Today, my guest is romance author, Renee Wildes, here to discuss her latest release DUST OF DREAMS, a fantasy romance.
Tell me a little about your book.
DUST OF DREAMS is a fantasy romance, with a dream faerie heroine named Pryseis and an elven spirit healer named Benilo. She goes to help a goblin child who’s having nightmares that intrude into real life. He goes to help her.
What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I was trying to think of a book to write in between Lycan Tides and Riever’s Heart, to give Verdeen time to get through the military academy. So I put a question to readers as to which minor character they’d like to see more of. Hands down, Benilo won. (Prince Brannan was a close second, so he makes a significant appearance as well.) So I tried to think of the perfect heroine for a spirit healer, and my dragon muse whispers “dream faerie.” Nightmares seemed a logical problem to solve, and I made the victim a child (sympathetic) and a goblin (quandary/complication – they’re the enemy).
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I have a full-time day job for benefits and to pay the bills, since I have 2 kids, 2 horses and a mortgage! I work for Tricare from 10-7, so I write part-time. Mornings, evenings, weekends and holidays – also the occasional kid sick day. I’ve been known to do plotting/brainstorming on my lunch breaks!
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always BEEN a writer. I was writing horse stories (ala C.W. Anderson) when I was six years old! My Grandma Jeanne helped raise us and we used to play the “word-a-day” game, where I learned a new “big grown-up” word every day, so my vocabulary advanced pretty fast for my age. I was the only kid to have a MAXIMUM word count in school.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
My stories are messages of hope, tolerance and cooperation. Good triumphs over evil but victory is never without cost. The girl always gets the guy!
Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I write fantasy romance for Samhain Publishing in a series called the Guardians of Light. I grew up reading Mercedes Lackey and Terry Brooks, and am a huge Joseph Campbell & Tolkien fan. So when I discovered romance novels (Julie Garwood’s old historicals), it was only natural for me to combine the two. I like books where stuff happens, where good triumphs over evil. I live for “…and they lived happily ever after.”
What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
I’m more of a plotter than a pantser, so I like to pre-ordain the stories up front. I’ve had a lot of issues with characters who decide halfway through a story that they’d rather do things their way than my way, so I’ve learned to be flexible. Once you write character parameters a specific way, they tend to take on a life of their own and take off running. Best to let them go – at that point, I’m just along for the ride!
Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
I wanted to challenge my characters by putting them in a new, uncomfortable setting. Because they’re both creatures of air, I made them enter the goblin stronghold underground. I used to go caving a lot in high school (we had a wilderness challenge club, and I was the ultimate tomboy) so used those memories a lot in worldbuilding and character observations/reactions.
How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Pryseis is every bit the rebel I was. She defies an entire nation and risks ostracism to help Mog. As her nephew Dax tells Prince Brannan, “Pryseis didn’t see goblin. She saw child.” I love her compassion, and her stubbornness in doing what was right. She’s braver than I am! Personally, conflict and the “man against the world” standing alone concepts give me a stomach ache. I like the fact that at least in fiction, unflinching honesty and uncompromising “do what’s right” is possible and triumphs. Real life, unfortunately, is full of compromising.
What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Writing fantasy allows me to make a lot of stuff up, but I have to be consistent. This being the fourth book in a series, a lot of the elven worldbuilding was already done. I pulled on a lot of my own memories for the cave aspects, read “The Caves Beyond” – and watched LOTR The Fellowship of the Ring’s Moria scenes. I did some research about high altitude mountains, crystal therapy/powers, and dream interpretation. The biggest thing is the parameters/limits of powers. Immortal doesn’t mean invincible – and every “superpower” must have a cost.
Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I’ve never been comfortable with gratuitous violence, but graphic battle scenes don’t bother me, as long as there’s a purpose and it’s not gratuitous. Writing with Dark Ages/early Medieval technology/mentality means hack-and-slash bloody, with sharp blades vs. flesh. I get teased about “heads on pikes” a lot.
I had to work my way up in heat-level intensity. When Duality & Hedda’s Sword were sold to Samhain, they’d already been written. When I started writing Lycan Tides, my editor Linda Ingmanson asked me if I could turn up the heat from the first. With her help and encouragement – and hanging around with a bunch of fellow Samhain authors who write WAY hotter than me! – helped me expand my borders. I’m now quite comfortable writing open-door sex scenes.
What about your book makes it special?
I think the underlying themes of compassion and racial tolerance, also self-acceptance and meeting your fears head-on, are things any reader can relate to. The world-building of purely otherworld fantasy makes for a great escape, and the setting is unique. I liked playing with the “enemy are real people, too” mentality.
What is your marketing plan?
I have limited access to in-person book signings – stores here seldom do them – so I mostly work at having a strong online presence. The internet is a great way to connect with readers, via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Yahoo groups. I try to do the occasional chat and writing contest (like the EPIC) and regular blogging – also guest blogging and interviews.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Personal Blog: www.reneewildes1.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ReneeWildes (@ReneeWildes)
Yahoo Group: www.groups.yahoo.com/group/reneewildesromancefantastique/
Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Read the genre. A lot. Read everyone. Get a feel for the rhythm, the flavor and cadence of the genre.
Take writing classes. The Savvy Authors site is a great place for those!
Join a writers group that specializes – like FF&P RWA (Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal chapter of Romance Writers of America) and IWOFA (Infinite Worlds of Fantasy). Ask questions.
Join a critique group – or at least have a critique partner.
Enter writing contests. Getting unbiased feedback can really help you grow.
Thanks so much for having me here today, Penny! This was fun!
All her light—and all his love—may not be enough to hold the nightmares at bay…
Guardians of Light, Book 4
Mingling with other races is strictly forbidden, but dream faerie Pryseis has no choice. An innocent goblin child suffers dangerous nightmares, and it should be a simple task to cure him and return to her anxious sisters before the council knows she’s gone.
Yet there’s a reason a creature of air and sunlight has no business underground. Now in chains, prisoner of an ungrateful goblin sorcerer, Pryseis despairs that anyone will save her. Her only comfort—the memory of a man she can only touch in her dreams.
Benilo ta Myran, with the reluctant blessing of his elven king and queen, takes up a quest some would call mad, driven by the certain knowledge that the beautiful faerie who invades his dreams is in danger. He carries a terrible secret—war has broken his healing powers—yet he cannot leave her to face the darkness alone.
The first touch of their flesh surpasses their most erotic dreams, but the nightmare has just begun. There’s the suffering child, and a sorcerer who won’t go down without a fight. And the clock is ticking down for Pryseis, who must return home—or fade away.