Friday, November 16, 2012

Interview & Giveaway:Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon

Tell us a little about you and why we should read Kiss of the Butterfly?
Although I’m was born and raised in the U.S., I’ve 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, Macedonia and Kosovo. I’ve travelled widely, from Africa to Latin America to the Middle East, and all over Europe. Currently I work in Sarajevo and bounce back and forth to Belgrade or the Dalmatian coast.

You should read “Kiss of the Butterfly” because:

-- Kirkus Reviews wrote: "In the glut of vampire-themed novels now on the market, Lyon’s debut stands out… skillful… authentic… fascinating… inspired… Lyon executes it perfectly... vivid... engaging... highly promising... sophisticated..."
-- It takes the vampire story back to its original roots. No pop culture, sparkly vampires.
-- It won’t insult your intelligence.
-- It’s a fun story.
-- You’ll never look at a butterfly the same way again. 

What inspired you to write this story?

Have you ever had an Indiana Jones moment? That’s the part in the film where Indy is looking through a dusty old book and stumbles upon a clue that sends him hurtling off on a new adventure. I had such a moment many years ago in a library at UCLA, when I was working on my Ph.D. in Balkan History, where I stumbled upon an obscure mention of Dracula’s campaign in Bosnia in 1476. I pursued the matter further, and over the years began studying folklore from the Balkans, only to discover that the word “vampire” comes from the former Yugoslavia, and entered English (and other western languages) from Serbia. I then began discovering metaphysical connections between Dracula’s 1476 campaign and events in the 1990s that were very intriguing and troubling. So I had to write about them.

Where your favorite place to relax and brainstorm?

On the deck of a sailboat, out of sight of land. Or in a mountain forest. Or in my study, surrounded by books.

What is your favorite Quote? 

“No matter where you go, there you are”.  – Buckaroo Banzai

What is your favorite T.V. show, right now?

Game of Thrones or Big Bang Theory.

The cover is so cool! Who designed it?

The cover was designed by the London-based graphic designer David Grogan, who does lots of best-seller covers for big publishing houses. There is also an alternate cover design, which can be found here
Go to the site and tell me which you prefer.

Tell us about your most loved character in your book?

Most people like Slatina the best, because he is a cross between James Bond and Gandalf. If they ever make a movie out of “Kiss”, I want him played by Ryan Gosling.

You wake up one morning feeling kinda off and you look in the mirror. What paranormal creature are you?

A drowsy enchanted owl listening to an iPod.

Are there any projects in the works?

I’ve written the first chapter to the second book in “Kiss” saga and outlined the entire book. I’ve also written 60,000 words of a projected 120,000 word espionage/financial thriller.

If there was a question that you wished an interviewer would ask you...what would be the question and the answer

--Question: What food would you like to see invented?
--Answer: Garlic-flavored chocolate.

Thanks for stopping by Little Library Muse

Kiss of the Butterfly Synopsis
“I sense it even now. People thirst for it; the entire country is mad with desire for it. And now we are going to war with our brothers because they look like us, and because we can smell our blood coursing through their veins...”  A dying man’s cryptic letter to an enigmatic professor launches student Steven Roberts on an unwitting quest, shrouded in mystery, into the war-torn labyrinth of a disintegrating Eastern European country. Steven plunges into the maelstrom to unearth long-forgotten documents holding clues to an ancient Emperor’s deeply buried secret, an inconceivable and long-forgotten evil that has slumbered for centuries. Steven’s perilous journey stretches from Southern California’s sunny beaches, to the exotically dystopian city-scapes of Budapest, Belgrade, and Bosnia, as it plays out against a backdrop of events that occurred centuries before in the Balkans.

Kirkus Reviews wrote: “In the glut of vampire-themed novels now on the market, Lyon’s debut stands out… skillful… authentic… fascinating… inspired… Lyon executes it perfectly... vivid... engaging... highly promising... sophisticated...”

Meticulously researched and set against the background of collapsing Yugoslavia, “Kiss of the Butterfly” weaves Balkan folklore together with intricate historical threads from the 15th, 18th and 20th centuries to create a rich phantasmagorical tapestry of allegory and reality. It is about passion and betrayal, obsession and desire, the thirst for life and the hunger for death. And vampires – which have formed an integral part of Balkan folklore for over a thousand years – are portrayed in their original folkloric form, which differs dramatically from today’s pop culture creations.

Steven lay in bed groaning, trying to recover from the enormous meal. When they had entered the house, Vesna’s grandmother had immediately begun fawning over Steven. ‘Vesna has told us so much about you,’ she gushed, causing Vesna to blush fiercely and avert her eyes. But she continued: ‘she told us what a wonderful job you are doing in your research of our folk stories.’
Vesna interrupted: ‘Grandma, please.’ Then Vesna’s mother and father arrived home from work and they all sat at the table and ate. Still the grandmother continued to dote on Steven, offering him food until he felt he would burst, all the time asking him about his family, where he was from, what his parents did, what his interests were. When she asked him if he had a girlfriend, Vesna once again blushed and said: ‘Mama, make her stop, she’s embarrassing him.’
And then the grandmother asked: ‘Don’t you think our girls are pretty?’ causing Vesna to blush once more.
By the time they finished lunch the sun had set and Vesna walked him to a different bus stop, holding him under the arm all the way there. ‘It isn’t good to cut through a graveyard after dark,’ she said.
He wasn’t certain how to react to her hand under his arm. He had seen her and Tamara hold each other like this and had observed other women holding men like this, even though they were only friends. Did she like him, or was it simply a gesture of friendship? She was always so stern and critical of his work. When she placed her hand under his arm he felt a strong attraction to her, which he instinctively resisted. When she kissed him on the cheek just before he boarded the bus, he was pleasantly surprised.
‘I like her,’ he said to himself.
His reverie was interrupted by a sharp knock on his door. ‘Come in,’ he called.
Dusan stuck his head around the door. ‘Telephone for you.’
Steven said: ‘Hello.’
‘Stefan, is that you?’ He heard a faint female voice in English shouting across an ocean of static and interference. It sent a tingle up and down his spine. ‘Katarina, how are you?’ he shouted back.
‘Good. I can barely hear you. How are you doing?’
‘Pretty good.’
Dusan’s grandmother looked at Steven from the kitchen, obviously displeased with the level of his voice.
‘Marko asked me to call and see how you’re doing. He asked why you haven’t written.’ Her voice barely overrode the static.
He lowered his voice so not to offend the grandmother. ‘But I wrote several times, both to him and you. Last week I received two letters from Professor Slatina and three from you, all at the same time. It must be the war. Can you hear me?’
‘Yes, I can hear you,’ Katarina’s voice sounded tense. ‘You don’t have to shout. That’s what Marko was afraid of. How’s life in Belgrade? Are you okay?’
‘Yes, I’m very busy and I’ve found lots of information about….’
‘Have you been to Novi Sad yet?’ she cut him off in mid-sentence.
‘No, only Belgrade. As I said, I’ve found a lot of material about…’
‘Marko wants you to go to Novi Sad.’ She cut him off once again just before he could utter the word vampire. ‘He said you should work in the archives and libraries there, especially the Matica Srpska,’ she said, referring to the famous Serbian national collection in Vojvodina. ‘And visit my mother. I must go now. Stefan, please be very careful of what you say and who you say it to,’ she voice sounded worried. ‘I miss our talks.’
‘I’m being careful. Everything is okay. When are you coming this summer?’ But the line went dead before she could answer.
‘But am I being careful?’ he asked himself. His time with Katarina was now a faint and distant memory, overpowered by his afternoon with Vesna.


  1. The research sounds like it would have been extremely interesting. I do love the cover.


    1. Dear Mary,

      Did you have a chance to look at the alternate cover? Which do you prefer?


  2. Sounds interesting!! Loved the excerpt.

    Smp0804(at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. Dear Sabrina,

      The description of the grandmother's behavior over lunch was quasi-autobiographical. :-))

      Hope you enjoy the rest of the book.


  3. Sounds interesting!! Loved the excerpt.

    Smp0804(at) hotmail (dot) com

  4. I really like your answer to what inspired you to write the book. I hold a BA in History and I know what it is like to find one tiny piece of information that may seem irrelevant, but it just seems gnaw at you until you just have to research it some more. I really like that this book has some content. It isn't total fluff like a lot of novels are today. Also, I like the second cover it looks spooky!

    1. Dear Misty,

      Do you prefer the second book cover to the first? I am thinking of changing it. And I'm glad to hear that you sympathize with having that gnawing feeling inside. That's what provides the motivation.



  5. I enjoyed the interview.

    1. Dear BN,

      Glad you liked it. I am back in the US for Thanksgiving, and just found the ultimate treat in a grocery store: jam made from garlic and onions!!! No joke. I bought it and will have to post it on the facebook page.




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