Tag Archive: Author interview

Cover of First of Her KindLadies and Gentlemen, today I have the great pleasure of interviewing K.L. Schwengel, author of the novella Blood Tells All, which is included in the anthology Witch Hunt: of the Blood, and the newly released novel, First of Her Kind. Today we’ll be talking a little bit about the main characters in the new book, First of Her Kind.

Welcome to my blog, Ms. Schwengel. Where are you visiting from?

 I was born and raised in southeast Wisconsin and still live there.

How long have you been writing?

 I’ve literally been writing my entire life. I suffer from Chronic Rewriteritis, however, and found it very difficult to even actually finish anything. I didn’t begin pursuing it seriously again until about five years ago. My love of the written word stems from having a librarian as a mother, and a dreamer as a father. I also have an over-active imagination. I’m afraid if I didn’t write, I’d have a problem dealing with all the voices in my head. 😉

Since you’re currently promoting the book First of Her Kind, please tell us a little something about it.

 First of Her Kind started when a single line popped in my head. I had no real idea where the story would take me or even who the characters really were. When I look back at that first draft — wow! what a journey. It really grew into something from its humble beginnings, and became a story about coming to terms with who we really are.

What was the line?

 “There was nothing for it, in another turn of the glass, Meriol would be dead.”

How many POV’s do you use? Which is the primary protagonist?  How about the antagonist?

 There are three POV’s I use. Ciara, Bolin, and Donovan. Ciara is pretty much the primary protagonist in this book. In the second book, we’ll see Bolin filling that role a bit more, I think. Donovan is the antagonist of the group.

How do you keep your characters from becoming carbon copies of each other or of yourself?

 I don’t find it that difficult to keep characters distinct. They each have their own voice, their own mannerisms — I try to find one thing about each of them that is totally different than the rest. And I usually have a very good mental image of each character, how they talk, what they look like. They become very real to me so it’s easy to keep them distinct.

How much of yourself do you see in Ciara? Do you model her after yourself, or perhaps someone you admire? Do you share certain personality traits or tastes?

 I actually think there’s more of me in Bolin and Donovan, although Ciara is a bit stubborn and sometimes doesn’t take a great deal of thought before opening her mouth. There are some folks who would say those traits are mine as well. I didn’t consciously model her after anyone in particular, but I’m sure there are bits and pieces of her from several women I know.  In the beginning she came off rather whiny and unsympathetic. We sat down and had a talk about that and things worked out much better.

You mentioned that First of Her Kind is a story about coming to terms with who we really are. What is it that Ciara needs to face about herself? Is it a burden to her, or a triumph?

 For now it’s a burden. A huge burden. Ciara possesses two types of magic that are completely opposed to one another. She’d love to just ignore that fact and live in complete denial. Unfortunately, that’s just not in the cards. So, not only does she have to come to grips with the darker, more unpredictable power she possesses, but she also has to deal with the fact that her life will never be her own because of it.

When Ciara comes up against challenges or set-backs, does she respond the same way you do?

 In some ways. But she’s been pretty sheltered and starts out very naïve. That made her a little challenging to write because there were times I would have handled the situation differently. I had to really get into her skin and try to think like her, which in some cases was very foreign territory for me.

Is she naïve because those around her intentionally kept her that way, or is it merely because of an oversight or lack of exposure to the real world?

Lack of exposure to the real world. She grew up as the daughter of a healer. When her mother died, she went to live with her aunt, also a healer. They traveled rarely, except to the local villages, and her world was very small. Mainly because her aunt had no clue how to deal with Ciara’s other power.

How about Donovan? Is your personal Hyde lurking in his personality somewhere?

Oh yes! I love writing bad guys. I guess I have a soft spot for them. Is that bad of me? And there is definitely more of me in Donovan than Ciara.

I don’t think loving to write villains makes you bad. 🙂 I find them fascinating myself. What is Donovan’s driving ambition?

World domination. He wants ultimate power, and we all know what they say about that.

What is Donovan’s most loathsome characteristic?

I think his most loathsome trait is basically just his cold, self-interest. He really doesn’t care who he hurts to get what he wants.

What happened in his past to make him the self-centered cad he is today?

I don’t know that anything really happened to make him that way. I’m not a believer in the adage that all people are born basically good. Donovan was never good. He was always dark, always arrogant, always hungry for power. There’s a little bit more than that, but I don’t want to give anything away. 🙂

It sounds like Ciara is definitely going to have her hands full contending with an enemy like Donovan! Thanks so much for stopping by today to give us a sneak peek into First of Her Kind. I look forward to visiting more stops on your blog tour.

You can Visit Ms. Schwengel on her blog, her Goodreads page, Facebook or Twitter If you’d like to purchase First of Her Kind, here’s where you can find it.

SmashWords (ebook)

Amazon (ebook)

Amazon (paperback)

Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Ms. Schwengel is visiting several blogs this week. You can read other interviews and guest posts at any of these blogs

J. A. Campbell 

Madeline Dyer

Mara Valderran

J. Keller Ford

There & Draft Again

Kate Johnston

Katherine Lowry Logan

Alison Strachan

Kourtney Heintz

Leila Gaskin

Krista Walsh

Madeline Dyer

Raewyn Hewitt

Kaitlin Branch

Michelle Proulx

Author Interview: Rayne Hall

Back when I did the Next Big Thing Blog Hop, I nominated several people whose blogly status I wasn’t quite sure about. One of those people was Rayne Hall. Ms. Hall doesn’t keep a blog at this point, so we decided to change up the questions a bit and turn it into an author interview. Without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the lovely Rayne Hall!

Rayne Hall holds aloft a hefty book and wields her wizards staff. Her chief ediotr, who apparently is a raven, perches on the book to look over her new writing.

Rayne Hall working her literary magic. Portrait by Leah Skerry.

What is the working title of your book?

The Colour of Dishonour. Stories from the Storm Dancer World

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Over the years, I’ve written hundreds of stories, many of which were published in magazines and ezines. I still own the rights to most of these stories and am republishing them as themed collections in ebook format.

This collection will be a companion book to the dark epic fantasy Storm Dancer. The stories are set in the same world, and feature some of the characters, but they’re stand-alones. Readers can enjoy the collection even if they haven’t read Storm Dancer. STORMDANCERcover11August2012

Some Storm Dancer  fans have requested a sequel. Although a sequel is in progress, it’s a long-term project and won’t happen anytime soon. The short story collection may fill the gap.

What is the Storm Dancer world?

It’s a fantasy world of my creation, inspired by Bronze Age cultures. Think of the siege of Troy, Rameses the Great of Egypt, Kings David and Solomon ruling in Jerusalem. The climate is Middle Eastern, and the customs and attitudes are based on those of the Hittites, Persians and other ancient civilisations.

What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy and horror.

Are these previously published stories?

Some are, others are new. I’ve also dug some old unpublished stories from my files and revised them. Reading that old stuff is eye-opening: it shows me how much better a writer I have become since then. At the time, I thought those stories brilliant; now I see at a glance what’s wrong with them and know how to fix those flaws.

I haven’t yet decided which stories to include in the collection. There are so many unfinished yarns in my files, so many ideas floating in my head… it may become a series of books.

How dark are the stories?

Some are seriously dark, others not at all. The tone ranges from humour to horror, from entertaining to macabre.

What story are you working on right now?

Greywalker is a zombie story I’ve written especially for this collection, and I’m currently polishing it. It’s not your usual zombie yarn, though – no virus-infected mindless hordes. My undead characters are created by magic, and they have their wits about them.

Do you have a book cover yet?

TheColourofDishonour27Nov12 The artist, Sam Denmark, is putting the finishing touches to the cover right now. It shows a bronze age warrior in front of a citadel.

What comes next?

I always have dozens of works in progress… maybe hundreds. Near the top of my list are the Storm Dancer  sequel (working title: Flame Bearer), more short story collections (Six Scary Tales Vol 4, Six Historical Tales Vol 2) and more instruction books for authors: Writing Horror Stories, Writing About Magic and more. Of course, I’m also working on more Ten Tales multi-author anthologies. The next in the series is Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies.

Would you like to nominate any other authors for interviews?

I nominate these writers for the next interviews:

Fantasy author Douglas Kolacki, contributor to Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates and Spells: Ten Tales of Magic and author of the novels Elijah’s Chariot and On the Eighth Day, God Created Trilby Richardson

German thriller writer Chris van Harb, author of Augenschmaus – Das Zombiedorf  and Grabesrache http://gedankenflitzer.blogspot.co.uk/

Fantasy author Carole Ann Moleti, contributor to Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts and Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft http://caroleannmoleti.blogspot.co.uk/

YA fantasy author Tara Maya, author of The Unfinished Song series, and contributor to Spells: Ten Tales of Magic http://taramayastales.blogspot.co.uk/

Science fiction writer Kris Austin Radcliffe, contributor to Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates

Fantasy and thriller writer Jonathan Broughton, author of the Victorian thriller The Russian White and contributor to Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and Scared: Ten Tales of Horror

Fantasy author Debbie Christiana, author of Twin Flames and contributor to Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires http://www.debbiechristiana.com/index.html

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Rayne!

You can find all of Rayne’s books at her Amazon page or follow her on Twitter for links, quotes, and writing tips.

The Liebester Award

Those of you who read my Next Big Thing Blog Hop post may have noticed this little blurb at the bottom of the post:

The lovely lady, Raewyn Hewitt, who nominated me for the blog hop also nominated me for the Liebester Award. I am so feeling the love about now! Can you tell my eyes are twinkling and I’m squeezing the life out of a happy little pink bunny? Since this post is plenty long as it is, I’ll post my answers to Raewyn’s questions and write-up my own another day.

Ladies and Gentlemen! My not-so-long awaited Liebester Award responses! The questions are posed by Raewyn Hewitt. (In case you didn’t catch it, this post now contains three links to her blog. You really should go check it out. It’s very good.)

1. What was the weirdest thing you wanted to be when you were a child?

Snake charmer, perhaps? That’s sort of odd for little kids, right?

2. What is your favourite sandwich filling?

My all time favorite sandwich filling is dark chocolate, preferably 88% cocoa. (I’m counting S’mores as sandwiches. They have a bread-like food item on top and bottom. That makes them sandwiches.)

3. Who, in your opinion, is the most memorable villain of all time? GOLLUM!

Gollum in Rankin/Bass's animated version of Th...

Gollum in Rankin/Bass’s animated version of The Hobbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I could really go on and on about him. When I first read, “A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo’s heart,” as a tween, I hardly noticed it. Gollum was memorable at the time because of his boogeyman-esque behavior. As I read the book to my children, though, the line brought to mind many patients from my days of working in hospitals, people left to linger on and on as burdens to overworked CNA’s and nurses while their family and friends forgot them. The fate was often well deserved, as was Gollum’s. Nevertheless, we all need compassion from someone. (Tolkein; The Hobbit; ch. 5)

I could go into his dissociative disorder, too, but I won’t, since nobody reading this wants to read a whole essay on one character today.

4. What was the weirdest thing you ever saw a kid do at school?

One student managed to drive his car onto the top of another car by mistake one morning. That was interesting.

5. What is your favourite colour and why?

Blue. It’s the color of a clean ocean and a clear sky.

6. Has a place ever inspired you to write a story?

Some scenes are most definitely inspired by places, but I don’t think I’ve ever written an entire story because a place inspired me.

7. Dogs or Cats?

Both. As in, “You need both because one protects your home from big intruders (people) and the other from small intruders (mice).”

8. Do you have any embarrassing writing stories you’d be willing to share?

I once typed, “Please join us for snakes and crack” on some invitations. I meant cake and snacks, but my fingers couldn’t keep up with my brain. I think the spell-check added the r to cack. Fortunately, my sister caught the mistake before we sent out the invitations.

9. Has a character ever taken over one of your stories in an unexpected way?

Arrgh! Yes! One of my women was supposed to be a reluctant bride, but she turned out to be a hopeless romantic. Gag! Her mushiness took up too much of the hero’s adventures. She was supposed to add to the trouble, not alleviate it.

10. Who are your writing heroes?

C.S. Lewis, Tolkein, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Beverly Cleary, Robert Aspirin. All of them write/wrote skilfully and diligently, if not prolifically. If you mean independent authors or newcomers to this century, Lindsay Buroker is a good candidate from what I’ve read so far.

11. Can you remember the first time you saw Star Wars. (Have you seen Star Wars???)

I think I was 9. Maybe 10. I watched the original trilogy every night for about three straight months when I was twelve (I was grounded for the summer but TV was okayed). Oddly, for all my enthusiasm for watching the movies, I never developed true fan tendencies. However, I like to think it was at least partially my influence that inspired my sister to answer the door one fine evening with, “Help me Pizza-man! You’re my only hope!” (She even wore a white dress and styled her hair in twin buns! It was awesome!)

Quick reminder! If you did the Next Big Thing Blog Hop, please let me know so I can come and read it. =0)

Okay. So now it’s my turn to give the Leibester Award. Here are my questions:

1. If you could rewrite a “classic” book, which would it be?

2. Of all the book-to-movie adaptations you’ve seen, which is the worst?

3. Is there a book you’d like to see as a movie that is not yet a movie (that you know of)?

4. Beatrice Potter or Dr. Seuss?

5. How do you choose names for your characters?

6. What was the worst book you had to read for school?

7. Who is your favorite cartoon character?

8. Heroes or villains?

9. If you could pick a destination anywhere in the world for a 30 day, total-seclusion writing retreat, where would you go?

10. What is the current state of the inside of your sock drawer? This is a deep psychological question. Be careful how you answer! (Extra points for anyone who knows what I’m referencing.)

11. If  you had no other options, would you choose Earth-bound immortality or death before your next birthday? This is not a deep psychological question.

And here are the 11 (plus 1) recipients:

Alana Terry

Abby Foster

Ciara Ballintyne

Dreampunk Geek

Mel Green

Nethene Khthon


Oleg Medvedkov

Rose Andrea

Simon Dewar

Starla Hutchton

Raewyn Hewitt This is not strictly according to the rules, but I’m interested in Raewyn’s answers. (Okay! So now there are 5 links to her blog in this post. Think I may be trying to throw out a hint?)

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