Published January 7, 2014 | By Shawna
Q. Tell us a bit about your protagonist and her world.
A. After her father and her mother died, her grandfather raised Ilythra on a deserted island, teaching her everything he knew about the ancient art of Shi’ia. On her 18th birthday, he gave her a stone and a task: Find the other stonebearers and reunite the stones. But I guess that tells you more about her mission than anything else. That is one of the problems. Ilythra is headstrong and impulsive but also dedicated. As time progresses, she begins to lose the distinction between who she is and what she is to do. She is just coming into her own during Journey of Wisdom, the third book in the Triune Stones series. Anatar as an ancient world in stasis. The once mighty race of Siobani have become a legend and nothing has changed in the century since they disappeared. Nothing for the better. The keeper of one of the stones uses the power for his own benefit and even the land groans under the burden.
Q. Your first novel was a stand-alone, and now you’re on the third book of a series. Did you know you would be writing a series when you wrote the first book in this world?
A. Yes. This series started as one book—the first one I ever wrote—and grew to a very long book. I knew it was going to be either three or four when I pitched the concept to Carina. The first two were roughed drafted, the last two were only ideas. I honestly think this could have gone to five books. So much was cut out!
Q. Your covers show us a swashbuckling female protagonist. An interesting choice— and one I approve of! Can you tell me why you decided on this protagonist?
A. It’s more accurate to say she decided on me. Many years ago I had a dream about a woman named Ilythra. I thought it an odd name but continued my day-to-day life, but she wouldn’t leave me alone. I finally decided to write down her story. It turned into a 100-page short story. I wasn’t satisfied so I decided to fill in the blanks…. LOL. There are still some blanks I’d like to fill in.
Q. In your bio, you said that you were inspired to write because you didn’t like the ending of Gone With the Wind and decided to write your own. I have to ask— how did your version end?
A. With Rhett and Scarlett together of course. I just couldn’t believe that love wouldn’t conquer all. You can’t tell as much in the movie, but the book… *big sigh* They were two very damaged people who loved each other very much. I am a hopeless romantic. Love wins. Period.
Q. I’d have thought Gone With the Wind would have led you to historical romance. How did you end up writing paranormal and fantasy romance?
A, I cut my reading teeth on epic fantasy. It’s in my blood I guess. I honestly didn’t start out to write in any genre, I just started writing and this is what came out. I also tried my hand at romance under a pen name. I’m kind of a “tell the story” writer… then you can tell me what genre it is.
Q. You had three books out in a year. Do you really write that fast, or did you have a couple books done before the first book came out?
A. NO! LOL. In that year, I gave birth to a baby who doesn’t sleep. No really, even as a newborn she’d sleep ten minutes of every sixty. Around the clock. My husband went back to school and I had just signed a four-book contract. I honestly wrote every single word sleep-deprived. LOL I’m writing these words sleep deprived. Gotta stay consistent. But the first two were just in need of a really good edit. It’s the last two that gave me stress… and that I’m most proud of.
Q. Your bio says you have seven kids! How do you manage to balance writing time with the rest of your life?
A. Honestly? I don’t. I used to write during naptime and after the kids were in bed. I’ve trained the baby to sleep for 30 minutes to an hour, but it’s not quite long enough and by the end of the day, if I have any time, I try to spend it with my husband as he’s busy with work and school/homework almost all day. I hired a babysitter to finish the last two books. So right now I’m on hiatus. I write the occasional short story just because I need to.
Q. What is one assumption people make about you that is wrong?
A. I’m a very quiet person so people think I’m standoffish or unfriendly. That’s not the case, and it’s very frustrating. Thank God for people who know me well enough to see beyond that. So if you see me at a conference or something, I’d love to talk to you. Really. Also, I’m nearsighted and if I’m not wearing my glasses, you’re blurry. I’m not ignoring you.
Q. What is your favorite fairytale/myth/legend and why?
A. I love fairies. I’m not sure that’s my favorite. My favorite is probably the one I’m reading at any given time. When I was a little girl, we lived in Washington State surrounded by forests. I used to pretend there were fairies in the woods that would disappear when you looked at them. I tell my kids that the fairies collect dewdrops, which turn to diamonds in a fairy’s hand. I love watching my kids observing every dewdrop carefully and with wonder. And I think ultimately, maybe that’s why I write fantasy. If I could inspire even one person to wonder, to look around creation and see the delicate beauty and complexity, to see beyond his or her day-to-day life and be lost in possibilities and awe? That’s worth all the sleep-deprived nights.