, Kim. It was kind of fun, though, having my protagonist forced to rely on her wits and old-fashioned detective methods to get to the truth. Kind of a workout without the Nautilus machines. 🙂

  23. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    Fabulous post, Lynn! And your cover…amazingly good. LOVE IT.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Thank you, Cindy. I’ve had some other terrific covers, but this look was exactly what I wanted for this series. And it’s such a huge help to have attractive cover art.

  24. Janell says:

    Love everything steam punk. Interested in this series because I love everything Lynn Viehl!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Janell, you are too kind. Or you’re my mom. I can’t decide which, lol.

  25. catslady says:

    I enjoy mixed genres and with historical and paranormals some of my favorites. I’ve yet to read steampunk but it sounds fascinating and this seems like a wonderful combination.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      It can be a lot of fun, catslady — especially if you build an alternative world where history can be changed around a bit to create new cultures and timeline shifts. Like the world that never was but might have been, if only that darn butterfly hadn’t fluttered its wings. 🙂

  26. flchen1 says:

    ROFL! Fabulous post, Lynn! I have a couple of your vampires on the TBR and have heard them highly praised, but I’ve really been enjoying what I’ve read in steampunk–I can’t wait to dive into your new venture there!

    It must be both fun and challenging diving into a new direction/world! I know you’ll be finding new readers who’ll want to read your backlist AND bringing your existing ones with you as you explore!

    Best wishes, Lynn!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      From your lips to every reader’s ears, flchen1. 🙂 That’s another plus of moving into a new genre: the opportunity to reach genre fans who might not otherwise have discovered your work. Having that chance to expand my readership and tell my stories to more folks is wonderful.

  27. Robin Bayne says:

    Just love the cover of the new book! :mrgreen:

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Hey Robin, nice to see you here. 🙂 Speaking of the cover, this fall I might try to make the dress the model is wearing; I love the style and I have some taffeta in that particular shade. Now if I can just convince my daughter to wear it for Halloween!

      1. Robin Bayne says:

        That would fantastic!! :mrgreen:

  28. Lynn Viehl says:

    Just FYI for everyone — we’re have a huge thunderstorm rolling in here, and I live in the lightning capitol of the U.S., so I have to shut down the computer until it passes. I will be back this evening to answer any questions, so please keep commenting. Thanks also to all of you who have left comments, too — you’ve made this a fun day for me.

  29. bn100 says:

    Do you have a favorite vampire movie?

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      My favorite vampire movie was the 1979 remake of Dracula, featuring Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan and Trevor Eve. Aside from the great casting and interesting sets the beautiful score for the movie was composed by John Williams, and is some of his finest work.

  30. clairecherven says:

    I have also religiously read every Darkyn story and the subsequent characters’ books and know that the new series will be just as exciting.

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Hey Claire, nice to see you in comments, and I will do my best to live up to your expectations. Or is it write up when you’re an author? Ha.

  31. Jo's Daughter says:

    Hi Lynn, I am obsessed with the Victorian era & your new series sounds great!! Added it to my list list right away. 😀 Who can resist a lady PI.

    1. Jo's Daughter says:

      Oops, that should be wish list. In all the excitement I made a mistake.

      1. Lynn Viehl says:

        Hey, at least you didn’t misspell Kristan’s name. 🙂

    2. Lynn Viehl says:

      Being slightly obsessed with the Victorian era myself I totally get that — and thanks for adding the book to your list. 🙂

  32. Quilt Lady says:

    Hi Lynn, I have not read your work before so you would be new to me. What genre do you read most?

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      In fiction definitely romance; it’s always been my favorite genre. In nonfiction I probably read more history than anything, but I love books about quilting and writing, too.

  33. Riley says:

    Based on your comments, I’m pretty sure I’m not a vampire. That was fun to read.

    I am looking forward to Her Ladyship’s Curse (pre-ordered on Amazon). I have no doubt it will be great!

    1. Lynn Viehl says:

      Well if you ever become a vampire, Riley, I want an exclusive interview. You know I won’t stake you, right? 🙂

      Thanks for pre-ordering Her Ladyship. Whenever a writer begins a new venture it’s always a bit nerve-wracking, so the early support is greatly appreciated.

  34. Lynn Viehl says:

    It’s time for me to walk the dogs so we can get things settled down for the night, but before I go I’d like to thank Terri and her Jaunty Quill sisters for hosting me today — I had a wonderful time visiting the blog. I also appreciate everyone who stopped in to leave a comment and chat with me. Take care, and good night!

  35. Robin says:

    Great blog.

    And by the way, I love the bulletin board look.

  36. Terri Brisbin says:

    Lynn – thanks for being a wonderful guest today! We enjoyed your visit and I’ve preordered the first book! Can’t wait to read it!

  37. Ann s. says:

    I love all the Darkyn novels, I hope you will keep writing them. I do want to read your new Steampunk book, The Ladyships Curse. I just started reading Steampunk and if the book is by you I know I will enjoy it.

  38. Barbara Elness says:

    Great post! I’m looking forward to reading this new series, starting with Her Ladyship’s Curse. I love steampunk and can’t get enough, so I’m always happy to see a new story coming out for me to read.

  39. Stefanie D says:

    Your new series sound great! I haven’t read any steampunk yet, but I think your new series could be my introduction to it.

  40. Michelle Fidler says:

    I like teen vampire books (like Richelle Mead’s) and will have to try steampunk sometime.

  41. Chelsea B. says:

    What a neat post! Also, I ADORE that cover! Stunningly wicked!

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