Author Interview & Giveaway: James Lyon

We are excited to welcome author, James Lyon, to the nest today. Be sure to check out the giveaway details at the end of this post. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: How long have you been writing? 

James: In High School, I couldn’t string together a grammatically correct sentence if you held a gun to my head. At age 19, I began keeping a journal, which taught me the discipline of writing. I honed this in college, largely by having to write many term papers, a master’s thesis, and doctoral dissertation. But along the way I discovered that I loved creative writing. Since I write and edit professionally (political analysis), creative writing is a nice outlet. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Can you describe your novel in five words? 

James: Better vampires than Anne Rice 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Where did you get the idea for this novel? 

James: I call it my Indiana Jones moment: the point in the film where Indy is looking through an old book and stumbles upon something that sets him off on a quest. Years ago at college, I had such a moment in the library, when something in a dusty old book caught my attention…a remark about Dracula’s campaign into Bosnia in 1476. A little over 500 years later, something happened in Bosnia that created some metaphysical connections to Dracula that I just couldn’t ignore. So off I went. 

Then I began reading about vampires, and discovered that the word “vampire” entered English (and other western languages) from Serbia and the Balkans, not from Romania. I began reading descriptions in folklore about “real” vampires, which were nothing like pop-culture vampires, and decided that there had to be a ripping good yarn in all of it. At the same time, there were some things inside me just screaming to get out, so I decided to combine them into a sort of paranormal literary thriller. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Are you currently working on a new project? If so, can you tell us a little about it?  

James: I have two projects. One is the second volume in the saga, and begins where “Kiss of the Butterfly” leaves off. I have already written the first chapter and outlined the book. I have also written about 60,000 words of an espionage/financial thriller set against the backdrop of the Wall Street crash of 2008. I plan on it being about 120,000 words. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: Where is your favorite place to travel? 

James: I like nature. I also like old places and ruins. So anyplace with lots of overgrown ruins makes me happy. I also like anyplace you can get to on a sailboat. Islands especially. So….Greece, the Adriatic, the Caribbean, the South Pacific. The British Isles also fall into that category. 

Andrea @ Reading Lark: It's a Reading Lark tradition to ask this last question. What is your favorite bird? 

James: The owl. Wisdom. Great looks. Long wingspan. Likes night-life. And it can turn it’s head around 189 degrees.

About The Author:

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.

About the Novel:

“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.


We have TWO eBook copies of Kiss of the Butterfly up for grabs. Thank you, James, for providing the books for the giveaway. This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY! In order to win you must:

* Be 18+ years old
* Fill out the Rafflecopter below

The giveaway runs from December 15-22. The winner will be contacted via email on December 23. 


  1. ABC News mentioned "Kiss of the Butterfly" and quoted me (the author) in a story about the recent vampire scare in Serbia.

    I have been posting photos and descriptions of this on the facebook page.

    1. Intriguing article - thanks for sharing the link, James!

  2. "Better vampires than Anne Rice " - now that is why I want to read KISS OF THE BUTTERFLY.

  3. Mary,

    I can't believe I made such an egotistic statement...even though deep down inside, I secretly hope it's true. When I asked my wife what she thought of it, she rolled her eyes, smiled, and gave me one of those "I really do love you, now go do something useful around the house" type of looks.

    I hope you get a chance to read "Kiss". You will find it fun and challenging.




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