Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Florida and came into this world with the ability to draw and paint photo-realistic portraits, which started me on the road to building a career with my art. That ultimately led to writing, oddly enough, because I spent so many hours alone working at times that I made up stories in my mind to entertain myself. In 2001, I decided to write those stories down and that launched my writing career. I write pretty much every day of the week, but when I can break away I love to saltwater fish and ride my motorcycle (BMW F 650 GS). My husband is a motorcycle safety instructor and a long distance rider so we take off on bike trips when we can. After flying so much all year long it’s a nice change.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. It was the only way I got to go anywhere because I couldn’t afford to actually travel to any of the places in books for many years. So I read everything from thrillers to historicals to romance to paranormal to mysteries to sci-fi and more. I have a Quaantum Book Club program on my website and the motto is “A Book. The power to go anywhere.” It’s true. (Yes, www.QuaantumReaders.com is spelled with two a’s, because I liked the name but wanted something unique for this program.) So while hanging over a hundred feet in the air painting large murals I would get bored because I’d painted for so long I could do it almost without looking. This was before iPods and I hated to listen to radio because of commercials. I started making up stories to keep myself entertained on fifteen-hour days spent all alone. When I stopped climbing as much, I started putting one of those ideas down on paper.
Framed for killing a human and facing a death sentence, Evalle gambles her future to stop an ancient Belador enemy from destroying mankind.
What surprised you the most about the writing/publishing process?
That authors were such a diverse collection of people. I had a stereotype in mind of someone who had studied writing their whole life, certainly not an artist. That’s why I would not tell anyone about my background as an artist for the first year I was in Georgia Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. I was sure they’d boot me out. :) Not only did they let me stay
What were your inspirations for your part in creating this story?
I started this story premise long before urban fantasy became the huge market is today. Paranormal romance was huge and the Belador stories have strong romantic elements, but the series is Urban Fantasy, not romance, so I heard “we don’t know how to market this story.” But I stuck with my initial idea instead altering it to “fit the market,” which turned out to be the right thing to do. I had this idea about the descendants of ancient warriors living among today’s world of humans in almost a sleeper cell way. I also got to thinking, “What would happen if gods and goddesses of different mythologies bumped into each other…or had a dispute? Who would win in a battle of these powerful beings?” So that got me thinking about VIPER – a coalition of powerful beings that united to protect this world against supernatural predators. Some pantheons joined…some didn’t. The ruling force is a Tribunal composed of three gods/goddesses, and the mix of those three changes depending upon the situation. From all those “what ifs” grew the idea of having three close friends – Evalle, Tzader and Quinn
Most people will/have probably found this book to leave them aching for the next book, how long did it take you & Sherrilyn Kenyon to write it, and did you have any writer’s block along the way?
That’s nice of you to describe Blood Trinity that way. This book took about four months. Some take less time and some take much longer. Any time you create from zero there’s no way to know what will be involved. I know it seems like it would become a repetitive process, but anything repetitive bores me and I can’t work on something that bores me so every story has to be unique to hold my attention. Sherrilyn is the same way. As for writer’s block, I know others have suffered, but I’ve never run into it. From what I’ve gathered about writer’s block, the author is stuck because they don’t know how to move forward or the “story isn’t working.” I think the reason I’m always moving ahead is because of how I approach writing. In the Break Into Fiction® Power Plotting program I created with Mary Buckham, we developed a series of questions that we use to find plot holes or test a story – the questions you can’t answer will generally uncover the problem, which then might help you move forward.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No set plan or formula. I believe in Character-Driven Plotting®, which is a phrase we coined while creating Break Into Fiction®. One is tied to the other. An idea on a character might spawn a plot idea or vice versa. Once you get rolling into the story, I feel the plot/character should develop almost like braiding hair. Sometimes the situation you put a character in brings out their true personality or a character does something that prompts a new element for the plot. Sometimes a plot forces characters to surprise us. Even when you know the backbone for the story there are plenty of room for the unexpected.
I just love the men in books. How did you come up with the male characters?
Besides the men Sherrilyn and I grew up around in our families, we both worked primarily in male-dominated fields. I love the way men think and act. They can be so different from each other personality wise or by background and still share some common factors that will trip them up with a woman. As different as night and day,Tzader and Quinn still share similar qualities of honor and being protective, but they show these traits in different ways. I enjoy taking an Alpha male and throwing him into a situation with a woman who is his match then just stand back and wait for the explosion. :)
If you could pick one actor to portray your ideal male lead character, from this book, on the big screen who would it be and why?
I’ve heard Sherrilyn say “Who would have thought Robert Downey, Jr would be the perfect Stark in IRONMAN or saw Orlando Bloom and thought of Legolas in Lord of the Rings?” Not me, but I applaud the choices. I have never tried to figure out actors for Blood Trinity although we get plenty of emails from fans asking about movie interest.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I can only tell you what good writing means to me as a reader and how that’s what I personally try to achieve. The one most important above all – IMHO – is story telling. Tell me a good story to the point I don’t even notice the words. Take me on a ride that I don’t want to get off. I love to occasionally read a phrase or sentence that makes me think, “That was a great line or wonderful description,” but that will only happen if the story holds me rapt to reach that point. I call those unusual sentences and interesting phrases slipped in along the way treats for the brain. If a story is well written, it stays with me when I put it down. I walk around thinking about the characters and what transpired.
This was a great story set with different worlds. Was there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
LOL - I find everything challenging in writing, but anything worth creating is going to take work. The more complex a story is the easier it is to hold my attention, which means it also makes me crazy. I love the huge canvas that paranormal allows for creating characters and worlds. One of the hardest things is keeping an eye on your world building so that you don’t break a rule. I have an amazing assistant, Cassondra Murray, who is an excellent beta reader on our stories before we hand it to our terrific editor. Writing is difficult, but having a top support team makes all the difference.
What were your feelings when you first saw the cover?
LOVE at first sight. I designed the triangle emblem that is the Belador Triquetra. Sherrilyn came up with the idea of putting the sword on the cover so that it wraps the cover (if you open the cover you’ll see the entire sword with the blade on the spine). Pocket’s outstanding art department did the rest. They just gave us the new cover for ALTERANT – I’m in love again.
Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
First, I want to entertain a reader and for them to enjoy the time they indulge for reading. After that, I want them to walk away with a sense of hope about the world and a belief that the majority of people are good at the core. A Belador may have to dig out that good at the tip of a sharp dagger, but it’s there. :)
I’m hosting a My Feenix™ Art Contest at http://www.myfeenix.com/ so if you’re an artist or know of any please share the site. There’s $10,000 in prizes and they have three different ways to create an image of Feenix, our adorable gargoyle in the Belador series. Thanks!
PRIZES – Tell us what you enjoy most about Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance (or just say hello!) and Melissa will draw THREE names who will each win:
A copy of Blood Trinity (signed by both Dianna and Sherrilyn), a Belador Tshirt (limited quantity since it can't be sold) and both of those in a Belador lunch bag.