TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery!
Coreene: Hi everyone! First off, I’d like to say a big thanks to Sally for inviting me to visit The Qwillery today. I’m really excited to here and can’t wait to answer all your questions!
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Coreene: Hmm…probably the fact I get up at 5 AM to write. I love a quiet house and the stillness before my family stretches awake each morning. For some reason, my mind works really that early. Although, I have to admit, sometimes I wish it wasn’t so. Sleeping in, after all, has its allure, but I refuse to complain. I’m a creature of habit and love when my muse shows up and the words flow, no matter the time of day, so…5 AM it is!
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Coreene: I read widely across a lot of genres. My favorite genres are psychological thrillers, crime fiction, romantic-suspense, and fantasy. So I guess it’s not surprise that I enjoy the Alex Cross series by James Patterson and the Jack Reacher books that Lee Child writes. A big favorite of mine is Stephan King. Although in all honesty, some of the books he writes scare the crap out of me! (I usually avoid those ones! :-D ) I’ve loved Kurt Vonnegut books and J. R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings from the moment I read them. Kristan Higgins and Cindy Gerard are among my favorite authors too.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Coreene: A few years ago, I would’ve said pantser. Now, I know differently. I’m a hybrid…a combination of the two. I don’t plan per se—no outlines or anything tangible on paper—but I do start with a vague idea of where the story will go. For example, before begin writing, I generally know how the book will start, have a few turning points mapped out along with sketchy vision of how it will end.
But that’s about it.
Everything else is up for discovery as I write the book. I will say, however, that I do build psychological profiles for all of my main and secondary characters. For me, it’s important that I understand each one as an individual: his/her wants, needs, goals, what’s happened in past to shape him/her in the present…in short, EVERYTHING! I guess I’m nosy like that, but each detailed character sketch is important. The more real they feel to me, the more intriguing, intricate, and engaging the story becomes. Which means a lot of surprises, both for me and the reader. Which can only be a good thing!
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Coreene: Sometimes the fact writing is a solitary professional can be challenging. When I’m struggling with a specific scene or the overall story arch of a book, bouncing ideas off other people becomes important. It’s easy to get bogged down in that frustration, which is why having friends who write is so important. Another writer can usually see things you can’t and help you find where a story has gone off the rails. I have a great critique partner who keeps me on the straight and narrow. She never lets me get away with anything. In end, though, even the most difficult day spent writing is better than an easy day spent anywhere else. Sounds crazy, I know, but when you love something this much battling through frustration is simply another perk of the job!
TQ: Describe Knight Awakened (Circle of Seven 1) in 140 characters or less. /like a Tweet/
Coreene: Oh, boy…that’s a tough one. Okay, here I go:
An action-packed story about an elite assassin’s struggle to find new purpose in the world and accept that he is worthy of true love.
Not bad. Although, I didn’t manage to get anything about 14th century Transylvania in there. It’s probably important to mention that it’s a historical novel…ah, right?
TQ: What inspired you to write Knight Awakened?
Coreene: Honestly? I watched The Bourne Identity. I’m huge movie buff, and a good movie has the power to move my imagination. Jason Bourne is a great character. From the moment I saw him on screen, he tweaked my curiosity. I started wondering about assassins, the hard life they lead, and what that would look like in the 14th century. I have a love affair with medieval history and couldn’t resist combining the two. Once the seed was planted, Xavian (the hero of Knight Awakened) walked into my head—daggers, swords, lethal skill and all—and I was hooked.
TQ: Tell us something about Knight Awakened that is not in the book description.
Coreene: It’s an intricate, action-packed book with a magnificent love story. I fell in love Xavian the moment I met him and knew Afina was the perfect match for him. Both have painful pasts and are searching for redemption, a second chance in a place where nothing is what it seems. Writing their story took me on an incredible journey into a magic-filled world and historical splendor. I’m incredibly proud of the world and characters I’ve created in Knight Awakened.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Knight Awakened?
Coreene: I didn’t a lot of research. The novel is set in 14th century Transylvania, so I not only needed to research the time period, but also the language and customs of the day. I spent hours with my nose buried in text books, scouring the internet, studying ancients maps and sifting through endless picture references. I talked to history professors and listened to lectures. You name it, I did it. My goal was to not only get a feel for the 14th century, but also a true sense of the people who lived there: their daily lives, all the challenges they faced in terms of geography, customs, prevailing attitudes, and how the political climate shaped the culture of their time.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Coreene: I’m not sure any of them were truly easy. Afina and Xavian were both wonderful to write. Their interactions kept me guessing (which, of course, I loved!) But I have to admit, writing the villain was an incredible amount of fun too. He’s an interesting guy. Cunning, goal oriented with an non-existent conscience, he’s game player. He likes to manipulate people like pawns, moving each around his board to see what happens. Which makes him incredibly dangerous. Every move he makes is planned with precision in mind and to effect maximum damage. A huge problem for my hero and the elite group of assassins Xavian leads.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Knight Awakened?
Coreene: Wow, it’s difficult to choose just one. I have so many, but I think my favorite is the first battle scene when my heroine, Afina, realizes she can wield magic for the first time. Up until that point, her magic is dormant, so the supernatural shift that brings her magical abilities to the forefront, allowing her to wield it, surprises the heck out of her!
TQ: You also write the Dragonfury series (Fury of Fire, Fury of Ice and Fury of Seduction). Do the Dragonfury and Circle of Seven series have anything in common? How are they different?
Coreene: They do have one thing in common…DRAGONS! Yes, you read that right. Both series have dragons in them.
The Dragonfury Novels revolve around a secret race of dragon-shifters and their struggle to survive while remaining hidden from human society. Set in modern day Seattle, a war rages between two factions of their kind: the Razorbacks and Nightfurys. One wants to exterminate the human race while the other fights to protect us. Along the way, each Nightfury warrior finds true love, his equal in the woman meant to be his.
The Circle of Seven series centers around a group of elite assassins in medieval Europe and the magical order they come to protect. The dragons are connected to Afina and become allies in the war against an ancient evil that is rising to power once more. Together, she and Xavian form an unbreakable bond, combing her magic with his superior fighting force in a quest that will shake nations and threatened the very foundation of medieval society.
TQ: What's next?
Coreene: Thanks so much for asking! At the moment, I’m writing the next novel in the Dragonfury series. FURY OF DESIRE (book 4) will be released sometime next summer, 2013. And I couldn’t be more excited about it! After that, I’ll dive straight into writing the second book in the Circle of Seven series, KNIGHT AVENGED.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Coreene: Thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest at The Qwillery today! I had a blast answering all your questions. To learn more about the Dragonfury Novels and the Circle of Seven series, please visit my website www.CoreeneCallahan.com. Or stop by my Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coreene-Callahan/173981189346509. I’d love to hear from you!
About The Circle of Seven
Circle of Seven 1
Montlake Romance, December 4, 2012
Trade Paperback, 442 pages
In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out of reach. The king of Hungary opposes his rule, the Transylvanian people despise his brutal ways, and the high priestess needed to crown him has vanished without a trace. But Barbu hasn’t come this far only to be thwarted by a woman. He unleashes his best hunters to track her down and bring her to him—dead or alive.
For Xavian Ramir, killing is the only life he has ever known. Torn from his family when he was a child, he was trained from an early age to be an elite assassin. But now he longs for something more, vowing to start anew after one last job. The bounty on his target’s head is enough to set him up for good—if he can resist the long-dead conscience that stirs to life when he meets his beautiful mark.
Afina Lazar never wanted to become high priestess, but the brutal murders of her beloved mother and sister leave her no choice. Now she is running for her life, desperate to protect the magical amulet entrusted to her care. But when Barbu’s assassin comes for her, she realizes her only chance of stopping the warlord’s rise to power is to convince this enigmatic—and handsome—hunter that she is more valuable alive than dead.
Fury of Fire
Montlake Romance, February 7, 2012
Trade Paperback, 424 pages
When duty calls, a warrior answers—no matter the consequences.
A clandestine race of half-dragon, half-humans known as dragon-shifters lives among us. Bastian, leader of the Nightfury dragon clan, is sworn to protect humankind at all costs. For him, honor and duty always come ﬁrst. When the clan dictates he take a human mate to sire a son, he falters, aware that for a human to birth a dragon-shifter she must die. Myst, the woman given into his care, is the most extraordinary he’s ever met, and though he can’t bear the thought of harming her he is bound by duty.
Myst loves her life in the human world, but Bastian has captured her heart in an instant of electric connection. But Bastian and his warriors are in the middle of a deadly battle with the Razorback dragon-shifters, intent on killing every Nightfury clan member—and the humans they protect—the fate of their world and ours hangs in the balance.
An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Fury of Fire brings to life a dangerous new world intertwined with the survival of humanity, all while exploring the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.
Fury of Ice
Montlake Romance, June 5, 2012
Trade Paperback, 430 pages
Homicide detective Angela Keen thrives on the city’s rough streets. But when she becomes the prize of all prizes in the dragon-shifter world due to her “high-energy” status, she gets more than she bargained for. Kidnapped by Lothair of the Razorback clan, Angela barely survives captivity before managing to escape. Hurt and alone with nowhere to hide, she faces certain death when Lothair uses the trace energy she leaves in her wake to hunt her down. But before he can reach her, a mystery dragon-shifter intervenes and saves Angela’s life.
Now a guest of the Nightfury clan, Angela regains her strength as her rescuer, Rikar, the last living frost dragon, gradually breaks down her mistrust. Surrendering to her desire for Rikar, but still uncertain of her feelings, Angela goes against his wishes and agrees to be used as bait to lure Lothair into the open. As the battle commences, the true struggle comes from within: Will Angela return home to the life she loves, or forsake it all to be with Rikar?
Fury of Seduction
Montlake Romance, November 13, 2012
Trade Paperback, 449 pages
Successful landscape designer Tania Solares prides herself on living by her own terms, relying on no man to provide for her. But her carefully controlled life takes a turn for the extraordinary when her inquiry into the disappearance of her best friend thrusts her between two warring factions of dragon-shifters. Suddenly Tania’s survival depends on Mac, a newly initiated dragon-warrior who will break every rule to keep her safe.
Now that Tania knows the truth about Dragonkind, returning to her old life is too grave a risk. Ivar, leader of the Razorbacks, plots to decimate the human race, and Tania is just the tool he needs. Despite the danger, Mac cannot deny her a choice: Trade the independence she’s fought so hard to achieve for safety in a magical world, or turn her back on the man she’s grown to love in order to reclaim a freedom that might not last? It is an impossible choice. And yet a sacrifice must be made…
After graduating with honors in psychology and working as an interior designer, she finally succumbed to her overactive imagination and returned to her first love: writing. And when she’s not writing, she’s dreaming of magical worlds full of dragon-shifters, elite assassins, and romance that’s too hot to handle. Callahan currently lives in Canada with her family and writing buddy, a fun-loving golden retriever.
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