Yasmine Galenorn – Interview & Contest
Sidhe Vicious welcomes Paranormal Romance Author Yasmine Galenorn! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and all about your novel Dragon Wytch.
Y.G. Thank you. I appreciate the welcome.
S.V. Your paranormal romance novel, Dragon Wytch will be released on July 1st, 2008 by Berkley Books. Can you tell us about it and a bit about the main characters Camille & Smoky?
Y.G. Dragon Wytch is the fourth book in my Otherworld Series (aka: the Sisters of the Moon Series). The Equinox is coming, and mayhem rules. A crown-prince unicorn offers the girls a legendary gift, but it disappears, as does his servant, a pixie named Mistletoe, who was carrying it, and they have to get it back before havoc rules. Rogue portals are opening and goblins and trolls swarm the streets of Seattle. And now Smoky, the hottest dragon around, decides to stake his claim—on Camille. It’s time for her to pay her debt to him.
Overshadowing it all, the third spirit seal surfaces and, of course, Shadow Wing’s after it. He sends a dangerous demon general—a Rāksasa—after it, and the girls realize they may be outmatched. And then, they discover a secret: a new power is rising—a dangerous force from the past—and that power intends to restore balance to the worlds…whether the girls like it or not.
Dragon Wytch is from Camille’s point of view, and you’ll get to see the background of her initiation into the Coterie of the Moon Mother, and a better glimpse of what the magic she uses is like, and how her passion can include more than one man without diminishing the others. You’ll also have a chance to find out more about Smoky’s lineage and his life. I had a lot of fun writing the book—Smoky’s dragon nature really came through and showed me how he really is a dragon, not human, that he just can take human form. He plays by his own rules.
S.V. What about vamps, witches, weres, etc. inspired you to write about them?
Y.G. I grew up cutting my teeth on fantasy, SF, and horror—from the beginning I gravitated toward Bradbury, Clarke, Asimov, Lovecraft, McCaffrey, MZB…all the greats. I watched Dark Shadows when I was five, Star Trek when I was…I dunno…I think I first saw re-runs but I was very young. Every Saturday afternoon I’d watch the SF double feature monster matinee on TV. My life has always been steeped in the paranormal—both real and the fantasy versions. For me, writing non-fantasy oriented fiction is very hard—it just does not compute. ~laughing~ And vamps, witches, Weres, etc., are all part of the milieu.
S.V. Will we be seeing more of Camille, Smoky, Delilah and Menolly in the future?
Y.G. Oh yes, there will be at least nine books and one novella in the series. I’m just about ready to start Bone Magic—book 7—which is back to Camille. If the series continues to do well, I’d be happy writing it for quite a long time. There are a lot of places (as well as secondary characters) I’d like to explore with this series.
S.V. How did you get your start in writing? What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?
Y.G. The spark came when I was three (~smiles~ I’ve told this story a hundred times, I think). I was learning to read and one day—and I remember this particular incident—I was holding one of the books I loved and something clicked. Maybe someone said something or maybe I just put two and two together but I suddenly “got” that people make books, they don’t just appear out of thin air. People actually made books…and right then, I knew I was going to grow up and make books. And I never lost sight of that goal.
S.V. What was the path to publication on this novel like? Highlights? Pitfalls? Or because you’ve had so many novels published, does any one stand out for you?
Y.G. The road to publication is a long and winding one and would take a long time to cover. Leave that to say, it wasn’t easy, it took a lot of sweat and practice (I have seven novels in the closet from before I ever got my very first contract. I call them the ‘in the closet gang’ and they will never see the light of print because they simply weren’t good enough. I plunder from them, though), and that I paid my dues.
The highlights: of course, holding my first contract in my hands (it was for a nonfiction book) and crying because somebody was willing to pay ME to write books. Another highlight—holding my first contract for a novel in my hand and realizing I’d actually broken though. A third—hitting the USA Today list with Witchling—and then the NYT extended with Darkling—those were HUGE jumps for me.
And Dragon Wytch will be my 20th book on the shelves. I think that’s a highlight in itself. J
Pitfalls: signing my first eight contracts without having a literary lawyer look them over, since I didn’t have an agent for my nonfiction. Not realizing early enough that nowadays it’s really up to the author to do a lot of self-promotion. Not being prepared for the sting when people trash your books and you in the same breath (I can handle rejection just fine, but people can be vicious!).
S.V. Who or what was your inspiration for the characters of Camille, Delilah, Menolly and Smoky, if any?
Y.G. Out of all the characters, Camille’s most like me, though I have touches of Delilah and Menolly in me too. But they’re really not ‘based’ on anybody I know. My subconscious works on a level all its own and I just let it chug along. One night, the three girls just showed up and introduced themselves to me (in my mind, of course), and bingo, they were there. I guess I’d been mulling over ideas for awhile and suddenly they emerged, like Venus rising from the seafoam. Of course, they’re not quite so gracious as Venus. ~grins~ Smoky just showed up in the book; I had no idea there would be a dragon in the story but there he was and he wouldn’t go away and so, yes, there was a dragon in the story. They evolve through the books—I don’t force them into molds or actions, everything evolves organically in my writing of this series. It wasn’t quite the same with the mysteries, but this series definitely has a life of its own.
S.V. Did you find it harder or easier to write subsequent novels in this series because of already having created this world?
Y.G. Easier on many levels…the world is intact and vibrant and thriving, so I already know what’s there so far. And I love the world that I’ve created—it’s so much fun to write in. But I don’t want to get complacent. I want each book to be different, though a link in the chain, with its own flavor and story. The hard part is dealing with how much backstory to put in—I have to introduce them in each story but it’s getting trickier to find ways to do it that isn’t boring. ~grins~ I rely on my editor to tell me if I haven’t included enough.
S.V. Do you have any funny writing quirks or habits that you do when you’re in the “zone” writing?
Y.G. Oh gods, yes. Actually, it’s more incidents. Like for one of the mysteries that I was writing during March a couple years ago—the mystery was set in November and I was writing about Thanksgiving, and the dinner scene sounded so damned good that I ended up cooking a mini-Thanksgiving dinner because I was so hungry for turkey by the time I finished that scene! Or writing a scene set in a thick snowstorm and looking out the window and being very confused for a moment because it was around 75 degrees and—for once—sunny.
If I’m not writing enough, I can’t sleep, the characters and stories churn in my thoughts and keep me awake. And I always clip my fingernails before I start a new book—an odd habit (and one I’ll have to break if I get the nail gels I want).
S.V. Have you ever met a vampire, werewolf, demon, fae?
Y.G. LOL…well, you know that I’ve written metaphysical nonfiction and that I’m a shamanic witch. I do believe in the Fae, but not as I’m writing them and not as the Victorians portrayed them. To me they’re less human, very feral and not very friendly toward mortals. I’ve seen some interesting things in my lifetime, I believe and have encountered ghosts and spirits…we have a guardian elk spirit who watches over the household and I’m a pledged priestess to Mielikki and Tapio. My life is very magical, and I mix tidbits of the ‘real’ magic that I encounter into the fantasy magic of the series—it’s one big blend on the pages, though quite separate in my personal life.
S.V. What supernatural power or creature would you most like to have or be?
Y.G. You know, this is hard. I’d love to have some of the powers of Neo in the Matrix. I’d like to have the power to heal up from anything at extremely fast rates—not to heal others, but to heal up…super health and agility, I guess.
S.V. Who is your favorite paranormal or urban fantasy fictional character and why? (Not counting your own of course)
Y.G. Aww gee, you mean I can’t pick my own? ~grins~ Okay, let me think here. This is a hard question. I think I’ll have to give you a list because I can’t pick just one:
There are others. I could give you a huge list. But I can’t give you just one name in particular. ~smiles~
S.V. Who’s your favorite author? TV show? Movie?
Y.G. This is easier, but again, it’s hard to give just one name because my moods change so rapidly.
Favorite author, overall: Ray Bradbury. He makes prose sing like the sweetest music. Favorite top three books: Watership Down (Richard Adams); Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier); and Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien).
Favorite TV shows: InuYasha, Supernatural, Medium, Reaper, Bleach, The Deadliest Catch, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Desperate Housewives, Bones (except for the season 3 finale—I’m so ticked at them for making Zack into the bad guy), Spongebob Squarepants, Buffy, Forensic Files, Cold Case Files (nonfiction), City Confidential, Food Network Challenge, Iron Chef Japan, The Next Food Network Star, Project Runway
Movie: Favorite movie of all time: Rebecca. Favorite movies: SF/Fan, mystery, suspense, some comedy, classic, Hitchcock, cult favorites. Favorites: Tremors, Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Queen of the Damned, Terminator, Terminator 2, Alien, Aliens, Andromeda Strain, All About Eve, Mommie Dearest, Matrix, Harry Potter movies, musicals like Chicago, All That Jazz, Moulin Rouge, Into The Woods, Earth Girls Are Easy, Eight Legged Freaks, The Mighty Quinn, Andromeda Strain, Fargo, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, LOTR movies, Labyrinth
S.V. How have the books you’ve read influenced the books you write?
Y.G. Primarily by teaching me what I don’t like and what I do like in a book—as a reader. I learn from my reaction to the books—what bores me, what engages me, what I find implausible (and I can buy the most implausible storylines if its done right). It’s all subjective of course. I’m writing the books I’d like to read—I think most writers are doing so. We love other books but we want the storylines tweaked, the characters a bit different, so we create our own worlds to meet those needs and desires.
S.V. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever gotten inspiration from?
Y.G. When I was sitting on my exercise ball watching TV with friends and it exploded beneath me, dropping me to the hardwood floor below. Jarred me up and hurt my lower back. The ball was defective—it should never have ripped in that manner. I sat there, stunned, thinking, “I shouldn’t be looking at the room from this angle.” I went on to include the event in one of my mysteries. Hey, you have to get mileage out of freak events like that—I ended up in pain, I might as well get an amusing incident out of it!
S.V. What do you do when you’re having writer’s block to “shake” it off?
Y.G. I don’t get writer’s block. ~smiles~ I do have days where it’s harder than others and if I find I just can’t plow through the rest of the day, sometimes I’ll just go watch TV or cook or something and the next day I’m fine.
S.V. What can a new reader expect from your book/series?
Y.G. Dark mayhem and warped humor. If you dumped Buffy, Charlie’s Angels, I Love Lucy, and a good AD&D game into a blender, add a book on mythologies of the world, a book of fairy tales, and a soupcon of explicit erotica, well…there you go—my series.
S.V. You write about various types of supernatural creatures. Do you do a lot of research or do you prefer to take what you already know and use your imagination for the rest?
Y.G. I’ve studied mythology over the years to the point that I’m familiar with most of what I’m writing about, but I’ll stop and do the research if I realize I’m lacking in information. And I also create my own creatures/mythos and blend them all together. Apparently, I do a good job—people find it hard to pick out what are my creatures and what exist in folklore.
S.V. Are any of your characters particularly fun or easy for you to write? Any that are more difficult?
Y.G. Of the three sisters, Delilah’s the most elusive—just like a cat. Camille’s easiest to write, Menolly’s in-between but getting easier. I love writing about Camille’s three men—Smoky, Morio, and Trillian. And I adore Maggie the gargoyle. Iris is taking more of an active role as the books go along. I find Chase and Zachary the hardest to write—they’re men I wouldn’t normally be pulled to, and they don’t fit my view of the ‘ideal male’ so it’s a bit of a challenge letting them be the way they are.
S.V. Do you have any tips for aspiring speculative fiction writers?
Y.G. Be prepared to work your butt off. I work 50-70 hours a week and the more successful I get, the harder I work. Just because you can find your way around the keyboard doesn’t mean you can write a book. If you want to be a writer—especially a career writer—you have to put in the hours pounding the keys, doing the research, studying the markets.
Don’t go into the work expecting to become rich and famous—if that happens, great, and there are things you can do to promote your work—but go into it wanting to write the best stories that are suited for you to write. Go into it for the love of writing, for the passion of creating worlds on paper.
Be prepared to pay your dues—in patience, in accepting criticism, and accepting the inevitable rejection that’s fraught in the business. Don’t expect instant acceptance at the publishers—this is not a business for someone who requires instant gratification.
Learn how to approach agents and editors—do the leg work yourself, it’s part of the job. Don’t expect people to hand you answers on a silver platter. Get used to research.
And lastly I leave you with this: nobody can guarantee you success as a writer. But I guarantee that if you quit, you will fail.
S.V. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us at Raves & Rants and with your readers?
Y.G. My favorite quote is from Ursula Le Guin: Those who refuse to listen to dragons are probably doomed to spend their lives acting out the nightmares of politicians. We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark; and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night. ~ Ursula K. Le Guin “The Language of the Night”
You can find out more about my work and me on my website: www.galenorn.com and I’m on MySpace: www.myspace.com/yasminegalenorn and to some degree, Live Journal (though my blog at this point is mainly on MySpace).
S.V. Thank you Yasmine! It’s been a pleasure spending some time with you and getting to know more about Dragon Wytch and the rest of your books. We wish you every success with your Sisters Of The Moon Series, and look forward to many more of them.
Tomorrow I’ll have my Spotlight & Review of Dragon Wytch up, so be sure to come back!
Yasmine has graciously offered a signed copy of Darkling to one lucky commenter, so get your fingers busy and start commenting. Only one entry per person, or if you want to get an extra entry in, you can blog about this contest and send me the link. I’ll draw a winner on June 30th. Good Luck everyone!
( Moved over from my origional blog )
38 Comments. ( Edited July 4th, you can click on the “38 Comments” to view them, but this contest is now over )
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