Thank you Rhonda for having me here today! You asked so terrific questions. Hope my answers are half as good!
Tell us a little about your book.
My latest is the mass market re-release of Haunting Warrior, the second book of my Mists of Ireland Series. Haunting Warrior is a book that has been special for me since I penned the first word. Rory MacGrath is the hero of this time travel story, and I must confess, I fell in love with him and fell hard. There is just something about a man who’s lost all faith in himself, but who can’t help but remain a good man, that floats my boat.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?
Absolutely. Here’s a brief excerpt of one of my favorite scenes. Saraid’s people have been hunted down and all but annihilated. In desperation, her brother has arranged for her to marry the enemy and make him their ally. Terrified, but determined to meet her fate with dignity, Saraid agrees to become the wife of Ruairi the Bloodletter, named for his cruelty and violent nature. But on her wedding day she discovers her new husband is not the Bloodletter at all, but someone who wears the same face and looks at her with a stranger’s eyes.
Below is the scene when she first realizes there is more to her new husband than the cruel warrior she sees. Her perceptions are filled with contradictions and I loved writing the complex emotions she experiences.
There were too many to fit into the tiny church, so they gathered on the pathway before it. For a moment, no one moved or spoke. Then Cathán pulled a blue ribbon from his tunic and stepped forward, giv-ing Saraid and the Bloodletter the signal to face one another. On wobbly legs, Saraid turned to the man she would wed. The monk in his long coarse robes emerged from the small gathering and stood patiently waiting for Saraid to put her right hand in the Bloodletter’s left. Her left in his right, wrists crossed. With a satisfied grunt, Cathán began to twine the ribbon around their hands, over and under until the knot of eter-nity was complete. She was numb through the monk’s speaking of the vows. If she did not know better, she would say the Bloodletter was feeling the same. There was a gleam of something that might have been panic in those blue, blue eyes. Did he dread this as much as she? But that would mean Ruairi the Bloodletter had feelings, and that could not be true.
She took a deep breath when he lowered his head to kiss her, feel-ing dizzy and sickened and something else she could not define. As if sensing the turmoil inside her, he caught her gaze and held it for a moment, his searching, probing. She felt as if he were trying to say something with those enigmatic eyes, and for a flashing instant she felt again that sense of another lurking behind the sky blue of them. What a frightening mystery this man was.
And then his mouth settled over hers and thought fled. His kiss was warm and soft when she’d expected cold and hard. The touch of his lips gentle and coaxing when she’d prepared for rough and inva-sive. The kiss was brief, and yet it felt that time stopped for the length of it, giving her the chance to feel every nuance, every unexpected instant. It seemed he tried to pull back and then hesitated, allowing just another moment of the contact that shocked her like a hot ember popping from a blazing fire to burn her. With their hands bound and trapped between their bodies, Saraid could do little more than allow it. She’d be allowing so much more later, when they were alone.
He pulled away, just enough so that he could look into her eyes again, and she saw something there that she did not understand. Con-fusion that matched her own. A need—but not the kind she’d ex-pected. Not lust, but longing.
Then he was stepping back and a mask came over his features once more. His father stared at him for a moment, the look hard and warn-ing, the message unmistakable. It was only then that it occurred to her that the Bloodletter might be as much a pawn as she.
Where can your readers reach you?
Where were you when you got your first book contract? Who did you tell?
What a fun question! When I got THE CALL, I was working at San Diego State University. I remember feeling numb as I listened—I couldn’t believe it. And as soon as I hung up, I flat out screamed. I had people running from all over the building to find out what happened. I called my mom first and then my husband and my critique partners and then people I didn’t even know. It was a glorious day. All the way home I kept telling myself, my book is going to be in bookstores. Even after it appeared there, I still couldn’t believe it.
What draws you to write your genre and sub genre?
I love mixing a dark world, something unknown and dangerous, with a love story. It’s the kind of book I like to read so it’s what I naturally am drawn to in writing.
Do you have any tips for new writers?
I wish I had something completely brilliant, but alas, I can only say what you’ve probably heard before. Write a story that you’d love to read. Don’t give up. If you don’t sell your first book, don’t despair. It might actually work to your benefit when you do eventually sell. When a publisher buys a book from you, they usually want more than one. If you have others under your bed, you immediately start out ahead of the writer who has just sold the only thing they’ve ever written. That writer has to scramble to produce another book and learn to do it under deadline all at the same time.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Regency Romance, popcorn with peanut M&Ms in it and big disaster movies. (Oh, was I only supposed to list one?)
Are you working on another book?
Always! Actually, I’m working on two very different books right now. One is a paranormal romance that I think my readers will be excited about and the other is a genre crosser that is completely different from anything I’ve written before. Both stories are calling me and I’m writing as fast as I can to get one done so I can focus on the other…I just can’t decide which to do first, lol
Is there one particular thing that you find challenging about writing?
Getting the words out of my head and onto the page.
What do you do to get in the mood to write?
I’m a hopeless Starbucks addict. Nothing like a latte and some quiet to get me in the writing frame of mind.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
That feeling that comes from knowing that I have captured a moment and used exactly the right words to make it real to my readers.
How many books have you written? How many have been published?
I have seven completed novels. All seven have been published. I am currently working on number eight and nine.
Do you set timelines when your writing or write when the feeling hits you?
I work full time and have a family, so I definitely have to use some structure around my life and writing. I have a spreadsheet I use to track my page count. I make the feeling hit me when it’s time to write. I don’t really have the luxury of doing it any other way.
Thank you for having me on your blog. I’d love to give away a copy of Haunting Warrior to one commenter. (Digital or print, reader’s choice). What makes you choose your next book to read?