My guest today is up and coming young author, Mistral Dawn. Don’t you love her cute avatar kitten?!
About the author: Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. This is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series.
Did someone inspire you to write? Who and how?
Well, the inspiration for my first book, Taken By The Huntsman, came from a dream I had after a rather spirited debate with an online friend about the nature of consent (and some other political issues I won’t bore you with). When I woke up I thought about the dream and realized it might make an interesting story (as well as provide me with a soap box ;-)). I texted a friend and asked her if she thought the idea had merit. She said she did and so I wrote the first couple of chapters and emailed them to her asking her to read them and tell me if she was bored yet. She was kind enough to say that she wasn’t bored and that she’d like to read the rest of the story, so I wrote it. The ideas for the next few books and short stories came from characters who came to me and told me that they deserved a story too, and it was my job to write them. So I will!
How do you develop your plots and your characters?
As I said, the plot for Taken By The Huntsman just sort of came to me. I had to iron out some of the rough bits and fill in some of the details, but for the most part I woke up after having a dream (sort of) about a debate I’d had and the idea was there; I just had to type it out. As I was writing Taken By The Huntsman ideas for more stories came to me. Some of the characters I was writing about informed me that they had stories to tell as well. The more I wrote about Cassie and Caderyn the more ideas I came up with for future stories.
So far I haven’t had any trouble coming up with characters; they’ve all come up and introduced themselves rather forcefully. 😉 Well, I can’t blame them, no one likes to be ignored. Plus some of my beta readers have been kind enough to become so enthusiastic about my stories that they’ve asked to be included in them, so some of my characters are based on real people (can you guess which ones? ;-)). The only real trouble I’ve had with characters is coming up with names for them. Sometimes they aren’t cooperative enough to give me their names and I have to guess. Picking just one word to describe a person is often not all that easy. Oh, and I also sometimes have trouble getting them to leave me alone when I’m trying to sleep.
I have a short story planned for after my second novel that I intend to invite readers to help develop characters for. At some point (in the next few months, hopefully) I will post an invitation on my Facebook page for readers to contribute ideas for characters to be included in that story. At this point I don’t know how many of these characters I’ll be able to incorporate, but if I get enough suggestions I’ll ask readers to vote on each other’s ideas and use the characters with the most votes. Details about the story and the parameters I’ll need for the suggestions will be forth coming, so stay tuned!
Do you ever wear your PJs or nightgown all day while writing?
Absolutely! I work a full-time job and attend graduate school, so leisure time is at a premium for me. Writing gives me an outlet for my creative energies. Both my job and my school work are rather technical and precise in nature. It’s important to get them exactly right, there’s not much margin for error, and following established procedures and protocols is crucial; people’s lives depend on it. Writing allows me to step outside of the box and just go where my imagination takes me. It’s very liberating. The kind of day when I can stay home and just write is the ultimate luxury, as far as I’m concerned. No work, no school; just stay comfy in my PJs, put on some good music, pour a glass of wine, kick back in my recliner with my laptop and a kitty or three, and let my imaginary friends tell me their stories. Heaven! 🙂
What project(s) are you working on now?
I hope to have my next book out by the beginning of 2015 (no promises). It’s the second book in the series that begins with Taken By the Huntsman and will be the story of Uaine, Fairie’s Summer Court prince, and Veronica (Roni), a human petty thief and con artist, who are united by a magical bond created by Fairie’s great mother goddess. I’ve only just started writing it, but you can read the first chapter on my Facebook page and I’ll try to post updates as I write it.
Do you see yourself in some of your characters?
There’s bits and pieces of myself (my personality and my life experiences) in all of my heroines (the one I’ve written, the one I’m writing, and the ones I have planned), but none of their “lives” truly represent mine. For instance, Cassie, in Taken By The Huntsman, is an orphan; she never knew her parents. I’m not an orphan and I grew up with both parents, but our relationship is…complicated. There have been times that I’ve felt rather like I’d imagine an orphan feels, so I tried to incorporate that feeling into Cassie’s character.
Roni, as you’ll come to find out if you read my second novel, suffers from an insecure body image. As a woman with curves in a society that values extremely thin figures, she often doubts her own attractiveness. She’s a tough lady and usually brazens her way through most situations, and she’s certainly aware of the way men (and other women) often react to her appearance, but as she grows to know and trust Uaine she’ll let her guard down and show some of her vulnerabilities. I think this is representative not only of me, but of any woman in our society that suffers (benefits from?) a little extra padding.
Do you have critique partners and/or beta readers?
Yes! And please let me take this opportunity to give a shout-out to Kate, Jilly Bean, and Stef! You ladies are totally awesome, thank you! 🙂
Who designs your book covers?
Erin Dameron-Hill designed the cover for Taken By The Huntsman. She is really good at what she does. I would absolutely recommend her for anyone looking for a cover artist. She’s easy to work with, responds quickly to requests, delivers what you ask for, and her rates are reasonable. Plus she’s just a truly talented artist.
Do you have a favorite charity that you support?
I don’t promote any one specific charity, but I do support animal rescue and aid groups. I’ve worked with many of these groups over the years and they’ve greatly aided my own efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and find homes for cats and kittens in need. Anyone who loves animals should check out the shelters and rescue groups in their area and get to know the people involved. They’re generally really wonderful people and I don’t know of anywhere that doesn’t have animals in need. And, of course, please always spay or neuter your pets!
Do you hear from your readers? If so, please quote your favorite fan letter.
First I’d like to say to my readers: Thank you so much for reading my book!! I appreciate the fact that you’ve given your time and your money to experience my work; it humbles me that you have been willing to do so. I value all of your feedback, both good and bad, because it can only make me a better writer and help me create a better product for you to enjoy. So thank you, as far as I’m concerned you’re totally awesome! 🙂
My favorite quote from a fan letter is: “I think you have a gift for telling a story, and I sincerely hope you keep writing.” Simple words, but they mean a lot to me.
For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?
First off, it’s not just a bunch of sex scenes strung together. I spent a lot of time setting up the story and explaining “my world,” so you’ll have to read about 60% through it before you get to the steamy bits. It’s my opinion that it’s important for the reader to spend enough time with the characters to get to know them a bit so they care about the emotional turmoil they are experiencing, but I know that’s not what everyone is looking for. There are some BDSM elements in Taken By The Huntsman and I hope to explore those a little bit more in my next book. There are also a couple of gory scenes, so be prepared for that. All-in-all though, if you like fantasy romance stories and aren’t offended by a bit of kink I think you’ll enjoy it. I’d love it if you’d let me know one way or the other.
Without further ado, here’s Mistral’s HOT book cover, blurb & excerpt.
Discarded and ignored by those around her for most of her life, Cassie is a lonely human woman struggling to find her place in the world and meaning in her life. Cadeyrn is the Erlking, the leader of the Wild Hunt, a hundreds of thousands of years old Fae who has always known his purpose. He has spent his entire long existence tracking the criminals of Fairie and punishing them for their crimes.
While hunting for the murderer of a child who has escaped to Earth Cadeyrn comes across Cassie and realizes that she is the one that the great mother goddess has designated as his soul mate. He kidnaps her and takes her to his fortress in Fairie to protect her from his many enemies. He knows she will be angry and that he’ll have to work to earn her trust, but he finds his task to be even more challenging than he had thought it would be due to Cassie’s difficulty in opening her heart.
Will Cadeyrn be able to convince Cassie that the bond between them is real and earn her love?
He leaned down to look into her face as she passed and it hit him: the Siorghra, literally, ‘eternal love,’ the bond between Fae who were Anamchara (soul mates). He’d heard of it, of course, all Fae knew of the Siorghra and hoped one day to feel its sweet sting, but after so long? And with a human? Impossible! He had never heard of a Fae finding their Anamchara in a human, not in all the millennia of his existence. Long ago some of the Fae had kidnapped humans and brought them to Fairie as mates or as servants, but even in the cases when the Fae and the human had felt the deepest of love for each other he had never heard of them forming the Siorghra. And yet it was unmistakable.
The Erlking looked into the human woman’s eyes, blue eyes that sparkled like the darkest sapphires, and felt a devotion unlike any he had ever felt in his very long life. His connection to this woman, who he had never even spoken to, was stronger even than his connection to the Wild Hunt. He hadn’t even thought that possible! He thought to wonder if this was some sort of spell cast by Griogal to distract him from the hunt, but no, Griogal was Sidhe and it was Pixies who had power for love and lust charms. No Pixie would aid one who had slain one of their children and even if they would, no love charm could be mistaken for the Siorghra. Dea Matrona (the great mother goddess) had created the Siorghra so that the Fae would always know when they had found their perfect match; she had made it so that all Fae would instantly know what it was when they felt it. She would never allow a cretin like Griogal to pervert such a magic for his own petty uses. No, this woman must truly be his Anamchara.
There was no question in the Erlking’s mind about what must be done next. All Fae only ever received one Anamchara; he could not possibly leave her in the human world. Aside from all of the perils she would face as part of her human existence, just being his Anamchara would make her a target for his enemies…and he had many enemies. Several hundred thousand years as the final arbiter of Fairie had resulted in more than one Fae holding a grudge against him; and along with their very long lives Fae had very long memories. .
He would need to immediately take her and bring her to his fortress in Fairie. There only those who were oath bound to him would have access to her. It was possible for a Fae to break an oath, of course, but if they did so they were subject to vengeance from the Wild Hunt. Thus far none had ever broken an oath to the Erlking.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1tXiyg3
Find Mistral on these sites:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1qkQiCQ
Really engaging interviews and excellent excerpt. I’m hooked!
Thank you, ejfrostuk! I’ll pass on your comment to Mistral. I’m sure she will be thrilled.
I hope you stop by again, my friend. Lyn
I’ve followed your blog so I can check back often!
Super! I think I followed yours, not sure. I’ll go check.
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Thank you so much EJ, you are awesome and I really hope you like it!!!! 🙂
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Great interview. I really enjoyed reading and finding out more about Mistral who has just about the best name ever!
Thank you so much MT!! It took me a while to find the right pen name, so I’m totally stoked you like it! 🙂
I never have worthwhile dreams and envy those who do. Nice to learn about your process.
Caroline, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m sure you’ll find the right dream to follow soon. NEVER GIVE UP!! 🙂
Mistral, I want to welcome you again. It’s a pleasure having you here and learning more about you and your writing.
Thank you Lyn! It was a BLAST, and you are one awesome blogger, lady! 🙂