Interview With Author Allison Saft

Author Interview

Meet Allison Saft.

Social media links:

Hi Allison!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, Rae! Thank you so much for having me! I’m the author of Down Comes the Night, which is out in early 2021 with Wednesday Books. It’s a blend of YA fantasy and Gothic romance about two sworn enemies who must work together when a snowstorm traps them in a mysterious, crumbling estate. I’m inspired by real-world history and politics, vivid settings, and, honestly, anime. I was born in Philadelphia, but I’ve lived in Austin, New Orleans, and most recently, the California Bay Area. When I’m not writing, I’m usually hiking the redwoods, experimenting with new recipes, or practicing aerial silks.

The Interview.

Do you think your background in English Literature enhances or weakens your writing? Perhaps both?

When working within the conventions of a historical literary movement like the Gothic, I think a background in English Literature can be a huge boon! Gothic literature is more than just a flickering-candlelight aesthetic; understanding the economic and cultural factors that led to its popularity in the 19th century has been instrumental in telling a story that stays true to its roots while appealing to 21st-century readers.

I could see potential drawbacks to a literature background, too! When we treat novels as objects of study—as literary contraptions, as one professor of mine used to say—it can suck the joy out of them. Writing fiction, at least in the drafting stage, is a very emotional, intuitive, sometimes even spiritual practice for me; too much analysis can kill a project in its early stages. For what it’s worth, though, I think you can get roped into believing that all your academic friends will judge you if you write genre fic—or worse, young adult genre fic! But if you don’t respect what you’re working on, it won’t be any good. Besides, any friends who consider genre fic lesser aren’t worth listening to (and are missing out, honestly).

What kickstarted your writing journey and resulted in your debut, Down Comes the Night?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid in some form or another (mostly fanfiction…), but what really kickstarted my writing journey was a mentorship program called Author Mentor Match. Deadlines always motivate me, so I planned to rewrite a trunked project during NaNoWriMo 2017 and submit it to AMM in March 2018. By late November, I finished my rewrite. I printed it out, read it through, and immediately threw it in the garbage. It was entirely soulless—the book I thought I was supposed to write rather than a book I really cared about.

I didn’t have any other ideas, so I moped for about a week. Then I thought, well, what do I have to lose? Why not write something fun? Something that would capture the magic writing once had when I was a teenager with no ambitions for my work beyond entertaining my friends. Something romantic and dramatic and full of all the tropes I loved. I finished a draft of Down Comes the Night in about six weeks. I ended up getting into AMM with it, and the guidance, support, and feedback from my mentor and peers were invaluable as I revised and queried the book. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and I still count on them today!   

Name two things about Gothic literature that fascinate you.

Its relationship to the past—how it, by turns, expresses a longing to return to an unrecoverable time and stages hauntings from that which refuses to be left behind.

Its (sometimes hilariously) intense fixation on the emotional experience of the protagonist.  

As a writer, what has been your biggest struggle when drafting, revising, and editing?

Drafting: I’m a fast drafter—meaning I like to hurtle through a skeletal “draft zero” before I double back and fill in the details. Finishing that draft zero means I’m usually pretty sure a plot works in execution, but it also means the book reads almost like a screenplay. In those really early drafts, it’s sometimes hard for me to imagine how a project will come together thematically and emotionally.

Revising: Since I draft the way I do, my first revision pass is basically… actually writing the book! That’s the hardest part, although it’s the most rewarding. From there, it’s all about ironing out the details, large and small. Revising Down Comes the Night nearly killed me a few times. It has an element of mystery, and it was hard to get right. Planning out the reveals, streamlining the investigation, cutting unnecessary red herring characters, making sure everyone’s motives were clear… Tears were shed!   

Editing: The hardest thing about editing is learning to let go. I struggled with this during line edits for Down Comes the Night, and I’m struggling again during copyedits. I could tinker forever with line-level prose, but there comes a point when you have to cut yourself off and accept that you’ve done the best you can. That the book will just be different, not better, and you may do more harm than good if you start messing with things that don’t need messing with.

What makes the ideal monster?

I think a lot about “monster romances” and what makes them work. What does it mean for a character to be monstrous? What does it mean for a (physically) non-monstrous character to identify with the monster? To me, it’s notable that some of the most successful (in my opinion) monster romances are between human women who are marginalized in some way and monsters who are similarly, often wrongly, reviled. In Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver, it’s significant that Miryem is Jewish—as significant as it is that her monstrous love interest, the Staryk King, rules over a fae-like people who are hated because they supposedly strike ruthless bargains and impoverish the kingdom in their endless quest for gold. It’s significant that the heroine of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a mute woman named Elisa Esposito in love with a creature stolen from a river in Brazil.

However, I also think there are monsters who are purely reprehensible. Those that embody the ugliness in society or are clearly some cultural fear made flesh. I like them, too.

  • In terms of crumbly mansions, is there a real life mansion that you’ve visited or wanted to visit?

I’ve only ever been to the Newport mansions, which are stunning and ridiculous and the very opposite of crumbly. I’ve always wanted to see the real Allerdale Hall from Crimson Peak—but it turns out they built the entire set in the studio, which is wild to me!

What is the root of romance for you?

To me, a good romance has sizzling tension and also answers the question “why are these characters good for each other?” in a way that’s thematically satisfying.When I’m writing romance, I consider what the characters want and need individually—and how each character’s wants and needs both complement and complicate the other’s. I always try to write parallel character arcs for my romantic leads. Oftentimes, they both need the same thing; they’ve just developed different ways of coping with that lack and told themselves different stories about what exactly will make them happy.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

While Down Comes the Night doesn’t come out until next year, there are some really exciting books coming out in 2020! I can tell you from experience that Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald and The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman are absolutely fantastic. Some of my most-anticipated reads are Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Barshardoust, The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska, The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, and A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe.

Meet Micheline Rychman

Author Interview, Bookish Interview

Meet Micheline Rychman.

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The Interview.

Hi Micheline!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Micheline Ryckman lives with her family on a farm in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She is co-owner of Whimsical Publishing, and an accomplished artist/illustrator in multiple mediums. The Maiden Ship is her debut novel, the first in an upcoming series. The sequel book, The Lion of the Sea, is already in the works.

What was your very first commissioned piece of art?

Oh gosh, I’m old, so this is really hard to even recall, but I can tell you that it would have been a traditional acrylic landscape painting on canvas. I did those for years before I ever took up illustration.

Can you pick a favorite quote from your debut, THE MAIDEN SHIP?

I have many favourite quotes from TMS but probably this one:

“Do you know why wildflowers are the most beautiful blossoms of all, my son?”

   Dain shook his little head.

Soft waxen curls blew forward in the breeze as she lifted her storm-gray eyes to gaze out over the sea of petals. “Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son—the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot. They root themselves, along with their companions, wherever they are, and they thrive.”

What kicked started your illustration career? Your writing career?

My illustration career was actually kickstarted when my daughter was a teen, she always wanting me to join her while drawing and read her books. And I found that I loved the stories and the art so much more than what I was already doing. It quickly became a passion to produce and create work that young adults could enjoy.

The Maiden Ship is my first novel and my firstborn was only three months old when I developed the story. That was twenty-one years ago. The book didn’t get far back then because the demands of a new marriage, a new child, and so many other life callings forced me to set the story aside. It wasn’t until 2018 that I revisited The Maiden Ship. And that decision was brought on by several major life events: a mix of chronic health struggles, my firstborn leaving home for college (don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy when your children leave home—it is not), and a severely injured drawing arm. Art has always been my lifeline, and when my arm went, and that privilege was taken from me, a bout of depression inevitably followed. It was a tough season, and I was desperate for a creative outlet. I needed something to keep me sane amidst the chaos and pain.

So, I wrote. Typing with my non-dominant hand took some getting used to. The process was arduous, and sometimes I used dictation when the pain was too severe. Yet, word by word, this book saved my life. This tale gave me a reason to wake up each day; it gave me a purpose. I am so thankful for this story. I poured so much of my own personal life journey and lessons into this novel, and I’m hopeful that the premise and messages in this story will speak to the hearts of those who read it.

Was there any scene in THE MAIDEN SHIP that really surprised you with how it turned out?

Not a scene as much as a couple characters that surprised me, Casper and Lydia. They were meant to be simple background characters and ended up demanding much larger roles in the story. Lydia is fierce that way, and well, Casper could charm the fangs off a snake, I never stood a chance.

What character spoke to you the most in THE MAIDEN SHIP?

Definitely Morgan Crouse, or Mo as we affectionately call him. He speaks to my heart and I loved writing his dialogue.

Do you have any current writing project(s)? If so, can you share anything? 

I am currently working on two projects actually. One is the sequel to The Maiden Ship, it’s called The Lion of the Sea, the second is a full-length novel of my graphic novel, Charting Stars. I was unable to continue this graphic novel series because eof health problems that prevented me from drawing that much, so I’m super excited to continue this story in novel form!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Just that I’m so incredibly grateful to my followers and those who’ve already read The Maiden Ship, I have been so touched by your kindness and sweet reviews. Thank you all so much!

Author Interview: Hayley Chow.

Author Interview

Meet Hayley Chow.

Social Media Links:

https://www.instagram.com/hayleyreesechow/

https://hayleyreesechow.com/

The Interview.

Hi Hayley! 

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hayley Reese Chow has short and flash fiction featured or upcoming in Lite Lit One, The Drabble, Bewildering Stories, Teleport Magazine, and Rogue Blades Entertainment’s omnibus, AS YOU WISH!

Until recently though, she’s mostly done a lot of things that have nothing at all to do with writing. Her hat collection includes mother, wife, engineer, USAF veteran, reservist, four-time All American fencer, 100 mile ultramarathoner, triathlete, world traveler, voracious reader, and super nerd. Hayley currently lives in Florida with two small wild boys, her long-suffering husband, and her miniature ragehound.

But at night, when the house is still, she writes.


I adore your site tagline of “Telling stories fished from the dreamcatcher.” How did you come up with it? Do you have a dreamcatcher?

My writing tends toward the speculative and fantastical, so I really like the idea of dreams being a potential source of inspiration. When I was a young kid, I used to have really horrible nightmares, so my mom got me a beautiful dreamcatcher. I think I was a little afraid of it. For some reason, I’ve always thought they were a bit eerie, like some kind of sandman spider crawled through it while you slept. I became convinced that the dreamcatcher actually made the nightmares worse, so it disappeared back into my mother’s nest of treasures. The nightmares are gone, but I still have extremely vivid dreams (zombies, time-travel, magic… you name it), often in the third-person. They’re not always writing material, but they are always interesting.

Out of your published works, which story gave you the most backlash while going through the process: from writing to revising to final edits?

I think I had the most trouble with my first foray into dark humor in my short story, “Wild Demand.” The plot came to me right away, but I struggled to get the tone right in the first few drafts. Walking the tightrope between amusing and disturbing turned out to be a little tougher than I first imagined. Then, even after it was finished, I wasn’t sure what genre to call it. I usually write fantasy or science-fiction, so trying to classify a “not-quite” contemporary short story was difficult for me. I write for me and think about publishing later, so stuffing the story into a genre box to pitch at someone can be a little awkward sometimes.

What made you decide to go the self-publishing route?

I did give the traditional route my best shot. I queried agents and got a handful of full requests that were inevitably followed by a long wait and then the standard feedback that it was “good but just not quite right for them” or something similar. Then, I got connected with the writing community and realized how many great indie books there are out there. I started investigating self-publishing, got some tips from other indie authors, and decided to go for it. This book has been a work-in-progress for a long time, so it was extraordinarily freeing to have some closure in sight. Now, that I have a handle on the process, I think I will be much quicker to move to self-publishing rather than spend valuable writing time in the query trenches.

As a follow up to the previous question: What would be one thing you’d stress of importance to other writers considering this route too?

Research everything! The amount of resources out there for indie authors is tremendous—from editing, to formatting, to marketing—there are so many options and a lot of steps in the process (so try to plan ahead if you can.) The writing community on Twitter and Instagram can also be a great source for information and encouragement. Through tips from other indie authors, I discovered Amazon KDP and the Reedsy blog, which have both been tremendously helpful. Self-publishing is definitely a journey that takes a lot of time and energy, but a very fulfilling one.

YA vs. Middle Grade: What are some challenges you face when switching between age groups while writing?

At 12-years-old, somewhere in between MG and YA, I fell in love with reading. So, I often feel stuck between the no man’s land of lower YA and upper MG. I think the struggle begins with the decision if the story will be YA or MG. Which, thus far, has depended on whether the journey’s end takes them to independence or brings them back to their family. From there, I really have to work to keep the darkness under control in a middle-grade and maintain a more simplistic sentence structure, since I think my natural voice is a bit more appropriate for YA. Either way, I love getting to know a world with a young main character that still has so much room for growth and change. I’ll never grow up!

How did you go about creating your website – research, asking other writers?

I avoided making a website for a long time, but after I decided to self-publish, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. I asked for tips from other writers on social media, consulted with the almighty google, and checked out other author websites to get a general feel for what I needed. There was a bit of a learning curve, but wordpress has a simplistic visual block editor that’s easy to use once you get the hang of it. I utilize a minimalistic design, but it works well as a place to highlight the links to my published work and some snippets of my writing. Ultimately, it wasn’t as hard as I feared and I’d totally recommend it for anyone looking to augment their online platform. Lessons learned: Everything is learnable, so google everything.

Real life vs. Writing: What is your daily writing routine?

I’m a full-time engineer with a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, so I basically get 2 hours to myself after they go to bed. I get a cup of hot honey-water (my cheap, lazy version of tea), settle onto the couch (or sometimes a tiny elmo armchair) and then the night can go one of two ways. If I’m on a drafting binge, I jump straight into the story and knock out a couple thousand words. But if I’m revising, editing, querying, formatting, marketing or working on some other non-writing task, I have to settle for a one word writing prompt on social-media—very short stories on twitter and haikus are my favorites. I wish I had more time to spend writing, but in the end, my family and my day job will always come first. Still, I feel lucky to have a creative outlet I feel so passionately about.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Well, I am releasing my debut novel on 1 March 2020! *Insert fanfare here* Odriel’s Heirs is a YA Fantasy starring a demon necromancer, a handsome shadow-twister, and a bullied fire-wielder with rage issues. If you want to take a peek, the first chapter is here: https://hayleyreesechow.com/odriels-heirs/ and I’d love to hear what you think.

And as much as I love writing, I actually love reading more. So, if you ever want to connect and talk about anything that has to do with books, please feel free to reach out on Instagram or Twitter @hayleyreesechow.

Be sure to follow Hayley for updates!

Her debut, Odriel’s Heirs, is coming soon!

Author Interview: Mara Rutherford

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Mara Rutherford.

mara headshot bw.jpg

Social media links
Instagram: @mararutherfordwrites
Twitter: @mararaewrites
Website: mararutherford.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17556487.Mara_Rutherford

The Interview.

 

Hi Mara! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor.

A journalist turned author. Does your journalist mindset aid or weaken your writing?
I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about how journalism affects my fiction writing, other than that I found reporting extremely boring! I editorialized way too much when I first started. But I do think learning how to copy edit made me a very clean drafter, which is a blessing, and I love a deadline!
How would you describe your upcoming debut, CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL in five words?
Beauty. Family. Sacrifice. Self-discovery. Home.
If you were stranded on an island for a week, what literary character would you pick to be there with you?
I feel like you can never go wrong with Jamie Fraser from Outlander. He’s brave, strong, has survived some truly hellacious situations, and he’s got a Scottish accent. What more do you need?
How would you introduce your CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL characters? Do you have a favorite?
Nor is the main character. She’s headstrong, outspoken, and adventurous, but also extremely loyal. Her identical twin, Zadie, is the responsible one, but deep down she’s actually very stubborn, once she learns what she really wants. Their best friend, Sami, is the son of their village’s leader. He’s lighthearted and mischievous, almost to the point of recklessness. There are two princes in the novel: Ceren, the crown prince, who is a brilliant but power-hungry inventor, and his half-brother, Talin, who feels torn between two worlds. I love them all, but Ceren was probably the most fun to write. I really enjoy writing complicated villains.
Was there any particular scene in CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL you had to work on constantly because something just felt off about it?
I wouldn’t say there were any particular scenes I struggled with, but the transition from Nor’s ocean village to the mountain castle was a challenge. They are such different worlds, and I wanted them to be equally unique and intriguing.
Tell us a little bit about you writing process.
Once I have an idea for a book, I usually sit on it for a month or so, letting it flesh out in my imagination. Sometimes I draft a couple of chapters before realizing I don’t know exactly where the story is going, so I take a break and then make a beat sheet. I like to draft as quickly as possible, usually in a couple of months. It really depends on what’s going on at home (I have two young sons, and now a puppy, so my schedule revolves around them). Drafting is definitely my favorite part of the process. Revising is hard for me – I’d rather move on to the next story!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
For any writers who might be reading– CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL was my ninth completed novel. It took me ten years to sign with an agent, and then several more years to sell a book. I have a mantra that I tell myself when publishing starts to get me down: follow your compass, not your clock. There is no timeline on being an author (even though it feels like there is!). If this is what you love to do, just keep moving forward, one word at a time.

 

Keep an eye out for CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL coming out later this year!

Meet Author Bree Lenehan

Author Interview

a8b206_ab1ea89b746f4648a30c8ce1bce11d2b~mv2(1).jpgMeet Bree Lenehan.

Bree Lenehan is an Australian radio personality, singer, and author. Her passion for creativity and mixing magic with transformative morale through the power of words flows through all of her work. She may not have found the wardrobe to Narnia, the Bridge to Terebithia or received a letter from Hogwarts, but she did fall upon the passage to Moa’s Rock. The world inside Bree’s first novel Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove came to her many years ago, in the backwoods of her grandparents’ property, where she stumbled upon a secret waterhole that became her daily escape from the real world.

Social links:
Website – http://www.breelenehan.com
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/breeelenehan or http://www.instagram.com/pembrimthebook
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40012317-pembrim

 

The Interview.

 

How did you use the death of the parents trope to really shape and strengthen your main character Halia?

Having lost both parents so young and growing up without them around creates a hole in Halia’s life that she fills with her curiosity for adventure. That curiosity is the very thing that leads her to a hidden world she’s always been destined to find… In the end, losing them brings her closer to finding her true self.
What was the hardest scene, line or character to write for Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove?

Oooh, this is a good question! I’ll have to replace one of the character’s names with ‘——’ for now to save giving too much away, but the hardest line/scene to write was: ‘“She’s gone…” whispered Halia, scooping ——’s hands into hers and cradling her tightly, as if love was powerful enough to bring —— back. But that’s exactly it, love was already more powerful than death, for death could take away the one you cared about, but it could never take away the love you have for them. Halia forced her fists away, and as she did, ——’s fingers unlocked to display a grey stone engraved with one last message: The forgiver.’ — The reason I struggled to write this scene was because 1. The death of a well-loved character is always heartbreaking, and 2. The message behind the engraved stone is one Halia needs to hear, but it’s not something she can take in lightly, so I myself even struggled to come to terms with the fact that this well-loved character’s dying wish was for Halia to forgive someone who did something unspeakable to her.

 

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing, editing, or publishing process?

My absolute favourite is seeing the world inside my imagination truly blossoming and evolving into something even bigger than I first anticipated it to be. Writing also gives me a reason to explore and dive deeper into how my characters are feeling, so if my MC’s are running through a forest, I too will go for a walk through the closest forest and take in all of the senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, taste… So that hopefully readers will feel the same cool breeze brush their hair from the nape of their neck, or the smell of sandalwood and dewy grass surrounding them. My least favourite (Australian spelling, hehe) part of the process is the never-ending rounds of formatting that I must undergo before it is finally perfect. But beauty is pain! Or so I’ve heard…
I loved that you mentioned your debut novel’s backstory in your bio. Have you visited the waterhole since finishing Pembrim?

You know what, I actually haven’t. But that’s a fantastic idea! I’ll have to take Pembrim down with me, it’ll be like a new-born baby meeting their father for the very first time! Hahaha. Too weird?
Share a character fun fact!

Sure thing! Each member of the water clan are born with a spirit companion, a creature that lives alongside them every day, a creature that hunts with them, a creature to protect them, a creature bonded to them so strongly that nothing could ever break it. Not even in death do they part, for if a spirit companion is killed, the warrior their spirit is connected to dies the same death, and if a warrior is injured, their companion of the spirit will share their pain. The coolest part about having a spirit companion is that if you close your eyes and focus on the bond between you and your spirit companion, you are able to see through their eyes. Should you find yourself in danger, your spirit companion has the power to see where you are and come to your rescue. I have lots more where that came from, all on my website under the ‘Sneak Peeks’ tab!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

I do, indeed! Firstly, I’m giving one lucky reader the chance to jump inside a future dystopian world and become a character in my upcoming series of books! Enter via the pop-up box on my website! And secondly, Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove is being released June 4th! The countdown is on!

 

Happy book birthday to Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove!

Find out more on Lenehan’s site now!

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Forbidden Romance with Kristina Pérez

Author Interview, Misc.

Kristina Perez PHOTO.jpegMeet Kristina Pérez.

Kristina Pérez is a half-Argentine/half-Norwegian native New Yorker. She has spent the past two decades working as a journalist and academic in Europe and Asia. She is the author of The Myth of Morgan la Fey and holds a PhD in Medieval Literature from the University of Cambridge.

As a journalist, her work has appeared in the South China Morning Post, Wall Street Journal Asia, CNN, and Condé Nast Traveler, among others. She has taught at the National University of Singapore and the University of Hong Kong.

She has a penchant for non-defanged vampires, fringe science, ice skating, and dulce de leche.

Sweet Black Waves is her debut young adult novel.

Social media links
Website: http://www.kristinaperez.com/
Twitter: @kkperezbooks
Instagram: kkperezbooks
Facebook: KKPerezBooks
Tumblr: Kristina Pérez
Pinterest: KKPerezBooks
Goodreads: Kristina Pérez

The Interview.

Your upcoming YA, Sweet Black Waves, focuses on a the tale of Tristan and Eseult. What made you want to spin a tale of forbidden romance, war, and family conflict based on this classic?

While I was doing my PhD in Medieval Literature, I ended up teaching the Old French versions of the Tristan legends one semester and became fascinated by the character of Branwen (often called Brangaine in the French). In the medieval legends, she is the confidant of both Iseult and her mother, the Queen of Ireland. She takes part in conjuring the infamous love potion and it’s Branwen’s fault that Tristan shares the potion with Iseult instead of King Marc, her intended husband. Consequently, Branwen becomes embroiled in covering up the affair and keeping the peace between their two kingdoms.

I wanted to know how Branwen felt about her mistakes and the part she played in changing history, as well as her feelings for all of the characters involved. So that’s what I did! I’ve taken some liberties from the original so that the reader won’t quite know what’s going to happen, and I’ve put Branwen at the center of the story––where I believe she belongs.

What is your favorite aspect of writing a forbidden romance?

One of the best things about writing a forbidden romance is that the stakes are inherently high. To quote the Bard, “The course of true love never did run smooth,” and the obstacles presented by a romance that is in direct conflict with another aspect of a character’s life helps me, as an author, to dig deep into that character’s motivations. Keeping secrets and the fear of discovery are other great ways to test the love relationship as well as the character’s conscience. Plus, it’s tantalizing!

As Branwen took life on the page, what was your favorite and then least favorite characteristic she showed you?

Branwen’s loyalty is her guiding principle and it’s both her best and worst characteristic. When the story opens, she is fervently devoted to her kingdom of Iveriu and her cousin, Princess Eseult. Those loyalties soon come into conflict with her growing feelings for a half-drowned man she rescues from the waves––who happens to be from the enemy kingdom of Kernyv. Branwen’s actions are compelled by her desire to be loyal to all those she cares about, which leads her to do increasingly rash, ruthless, and dangerous things.

Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today?

In the mists of time known as 1998, I lived in Ireland and studied Celtic Civilisation at University College Cork. While I was writing Sweet Black Waves, I went back to Ireland and did a road trip, scouting locations for my Iveriu. I wanted to share a photo with your readers of the coast and the waves, which mean so much to Branwen.

Irish coast.JPG

 

 

Sweet Black Waves comes out next week! Are you ready?