Saturday, January 9, 2016

Author Spotlight: Me!

Picture Hey, I'm the featured author in my Goodreads group this week, so I decided to give myself the spotlight treatment and interview myself!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Let's see, what's to tell that isn't already in my bio? I've lived in Arizona since I was a baby, but twice while I was growing up (when I was 8 and then again when I was 16), my family spent a year in Germany while my Dad, a physics professor, was a visiting professor there. It was an amazing opportunity to live in a different country and travel, and I have vivid memories of places and experiences that I still use a lot in my writing.

Also, I have a Master's degree in Music History, with an emphasis on choral/vocal music of the Renaissance. No, I don't sing, and I've never used that degree. Still, getting it was a lot of fun, and that's another experience that also spills over into my writing. Sarya's Song is the most obvious example, directly influenced by my training in musical analysis and transcription of older notations and by the polyphonic choral music of the early Renaissance.

2. When did you start writing, and why?
I've always loved to read fantasy and romance, but I could never find books that combined the two in a way I found satisfying. Twenty-six years ago, after I finished my Master's, as I was making the transition to life as a stay-at-home mom with my first child, I wanted a new intellectual challenge, so I decided to try writing the kind of novels I wanted to read.

3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I write high fantasy (my definition: set in a different world, with a heroic storyline and magic as an integral part of the story) with strong romance elements. In my books, the romance and the fantasy are equally important to the story - if one or the other was missing, you wouldn't have a story. I write what I love to read - I love fantasy and magic, and I also love a good love story (and that happy ever after ending is a must!).

4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
Right now I'm working on revisions on For the Wildings, the sixth and final book of the Daughter of the Wildings series. After this, I'll be returning to my world of Estelend with a couple of novels.

5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
Daughter of the Wildings is set in a fantasy world inspired by the Old West. Settlers have come to the Wildings, the unsettled frontier, to escape from oppression by mages in the civilized land of Granadaia. It has cowboys and shootouts and cattle drives and saloons, but it also has wizards and magic. I thought the combination of the two elements, high fantasy and westerns, would be pretty cool, and it's been a lot of fun to write.

6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Silas Vendine, the wizard/bounty hunter hero of Daughter of the Wildings, is a fun character to write. On a character alignment chart, he'd be Chaotic Good. He has a very strong sense of honor and right and wrong that has little to do with the law of the land. If it comes to a choice between what's legal and what's right, he'll choose what's right every time and shoot his way out of the trouble he gets into as a result.

Lainie Banfrey Vendine, heroine of the series, also has strong ideas about what's right and the way things should be, but isn't always fussed by the realities of the situation. She's learned the hard way that you can't always make things be the way you think they should be just by wanting them badly enough, but that doesn't mean she's given up on her ideals. She grew up the only girl on a ranch, doing men's work and wearing men's clothes, but she's very feminine, in a practical, non-fussy kind of way. She can herd cattle and mend fences and shoot as well as any man, but she also finds value in caring for her home (when she has one) and family, and she loves pretty things.

7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
In For the Wildings, for the first time in the series we get into the point of view of a couple of different characters besides Silas and Lainie. One is a character who's appeared before in the series; the other is a member of a group whose point of view might be interesting to readers.

I especially like this sentence from one of those scenes: "Now see here, Coltor!" the mayor protested. "You can't go starting a shootout in my office!"

So that was fun :-)

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to these nice people who have helped promote me this week:

Charlotte Chaffin
Tracy Auerbach
Steve Downes
Shari Sakurai

Go check them out!

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