TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Kylie: I write from beginning to end when I draft – I can’t write scenes out of order. I jot points down, or a few sentences when a scene comes to me and save them in a BITS file, but until I arrive at that point in the draft, it’s sequence in the plot and the full impact of it isn’t realized.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Kylie: Ahh, such a complicated question, and only because I straddle the fence with genres. When I first started getting into reading, I devoured straight fantasy and science fiction, stories written authors like Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings and Rowena Corey Daniells.
In my late teens I discovered the romance genre and then paranormal romance – all my favorite genres combined – I was in heaven!
Must-buys for me in this genre are Nalini Singh, Lora Leigh, Joss Ware, Elizabeth Vaughn, Larissa Ione, Denise Rossetti, JRWard, Sara Creasy and JRWard.
But of all of these authors, Anne McCaffrey had the greatest influence on me as a writer. Her stories fired my imagination and inspired me to write my own. I loved how well she combined all the elements of good fantasy/SF and never shied away from including a romance in the story. The best of all worlds! :-)
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Kylie: I’m evolving. In my early years as a writer I was a definite panster. I have boxes of unfinished manuscripts stored under my bed thanks to this rather inefficient method.
But as I’ve developed my craft, and now that I’m published and required to submit sample chapters and a synopsis to my editor, I’ve had to evolve into a semi-plotter.
I usually know how I want to start and end a story but everything else in between is fuzzy. I begin writing and as the story takes shape I see scenes.
Imagine walking through a foggy valley and every so often you come to the crest of a hill and see another in the distance and head for it. That’s how I get through the middle of the story. I just have to make sure the journey takes me to the ending I want. Most times this method works.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Kylie: Writing the first draft, particularly the first 30000 words. It’s the time when the story, the characters, the world is all new.
I’m uncovering elements of each as I write. I’m getting into the characters heads, learning who they are and how they think, feel, and act. I’m discovering their world step by step beside them.
Once I get past that first third of the book I know them and the rest comes a lot more easily.
TQ: Describe Vengeance Born (The Light Blade 1) in 140 characters or less.
Kylie: A bastard born heroine and warrior hero uncover ancient secrets, struggle with prejudice, and who discover a love that will save three races.
TQ: What inspired you to write Vengeance Born?
Kylie: Ideas for new books usually come as I’m writing another. It was about a year before I put fingers to keyboard to write Vengeance Born that I saw Annika, the heroine, in exactly the same scene as the one that opens the book.
She was descending into father’s dungeon about to meet a human Light Blade warrior for the first time, about to begin her escape and achieve her goal of beginning a new life.
The scene was so vivid I jotted down the details and, as I finished writing another paranormal manuscript, Annika remained at the back of my mind. I daydreamed a lot of ‘what if…’ scenarios to discover her story.
It seems a strange thing to say that I had fun considering the possibilities of a crossbreed child born as the result of a rape.
How would the environment influence her development? Could any one person influence or balance her upbringing? What role would they play? How could they affect her? Which character traits would develop because of her situation? What strengths and weaknesses would she have?
I decided that Annika would have strength and courage backed by a determination to free herself – there would be no waiting around for someone to save her (I love a strong heroine) – but, because of her upbringing, she’d also harbor a flawed sense of worth and need for acceptance.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Vengeance Born?
Kylie: The wonderful thing about the paranormal genre is that a lot of what I write can be all made up, but I suppose we have to base our ideas on something that’s familiar with then give it our own unique twist.
I drew maps, so scoured atlases for geographical details that I could include in mine.
Scriptures from the bible and the Christian ethos also influenced the development of the deity character, her followers – the Light Blade warrior caste and some others in Vengeance Born.
I poured through numerous costume and ancient weapons books for details about clothing, daggers, swords, shields, armor etc. but for most part everything else came from my imagination.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Kylie: The easiest was Annika. I had that connection with her from the very first time I saw her descending into the dungeon. I focused a lot on her in the initial daydreaming stages.
Kalan proved the most challenging and a lot of that was trying to make the dialogue sound like a guy speaking.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Vengeance Born?
Kylie: There’s an escape scene in the opening chapters of the book that I just loved writing. The whole emotional tug and pull of the characters in conflict but then also connecting.
Annika and Kalan have this tentative thread of trust born of a common need to escape her father and Na’Reish territory. They discover some of the more unpleasant facets about each other in that scene – their inbuilt prejudices of one another’s races – yet they reach a point where they realize what they believe isn’t necessarily true. It’s one of the first major turning points in their relationship with one another.
Another of my favorite scenes is in Chapter 15. Without giving too many details away, readers learn more about Annika's past, see Kalan's reaction to it and both explore the physical attraction developing between them. It’s all about trust, commitment and connections.
No spoiler but here’s just a snippet...
Annika swung her legs around to sit on the ledge facing inward, her gaze fixed on him as she tried to sort out the tangle of emotions his words evoked. He was treating her as if she were human, and making it easy for her to forget the fact that she wasn’t.TQ: What's next?
She shouldn’t like that but she did. She clenched her hand around the edge of her cloak. His recent behavior was making it safe to share things she’d never have thought to reveal to anyone else. He didn’t criticize her, didn’t laugh at her ignorance, hadn’t taken advantage of her weaknesses. Other than Hesia, no one had ever kept their promises to her.
He treated her like a friend.
Annika started to shake. Not in fear, but with the strength of an unknown emotion filling her heart. With every beat, the warmth of it spread through her. He stood close enough that she could feel the heat of his body, even through two cloaks. She lifted her hand toward him then hesitated.
Touching Kalan, exposing her need for him, lifted the hairs on her neck. She hated being vulnerable. But she wanted to show him the same amount of trust he’d finally given her.
Mouth dry, she cupped his cheek then trailed her fingers along his stubbled jaw and shuddered, liking the rough sensation of it beneath the palm of her hand. Her gaze dropped to his lips. They looked soft, unlike the rest of his lean body. She wanted to kiss him but wasn’t sure if she had the courage. The scent of his arousal filled her lungs.
“I don’t bite.” The corners of his mouth turned upward ever so slightly. “Not unless you want me to.”
Kylie: ALLIANCE FORGED, the second book in this series is out 3rd July 2012, so I’m at the tail end of the publishing process with it as I type this.
And, all going well, Book #3 (untitled) is scheduled for an early 2013 release. Both books feature characters introduced in VENGEANCE BORN.
On the new manuscript/writing front I’m thinking of finishing off a sci-fi/space opera romance that I started just before I received ‘the call’ from Berkley back in late 2010…unless, of course, I’m contracted for more in the Light Blade series! :-)
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Kylie: Thanks so much for having me – it’s been a hoot and I really enjoyed answering your questions.
Read Kylie's Guest Blog - Hail the Strong Heroine! - by clicking here.
About The Light Blade Series
Vengeance BornLight Blade 1
Berkley Sensation, February 7, 2012
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born...
Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na'Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father's people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she's gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy...
With the Na'Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na'Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons-and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.
When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father's dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council-and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war...
Amazon : Barnes and Noble : Book Depository : Books-A-Million : IndieBound
Fishpond : Penguin Australia : Penguin USA
Fishpond : Penguin Australia : Penguin USA
The Light Blade 2
Berkley Sensation, July 3, 2012
Trade Paperback, 368 pages
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…
Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.
Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.
When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart a war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human— is an alliance. However, when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit her website at www.kyliegriffin.com
What: One commenter will win a copy of Vengeance Born (The Light Blade 1) for Kylie!
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Who is/are some of your favorite strong heroine(s)? (books/comics/TV/movies)
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