Interview with Sherrilyn Kenyon

August, 2012
Sherrilyn Kenyon Sherrilyn Kenyon's ardent fans—dubbed the "Menyons"—are as vast as the extensive mythology she has created for her paranormal romance series about immortal vampire slayers. The Dark-Hunter series, beginning in 2002 with Fantasy Lover, now includes more than 30 books and a gargantuan cast of characters: demons, gods and goddesses, shape-shifters, and most importantly, passionate lovers. In Kenyon's latest Dark-Hunter book, Time Untime, a doomsday prophecy for the year 2012 hinges on the actions of a young woman, Kateri Avani, and a long-dead warrior who now plagues her dreams. Kenyon shares with Goodreads her thoughts on Cherokee legends, what characters she'll write about next, and how to make order out of chaos.

Goodreads: Have you added any special items to your personal collection of swords lately?

Sherrilyn Kenyon: Not lately. I haven't found anything that says "take me home." But I have added a new longbow, which I've been enjoying immensely.

GR: Tell us a little about Kateri and the Dark-Hunter, Ren, who haunts her. How did you select this hero-and-heroine pairing from your large and growing stable of characters?

SK: Ren has been around from the beginning [of the series]. I've been wanting to put him in a book for a long time now, and with the 2012 Time Untime approaching it was only natural that he'd be in the books, especially since he was a major character in the last Dark-Hunter novel, Retribution. He comes from Kituwa, which is one of the seven mother towns for the Tsalagi (Cherokee).

Kateri is modern Cherokee, and at the opening of the book is a geologist working for the University of Alabama. Because of her work on ancient Maya digs and her own background, and the fact that she's a cousin to Sunshine Runningwolf [a main character from Night Embrace], she was a natural pairing for Ren.

GR: The latest Dark-Hunter books have tapped into your Cherokee heritage. How does Cherokee mythology connect to the 2012 doomsday prophecy in Time Untime?

SK: What many don't know is that pre-Columbian Americans had a version of Atlantis all their own, and that the Tsalagi are tied to the Maya. I combined the Tsalagi version of Atlantis legends with the belief that humans are descended from the Pleiades, which plays a major part of Time Untime. [In Greek mythology, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, are companions of the goddess Artemis. The bright cluster of stars visible to the naked eye within the Taurus constellation is named for these legendary nymphs.]

In Tsalagi prophecy, the Pleiades are known as the Rattlesnake constellation. During the 2012 Winter Solstice, both the Maya and Cherokee calendars will reset or end. But the Tsalagi don't believe in endings in the traditional sense. In fact, we don't say good-bye. Only that we'll meet or see each other again.

During this time, the Rattlesnake constellation will have a different appearance [in the sky]. Feathers will crown its head, and it will have glowing wings and arms and hands. It will then be known as the Feathered Serpent of Time Untime, and when it opens its eyes (at the precise moment of the solstice), the gateway crossing will open and form a path from Earth to the Milky Way—Stone Tree for the Tsalagi or Xibalba for the Maya. The old will reawaken and war once again.

Of course, all of that is a great oversimplification for the sake of brevity. There's a lot more to both the Maya and Tsalagi prophecies.

GR: Readers find paranormal stories endlessly fascinating. What do you love about the genre, and how close have you come to a paranormal experience in real life?

SK: How long do you have? I was a paranormal investigator for many years and have plenty of stories to tell. Many of my friends are still working in the field, and I do lend them a hand from time to time. Plus, I had one grandfather who was a faith-healing evangelist and another who was a rainmaker and dowser. My grandmother and I used to spend hours in freshly plowed fields looking for stones and quartz to add to our collection. I grew up steeped in the paranormal, and as an adult I spent years as a paid psychic.

I suppose that's what I love about the genre. It's normality to me, and I can explore the unknown world in more details. While I adhere to the rules of my worlds, those rules give me a lot of freedom to create. I never was the kind of person to color inside the lines or march to anyone's tune. I prefer living and writing without boundaries.

GR: Your characters often have troubled or abusive pasts. Goodreads member Caitx Stafford asks, "Are the fates really cruel or is that just the order of things? [As] Acheron says, 'Sometimes things have to go wrong before they go right.'"

SK: To answer that, I quote Westley from The Princess Bride: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

I don't come from the happiest of childhoods. Everything I read growing up, especially in nonfiction, condemned me to an excruciating adulthood. But at the core of my soul I am a fighter, and I won't be told by anyone how to live my life. I refused to be another statistic, and I promised myself as a child that if I survived to make it to adulthood, I would never, ever fall into the habits of those around me. Somehow I would be a better person.

It's a promise I've kept.

Unfortunately I'm not alone in seeing the ugly side of humanity at an early age. There are thousands of people out there who had or have it rough. Some even worse than me (which I weep over whenever I think about that). But what I want to show in my books and in my life is that you don't have to be like the miserable, angry people who hurt you. You can survive and, most of all, you can thrive. Yes, those demons will always be there, and you will hear and, worst of all, feel their cruelty long after they're gone, but you don't have to let them own your future the way they held your past. You don't have to become like them. You can pull it together, hold your head high, and be the person you want to be in spite of their vicious cruelty.

They say that there's a reason to everything. I'm not sure I believe that. It's human nature to try and make order out of chaos. The "sometimes things have to go wrong in order to go right" is my own search for understanding why cruelty takes place. I don't understand how anyone can intentionally hurt another person, never mind a child. But I want to help others find the rainbow through the storms. To know that tomorrow is another day and that sooner or later, life will get better. And so will we.

GR: Goodreads Author Jae Lynne Davies asks, "As an avid reader of the Dark-Hunter series, I thoroughly enjoy the complexity of your characters, especially Artemis. Have your feelings changed toward the character as you continue the series, and do you have plans for her to eventually be redeemed?"

SK: I love all my characters, even the bad ones. I've always loved Artie, but I haven't loved everything she's done. She is complicated and has her own reasons. Like all of us, she's driven by her fears and by her past. As for a book, maybe.

GR: Goodreads member Bryanna Lee asks, "How do you anticipate the Dark-Hunter TV series will affect your career as an author? If you could shine some light into how the production is progressing, it would be great."

SK: It won't change anything. I'll still be writing the books. The only difference is, I now get scripts to review. Since I'm not directly involved in the production, I have nothing new to share. The last I was told is that they plan to start filming the movie next spring.

GR: Describe a typical day spent writing. Do you have any unusual writing habits?

SK: There is no such thing as a typical day. Every one is different. But when I write, I sit in my chair and listen to my characters tell me their story. It's that simple and that hard. But since so many want to know what a typical day is like for me, I thought I'd run down a basic schedule of what I do. Please keep in mind that I seldom sleep more than five hours, and some days I don't sleep at all. Really. I have, and have always had, bad insomnia.

GR: What are you reading now?

SK: Breakfast with Socrates by Robert Rowland Smith.

GR: One last hopeful question: As you may guess, we received a lot of questions about when to expect books about Savitar and Jaden. Can you reveal any tidbits about the future of the Dark-Hunter series?

SK: The next book up is Styxx, and there's a lot about Acheron people don't know...

Comments (showing 1-38 of 38) (38 new)

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message 1: by TJlovestoread (new)

TJlovestoread Blog Sherri is the best!

message 2: by Bryanna (new)

Bryanna Love the Dark-Hunter series! Kenyon is one of the best authors out there! :D

message 3: by Dru (new)

Dru looovvveee yoouuu Sherri

message 4: by Celeste (new)

Celeste Mattino-levine the dark hunters series is awesome. I have to catch up though.

message 5: by Jane (last edited Aug 04, 2012 04:49PM) (new)

Jane I'll be heading for the bookstore Tuesday right after work. Kenyon is always good for a fun read.

message 6: by Jane (new)

Jane I'll be heading for the bookstore Tuesday right after work. Kenyon is always good for a

message 7: by Yuki (new)

Yuki Can't wait for her next book to come out. I end up finishing her novels in about 2-3 days depending on how busy I am.

message 8: by Jan (new)

Jan Great insight - thanks for an enlightening article that continues our desire to read more. Time Untime should be as wonderful a novel as the others, and with a twist of current interest to spark all of us into thinking about our own pasts.

message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa D. This is going to be a great read! I can hardly wait for it in the mail.

message 10: by Jilly (new)

Jilly Ash is always a subject I'm willing to read about!

message 11: by Atta (new)

Atta Arghandiwal Lost Decency, the Untold Afghan Story
Sounds like a real good read. Looking forward to it.

message 12: by Linda (new)

Linda Love the Dark hunter series can't wait for Savatar's story to come and more Acheron count me in!!!!!!

message 13: by Barbara (new)

Barbara nice interview. I'm not so much into the Dark Hunter series as I am the Chronicles of Nick. I hope the next one comes out soon. I love her style of writing. Especially, CON. She writes exactly how I'd expect a 15 year old boy to speak and think. I love the dry humor she uses.

message 14: by Jude (new)

Jude AWESOME! im definately a darkhunter fan!
sherri, you are the best!

message 15: by Clareth (new)

Clareth Johansson SK is the best!!! I love Darkhunters, and I can't wait to learn more about Acheron.....

message 16: by Janine (new)

Janine I'm an avid fan of all things Kenyon!Can't wait to get my hands on the newest. My fingers are tingling....

message 17: by Dru (new)

Dru i saw The Untime at Walmart but i didn't have enough money and i freaked out

message 18: by Bimal (new)

Bimal Kumar really a best book,i like this one.

message 19: by Dru (new)

Dru i wish more people were involved in the Dark Hunter world

message 20: by Samsona (new)

Samsona Nice one you are just fantastic.

message 21: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn I can hardly waite till I read the new book your books are great!

Donna (BLHmistress) I love Sherri, and really can't wait for Styxx's book. I think I am going to stock up on kleenex to prepare myself.

message 23: by Christina (new)

Christina Noel Acheron is my all time favorite!!! loved the book, love the character. I wanted to cry when the book was over. Your a rockstar Sherri!

Francine "Tsukime" I so love Sherri! She really deserves to be called the Author Goddess. :3 I just finished Time Untime (Dark-Hunter, #17) by Sherrilyn Kenyon and I can't wait for Styxx's book already!!!

message 25: by Bayong (new)


message 26: by Karen (new)

Karen Williams kelly Sounds fantastic

message 27: by Chris (new)

Chris Did I misunderstand or did the book basically say the azuras sister braith is really apollymi

message 28: by Yuki (new)

Yuki Chris wrote: "Did I misunderstand or did the book basically say the azuras sister braith is really apollymi"

The book definitely implied Apollymi is Braith

message 29: by Charlie (new)

Charlie so looking forward to those books i can hardly sit still giggle giggle :)

message 30: by Kristina (new)

Kristina ive read almost all the Dark hunter seiries and i cant wait to read this one

message 31: by Ace (new)

Ace After ReadTime-Unt & loved the Cherokee & Ren's native home
references.Thanks SK!

message 32: by Tracey (new)


message 33: by Grandmaking553 (new)

Grandmaking553 Love your Dark Hunter books, can't get enough of them. When I start reading one of your books I don't want to put it down. THANK FOR THE ENJOY YOU GIVE ME

message 34: by Lady Sal (new)

Lady Sal Woah! I loved that final little tidbit about the next book being Styxx's (whose story I think will take us far beyond what we expected and we'll definitely see Styxx's emotional scars) and of course, the hint that there is much we do not know about Acheron! Can't wait for this!

message 35: by Marble (last edited Sep 07, 2013 10:57AM) (new)

Marble smelly really a best book,i like this one.

message 36: by Grandmaking553 (new)

Grandmaking553 can't wait to read Styxx, love all the Dark Hunter book :)

message 37: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Ossipov I loved the Dark Hunter Series, and can't wait to read more of them.

message 38: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Hebert I absolutely love the dark hunter series, but, I also love the League series, the Dream hunter, the were hunters.....I love that you can read the books in any order and can still follow the series.....but, I have to say Styxx had my sad, mad, crying, laughing, yelling, and cursing. I was wanting to jump into the book and save him. I haven't read Acheron yet, but I so look forward to reading it.

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