We’re happy to announce that we have a new page added to the blog – Featured Authors! Our very first featured author is Heather R. Blair, a self-publishing paranormal romance author, and someone who I personally recommend for all paranormal and urban fantasy lovers out there!
She has 5 books out – all of which you can purchase through Amazon for your beloved Kindles.
Her latest release is Phoenix Fallen – the second installment of her Phoenix Inc. series. I’ve always loved a good vampire story, but this one is not just a good vampire story, but rather a terrific and dynamic story of two vampires who struggle with their inner demons and outside impediments in order to get what they want–each other. Our contributor, Veronica Del Rosa, a lover of fantasy gave it 5 stars!
We sent out a few questions to this lovely lady – she is indeed a lovely lady and everyone here in KHBR chat with her on a regular basis about writing, what books to read next, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and all other geeky things. We had fun getting to know this individual who is very passionate about all things Irish, you would know that if you have read her Celtic Elementals series (which we all look forward to reading the next in the series!)
When and why did you begin writing?
Oh my, I can’t remember when I started writing any more than I can remember when I started reading. It just seems like I was born doing it, honestly. But I do remember writing my first complete chapter book in the first grade. It was about a horse in the Old West. Most of my stories back then were about horses and cowboys. Two things I still can’t get enough of today!
What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, the first book I released as an indie author was Shivers, a collection of short stories that I wrote as part of a wonderful blog group I have belonged to for years. Just lots of fun, creepy, sexy stories inspired by all kinds of things; from bits of art, music, myths and the inside of my own demented little head!
My first full-length book release was Smoke in Moonlight. I’d been playing with the idea of a series featuring Celtic gods for years. I’m absolutely obsessed with Ireland and her stories, culture and history. Plus, the Irish werewolf folklore is so intriguing. Faoladh (werewolves) in Irish myth aren’t considered evil; in fact they are looked on more as protectors of family and home. I loved showing that aspect in my book. When Ronan Fitzpatrick leaped into my head one night, I was pretty much lost in the story of that big sexy werewolf, his curse and the woman who changes it all.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Oh good grief, there are so many! Let’s go with the tip of the iceberg:
Fantasy and sci-fi made a definitive impact, for sure. The Amber books by Roger Zelazny, The Wizard of Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings, of course. The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Then my first loves, horses and Westerns, so pretty much everything Louis L’amour and Zane Grey and Walter Farley ever wrote.
Celtic-themed fantasy, too, like The Red Branch by Morgan Llewellyn. The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen R. Lawhead. Classics, the biggest ones probably being Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott and the Idylls of the King by Lord Alfred Tennyson.
Everything Nora Roberts has written. And Stephen King. And Dean Koontz. Eric Van Lustbader. And oh, fantasy writer, Robin McKinley, particularly her incredible two-book series, The Blue Sword and The Hero & The Crown.
The Bride by Julie Garwood, my first ever romance and still one of my absolute favorite historicals of all time.
More recently, the kickass UF books by Pippa Da Costa, her Veil series, and also new-to-me authors, Tessa Bailey and Jae Jaggert.
IMHO—reading, and reading widely, is the best way to improve your craft.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I have to go with three here—and I consider that a sign of considerable restraint on my part!
Barbara Kingsolver, whose books could also be added to the list above, is a huge influence on me. The way she uses language is stunning and unique. Reading her books is like being caught in a spell and I try very hard to emulate that.
Shakespeare, whom I started reading at nine years old to help my babysitter practice lines for her high school production of Macbeth. I love his characters so much, particularly the witty ones like Benedick and Beatrice, Kate and Ariel, Puck, etc. When my MCs banter, it is often Benedick and Beatrice who I am aiming for, just with a modern twist.
Finally, Stephen King, if for no other reason than he wrote On Writing, which I think is the best book on the craft ever written. In pure useful knowledge and inspiration, nothing else comes close. I have read it cover to cover more times than I can count and often pick it up just to read a few lines and get my energy back. He is a writing guru.
Also, I have to say the Goodreads group, Read Romance, Write Romance is full of writers who inspire and motivate me every day! Particularly my fabulous writing buddy, Veronica del Rosa, author of the Enforcers & Coterie series. I don’t know what I do without that circle of support! So I went over way over three, damn it, but they ALL count. The more mentors, the better! 🙂
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am currently working on two very different novels. The explosive third book in my urban fantasy series, Phoenix Inc., titled Phoenix Broken is waa–aaay too loaded with potential spoilers to do much more than hint at, lol. I can say you’re going to meet more of the psychically-gifted paras that work at Phoenix Inc., along with a few more shades; including a red-headed werewolf I am very fond of, and you’ll find out more about the inner workings of the sadistic Iron Hand Society. Of course, the real burning question is who gets to kill Daimen Cross, right? Or does he die at all? You’ll have to wait and see, but if you’re really curious for a taste of what’s coming there is an excerpt at the end of Book #2, Phoenix Fallen. 🙂
Wow, Heather, you tease! So much exciting things to look forward to from you. I know I’m speaking for all of us here when I say, writer faster please?!
The other current work in progress is a new direction for me, contemporary romantic suspense. It is about a sexy Australian art thief, Jake Prentiss. He falls through a window one snowy night in Saint Paul and into the life of Charlotte Gracen, a reclusive young painter. Before she knows it, Charlie is caught up in his dangerous world… and caught up in the storm that is Jake himself.
He looked at her. That look. Those eyes. Charlie shifted uncomfortably.
“Quit it, Jake.”
“Looking at me like that.”
He smiled. That slow, devastating smile that did …’things’ to her. All sorts of things she had no business thinking about—not with him. Then he took a step toward her and Charlie’s stomach took a dive for the elevator floor.
“I am sure I don’t know what you mean.”
She put her hand on her hip and glared.
“Liar.” She meant to spit it at him, but it came out as a croak. Like a frog. Oh god, even when she was trying to insult him, she came off like an idiot. Ribbit, ribbit.
“Charlie.” His hand covered hers, pressing her back as he took another step. His fingertips brushed her hipbone through the delicate fabric and she could swear they were scorching.
“Jake.” Not a frog sound this time, but breathy, pleading. For what she wasn’t sure. For him to stop. Yes.
His grip on her tightened. “Jesus, Charlie. You can’t say my name like that and get away without paying the price.” His eyes had gone dark, that deep, boiling blue of thunderstorm just before the first lightning strike. Charlie could almost swear she smelled the scent of ozone in the air.
“Price?” She breathed, as Jake flattened her up the elevator wall. He reached for her other hand, lacing his fingers in hers before he lifted it over her head, pinning her back. His chest was solid and warm and she could feel the thud of his heartbeat against her.
Jake nodded solemnly, his gaze dropping to her mouth. His tongue flicked out and Charlie suppressed a whimper with difficulty.
“A kiss. One kiss, Charlie. That’s the price.”
Ooh. Is it just me or is it getting hot in HERE? 😉 Why don’t you tell us your latest news?
Well, the most exciting thing at present is I AM GOING TO IRELAND!
Yup, the 2nd week of April I am flying to Shannon. This is something I have been wanting to do my WHOLE life and I am beyond excited!
I will be in the west for most of my trip; checking out sites from my Celtic Elementals series and doing research for the third book in the series, Lightning in Sea, which will be out later this year. I’ll be spending time in Galway, Donegal, Londonderry and Dublin.
I’m also going to spend a day on the Isle of Mann, because that is where the final book will mainly be taking place. Manannán mac Lir, the Celtic/Welsh god of the sea features prominently, along with other Celtic deities and many old friends from the rest of the series including ancient Celt warrior and vampire Aidan O’Neill, the whole Fitzpatrick claim and of course, Bav, the goddess of death that we all love to hate. I can’t wait to visit their ‘stomping grounds’, so to speak. 🙂 Before I come home, I’m going to pop over to London for a couple days. I’m a huge Doctor Who and Sherlock fan, and just an anglophile in general. If I happen to catch a glimpse of Martin Freeman, you all may never see me again!
Heather, have a blast on your trip and of course, take care! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us here on Kaleidoscope Heart Reviews and for the being the VERY FIRST featured author. We so look forward to reading more of your work! 🙂 Heather is one of the most fabulous people I know. I met her through Goodreads when she offered her first book, Smoke In Moonlight, for a read to review program. She ended up being one of my favorite indie authors. So don’t pass up a chance to get to know her, as well!