I’ve been writing for publication for about seven years now. I’m inspired to write by many people and many experiences, but ultimately, I write because I can’t stop writing. I swear. I’ve tried. I just can’t. My mind is powered by this story generator that keeps going and won’t quit.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write The Curse Giver when I came across an ancient pair of clay tablets that popped up on my screen one night while I was researching another story. The clay tablets dated from 600 BC and were part of the same collection that gave us the famous Gilgamesh epic. Visually, the tablets weren’t much to look at, chicken scratches on clay. But the translated words had a huge impact on me.
“May all these [gods] curse him with a curse that cannot be relieved, terrible and merciless, as long as he lives, may they let his name, his seed, be carried off from the land.”
I know, hardly an inspiration for most. Me? I immediately thought of the man who had been thus cursed, of the pain and hardship such a curse would bring upon him and his people, of the character that eventually became Bren, Lord of Laonia, in The Curse Giver.
I started to think: Who would cast a curse like that and why? What kind of creature could be capable of such powerful evil? What would motivate a person to curse another? A new character began to emerge in my mind, the curse giver herself, someone whose understanding of good and evil was very different from my own.
And, once cursed, how could a person defend himself? A third character emerged from this question, Lusielle, a common remedy mixer, a healer of bodies and souls, someone who didn’t realize the scope of her own strength until it began to transform her life.
With Bren, Lusielle and the curse giver thus crystalized, I set out to write this fast, plot-twisting fantasy romance about an innocent woman condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit, who must ally with the cursed lord pledged to kill her in order to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends. The Curse Giver is an epic fantasy story with brawn, brains, and lots of heart, something that I think your epic dark fantasy romance readers might enjoy.
Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
Nature and nurture. I was meant to write since as far back as I can remember. It helped that I was part of a family of avid readers. After I started writing, I couldn’t stop. I still can’t! That’s why I have to be an author. It’s not a choice. It was always meant to be.
What are the perks and the demands of being an author?
The biggest perk of being an author is that I get to practice the sweet craft of writing. That in itself is more than enough for me. But there are other perks as well, like setting up your own schedule, going to the office in your comfy clothes and working from home. I relish the thrill of the creative process. I get to spend my days telling stories, creating characters and coming up with plot twists. How cool is that? I love the fact that my direct supervisor is a cat and my performance evaluation comes straight from the readers. The readers are the greatest perk of all.
But there are also many demands. You need time to be an author—lots of time—and that means that other things, important things, often go by the wayside. Rest, recreation and relaxation are the first to go. You also need focus, drive and determination. You’ve got to be able to balance the self, generate ideas, put down the stories, edit, persevere and then do it all over again. You’ve got to have some staying power.
You also have to be comfortable with being alone for great portions of the journey. For most of us, the earnings curve is slow to grow while the expense curve spikes a lot faster. The physical demands of the trade are often overlooked and yet they shouldn’t be. Long hours of immobility, staring obsessively at a screen, can be both harmful and painful.
What genre would you place your books into?
Like the Stonewiser series, The Curse Giver falls into the fantasy genre and fits well in the subcategories of epic fantasy, dark fantasy and fantasy romance.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book, then choose the title?
I usually discover the title of my novels at the very moment when I write it for the first time into the story. It can happen early on, during the opening paragraph or late in the process. It’s really neat. It’s always a “wow” moment.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people, or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters belong to my imagination, and yet my imaginary worlds feel very real to me.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? Do you listen to music, sit in a certain chair, write in a particular place?
I’m one of those people who prefer to write in silence. I guess my mind is way too noisy as it is! I have a writing studio in my home, a cozy little room that opens up to a veranda overlooking a beautiful, spring-fed river. It’s quiet and peaceful, and it’s my favorite place to write. I like to sit in my favorite chair, an ergonomic design that offers excellent support for the long hours of writing.
Are you published for the first time or are you multi-published?
I’m a multi-published author. My first three books are part of the Stonewiser series, and they include Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone (2009), Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone (2010), and Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone (2012). I’m really excited about my latest book, The Curse Giver (July 2013), a stand-alone fantasy romance that has just been released by Twilight Times Books.
How do you think book publishing has changed over the years?
I think the book publishing industry has been through some cataclysmic changes in the last few years. Just look at how the rise of Amazon has completely changed the field. The advent of the e-book, the decline of the bookstore, the growth explosion of the self-publishing industry, these are only a few of the elements that have contributed to reshape the industry. From the technical innovations that have reshaped the industry, to our attitudes about reading, writing and publishing, to the shifts in how we read, buy and promote books, I’m blown away every day by how fast and thoroughly the industry is channeling change.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
Common sense. Is there any of it left in the world?
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I shy away from giving advice to aspiring writers because the journey can be very different for each one of us, and we all tackle the road in different ways. But if you pressed me on this, I would say that, above everything else, a writer has to write. So write, write often, write a lot and write with passion; and don’t forget to learn from the experience.
Can you share with us your current work in progress?
I’m currently working on several different projects, including a contemporary dark fantasy with a Latin twist and another standalone fantasy romance that takes place in the world of The Curse Giver. It’s not a sequel, not exactly, but rather a related novel. It’s currently called The Soul Chaser. Also, the Stonewiser series is coming out in audiobook. The first book of the trilogy, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, is already available at http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-Audiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1. Take a listen. It’s good, old-fashioned storytelling at its very best.
Thank you so much for this interview, Dora. We wish you much success!
Thank you for chatting with me. Best wishes for you and all your readers.
Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn’t commit. She’s on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames. Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark. Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.
Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
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Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Rating – PG-18
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