Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category


Last but not least in our character interview extravaganza is an interview with Anna Winters, the heroine of Donna Thorland’s The Dutch Girl, a swashbuckling romantic tale of the American Revolution. It’s an exciting read, with espionage, derring-do, witches, arrogant redcoats, patroons lording it over feudal manors in the Hudson Valley, and cookies.  Ms. Winters is a woman of few words, but let’s welcome her to the blog!


donna_Anna_lgIf you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Go fishing with my husband.


What are you most proud of about your life?

I’m proud of starting a school and providing women with an education.


What was the happiest time of your life?

Being a teacher and running my own school. (more…)


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Today as March Mayhem continues we would like to introduce Marcus Aurelius, Lord Malton. He’s the hero from Lynne Connolly’s brand new historical romance, Dilemma in Yellow Silk— a delightful romp through mid-18th century England with assassins, secret Jacobites, star-crossed lovers and much more.  Welcome to the blog, Lord Malton!


lynne_Marcus_lgIf you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Ride. Anywhere that took my fancy. I’d go back to the family estate and ride somewhere nobody expected anything of me, or even knew my name.

Let’s say you believed in reincarnation, a la Plato. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? What are you most proud of about your life?

Probably a pampered lap dog. Some people think I am one anyway, because of my birth. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but I cannot persuade them of that. I’m proud of my family, of supporting my father in the work he does.

What was the happiest time of your life?

Playing with my father’s steward’s daughter, Viola, when I was a child. Viola never concerned herself with my birth or consequence. I owed her nothing, unlike my siblings. Viola was—is—the most charming, lively person I know. She’s a good friend. I’m just sorry she can never be anything else. (more…)

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Nothing will stop the mayhem! March Mayhem, that is! If you haven’t signed up for the epic swag giveaway (lots of free books, guys! So much reading material for your eyeballs!) sail on over and do so, then come back here for an interview with Orne St John, hero of Joanne Renaud’s timey-wimey romance, Doors.


joanne_Orne_lgOrne St. John, the hero of Doors, is the youngest child and only son of Stephen Orne St. John, the only son of billionaire philanthropist Charmian Struck (of Struck Museum fame). The Struck family is old New York money, descended from Gilded Age railroad magnate Herman Struck, who was related to the Schemerhorns and part of Mrs. Astor’s 400. Orne is an eccentric dilettante who loves occult theory, paranormal conspiracies and collecting rare books and art; he is also a throughly modern guy who loves EDM and is attached to his smartphone.  We’re happy to have him here today.


If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d love to just disappear. Back when I was a kid, after I dropped out of Princeton, I roamed the world going to raves and sleeping in the rough. I’d love to fly off back to Thailand and hang out at Koh Phangan. I had a lot of good times there. I went to several Full Moon Parties back in the ‘90s and it was always spectacular. I wish I could go back.

Of course, my love of Koh Phangan isn’t exactly a secret. I think I’d pick a new place to go. Some place new to explore. Some place no one knows about. A secret. (Well, maybe one person.) But I don’t think I’ll tell you. Then it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?


If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I think I’ve been fairly lucky in my lives so far. I’m aware of how privileged I am. I imagine my next life should be something rather drastically different then this one. Maybe I’ll be a ditch-digger on Mars. Or maybe I’ll work in a asteroid mine. It’s hard to tell what the future will bring, as it looks like Late Capitalism has— and will— make life on this planet exciting for quite some time to come.


What are you most proud of about your life?

God, who knows. I’ve hardly changed the world or solved hunger or cancer or whatever. I know I’m not the easiest guy to get on with. But I like to think that I’ve been a good patron to artists, authors and other creatives. It’s tough— very tough— to make a living in this city, and I want to help out however I can.


What was the happiest time of your life?

I’d say one of them was traveling the world back in the late ‘90s in my beat-head phase— seeing new places, meeting new people— hearing the most astonishing new music out under the open sky. New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, but it can be like living in a fishbowl.


What about the lowest point?

Dealing with the fallout from my cousin’s death. Or my mother. Anyway, I’d rather not talk about that. (more…)

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March Mayhem continues! I’m hosting interviews with characters from some of the books you can win when you enter the giveaway (you’ve done that, right?), starting with Yalira, the heroine of Kat Parrish’s Bride of the Midnight King.


kat-parrishYala_lgYalira de Braxis, the heroine of Bride of the Midnight King and its sequel, Daughter of the Midnight King, was the natural daughter of Lexander de Braxis, a merchant who served on the vampire King Idrax’s Sunlight Council. She was orphaned early in life and brought up by her stepmother Tamare in the company of her stepsisters Resa and Rilla, working in Tamare’s gambling club, The House of Chaos and Chance. Yala, as her friends call her, never expected her life to take the turn it did, but that’s chaos and chance for you.

This interview with Yalira was conducted after the events of The Bride of the Midnight King, so her answers may contain mild spoilers.


If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

 As you know, I live in the Shadow Palace now and sleep during the day, so it would have to be a night without responsibilities. The truth is, I enjoy my responsibilities and my days are balanced between duty and pleasure so that I never feel over-burdened by one and never get bored by the other.


If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? What are you most proud of about your life?

 I should like to come back as a person in the far future when it will be possible to travel not just to other realms but also to whatever realms lie among the stars. When I was a little girl, my father would point out the pictures in the sky and tell me stories about the stars and I would wonder—what kind of marvelous creatures live on the stars?

I hope at the end of my life I’ll be able to look back at things I’ve done that have made Eindar a better place for all her citizens, human and vampire alike. I’m well aware of my position and the power that position gives me to effect change. I see my role as someone who can unite the factions that are threatening the peace and happiness of Eindar’s people.


What was the happiest time of your life?

Was? The happiest time of my life is the present. (more…)

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Books! Books for everyone!

Books! Books for everyone!

We’re still pumped about A Question of Time round hereabouts; Donna Thorland, author of Mistress Firebrand, said of it: “A time travel romance for the 80s girl in all of us, Renaud’s debut packs the emotional punch of your favorite John Hughes movie and will send you rummaging under the bed for your high school mix tapes. A Question of Time is on my keeper shelf.”

I first met the author, Joanne Renaud, through good old deviantArt back in the day, and we bonded over common interests in science fiction, historical costumes, and writing. She’s a talented artist and writer-of-things, and she’s got a creative engine that just doesn’t quit churning out ideas. I fired a few questions off at her, about projects past, present, and yet-to-come. (P.S. You might want to go ahead and check out my review of A Question of Time, just so you are up to speed.)

Me: It seems that Alan’s death had a big impact on your universe–not just for Celia, but for other characters (like Kevin). What is it about Alan that makes him so important?

Joanne: I think in general teachers have a huge impact on people. A nurturing teacher who instructs you and helps you learn and develop your talents can have the most amazing effect on you. (By the same token, a mean-spirited, narcissistic teacher can be horrible.) I had an art teacher in my first year of college who encouraged me to draw every day in a sketchbook, and his sudden death after the term finished devastated me.

Alan is also youthful, talented, and compassionate. When people like that die, it feels like there’s a hole left in the world. So much promise, cut down… it’s pretty awful. Of course, tragedies like that happen every day, but it still doesn’t make it less tragic.

Me: What plans, if any, do you have for future tales set in this world? Do Alan and Celia feature in any of those?

Joanne: Yup! My next novel is Doors, which is something of a ‘side-quel,’ set in the timeline that Celia leaves when she travels back to 1989. In this universe, time travel with subsequent actions in the past causes new timelines to emerge: so, it’s less like Back to the Future, and much more like Sliding Doors (or even the Star Trek reboot). So, once Celia leaves the present [2010], what happens once she’s gone? Does her disappearance have a ripple effect on her original timeline? These are some of the questions I’m exploring in Doors.

The heroine of Doors is Jackie, a tough-as-nails Lebanese-American comic book artist who has a complicated relationship with her wealthy, handsome but highly eccentric friend Orne who is fascinated by the theory of alternate timelines. Jackie is also Celia’s former high school classmate, and Celia and Alan both have cameos. There’s a lot of timey-wimey adventures that result, but this time it’s more along the lines of exploring alternate worlds and relationships rather than going into the past or future (i.e. Sliders or Fringe).

Me: Can you explain a bit about the mechanics of time travel in your story? Is it guided by blind chance, or is there some other guiding principle behind it, as in Connie Willis’s Oxford time travel novels? Or is it something else entirely?

Joanne: Since this is going to be an entire series, I actually have an entire backstory developed for how time travel started in this universe. Doors gets into this a little; but the next story after that, Out of Time, really explores the origin story in more detail. It all starts back in the ‘60s with the experiments of one young scientist, Kenneth Tyler, who is something of a rising star in the world of physics.

Here’s an excerpt from Out of Time:

On October 10th, 1966, Kenneth was doing some top-secret hush-hush research for the government, when there was a massive explosion at his lab at MIT, wiping out most of the facility. He disappeared. No one knew what happened to him. People whispered that he was abducted by foreign agents; or that he was working for the Soviets, and rigged up the explosion himself; other people said that he had died of radiation poisoning and his body was secretly buried by the government in a lead coffin; still others said that he was working on some time tunnel device, and that he was lost in time forever. Some of the time travel theorists said even stranger things, like that this whole accident was responsible for a phenomenon called ‘time bubbles,’ small floating pockets in the space-time continuum that sometimes inexplicably whisked people forwards or backwards into time. The biggest proponent of the “time bubble” theory was this crackpot named Stanley Metzinger, who had written entire books on the subject.

Stanley Metzinger, with his crackpot theories, is a reoccurring figure in the series (and in fact, he’s actually an old college friend of Alan’s). Not all his ideas are correct, but the gist of them are true: ‘time bubbles,’ which resulted from Kenneth Tyler’s accident, are responsible for the time travel. So pretty much time travel can happen to anyone, since anyone can fall into a time bubble; but you really wouldn’t want that to happen to you, since you could be very well transported forward twenty years, where the spot you are standing now could be occupied by a concrete retaining wall. That would be a very unpleasant way to die.

Regarding time bubbles, most of them are concentrated around the time of the accident, from the mid 20th to the early 21st century: so most timeslips are going to be to the near past or to the near future. Although in theory, you could be transported millions of years to the past or the future, surviving such an extremely long journey in time would be practically impossible. Time travel is not fun or easy, and it f—s you up. In fact, the strange sensations of flatness, lifelessness and oppression that Celia experiences after finding herself in 1989 is based on the experience of two Edwardian lady professors who, while walking around Versailles, found themselves (as they believed) in the 1780s. The Moberly-Jourdain incident is famous, and it can be neatly explained with Metzinger’s time bubble theory.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that time travel is real… or does it? <grins>

Me: This is actually several questions, but: what’s your philosophy of storytelling? What are you trying to achieve with your stories? And what is your favorite part of the storytelling process?

Joanne: I want to create fun stories that make you think and feel. I like romances because there’s a crystalline simplicity to the plot, and a well-written romance can be very satisfying. I like science fiction because those stories can really expand your mind and make you think about the universe. With my time travel series, I’m trying to balance the intellectual aspect of SF with the more emotional needs of romance. I think when they work together, it can be a beautiful thing.

Of course, let’s not forget the wonderful moment when a character starts writing themselves. I think all authors live for that moment.

Not everything I write is time travel romance or SF, but I think most of what I’ve written has a speculative-fiction/genre edge to it. Tanith Lee is one of my favorite authors, and she does a masterful job of hopping from genre to genre with her own inimitable style. In fact, one of my favorite time travel romances is her novella, The Winter Players. If you can find it, read it! It’s really an amazing, heartbreaking, inspiring piece of fiction.

Want more?  There’s now a whole host of extras now available in the Extras section on Joanne’s writing blog: like fanart, a wonderfully purple excerpt from ’80s SF novel Medra, and a scene from Alan’s POV

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the A Question of Time giveaway! Leave a comment below to win your very own e-copy of Joanne’s book, as well as a $10 Amazon gift card.

The small print: Comment before midnight EST on December 28, 2014, to be entered to win one copy of one (1) e-copy of A Question of Time and one (1) $10 Amazon gift certificate. The commenter must either follow Joanne on TwitterFacebook, or Tumblr.  Winner will be selected via random.org, with winners’ names posted on this blog by December 31, 2014. Joanne will contact the winners by e-mail. Only one entry per ISP address.  No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Void where prohibited.

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luxuraSort of…

Back in late 2010/early 2011, when I was working on the Vampress Luxura trading card set for The Sketch Card Studio, all the artists were asked to fill out a little questionnaire that would be used to help promote the set.  Well, the set came out a long time ago, but most of the interviews never materialized.  However, Kirk Lindo, creator of Luxura and a really lovely guy, just posted my interview on his site.  If you’re interested, you can sail on over there and get a snapshot of two-years-ago me.

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Michelle and I have been online buddies for awhile now, and her latest project, Cursed, is a rollicking fun fantasy, which she is posting on her blog.  Here’s an interview with her, about her process, her inspiration, overcoming writer’s block, and her favorite books!

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