To read my review of this wonderful book, go here!
Oh, and before you proceed ... let me explain the sheer multitude of questions. You see, Rachel posted a list of ready made questions on her sign-up page for her blog tour, and I found so many of those questions intriguing ... I think I may have selected a few more than absolutely necessary.
How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I look at the source, analyze the reasons the reader gives for not liking it, and then evaluate whether or not I need to change anything I am doing. Sometimes I do. More often I don’t. Then I try to move on because I can’t please everyone.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Some of them are important. Like choosing my heroine’s name when writing Duty became a long and difficult process. She wouldn’t reveal herself to me until she had a name that fit her personality. Brielle means “God is my might.” Her family name, Solarius, is more of a nod to her hair color. The name means “of the sun.” Red hair runs in the family, though I don’t really mention that in the novel. Strong, fiery, wise, and red-headed, Brielle’s name grew to fit her better with each chapter.
Other characters, like my hero Lord Irvaine, burst forth almost completely developed and clear, title and first name included. His title is based on the area he oversees, but I chose his first name, Tomas, because of the sound. Also, it is traditional with a twist of unusualness to fit his world and his character. Although Tomas can give the appearance of all the attributes expect of a nobleman. Upon closer inspection, you discover he is very different than the blue-bloods around him.
Do you laugh at your own jokes?
How many books have you written?
Four novellas (two published), seven novels (two being published this year and more to come), two short stories (both published) have reached at least the completed rough draft stage. If you want to count partially written projects, add five novels and two short stories to the stack.
Do you have plans for a sequel to Duty?
Yes. I intentionally left unresolved tension and plotlines so I could pick up the story again. Now whether I pick up Brielle and Tomas’ story or begin again with the next generation, I don’t know. Both ideas intrigue me. I would love to write something from Tomas’ perspective, but another character from the book has already introduced herself to me and started telling me her tale, so we shall see who makes it onto the page first.
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
I love them all. I think paperback and hardcover are still my first loves, though. The weight, the smell, and the feeling of the pages as you turn them are all hard to replace, but the cheapskate in me usually can’t justify the price when the ebook is so much cheaper.
Who designed your book cover?
I did. Book cover design has become a bit of a third or fourth hobby for me. My frustrated artist side revels in exploring and trying out new things to create a visual taste of the story beneath the cover.
Why do you write fantasy?
The thought of the amount of research required to write a truly good historical novel paralyzes my inspiration. I much prefer a cage of my own creation to history’s. I still do research, though. I still try for an authentic feel true to the time period I am sort of setting for my story. But if any one cries foul because my hero uses stirrups when they weren’t around yet, I pull out my fantasy card. “See, it is fantasy. I am making up my own rules.” The catch is I have to live within them once they are established.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I do, but it changes with the project. My science fiction is much blunter than my medieval fantasy. In general, my style has grown faster paced over the years and heavier in dialogue. Though, I do still enjoy crafting eloquent and precise description when I can.
Can you swordfight?
I wish I could. Someday it would be cool to learn. Instead I spend a lot of time reading and watching videos about swordfighting. I know enough to write my books, but not enough to be considered even an amateur.
Can you use a knife?
I can butter bread, cut veggies, and handle knives for everyday tasks. I am a bit of a weakling when it comes to fighting, despite my rough and tough heroines.
How did you come up with the title? (I ask this of everyone. Titles are such fascinating creatures!)
Duty can either mean a moral obligation or action done as a fulfillment of such an obligation rather than pleasure. Very early on in the rough draft many of the characters’ decisions, actions, and motivations became tied up in their perceived or declared duties to each other and those over them. When it became apparent that duty was going to play a key role in the climax, I figured I should just make it the title of the book.
If you had a snail that could magically grant wishes, what would you name it?
I would name it Gertrude, just because.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I began going from one completed manuscript to the next, I began to get the idea that I might be onto a new passion.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Spending time with my husband, playing with my kids, watching movies, reading books, and working on book covers and book trailers are my top choices after writing.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Book cover designer or a book trailer designer would be my second choice. I really enjoy the creative aspects of those careers.
What was your favorite chapter to write in Duty and why?
In chapter three, Lord Irvaine talks Brielle into marrying him. When I began writing the chapter I knew what I needed to accomplish, but I had no idea how to manage it. Then beneath my typing fingers Lord Irvaine revealed a new side of his character as he talked her into the decision and didn’t use any of the rationales I had brainstormed. Through carefully chosen words and without a hint of threat or malice, he convinced her marry him for valid reasons besides love.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I usually seek out my laptop, some food and drink, writing music (sometimes), and a place with no interruptions.
What time of day do you write?
I write when I get a chance. With three little ones underfoot, that time comes during naptime and after bedtime. If I had my choice, I would begin writing mid-morning. That is when I am freshest and brightest. My second choice is nighttime when I get my second wind and I can revel in the writing.