A: Renee at http://www.thecovercounts.com
Q: Who does your website?
A: Originally designed by Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org, maintenance and future development are done by Joe at email@example.com.
Q: Who does your copyediting and proofreading?
A: Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Did you always have a plan for the other worldly to come into play in what seems at first to simply be a vampire/werewolf series?
A: The short answer is yes. The first books I wrote were about the Saa Thalarr, so they were already going in that direction. When I sat down to write Lissa's story, I always knew the two worlds would intersect.
Q: I was wondering about the stories that
happened pre Lissa. I am talking about Saxom and his
war against the Council. How Adam met Kiarra and how
things developed between them. What about when
Griffin and Merrill first met? While reading your
books I found that there was maybe some back story I
was missing and I was wondering if you will ever
publish those stories too?
A: Yes, there is quite a backstory to all of Lissa's books. I wrote several books pre-Lissa, and all of them are about the Saa Thalarr. Sadly, they all need a rewrite or two. I am currently working on an updated version of the very first book, which tells Kiarra and Adam's story and how Saxom was destroyed. I hope to get back to it soon. The original title was Hope and Vengeance, which is the English translation of Saa Thalarr. I've tentatively titled the rewrite Enforcer. I may go back to the original title when it's finished.
Q: What sparked you to take the books to different worlds?
A: Again, it was because that was what the premise was for the Saa Thalarr books - they worked on all those worlds, and Lissa was drawn into it through her father.
Q: Do you see yourself and Lissa to be similar in character?
A: In many ways. However, there are parts of her that definitely belong to other people. There is a little bit of my younger sisters in her. And a little bit of a friend or two - I borrowed character traits, etc., from others. The foul language and sense of humor? Definitely me, LOL.
Q: How long does it usually take you to write a book?
A: A lot depends on the book. The first draft of Blood Wager was written in ten days. Of course, it took a lot of time to edit, revise and rewrite. If I showed you the original manuscript for the book, you would barely recognize it as the book you've read. Other books have taken longer. On an average, I'd say between one and two months to finish a first draft.
Q: Which books/authors are your favorites?
A: I have a lot of favorites, and they cross many genres, but most of them are in the fantasy or paranormal realm. This list will be updated as I think of more to add!
Anne Bishop: Black Jewels trilogy. I've re-read these books so many times, I'm surprised they still have covers. Daemon Sadi still scares the bejeezus out of me. Love Lucivar, though!
Charlaine Harris: I've read all the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, plus the Lily Bard mysteries and the Grave series (Grave Sight, etc.) My favorite of all those? Shakespeare's Champion, no doubt about it. Love the closet scene with Jack!
Mary Janice Davidson: Betsy the vampire (of course) and the Alaska Royals. The books about the Alaska Royals made me laugh so hard I cried.
Patricia Briggs: Mercy Thompson, absolutely, but she wrote other things before that. I love Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood.
J.R.R. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings. Probably the trilogy I'd take with me if I were stuck on a deserted island. My favorites of all time!
Karen Marie Moning: Fever series. I wanted to cry after I read the last book and I still didn't know what Barrons was.
Robin Hobb: I love the Farseer trilogy (fantasy) and everything else she's written. I have two of her books on my shelf that I haven't read yet, and they're like forbidden chocolate. I stare at them sometimes, knowing if I start reading, I won't stop until they're finished.
Mercedes Lackey: Love the Valdemar series.
Brandon Sanderson: If you like fantasy, check out Elantris or Mistborn.
Patrick Rothfuss: Another fantasy author. The Name of the Wind is amazing.
Patricia McKillip: The Riddlemaster series is my favorite, but I love her books.
Roberta MacAvoy: Tea with the Black Dragon. It's dated, now, but still a favorite.
Anne McCaffrey: Restoree is also a dated book but still one of my favorites.
Dean Koontz: Odd Thomas series.
Brian Lumley: I loved Necroscope. Later books in the series (classified as horror) scared me so much I needed a night light to sleep!
Here's a list of other authors, and I'll try to expand on them at a later date:
Carrie Vaughn, Rachel Vincent, Lynsay Sands, Tamora Pierce, Elizabeth Moon, Jeanne C. Stein, Mary Stewart, Steve Cash, Michele Bardsley, Karen Chance, Dawn Cook, Diana Wynn Jones, Megan Whalen Turner, Tanith Lee, Steven Gould, Meg Cabot, J.K. Rowling, Sherwood Smith, Robin McKinley, Rob Thurman, Chloe Neill, Ilona Andrews.
This list is not inclusive, and I've probably left lots of people out. I'll add to it as things progress.
Q: Did you always want to be an author? If not, what made you decide to go in the writing direction?
A: I can't say that I always wanted to be an author. What I can say is that I've been making stories up in my head since I was young. I seldom wrote anything down in the early days, though. My MFA is in Film Production and Animation, which taps into that part of my brain. I taught those subjects at the college level for a few years and then, after working at a bookstore for eleven years while I wrote more stories and built characters in my head, I decided (finally) to do something about it.
Q: When did you start writing your first book?
A: Somewhere, there is a novel (handwritten) that is probably half done. I haven't seen it in years. There are also a handful of short stories (some I also haven't seen in years). My first completed novel was finished in 2008.
Q: If you could give aspiring writers everywhere one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Don't give up. Don't stop writing, if that is what you really want to do. Write. Keep writing. Don't quit until you write "The End" at the bottom of a manuscript. And then go back and revise and rewrite. Start the next novel. Read. Read. Read. I know that's not really one piece of advice, but I look at it this way-all sorts of ingredients make up a cookie recipe. You get a single product at the end-cookies. Writing is like that for me. All sorts of things go into it. A completed novel is the result.
Q: Are any of your characters inspired by someone in your life or was your imagination your guide?
A: My imagination was mostly my guide. I've taken mannerisms and character strengths/weaknesses from observations through my life, but no single person served as a model for any complete character.
Q: Do you have a favorite character? One you don't like at all?
A: My favorite female character is Lissa, hands down. My favorite male character is someone only now coming on deck: Ashe Evans, from The Legend of the Ir'Indicti series. As to characters I don't like, well, Saxom and Xenides were despicable, but there are other characters coming, both in Blood Destiny and the High Demon series that are just nasty and evil, with no redeeming qualities at all.
Q: Did you originally intend Blood Wager to be part of a series?
A: Yes. But I considered ending it at five or six books. When I reached that point, I realized there was more story to write.
Q: Are you definitely going to end the Blood Destiny series at book 9?
A: At the moment there are no plans to write more, but if an idea hits me for another book, I'll write it. (Addendum January 2013. Book 10, Blood Reunion, was published some time ago and is available for purchase at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com; see links on the Books page. Additional plot lines with Blood Destiny characters will be continued in a new series, The God Wars, beginning in May 2013. For a brief description of the God Wars Series, check the God Wars Books page.)
Q: Do you have the ending planned?
A: The word "ending" isn't one I prefer to use. Lissa makes appearances in the High Demon series. When Demon Lost is published, you'll see how closely the two series are connected.
Q: Did your books require much research?
A: I had to research locations, languages, all sorts of things. In fact, I probably spent too much time making sure there were French chateaux with plenty of uninhabited land surrounding them for Blood Royal. I was really worried that the FBI would show up at my doorstep as I was researching explosives, floor plans for the White House and the type of security provided for Senators and the Secretary of State (Please don't arrest me, I'm only writing a book). I did miss one thing-a fan pointed out that in Blood Passage, when Lissa is driving with Gavin, she says she is watching kilometers per hour on Gavin's speedometer. English cars have miles per hour. My excuse (and I'm holding to it) was that Gavin purchased his Mercedes in Germany. My apologies to all my English fans for that gaffe.
Q: Do you listen to music while writing/editing?
A: At times I listen to music, to help set the mood or get me through a scene. When I wrote the scene in Blood Queen where Lissa meets the Ra'Ak Prince (if you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about) I cranked up Major Tom by Peter Schilling and started writing.
Q: Do you have a specific writing routine?
A: I always get up early to feed the cats. And then I have a choice-turn to the right and go to the bedroom to get dressed, or turn left and go into my office. My office wins 85% of the time and I find myself still in my PJs, writing or editing at lunchtime. (Pathetic, I know)
Q: Has publishing your books changed your life in any great way?
A: Only that my priorities have changed somewhat. I not only write, but I also work at marketing, pay more attention to editing/revising, worry about hitting my deadlines and best of all, I get email and messages from readers.