Author Cait Ashwood

Author Interview ~ Cait Ashwood

A huge thanks to Cait for taking the time to answer my questions. Warning to future fan’s this post contains spoliers (Don’t worry too much, Cait gives plenty of notice.) If you havn’t read Caits debut novel The Seekers (Order of the Lily Book 1) then check out my review. Plus Cait has given us a excerpt from Order of the Lily Book 2, Wow!

Banner The Seekers Author Cait Ashwood

1) What drove you to write fantasy?
Fantasy is where I grew up and have spent the bulk of my time as an adult. It seemed the most natural place for me to write, as it’s what I’ve been reading. That, and I often grow weary of reality. Give me something fantastical to occupy my hours, and I’m a happy girl.

2) Who are your favorite authors, and what genre do you enjoy reading the most?

Sherwood Smith, R.A. Salvatore, Mercedes Lackey, and J.R. Ward top my list of favorite authors. I’ll spend time in epic fantasy, romance, PNR, and just about anything else that catches my interest, including softer sci-fi.

3) Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

The earliest memory I have of reading a book was most likely a Little Bear chapter book, and the only impactful thought I had about that book was that Little Bear got in trouble with his mom, too.

4)  How did you come up with the idea to write about The Seekers and the Chosen?

This started off as a daydream of mine, about a simpler time. Obviously, the more time I spent in this little daydream of mine, the more complex and complicated it got. I had never thought to write it all down; it just kept growing and expanding in my head. It was my escape when life got too real. Then I met this crazy lady with explosive brown curls tapping away madly on an iPad. When I asked her what she was doing, she said she was writing a novel. Those of you who participate will understand my meaning when I say that this auspicious meeting occurred in November – that’s right, I had run into one of my area’s two MLs for NaNoWriMo. The first draft took two years, and then I floundered about attempting to edit it for six months. I took another two months, read every book on the writing craft I could, got a few good critiques and suggestions, and re-wrote the entire (then) one hundred and twenty-four thousand word manuscript. The re-write took two and a half months. A month and a half later, and my little world floated out onto the internet to sink or swim on its own.

Author Cait Ashwood The Seekers

5) Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Always a gift. The curse is the number of hours in a day and those pesky things called bills.

6) Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I have a few places I write. My NaNo group meets weekly year-round at a local Panera. My bestie writes weekly at a local cafe on open mic night. Then…there’s my desk with Muse the black moor goldfish and Calliope the snail for company.  As for quirky habits, my muses have this fun thing they like to do where they make me work and fight and claw for every word before 10:30pm. After 10:30, it’s like they clock into work and I can finally get some work done. I can occasionally woo them with some wine, but that’s hit or miss.

7) Do you have any further romantic plans in the future for Audrey?

Why yes, yes I do. While trimming for spoilers, I’ll share an excerpt from Order of the Lily with you. If you haven’t read The Seekers yet, you may have no idea who the mystery man may be.

“How…how long?” His voice broke on the words, and more emotion showed in his eyes than she’d ever seen.
His grip on her bicep was strong, but she didn’t even feel the discomfort, nearly hypnotized. “I don’t know, really. It’s like,” she paused, fishing for words, “it’s like it was always there, but I never dared to hope—”
She didn’t get to finish as his lips crushed down on hers. She froze for half a second in shock, then responded, letting her eyes flutter closed. This was no romantic kiss; this was a claim staked.

Order of the Lily Cait Ashwood

8) Which character from your novel do you most identify with?

I have to go with Audrey on this one, as she’s the only character I’ve created to actually sort of be based on myself. Everyone else is different and unique but Audrey…she’s mine.

9) Out of the world you have created, where would you most like to spend the day, and why?

This is actually our world in the future, so a lot of things we have today are ruins. Still, I’d love to have a Seeker whisk me off around the world to see all of the great archaeological feats that are left standing, and all of the beautiful places with pristine lagoons. And at the end of the day, I can sleep in my own bed with no jet lag. Best of both worlds.

10) Did you find any specific challenges in writing The Seekers, and what would you do differently next time?

Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing the first time around. I had no plot, no outline, just a super vague plan. I ended up cutting out the first four chapters, re-wrote my beginning about four or five different ways, and didn’t have a villain until I randomly decided to change a character into a bad guy half way through, simply to fill the void. This messed up a lot of the dialogue, as the character was originally sugary sweet and then seemed bipolar when they were revealed as a villain. It was a disorganized mess! I’d definitely do all of my character sheets in advance next time I’m writing in a new world, because starting with everyone as a blank slate, there was a lot of distance. I couldn’t connect with them. By the time I finished writing the first draft and started on the re-write, I truly knew who they were and could bring some life into them. I’ll definitely make sure to do some practice writing and character sheets ahead of the actual writing of the novel next time so that I don’t have that awkward dissociative phase to work through.

11) If you were a Chosen, which power would you wish to have?

I love animals, so I’d definitely choose to be an animal seer if I had the choice.

12) Give us an interesting fun fact about The Seekers.

Semi-spoiler warning, but not a horrible one. Hound was actually originally supposed to die samurai-style upon his discovery of his condition. My alpha reader and bestie literally begged me to let Hound live, no matter what the cost. Especially during the re-writes, this enabled me to give him a lot more of a story arc, and I really like the finished product and how everything turned out. It’s definitely had a series-wide impact but is probably one of the best changes I’ve made to the manuscript.

13) Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write, and why?

This may sound silly, but the hardest scene for me to write was when Audrey has to leave Mia behind. Mia is based on my own Great Dane, Naomi, and the thought of ever having to leave her behind like that made me cuddle her for about an hour straight after writing that scene.

14) What got left out of the final draft?

The first original four chapters, for certain! The biggest casualty there was the description of Audrey’s bathroom in her house before she goes back with the Seekers. Gosh, that place was heavenly. If my books ever make me rich and famous, I’m building her bathroom for myself.

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

15) Were there alternative endings you considered?

Well, Hound was originally supposed to be dead. The other answer is going to have a spoiler, so don’t read it if you don’t want to know.

Are you still with me?

You sure?

Okay. Hound originally wasn’t supposed to be able to work for the Seekers at all. Once Gretta took control of him, he was supposed to be their man, through and through. While writing that, I decided I really couldn’t do that to him. He was supposed to be leading the opposing forces at the Battle of the Institute and, despite my alpha reader’s pleas, I still hadn’t decided if he was going to survive the battle. As I sat down to do the re-write, Audrey decided to skip ahead and figure things out faster than I’d intended, but it made sense with the plot. This meant that she had a chance to tell Hound about himself and free him from Gretta’s control before the actual battle, so he no longer had to lead the enemy in the attack against his own brethren. After that, he was going to decide he was too dangerous for society and seclude himself in a cave and become the Ghost of Calanon, preying on bandits on the main roads. He became sort of a mythic figure that Gwyn (who originally was quite a bit more assertive) searched for until she found him. Book 1 ended with Gwyn being the first to lay eyes on Hound since the Battle of the Institute. Her mission was to slowly begin healing him and convince him to return to the fold.

16) What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the sequel to The Seekers, Order of the Lily. It’s about half-way written at this point, and time has been reserved with the editor to get cracking on it. Exciting things are afoot!

Cait loves to have new followers, this is where you can find her:

Author interview ~ Kevin L. Nielsen

Skies by author Kevin L. Nielsen

I was offered an ARC of the book for my honest opinion and review from Future House Publishing.

Lhaurel has sacrificed herself to save her friends. Her path is set upon learning the secrets of the ruthless seven sisters.
Gavin must adapt to the harsh new surroundings. Learning to lead the Rahuli people and unite the former slaves because the Orinai march towards them.

Great fantasy with unique mythology. I loved the metaphors that stayed true to the crafted world. An adventure of politics, magic and power. Vivid imagery and believable characters.  Read more

A massive thank you to Kevin L. Nielsen for taking part in my author interviews and thanks to Future House Publishing for allowing me to review Skies.

What inspired you to become a writer?

Many things inspired me to become a writer, though I think I can narrow it down to two specific things.  First, I was a voracious reader as a child, even more than I am now simply due to having more time then than I have now.  That appetite for the written world led me to finishing off every book in the elementary school library by the second week of sixth grade.  That inspired the second specific event that led me to becoming a writer.  I approached the school librarian, Jo Wolf, and asked her to buy new books.  She said there wasn’t any money in the budget for new books that year.  I was crushed, devastated, even horrified.  However, Ms. Wolf, being the high class librarian and person that she was, said the single most influential thing in my quest to become a writer, “How about you write your own?”  So I did.  13 manuscripts and over a decade later, “Sands” was accepted for publication.  And I haven’t stopped writing since.

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

I don’t remember the first story I ever read, but I do remember the first story I ever read which made me say “I want to write this kind of book.”  It was “Pawn of Prophecy,” by David Eddings.  That book started the 5 book series “The Belgariad,” which has shaped much of my understanding of what makes good fantasy.  The complexity of the political structures, the depth of the mythology, and the quirky character traits of each of the many characters in the cast showed me that fantasy could be something more than the simply stories I’d read up to that point.  It changed the whole course of my future writing career.

Storms by Author Kevin L. Nielsen

I loved the mythology you create for Sharani. Is world building your favourite part about writing fantasy?

Thank you.  I very much enjoyed fashioning the mythology and world within the Sharani Series.  I do tend to spend the most time on world building when I’m going through my pre-writing process, but it’s not necessarily because I prefer it over other aspects.  The world and the characters interact in such a way that they evolve with each other, both at an individual level, and as a cultural phenomenon.  The realization that our own world was not flat, or that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around, changed the very nature of reality for the inhabitants upon the planet at the time.  In the same way, the world in which a fantasy novel takes place and how the people who live there view it, shapes and colors any narrative being told about it.

Where were you when the idea for the Sharani series came to you?

I was coming home from a writing conference in Provo, UT where I’d had a very unpleasant experience with an editor in a face-to-face pitch session in which I’d participated.  I wasn’t in a good place and needed to relax, so I turned on the first Avengers movie and relaxed.  When the chitari started coming out of that giant portal in the sky and that eel-thing shows up, I was struck by a thought.  How would a world change if they had miniaturized versions of these guys on them?  The rest of the story evolved from there.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Haha.  Very astute question.  I will answer it with “yes.”

Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I write mostly at the kitchen table.  I like having music playing though sometimes I play a movie or an audiobook.  I have to have some sort of something going on in my periphery which forces me to focus on the task at hand.  It’s a strange little quirk, but I wouldn’t want to leave it all lonely and forsaken, would I? 😉

Sands by Author Kevin L. Nielsen

How long did it take you to write Skies?

Hmm…from when I got serious about writing it to the time the first draft was done was about 76 days.  I may have tweaked the outline a little prior to that, but actual writing took about that long.

Lhaurel was my favourite character. Who would you choose to spend the day with and why?

Thank you.  I’m glad you could connect with her on some level.  Personally, I think if I could spend a day with one of my characters, I’d want to spend it with Evrouin.  There’s a depth to his character we haven’t fully seen yet in the series, but he’s a complex, layered individual with a deep, abiding love for his family that often leads him to make bad choices for the right reasons.  He interests me.

Did you find any specific challenges in writing the third book from the series and what would you do different next time?

Yes, the third book is hard because there’s two books of canon that came previously.  I had to not only agree with everything in those two books, but also answer enough of the lingering questions to help readers feel satisfied with the storyline as a whole.  That also had to be balanced with keeping enough information back to want them to move forward with the rest of the series.  If I had to do anything differently, I’d probably have given Evrouin a POV chapter, but I am satisfied with how it turned out in the published version.

Resurgent Shadows by author Kevin L. Nielsen

Give us an interesting fun fact about Skies.

There are a lot of Easter eggs in Skies.  Many of the characters are based off people I know or named for people I know.  My favourite is the bartender named Lance you meet near the end of the story.  He’s based off a gentleman who was kind enough to be my “water lackey” at a convention in February.  Also, his wife is in the story.  Another fun fact – the map in the beginning of the novel is based off a sketch I drew myself.  Which is cool.

Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write and why?

Yes, the final scene with Lhaurel (before the prologue) was hard.  For reasons that contain spoilers.  Once you’ve read the book (you who are reading this blog interview) you can message me directly and I’ll answer the rest of this question if you’re curious.

What got left out of the final draft?

About 45,000 words

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I’m currently finishing up a manuscript that is linked to the Mythica film franchise.  I’m doing the official novelization of the first movie in the series, “A Quest for Heroes.”  It’s been a new adventure, but a lot of fun as well.  If you’re not familiar with it, you can check out the movie here –

—The best way to reach me is either through my website

or via my Facebook Author page –

—You can find my books on Amazon here:

Author interview ~ India R Adams

Serenity by author India R Adams The Forever Series
Serenity by author India R Adams
Serenity is sixteen years old, living in a home that is ruled by fear and neglect. Since birth she has been inseparable  with her best friend Skyler, their bond is intense and unique. Serenity has the secret ability to see light, peoples surrounding colours, revealing what’s in their soul. After finding a journal hidden in her wardrobe, she discovers she is not alone with this gift. Serenity and Skyler open up, with the guidance of friends, who capture their hearts and fight to protect them.

For people who love to read romance about being swept off there feet and rescued. A Low fantasy about friends, relationships and destructive families.

See my full review on Goodreads

What drove you to write a fantasy romance?

I don’t seem to know how to NOT write romance, and my imagination gave me a vision about a naked woman (who just endured shifting from a wolf), dying in the woods, handing over her baby boy to a little girl. I know, sounds odd but MY WOLF AND ME was born!

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

The one that made me fall in love with books was Dean R Koontz. I can’t remember the books title but it had a genius golden retriever in it. Sorry to spoil a book but there was a scene where the dog becomes very ill and I believe he was found in the pantry (Haven’t read it in over 20 years) but I cried and was so touched that a book could bring out an emotion like that. I was in that kitchen, with the dog’s owner, and my heart broke along with theirs.

Why did you choose to have Serenity rescued from her abusive home?

It is what I dreamed of. When I lived in that environment, I prayed to be taken away and able to rest my head in a stable home. So why not give Serenity the peace I didn’t get?

India R Adams ~ Author of Serenity and creator of the sound track Shadows.

Where were you when the idea for this book came to you?

I was living in Austin Texas. I had just finished a self help book and the author explained that to heal from a traumatic event, you could simply rewrite the story. This blew my mind so I went back to a memory and began to rewrite! My mind loved the freedom and took off without looking back, hence 4 books in the series. It was hard to write. I cried but slowly was making room for forgiveness… See, that is why that little girl’s—my character—name is Serenity. She is my peace, my healing process.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Umm… Both? The gift is the absolute joy it brings me. I adore writing. The curse part of it is, I adore writing and CAN’T STOP! Seriously! My husband just moved me into my own office and said, “Now, when you leave that office, shut the door and become a part of the family again.”

How long did it take you to write Serenity?

The first draft only took 28 days. She exploded out of me like a waterfall.


Out of your characters, who would you most like to spend the day with and why?

Oh, so hard to decide!!!! Uhhhhhhh…. I have to say Faith. She is so spiritual and so full of wisdom. I’d love to chat with her about her expectance of life. As the series goes on, you get to learn of her heartbreaking journey, and how it has made her a fiercely devoted strong woman. 
The Serenity Charm designed by India R Adams for The Forever Series.

Did you find any challenges in writing Serenity and what would you do different next time?

So many challenges because I was clueless about writing! It was so many trials and errors! I think that is why I was so nervous to release Serenity, she had been written over 8 years prior. I had to go back and try to insert all I had learnt over the years, writing other books. This is no easy task.

What would I do different? I… I don’t think anything. The journey was scary, trying and terrifying at times but it was also a beautiful learning experience. Especially about myself. I had no idea how determined I could be. It was nice to see that I am like Faith. A fierce woman with a heart of gold. My tragedies have made me… deeper.

Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write and why?

The abusive scene with Serenity’s mother and father. I had to name the bad part of her dad, Father. It was the only way to come to terms with the pain. It brought up many old wounds having to relive witnessing violence through Serenity’s eyes, which are my own. That is how the paranormal aspect entered. I tried to explain the darkness that took over our house when my mom drank and his temper controlled him.

What got left out of the final draft?

So much that it made me nervous but my character building seems to be ok in this version, from what I am reading in the reviews. The scene where Serenity and Dereck have their first kiss and Josh splashes in the water interrupting them, there was a whole part that got deleted. Maybe I should release it on my website some day, so you guys can read it. My daughter loved that scene. She actually insisted I put back in a couple others. One reader was just telling me about a part of a chapter that had her in tears. She said it was the breaking point for her—the point the book became a part of her. It was a scene my daughter fought for. Neat, huh?
Pixabay image key lock sand heart

Were their any alternative endings you considered?

No. This full ride has always ended where it does now. My others books have changed for one reason or another but not Serenity.

What’s next for you?

Now it’s back to editing. We are working on Destiny, Serenity’s sequel. Scar Me, Steal me’s sequel. River, Rain’s sequel. And Red Waters, the third novella in the Tainted Water series.

What are you working on now?

When I can escape editing, I am working on several projects. Girls are beautiful, a YA novel. Another NA story, and then I get to finally dabble in a NA vampire story that has been begging to be told!

Author India R Adams
India R Adams
Can you share the best way to reach you and where to learn more about your books?
I am forming a street team/review group. I will be talking with them on a regular basis, so that’s one way. Also:


This link is to all the places Serenity is sold.
A huge Thanks to India for participating in this weeks author interview. I understand the desire to give Serenity saviours. I think your incredibly brave sharing your past with everyone. I love the idea of rewriting tragedies to make sense of madness outside of our control. Thanks to my readers for taking the time to meet India. Please show your appreciation in the comments section. Alternatively jump over to India’s site, she’d love to hear from you.
HR Savage ~ author of Lost in vengeance

Author interview ~ H.R. Savage

lost in vengeance.jpgLost in vengeance.

Killian Stone is a fierce and dedicated Alpha but shows warmth and compassion when needed. Catrina Macintyre is a strong willed and independent female who does not acknowledge or obey Killian as her Alpha. Attraction and tension rise as the couple become intertwined.

A powerfully seductive paranormal romance. Savage reignited my love for this genre with her debut novel. She has a gift for sweeping me up in a complex storm of in-depth emotions. She beautifully crafts her characters Killian and Cat. Making me laugh, cry, fall in love and fight along with them. I expect great things from this author and can not wait for her next book. H.R. Savage

What drove you to write paranormal romance?

There wasn’t necessarily a driving force to writing PNR. Lost in Vengeance kind of just came to me, I wrote it, and went with it.  Writing PNR is fun, though! Being able to create imaginary creatures and manipulate myth to suit my story is one reason why I love writing. Paranormal is limitless.

Who are your favourite authors? And what genre do you enjoy reading the most?

I always freak out when people ask me this, as well as what my favorite movie is lol. It’s so hard to answer because I always feel like I’m leaving something out. Some of my top authors are for sure K. Bromberg, Dannika Dark, Elle Christensen, Danielle Ione, Cambria Hebert, J.R. Ward, Patricia Briggs, and Jeaniene Frost. This is just to name a few because I have a long list of must-read authors. As far as genre, I really bounce back and forth. My favorite is definitely Paranormal.

Lost in vengeance teaser by hr Savage
Lost in vengeance teaser by hr Savage

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

I wouldn’t say the first story I ever read had an impact, but my first romance novel I ever read was Cowboy Takes a Wife by Joanne Johnston. I was only 8 or 9 and really shouldn’t have been reading it lol. I fell in love with romance since that moment. There was something so captivating about this man loving this woman who had a huge scar across her face. (It’s an old book and I haven’t read it in a while, but I still have it and totally recommend it if you like westerns lol)

Why did you choose Lost in Vengeance as the title for your book?

I battled with the title for a bit. It was Seeking Vengeance and Hunting Vengeance at one point, but Lost in Vengeance fit the bill. Cat is so stuck on her idea of revenge that she can’t see the world around her or what she’s really missing–a family. Killian tries to make her see that.

Where were you when the idea for this book came to you?

I was sleeping lol. My stories commonly come when I’m dreaming. I have very vivid dreams to the point where I can feel pain, pleasure, etc.

Lost in vengeance teaser by hr Savage
Lost in vengeance teaser by hr Savage

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

I would say both. It’s a gift because I love that I can create these worlds and characters and other people enjoy reading it. I also love that moment when the characters take on a life of their own and the dialogue/action/details all come out in a continuous flow. But it can also be a curse. Once you write one the pressure is on to write more. It feels like I have to hurry and write or my readers will abandon me. It also makes me feel guilty when I don’t sit down and write. In other ways it’s a curse because I’ll be driving on the freeway and have the BEST idea…but I can’t stop and write it down lol.

Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

My “office” is in the corner of my kitchen at the moment lol. Someday I’ll have a nice isolated office where I can shut the door on my screaming children, but for now I like my little tiny desk. I don’t really have any quirky writing habits. I have to have music in my headphones so I can block out the world, and a glass of wine makes it much easier to write sex scenes 😉

How long did it take you to write Lost in vengeance?

Lost in Vengeance took me about a year to write. I wasn’t fiercely dedicated to it for a while and at some point had to re-write about 8 chapters. It took a long time!

Kiss understatement by HR Savage
Kiss understatement by HR Savage

Which character from your novel, do you most identify with?

Hmmm. I’d have to say there’s a little bit of me in every character. Kelly’s mothering ways, Cat’s stubbornness, and Jessica’s excitability. In future characters there’s quite a bit of me as well.

Out of your characters, who would you most like to spend the day with and why?

Jamie most definitely. He’s so amazing.

Your characters emotions came across with ease, it’s my favourite writing quality in your work. Did you find any specific challenges in writing Lost in vengeance and what would you do different next time?

That’s so awesome you say that! It’s one thing I constantly worry about because emotions are everything in a good book.  One of the biggest challenges was the sex scenes. It was so hard to capture Cat’s innocence but still give her personality.

BigBadAlpha Teaser HR SAVAGE
BigBadAlpha Teaser HR SAVAGE

You portrayed the characters as wolves brilliantly. Why choose wolves & how did you research the animals behaviour?

I’ve always loved wolves. They’re beautiful animals that are highly misunderstood. Yes, they can be dangerous and kill off livestock, but to have them hunted and eradicated from areas is so heartbreaking. I could really go off on a whole spiel about this but I’ll save you the long interview 😉 I used a lot of videos to research behaviour as well as visited a small zoo in Big Bear. They have a small rehabilitation zoo, and in it they have a pack of beautiful wolves. They were really lovely to watch.

Give us an interesting fun fact about Lost in vengeance.

Cat’s character was inspired by Khaleesi. I freaking love that woman.

Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write and why?

The fight scenes were on the top of my list beside sex scenes. The particular scene with Quinn at the end was so difficult because I had to look up techniques, watch videos, and then try to translate that into the story without getting too technical.


white wolf PhotoPin
photo credit: Portrait of a polar wolf via photopin (license)

There was a character I had to delete during the editing phase, but I always regret it. I loved this guy for his uniqueness, and he gave Kelly and Finn a bit more background. Unfortunately, he was also a bit useless to the storyline.

Were there alternative endings you considered?

Yes actually!  Cat originally decided not to keep the Faol Geal. She felt it would harm the pack more than help.

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

Book 2 in the series (currently titled Found in Hope) is with the higher ups at LooseID so we’ll see where that goes. I’m really excited for my readers to get their hands on it because Jamie and his girl, Skylar, are amazing. Right now I’m writing the third book in the series (currently titled Claimed by Magic but this could change), and it’s Aidan’s story 🙂 In the future, I am hoping to have audiobooks available too.


Here are the links on where you can find HR Savages book.

Amazon Link:
Barnes and Noble:

And some more details on where you can find her 🙂 Note: If you go HR Savages website there some cool stuff like a playlist for Lost in Vengeance!

Amazon Author Page:
Goodreads Author:

Author Kirsty Nicolle - Trish Thompson photography

Author interview ~ Kirsty Nicolle

Wow! Each page was unexpected and brilliantly written, Kirsty Nicolle deserves her 5 stars.

The Kiss That Saved Me follows straight on from The Kiss That Killed Me.

Callie and Orion are both dealing with the trauma from the first book. Orion has the responsibility of becoming crowned ruler thrust upon him. Callie feels stifled and over protected, becoming desperate to discover who she really is.

This isn’t like book one; Its not all flowers and rainbows but true grit and determination.
I loved the darker tone, with the right amount of action and suspense. Kirsty has nailed Callie’s emotions and inner voice. I grew to love Callie in this book, through her self discovery and experiences.
Kirsty tantalised me with lust over love. She brings in some great new characters and injects this book with spice and wit.

This book provides a fantastical underwater world of magic and romance. If you love that combination then this book is perfect for you.

Mermaid beach sand sea
photo credit: mermaid days via photopin (license)

Welcome Kirsty, Me and your fan’s would love to know a little more about you. Thank you for participating.

What drove you to write fantasy?

I don’t really know. When I was a child I loved fantasy, and as I’ve grown up that love has stayed with me. I feel like fantasy can take the domestic and make us see things from another point of view through the fantastical. I feel like it’s a kind of escapism you just can’t get from other genres. I also feel like fantasy is a challenge (and I love a challenge) more so than other genres because of the world building involved. That’s my favourite part of the process for sure.

Who are your favourite authors? And what genre do you enjoy reading the most?

I love William Golding, Harper Lee, C.S Lewis and a lot of other classical literary fiction writers like Angela Carter, Graham Greene, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salman Rushdie etc. I went to university to study a broad range of literary fiction and I love the kind of layers you get to peel back when you get into this type of work.

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

The first story I ever read that I remember having an impact was The Lion, The Witch and the wardrobe. I cried when Aslan died, and I was at school when this happened. I was teased about this for weeks afterwards, but I don’t regret it for one second.

How did you come up with the idea to write about Mermaids and Psirens?

This is a question I’m asked frequently and to be honest I had the idea for the first few chapters of the first book before I even realised that’s where it was heading. Once I had the buzzword ‘mermaid’ wander through my brain, that was it, everything completely exploded and I realised that it was something I was really excited about.

girl underwater
photo credit: Shinkai Miku via photopin (license)

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Both. Being a writer is a gift because you’re building whole world and giving it to your readers, but it’s also a curse because it comes with crippling self doubt, an observation of the world you sometimes wish you didn’t have and an inability to just walk away from a story. There are good sides and bad sides to most things, but this kind of duality is definitely more apparent in the mind of a writer.

Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I ALWAYS type with sherbert lemons at hand. It’s a weird habit and if you ask my partner he’ll tell you it’s annoying because of all the wrappers littering my desk. I write predominantly in my study, however, I am also always carrying notepads and my laptop with me to coffee shops and waiting rooms, if I have a spare sec I’ll draft or brainstorm.

Do you have any romantic plans in the future for Azure?

This is an interesting question. The answer is YES. However, Azure’s character ARC is HUGE! It even extends far beyond the end of The Tidal Kiss Trilogy, this is predominantly because for me in the trilogy Azure’s most important relationship is with herself. It’s about her deciding whether or not she can live with her inner darkness, live with herself and live with the fact that Starlet is gone. There will be a Novella called VEXED being released in the foreseeable future that will explore Azure’s romantic future as well as giving her closure on her past with Arabella, so don’t fret, her story will have an ending beyond The Kiss That Changed Me.

water mermaid sunset beach
photo credit: tinkerbell/mermaid. via photopin (license)

Which character from your novel, do you most identify with?

When I first began writing this series I always used to say Callie, however as I’ve moved on I’m finding that Azure is someone who I’ve got quite a bit in common with, as well as finding common ground with characters like Orion and even Starlet to some extent as well.

Out of the world you have created, where would you most like to spend the day and why?

With the books that are currently out now I’d really like to visit the Occulta Mirum and watch a game of Hydra Ball. However, there are several other foreign locations that I want to visit in book 3, which is why I’ve chosen those settings in particular. Look out for Castella Aragon, because that’s on my bucket list!

      Did you find any specific challenges in writing The Tidal Kiss series and what would you do different next time?

If I could do one thing differently it would be having a little more Solustus in book one I think, I’d also like to elaborate on Atlas because he is taken from us so soon and there’s a lot that isn’t said, however this might make a nice little Novella for the future.

      If you were the vessel, Which power would you like to try out?

I’d love to be able to talk to animals. That would be badass.

Mermaid girl water
photo credit: Ishilly from One Piece via photopin (license)

      Give us an interesting fun fact about The Kiss That Saved Me.

Interestingly enough, not ONE but TWO Pieces of Eight (which Atlas has spent centuries trying to track down) are lying right under the noses of the characters to which they truly belong throughout the novel. It’s something subtle that I added, but once you read book three you’d be amazed at how far back into the trilogy these little appearances are woven.

Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write and why?

There was only one scene that I REALLY struggled with and that was chapter 5 of book 2, it was so hard to get into Solustus’ head-space as well as including all the back-story about his human life. He’s got a lot of issues which I can’t really relate to naturally. However, once I got his narrative voice right I wrote the entire chapter in one go after 6 weeks of trying to figure him out.

What got left out of the final draft?

Unusually enough, NOTHING. Not many people know this, but the first draft of book 2 ended up being the final draft. The only things that got changed in the first draft were typos and grammar. This book went from my head to the page and to published with very few changes, completely the opposite of book one.

Were there alternative endings you considered?

Yes. Originally it was Azure and not Starlet who was going to die. However, after looking at Azure’s story and character development, it became apparent that she needed to be kept in the plot. Originally, Starlet was going to survive but become dark can you believe? It just shows you how completely wrong I get it sometimes!

girl underwater mermaid
photo credit: Women Underwater via photopin (license)

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

Right now I’ve got several projects sort of floating about, but the one I’m mainly focused on is Book 3 of the tidal kiss trilogy. The other projects I’m sort of looking at are Vexed (a tidal kiss novella), Waiting for Gideon (A tidal kiss short) and The Opal Blade which is the first novel in the second trilogy (The Ashen Touch Trilogy) in the Queens Of Fantasy saga (Of which The Tidal Kiss Trilogy is Trilogy one)










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Author Claire Luana

Author Interview ~ Claire Luana

LuanaMOONBURNER3dMoonburner review 4/5

Kai was born a sorceress but has hidden her secret of being a moonburner by disguising herself as a boy to avoid being sentence to death by the sunburners. At the age of 17 she is discovered, narrowly escaping to the citadel.

War rages between moonburners and sunburners. Kai is torn between the loyalty of the people she was raised with against the politics of the lands and her calling as a sorceress.

A lively paced fantasy within the enticing world of moonburners. I loved this book and struggled to put it down. Claire‘s world building in this genre did not disappoint. Great and believable protagonist, I was with Kia every step of the way. I adored Kia’s friendship with Quitsu, it was warm and funny.
I found in the beginning of the book the authors character descriptions threatened to became overbearing. But as soon as I picked up on this, her writing evolved, growing from strength to strength. I found myself daydreaming about the this book, my mark of a great read. I cant wait to get my hands on the next book.

Welcome Claire, thank you for participating. I’m sure your fans will love delving into your world as much as I have.

You can find out about more of Claire Luana’s work here:

To begin, what drove you to write fantasy?

My first love has always been fantasy, and I’m fairly certain that’s always what I’ll want to write. My work life is pretty serious, and so reading is an escape and a retreat for me. I want to write the kinds of books I want to read: fun, adventurous, and full of magic.

Who are your favourite authors? And what genre do you enjoy reading the most?

My writing is definitely influenced by awesome fantasy writers before me, like Robert Jordan, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson. I am so impressed by anyone who can write such epic works of fantasy, over hundreds of pages and multiple books. I hope to be that good someday! I also am really digging some of the awesome lady YA and fantasy writers, like Kristin Cashore, Laini Taylor, and Leigh Bardugo.

Why did you choose Moonburner as the title for your book?

The title, Moonburner, is derived from the magic system in the world. Female magicians pull their power from the light of the moon, “burning” it into heat. Hence they are called moonburners. Male magicians are sunburners, deriving their power from the light of the sun.

How did you come up with the idea to write Moonburner, a story of sorcery and harnessing the power of the moon?

My inspiration for Moonburner was loosely based on China’s One Child policy, which led to generations of Chinese families choosing to have boys over girls. It made me think: what would happen in a world where families didn’t want girls because those girls had some magical ability that was forbidden? This led to the premise of Moonburner, where Kai, the main character, is born into a land where magic is forbidden to women, and she is forced to masquerade as a boy to hide her powers. Somehow, the moon and sun dichotomy just seemed like the right approach in a book about the power of women versus men.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Both! I have enjoyed every step of this journey to becoming a published author. It is so inspiring to create something out of nothing but your own imagination, and see it on the page. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But it is a LOT OF WORK.  I definitely have two jobs. It’s not all sitting in stylish coffee shops with sleek Moleskine notebooks penning effortless prose. A lot of the time it’s dragging yourself to the laptop after a long day of work while you’re longingly looking at your husband cuddling with the dogs on the couch. It IS worth it, but I have to constantly remind myself to take a long-term outlook.

Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I actually write on the bus on the way to and from work!  It’s a great use of my 45 minute commute and keeps me productive. It’s harder to find time to edit, because I don’t like to take my laptop with me every day. As for plotting, I write out scenes on post it notes and then move them around until I find the perfect order.

What would be Kai’s perfect date and more interestingly what would she dread on a date?

Kai’s perfect date would be outside in nature, like going for a hike or a horseback ride, or fishing on a river. Her most dreaded date would be a situation where she had to try to behave and impress more sophisticated people, like a royal dinner party!

Which character from your novel, do you most identify with?

I like to think that I am a bit like Emi, cynical and sarcastic at times but courageous and loyal to her friends.

Out of your characters, who would you most like to spend the day with and why?

Quitsu, because he is such a smart-ass. He’d be a blast to hang out with. Or Hiro, because I imagined him to look a bit like Chris Hemsworth from Thor, and I have a bit of a crush on Mr. Hemsworth.

Did you find any specific challenges in writing Moonburner and what would you do different next time.

I faced LOTS of challenges! This was my first attempt to write a novel, so I basically didn’t know how to do anything. I had to teach myself (or read books or go to classes) on basically every aspect of novel writing: plots and story arcs, characterization, dialogue, theme, pacing, word choice and sentence structure, etc. The hardest part was probably finding my groove. There was a lot of trial and error where I tried something that someone else recommended, and it just didn’t work for me, so I had to scrap it and try again. For instance, I tried to plot out a story in a detailed outline, and it just didn’t work.

The next time around I started from where I left off, and continued to hone my process and craft. If you’re curious about the things I changed the second time around, when writing Sunburner, I wrote this blog post with lots more details!

Quitsu and Kai have a unique bond and friendship. How did you evolve the idea.

I knew that Kai would have some sort of spirit guide or helper who would show up to assist her in surviving the desert. I wanted to do an animal because of the younger audience for the book (being YA), and because hey, talking animals are so fun! Quitsu just sort of evolved into Kai’s sassy conscience. His character was also helpful from a writing perspective, because Kai could hash out her feelings and plans through dialogue with Quitsu, rather than less exciting inner monologue.

Give us an interesting fun fact about Moonburner.

I chose Kai, the main character’s name, because I had realized that all my favorite YA heroines had names starting with the letter “K” (Katniss from The Hunger Games, Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Katsa from Graceling). Kai is a Japanese name that can be for a boy or a girl, and so it seemed perfect, since she has to hide as a boy at the beginning of the book!

Where there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write and why?

I struggled with writing the scenes where Kai and Hiro fall in love. They really only had a span of about 3 days in which to get to know each other and become romantically interested. Love at first sight can only go so far, and I was intent on not relying on that old stand-by as the sole reason they were drawn together! But, it was a challenge to figure out how to make them fall for each other in a short time period, but in an authentic way.

What got left out of the final draft?

I was pretty worried about the middle of the novel sagging or being too slow, and didn’t want to lose the reader’s interest. So there were definitely a few scenes where Kai was learning about the citadel and making new friends that got cut. As for the rest, it morphed and changed considerably, but nothing got the axe too dramatically.

Where there alternative endings you considered?

I pretty much knew that the ending was going to be how it ended up. However, I did end up pumping up the drama in the final version with the “almost” death of a main character. (No spoilers here!)

What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I recently published Burning Fate, which is a prequel novella to Moonburner. I am currently editing Sunburner, the sequel to Moonburner, and hope that will be ready to be published by spring 2017. After that, I have plans for a new trilogy in a totally different world. The first book will be called The Confectioner’s Guild. I’m so excited to write that one.

Please share with us; how to find you and where to learn more about your book?