Ever since her debut novel in 1993, author Sherrilyn Kenyon has been hard at work behind the keyboard. With her current series of books including The Dark Hunters, The League, Nevermore, Deadman’s Cross, Chronicles of Nick, and Lords of Avalon, she currently has more than seventy-million books in print, all in numerous genres and forms including graphic novels, manga, and even a children’s book using some of her books’ various characters. On top of that, the Nick Chronicles and Dark-Hunters series will soon be involved in major media productions.
Many of Sherrilyn’s novels find their way to either the romance or “paranormal-romance” sections of book stores, but her stories are utterly brimming with magic, mayhem, and adventuring. Having released at the end of August, her latest novel Stygian is the twenty-ninth book in the Dark-Hunter series. An impressive number indeed, but for those who haven’t read them but wish to get started, it’s not necessary to read them in any order. Many of the titles jump back and forth between times and events. Regardless, they are fun reads for any fantasy lover.
Though she has a strong fanbase of readers, with even a small line of merchandise related to her various IPs available online, Sherrilyn still hosts her own booths at conventions. During this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, we at The Beat had the opportunity to sit down with Sherrilyn at her booth and talk about her family, writing habits, and history with conventions.
Tell us about this life of poverty that you came from before you went on to publish your book.
Oh my God. Which part of it? Which time, which part?
Well, in any way did growing up with next to nothing have anything to do with getting you to write your books or motivate you to be successful?
I’m not really materialistic. I even had boy hand-me-downs as a kid. As long as my kids are healthy and happy, I really don’t care about things. I’m not really attached much to anything. I’m attached to people, not objects. In terms of that, from my books the characters are what’s really important to me, as well as the fans. So, what I’m saying is money doesn’t motivate me. Things don’t motivate me. People do. I really got into writing because it’s what kept me sane as a kid.
How old were you when you started writing?
The first things I ever did was using pictures. I couldn’t write yet.
My mother use to love to tell this story of when she was pregnant with my little brother, I wrote this whole thing about vampires. The story I like to tell people is that the first story I ever did was about this little girl who killed all of her brothers and got away with it. [HAHA] As far as my brothers go, it keeps them in line. But really, the first thing I ever did was a little cartoon about this vampire in a graveyard. When I was done, I handed it to my mother, who again was pregnant with my little brother, and she said, “Oh my God! It’s an omen and I’m going to die at childbirth!”
She said it was an omen because she use to take me to horror movies. The first thing she had ever taken me to was a zombie movie. Because of that, I grew up thinking that zombies had locked me in a trunk of a car. I really, honestly believed that zombies had locked me in a trunk. I was retelling the story once when my mother was in ICU. She just sat there and said, “Oh you idiot. Zombies didn’t lock you in the trunk of a car. I locked you in the trunk of a car!” What had actually happened was that I was two-years-old when we went to go see Night of the Living Dead and they wouldn’t let little kids in at the drive-in. So, she locked a bunch of us into the trunk of her car. “Well, I let you out, so I don’t know why you’re complaining,” she said. Apparently, being two, my brain kind of merged the two together, and when she let me out in my brain I thought, “Zombies locked me in the trunk,” because I guess I couldn’t accept that my mom did. [HAHA]
Have you ever used that memory as inspiration for any of your writings?
No, not really.
What made you decide to write for paranormal-romance?
Really, that’s just were they put me. Dark-Hunters started out as horror/fantasy. I don’t really care what they call me as long as they don’t call me late to dinner.
What motivated you to write some urban-fantasy stories as well?
Again, I just write the books and they’re the ones who market them. To me, the stories are just the stories. I don’t write specifically to any genre, I just write for the characters.
So more or less, you have a story in your head, you write it, and then it’s up to your publishers or whoever to go “Oh that fits in here.”
Oh yeah. I really never know where they’re going to stick them. It’s really peculiar to me. Like my book Belador, they stuck that in romance, but there’s no romance in it at all. So yeah, it’s strange to me.
How is your writing process typically?
All day long. I write all day long.
How do you work that in with having a family?
I was first published before my kids were even born. Ever since they were, they became my top priority. They know that. No matter what, day or night, if they needed anything, I would stop what I would be doing. It was always that way. When they were little, I wrote with them. One kid over my shoulder, strapped to me, or on my lap.
When I was a kid myself, I worked three jobs while writing. Mind you this was way before laptops. Whenever I would take my break, I would take out my notepad and I’d be writing. Sometimes I would have to go to my car because they thought I was weird or something. I worked things like fast food or retail, and back in the break room they would look at me and say things like, “What are you doing?”
Do you still write stories with notepads?
Have you seen my handwriting? [HAHA] Oh my God! Well, then again, they [my co-workers] really couldn’t read what I was writing, they really meant it when they said, “What the heck are you doing?”
Talking now about your “Dark-Hunters” series, who is your favorite character?
All of them? I can’t pick! That would be like picking among my kids. I love all of them! They’re my babies.
Well what about your different worlds and settings? Which one of them would you want to settle down in yourself?
All of them, simultaneously! Multi-verse! String theory! I like that idea. Again, I can’t pick. I like them all.
Now, you have also been a regular to the convention circuit, especially to San Diego Comic-Con. How long have you been attending them?
Let’s see. To this one [Comic-Con], it would have been since 2006. I wanted to come earlier than that, but I had to wait until I had money and the kids were old enough. I’ve been to Dragon Con since it started. And with the others, anytime I had money I would go.
This point in your career, you have very good fanbase and people recognize your name. Why do you feel you still need to make appearances at conventions?
I’m a total fan. I like everything about conventions. And this way [having a booth], I have a place to eat, campout, and hide. But I’m always on the floor. I love all of this. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’m lucky that I get to be here with what I do.
Is there anything you’re working on right now that you’re willing to share?
Oh, like I said, I’m always writing. I was right before you got here and I will probably when you leave.
Finally, I like to be silly with my last question. If you could be any cat, which would you be?
My cat, for sure. She’s a little Bangle thing. She is so spoiled, she trips me, and yet I don’t kill her. She sleeps on Snorlax! I got a Snorlax Pokemon pillow for my son for Christmas. It’s giant. I thought I was going to spoil [my son], and my cat took it over. She totally took it over. This cat has this huge, giant pillow all to herself as a bed. She lays on it on her back like she’s the Queen of Shiba. That’s the life.
Sherrylin Kenyon’s next book, At Death’s Door, will come out May 15th, 2019.