Sunday, 8 February 2009
My guest this week is author Rae Lori. Now Rae isn't new to the writing game but she has a new series out that Paranormal romance fans will enjoy. When she isn't busy writing you may find her on the Coffee Time Romance Blog or on her own blog.
I hope you all enjoy the interview and take the time to enter the contest!
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! Your book A Kiss of Ashen Twilight has just been released. Could start things off by telling my blog readers a bit about the book?
Rae – Sure thing! Thanks for having me stop by your blog, btw!
A Kiss of Ashen Twilight is about an Aziza fairy named Ariya. The Aziza fairy realm has been in turmoil as her sisters fall victim to a mysterious elemental create. Ariya is next in sight. She escapes her realm to evade the attack and runs into our realm where the Ashen Twilight House lives. They are a group of Nightwalkers, Shifter Elves and Lycans who have lived under human eyes for centuries. The Regent in the House of Blood vampire house, Jace Archane, happens to come to her aid as she is being attacked by a pair of Shifter Renegades (also called Rens). A relationship ensues when he takes her in and the elemental creature attacks another in the House of Blood.
There’s a lot of little side stories going on with members of the house and how Ariya relates to this new world, being a fairy from another realm. Since these characters are immortal and have been around for centuries they have a history and much of this history comes back to this story. For instance, Julian Archane, Jace’s uncle and Patriarch in the House of Blood was a soldier in the 1400s of Scotland and he fought against the English. He lost his wife and child when he was turned into a Nightwalker and much of that has haunted him to this day. With Jace, his best friend is a Lycan and Shifter Elf, one with English heritage and the other with ancestry in Moorish Spain. So there’s some tension there based on the history of the countries. I loved the theme of combining light fantasy with dark fantasy and both are represented in Ariya and Jace which causes much conflict in how they get together. There’s also some preconceived ideas of what a vampire means in Aziza lore which is different from Scottish lore and the same thing fairy so their meeting was a lot of fun to write.
Amber - A Kiss of Ashen Twilight is the first in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for the series? Was it a slow process or something that just happened?
Rae – I think it was a slow process. I was writing my Cimmerian series and I wanted to do something that was an all out traditional paranormal story with vampires. Most vampire stories today feature the character a sidekick or love interest and I wanted a story that featured paranormals living in today’s world and have it completely from their POV. So the amount of humans in my story is pretty low. I was very much inspired by Anne Rice and how she created a whole community of vampires with a hierarchy, communal structure and I wanted to do the same with my story.
Also there weren’t many paranormals and urban fantasy featuring multicultural characters. I wanted to do more than just the sidhe and court fairy myths so I went in search of African fairy mythology and lo and behold I came upon the Aziza prevalent in Dahomey West Africa, which is now known as Benin today.
I love writing interracial romance so I wanted to throw it together with the paranormal and I loved the idea of a Scottish vampire. Soon I had my fairy heroine and vampire hero. I didn’t want to do a dark fairy and thankfully the Aziza myth features benevolent helpful and spiritual fairy creatures who assisted hunters. I thought “Hmm, Aziza helps hunters and vampires are hunters. How would a romance work between these two work?”
And then I had my story.
Amber - Who are the main characters in A Kiss of Ashen Twilight? Are they based on anyone you know?
Rae - The main characters are Jace Archane, a vampire Scot, and Ariya, the Aziza fairy. I don’t think their temperaments are based on anyone I know but I was inspired by Kyle Schmid’s Henry Fitzroy from Tanya Huff’s Blood series (which became the Blood Ties television show) for Jace and Megalyn Echikunwoke from 4400 for Ariya. I loved how Kyle played Henry in a way where he was confident in who and what he was. When he was called a monster, he agreed but he said he was one who could control his needs. He knew what he was and what he did to survive and somewhat reveled in it when feeding. That was highly sexy to me and I loved that kind of vampire rather than the brooding one moping about his existence. We don’t see enough of the former I think. He reminded me of a New Age Lestat.
For Megalyn, I loved her hair *Lol*. Seriously though, I loved how she played Isabelle with a sense of innocence and curiosity and later with a confliction of rage and power. Both ranges were interesting to me and I loved how she carried herself. I could easily see her with a pair of awesome wings.
Amber - Did you have to do alot of research for A Kiss of Ashen Twilight?
Rae – I did, actually. A lot of it was not only the mythology of the each culture tied with each paranormal creature but also the region it took place in. I bought a few books on Scotland’s history and geography, Wallachia history, African Mythology and Dahomey history to help me get started. I feature a certain famous figure in history tied to the vampire myth who appears at the beginning of the book and I had to skim his history. His torture tactics were pretty brutal so I didn’t dive too much into it!
Also during edits, my editor Stephanie was in touch with a Scots Gaelic professor who taught the language and she was able to get direct translations of the language for certain lines in the book. I was so ecstatic about that because it added to the realism in the story. I also found some basic words in Fon, the language spoken in the former Dahomey region, and was able to use those. So a lot of the research really helped me tap into bringing the world to life for readers to enjoy.
Amber - What happens after A Kiss of Ashen Twilight? How many books will there be in the series?
Rae – So far I’m contracted for three books. After A Kiss of Ashen Twilight is Within the Shadows of Mortals and Inheritance of Ashes which covers a big arc that I’m leading towards. ‘Mortals’ will bring the Ashen Twilight House out in the open as they are discovered among humans. War will ensue between the groups until they can finally come to a peaceful agreement. I’ve always wondered what happened at that exact moment when humans found out they weren’t at the top of the food chain and this book examines that as well some prejudices against those different from the norm. Not many paranormal books discuss this as most of them deal with the after effects so I wanted to explore that. ‘Inheritance’ will deal with the aftermath and how immortals are integrated into life with the mortals as far as the law, their rights, etc.
Each book will have a historical tie-in with each separate house in the series. In A Kiss of Ashen Twilight we see how the House of Blood came about, for ‘Mortals’ we see how the House of Lycan came to be and for ‘Inheritance’ it’s the mysterious one of all: the House of Shifter Elves which has been shrouded in mystery up until now. I try to make the books have a pretty epic feel that spans for long amounts of time.
Amber - Are you working on any other projects that you would like to tell us about?
Rae – Yes, currently I’m working on a book called Nocturnal Awakening which is contracted with Samhain/Linden Bay. It’s an interracial urban fantasy featuring a woman who aids the police in catching criminals using her power of second sight. One evening she sees a crime and the culprits are looking for her. Soon she meets a mysterious man sent to guard and teach her how to use her powers to train for her destiny within the local Skinwalker tribe.
I’m also working on some small side projects to break from the paranormal. One is a short sweet love story about a contemporary princess who suffers the loss of her husband and literally shuts down altogether…until she hears the music of a handsome violinist. And that story is basically how she finds her way back to herself. That story is called The Princess and the Violinist (original, I know *laughs*) and will be apart of a special anthology I’m putting together with some writer friends of mine.
Lastly, I’m reworking a suspense noir called The Comfort of Strangers featuring an actress going through a rocky marriage. She left the love of her life in college, who is now a police officer, and married a famous producer. Now she finds out her producer husband is cheating on her and to get him back she decides to stage a robbery to basically ‘scare him straight’. Things don’t go exactly as planned though. It’s kind of a twisted women’s fiction/noir in a way.
Amber - A Kiss of Ashen Twilight isn't your first book. How many books have you already had published? What were they about?
Rae – Hmm, I’ve had about 2 novels, 3 novellas, 5 short stories and a poem published standalone and as anthologies. Whew! Here’s a tidbit about them:
Cimmerian City (Sci-Fi Thriller) – Future Earth is recovering from a war that has divided Humans and Dracins, quick, tough skinned vampire-like creatures that are children of the side effects from 20th century pharmaceuticals. A young woman awakens in the care of a powerful corporation set on bringing peace between the two groups. But as she soon finds out, nothing is as it seems…
Before Dawn Breaks (Romantic Suspense) – Cold seductive assassin, Alexandra, loses her memory on the job and starts life over as a quiet writer returning from college. At the same time, former secret service agent, Josh, recently divorced from his wife starts life over when he opens his own restaurant. When a hit is taken out on both of him, Josh must revert to his old guardian ways to keep them both safe while he tracks down the killer. Soon he uncovers a murder with ties to the newest presidential candidate to the white house.
Uthiel’s Embrace (Fantasy Romance)- After aiding a town from aggressive pillagers, Prince Nikolas of Lambert stumbles upon a land of otherworldy creatures with tree fairies, guardian gnomes and elemental spirits. And one magical Undine, Uthiel, soon shows him that there is more beauty and magic within the dark, violent world that he inhabits...more than he could ever have imagined...
One Evening in London (Contemporary Romance) - Angela is a newly published author at a book party celebrating the launch of her premiere book. She has been in bad relationships before and is skeptical about entering another. Paul is the publicist for her publishing company. His marriage is on the rocks, but he is a faithful man, continuing to respect the institution despite his wife’s infidelities. The attraction is apparent between the two, but before the night is over both will learn a little bit more about race, the boundaries of love and human nature.
Timeless Blue (writing as Adrianna Ravel) (Contemporary Romance) – In the near future, Jordan Brentwood ventures back in time to capture the love he lost due to his family’s prejudice. Can he keep from losing her once again?
One of my short sci-fi stories A Day in the Life of Simplicity is available in the Weirdly Anthology. I also have some free reads available. One is a dark psychological horror called City of the Wishmakers and another is a flash fiction romance called Hazy Chestnut Dreams. You can find the links to read them on the Books Page of my website.
Amber - Did you always want to be a writer? Which genre do you like to write the most?
Rae – I think subconscious I did. Writing was, for a long time, something that I just did because I liked to entertain different ideas in my head and to my classmates. I started out writing screenplays and plays to get the idea of story structure down. Then I moved on to short stories and eventually longer works. I was always afraid to tackle novels because I didn’t think I’d ever have that much to say, but as I started writing more information in shorter works a lot of editors kept telling me my novellas seem like they should be novels so that’s when I really started trying out larger works. A Kiss of Ashen Twilight is probably the longest book I’ve written at 107,000 words. So I’m pretty proud I got to achieve my goals a little bit each time I write.
Amber - What have been the good and bad times of being an author? Any advice to anyone out there working on their first novel?
Rae - Hmm the good and bad times. I’d say the bad times include getting a bad reception on something you’ve worked on. Also when something isn’t quite hitting it exactly as you like for instance during edits with your editors or if you’re writing a certain section. The brain has a funny way of working and sometimes it just doesn’t want to write. There’s nothing wrong with filing the story away in your mind and do something completely separated from writing. That way your brain is still working on the problem and when you come back later, you’ll find it’s much easier to work through.
For the good times, it’s definitely seeing how a work affects someone. That moment where they really get it and see what you set out to do with a story and it resonates with them is just amazing. That and also spreading the word about your work when it’s available. It’s a surreal time for me right now because I’ve spent so much some working and reworking the book and the series. The idea of it in someone’s home and mind is wild to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that but I’ll never stop enjoying the fact that I can entertain people.
For anyone out there working on their first novel, keep going. Get a support group of writers that you can trust because they’ll know exactly what you’re going through and can give you the push you need to finish. Don’t forget to celebrate the little steps. If your dream is publication set your goals accordingly and read up all you can about publishing and the business. But don’t forget to celebrate the little milestones like finishing a draft or two, etc. Those are accomplishments within themselves!
Amber - What books do you read when you have the chance? Any must have authors or series?
Rae – I was on a big paranormal kick for a while there so I was grabbing anything vampire or paranormal I could get my hands on. I’m swinging into a little more suspense/noir now but I’ll probably be back to paranormal in no time lol.
I love reading Harlequin Intrigues and Nocturnes. Sometimes they begin to all read the same so I take a break from them to read single titles. I really enjoy David Lee Summers, Clare Dargin, Debby Allen, Fionn Jameson, Zinnia Hope and Dawn Thompson as some of my contemporary genre favorites. I just got into Charlaine Harris and enjoyed the first of her Sookie Stackhouse series. I have Kresley Cole, Patricia Briggs, Raven Dane, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, LJ Smith and Suzanne McLeod looking at me from my immediate TBR pile so I’ll be diving into those soon. I love reading the classics like Bradbury, Huxley, Wells, Shakespeare as my favorites and I’m a huge fan of Anne Rice’s early books in the Vampire Chronicles.
Right now I’m reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander since I heard so many good things about that book so I finally ordered it and recently decided to try it out.
Amber - What music, TV series or films do you like and do any of them influence your work?
Rae – I LOVE sci-fi. I grew up on since I was a baby so if it’s futuristic with flying ships and high technology I’m there. Blade Runner, The Matrix series, The Fifth Element, Alien and Aliens. Oh yeah. I’m also jazzed at all the paranormal and fantasy shows recently. I really got into Blood Ties, Moonlight, The Dresdan Files and some genre shows that ended way too early like Kindred, Journeyman, The Chronicle, Charlie Jade, Forever Knight. Too many to name. I’m also a huge fan of NCIS. I caught a rerun on USA when it first premiered on that network a year or so ago and have been hooked since. I was jazzed to see it still continuing with a new season.
I think in a sense they did influence my work mostly because of the characters and what went through. There’s a lot of ‘what if’s’ even in the paranormal shows and a lot of shapes how the characters become. In a lot of ways watching and writing film helped me see characterization, plot pointing and scene setting in my work because I think very visually and seeing a representation of it helped me to navigate how best to tell my stories.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature. Which one would you be and why?
Rae – Ooh I like this question. I usually say a vampire because of how cool they are but I would have to say a fairy. You could most likely fly, have some awesome powers and you’re not dead. Or undead as vampires usually go. Plus you still have that whole immortal possibility there. It’d be great!
Amber - You are stuck on a desert island. What 5 things do you hope to have with you?
Rae – Hmm I hope to have my Blackberry cause that’s where I store a bunch of books I plan to read in the near future. Plus if I get good reception I can call for help, after I finish reading all my books of course. Then I’d have a portable DVD player so I can watch some awesome movies stored in my DVD holder. So, what, that’s three things I think? Phone, DVD holder and player. For the last two I’d say a stack of paper and a pen. You never know when an idea will hit, especially out there in the middle of nowhere. I’ll be doomed when I run out of battery juice so I hope I won’t be out there too long without electricity! *laughs*
Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest! Keep in touch!
Rae - Thanks bunches for having me, Amber! This was a blast. :-D
Buy A Kiss of Ashen Twilight here!
Rae has nicely said that she will send one lucky US winner a signed copy of A Kiss of Ashen Twilight and another winner from outside of the US digital version of the book.
To enter the contest please post here letting us know what genre you prefer and why? With so many sub-genres we could see some nice answers ;) No answer = No entry!
Make sure you mention if you are entering for the US or non US prize!
Earn another entry for each place you link this contest on the net. Make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries!
The contest will stay open until Sunday Feb 15th 2009 4pm CET. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.
If you are claiming a prize, have emailed me and have not heard back before the 7 day limit is up then post a comment here on the blog. Your email may get sucked into my spam filter.
posted by Amber Katze at Sunday, February 08, 2009 |