Please welcome today's paranormal guest author James Lyon. James is the author Kiss of the Butterfly.
EJ: When did you begin writing?
At age 19 I began keeping a diary, which helped me discover the
magic of the written word. On a whim I entered a creative writing
contest in college and won an award. Since then, my work as an historian
and political analyst meant that I was constantly writing Op/Ed pieces,
long analytical reports, book chapters, and even entire books, as well
as editing other people’s work. At one point I noticed that about 90% of
published fiction is poorly written insults the intelligence, and I
decided I could do better. At the time I was living in Belgrade, Serbia,
which provides great inspiration for a writer. I began writing “Kiss of
the Butterfly” in 2005 and finished 120,000 words within 6 months.
EJ: What brought you to the paranormal genre?
Long ago and far away across an ocean, a most curious anecdote from a
dusty old book grabbed my attention while I was writing my doctoral
dissertation at UCLA. In 1476, Vlad III (Dracula) committed atrocities
under the cloak of medieval Bosnia’s forested mountains, culminating in a
bloody massacre in the mining town of Srebrenica. A little over 500
years later, in July 1995, history repeated itself when troops commanded
by General Ratko Mladic entered Srebrenica and slaughtered nearly 8,000
people, making it the worst massacre Europe had seen since the Second
World War. For most people, the two events seemed unconnected. I,
however, wondered if there might be a metaphysical connection.
As I worked and lived in Bosnia and Serbia and travelled
throughout Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Slovenia, it soon
became apparent that vampires were embedded in the culture. I began
studying Balkan vampires in folklore, and soon discovered that we get
our English word “vampire” from the Serbo-Croatian “vampir”. Then I
discovered even greater peculiarities, such as vampire trials in
Croatia, vampire autopsies by Austrian Army military surgeons in Serbia,
laws against killing vampires dating from the 1300s, etc. Even today
you can read reports in the local language newspapers about vampires
being reported in certain villages. Clearly, something was going on. I
began to put two and two together, and “Kiss of the Butterfly” was born.
But just because there happen to be vampires (and a couple of mangy
werewolves) in “Kiss of the Butterfly” doesn’t mean it’s paranormal.
Here in the Balkans such creatures seem to lurk in the background of
everyday life: in politics, the economy, society, the arts, etc. In
fact, they lurk quite nicely, thank you. And it’s not as if just anyone
can lurk: inexperienced lurkers usually get arrested for stalking.
EJ: If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?
X-Ray vision. I could microwave food with a single glance, and read books without turning the pages.
EJ: Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.
Gee, let’s see…love triangles, a car chase in a Yugo, fanged
blood-suckers, naïve stake-wielders, epic love that spans the centuries,
sexy foreign accents, fine wines in exotic locations, and crumbling
communism. And no sparkly vampires! Who could ask for anything more?
“Kiss of the Butterfly” has something for everyone and doesn’t fit into
any particular genre: there is romance, adventure, and it is definitely a
thriller. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced “Da Vinci Code” style of
action and discovery. And there are a few places where it gets just a
teensy bit scary, but not Steven King scary.
Along the way you’ll find out about “real” Balkan vampires, their
characteristics, and how they differ from the pop culture vampires we
see in today’s books and films. You’ll find out the answers to questions
such as: what shape and color are a vampire’s eyes?; where does a
vampire’s power lie?; where do vampires sleep on Good Friday?; what is
the relationship between vampires and butterflies?; and what happens if a
vampire bites you?. Spoiler alert – just any old stake won’t kill a
EJ: If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?
Steven -- Andrew Garfield (Spiderman 2012); Mrs. Lazarevic --
Angelina Jolie. Marko Slatina -- Jude Law; Ian McKellen -- Professor
Nagy. Rade Serbedzija -- Professor Ljubovic; Hugh Laurie -- Professor
Stojadinovic; Ralph Fiennes -- Lynx. The roles of Vesna, Katarina, Bear
and Tamara should all be played by actors and actresses from Serbia,
Croatia and Bosnia.
Who do I not want in the movie? Kristin Stewart… Robert Pattinson… Tom
Cruise… Shia LaBeouf… Megan Fox… Kate Hudson… Matthew McConaughey, to
name a few.
Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon.
In the year of his death, 1476, the Vojvoda of Wallachia -- Vlad III
(Dracula) -- committed atrocities under the cloak of medieval Bosnia’s
forested mountains, culminating in a bloody massacre in the mining town
A little over 500 years later, in July 1995, history repeated itself
when troops commanded by General Ratko Mladic entered Srebrenica and
slaughtered nearly 8,000 people, making it the worst massacre Europe had
seen since the Second World War.
For most people, the two events seemed unconnected…
Meticulously researched and based on real events, “Kiss” descends into
the chaos of Yugoslavia's breakup, creating a phantasmagorical tapestry
of allegory and reality,divided loyalties, friendship and betrayal, Good
vs. Evil, virtue and innocence lost, obsession and devotion, desire and
denial, lust and rejection. It is about the thirst for life and the
hunger for death, rebirth and salvation, and the search for faith. From
Bosnia to California, to Belgrade, Budapest, Novi Sad, and back to
ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, “Kiss” blends history and the terrors of the
Balkans as it explores the darker corners of the human soul.
And there just may be some vampires. But not the sparkly, gothic romance
kind. These are "real", Balkan vampires, based on authentic folklore
from the region that first introduced the word "vampir" to the world.
Thank you James for joining us here today at From the Shadows!
James Lyon is an accidental Balkanologist, having spent the better part
of 32 years studying and working with the lands of the former
Yugoslavia. He has a Ph.D. in Modern Balkan History from UCLA and a B.A.
in Russian from BYU. He has lived in Germany, Russia, England,
Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, and
California, and spent the better part of 18 years living in the lands of
the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,
Montenegro, and Serbia, and has worked in Macedonia and Kosovo. He has
traveled widely, from Africa to Latin America to the Middle East, and
all over Europe. He currently works in Sarajevo and bounces back and
forth to Belgrade. In his spare time he likes sailing through the
Dalmatian islands and eating Sachertorte in Vienna at the old Habsburg
Imperial Court’s Confectionary Bakery, Demel. He lost his cat in the
forests of Bosnia and can’t find it. If you see a black and white cat
that ignores you when you call the name “Cile II”, a reward is being
offered…provided the cat hasn’t turned into a vampire.