Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 5 2013, 12:03 am in Allegiance Sworn, Alliance Forged, Anna Campbell, Australia, Australian Authors, Australian Romance Readers Association Awards, Bandita Booty, fantasy romance, Kylie Short, Light Blade Series, paranormal romance, series, Vengeance Born
I’m always delighted to welcome Aussie author Kylie Griffin back to the lair. Today’s she’s here to tell us about the next instalment in her wonderful Light Blade series, ALLEGIANCE SWORN.
RT Book Reviews gave ALLEGIANCE SWORN a great review, saying, “The third outing in Griffin’s rousing Light Blade series provides readers with a breathtakingly strong and dedicated heroine willing to fight and sacrifice for her people. Griffin keeps the tension running high as the world she created heads ever closer to war.”
Here’s the blurb:
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a demon leader seeks to unify the races…
SHE’S THE ENEMY HE CAN’T RESIST.
With the alliance of the humans and the half-blood Na’Chi forged, the demon Na’Reish prepare for war by seizing human blood-slaves. Captured during a rescue mission-gone-wrong, Light Blade warrior Arek Barial finds himself claimed by a Na’Reishi female who offers him an unexpected choice.
Raised in the elite ranks of a society she abhors, Imhara Kaal lives a dangerous double life as a Na’Reish Clan-leader and an advocate for a caste-free life that honors the Old Ways. Openly rebelling against the Na’Reish would mean her death, unless she can find an emissary willing to present her petition to the human Blade council.
But Arek isn’t about to blindly follow a demon—despite the intense attraction growing between them. And while hatred for the Na’Reish is all he has ever known, Arek must learn to trust Imhara, or risk the destruction of all three races…
You can find out more about Kylie and her books on her website: http://kyliegriffin.com
Kylie, congratulations on the release of ALLEGIANCE SWORN. Can you tell us about this story?
ALLEGIANCE SWORN is the third book in the Light Blade series and one I was very excited to write as it features Arek, a rather deliciously tormented (yes, I do like torturing my heroes), secondary character, and one of my Light Blade warriors, who appeared in both VENGEANCE BORN (#1) and ALLIANCE FORGED (#2).
At the end of ALLIANCE FORGED Arek was wounded and captured by demon-slavers. In ALLEGIANCE SWORN he’s claimed by Imhara, a demon Clan leader.
He’s sworn to die fighting before allowing her to enslave him but then discovers she’s been living a double-life; that her Clan don’t enslave humans and accept half-bloods. And more significantly, they have one goal in common – to kill Na’Reish leader Savyr, the demon who murdered their families and destroyed their lives.
I had a LOT of fun making Arek face his greatest fears in this book but what surprised me the most was the way a couple of plot threads within the story ended – I intended the story to finish with the characters achieving certain goals but they refused to take that path and led me down another!
Lives being threatened, fighting, the death of a major character – all of this was supposed to occur, and it did, but not in the manner I expected and it brought about an entirely different conclusion to the story.
What were the inspirations behind this book?
Two ideas inspired ALLEGIANCE SWORN.
The first was Arek, the hero, and his hatred for all things demon. Throughout the series and of all the characters he’s probably had the toughest time. He’s found out he has a demon half sister. His grandfather not only tried to kill her but he kept the secret that demons and humans once lived harmoniously together and then betrayed the human race by leading a rebellion to keep the war between them going.
In ALLEGIANCE SWORN, Arek is confronted by the truth that his whole life and every decision and action he’s made has been based on a lie, one fostered by his grandfather’s deception.
And having been captured by demon-slavers at the end of ALLIANCE FORGED, he now faces one of his greatest fears – being the blood-slave of Imhara Kaal, his new owner. Anyone who’s already read the series will know Arek prefers death over serving as a blood-slave, so you can imagine the conflict this is going to create!
The idea of a double agent gave me the plot thread for Imhara Kaal, the heroine, in ALLEGIANCE SWORN. Unlike other demons, Imhara and her people have create a utopia of sorts where human, demon, and half breeds live peacefully and equally in the Old Ways but they’ve had to sacrifice a lot to remain undiscovered. Living a double-life and adopting two separate lifestyles was essential for their survival.
But it puts Imhara and Arek at odds right from the get go because she had to portray her alter-ego in order to claim him as her slave. You can image how well that went down with Arek, and trying to convince him of her other persona is nigh impossible.I loved being able to throw these two opposing personalities together and watching the sparks fly!
Ooh, sounds delicious. I love enemies into lovers stories. What’s coming up next for Kylie Griffin?
Besides a manic blog tour to promote ALLEGIANCE SWORN (and the mass market version of VENGEANCE BORN which was also released on April 2nd)? Well, I have a few plans I’m juggling. I’d like to write books #4 and #5 in the Light Blade series but that depends on whether the book-gods smile on a new contract.
I’m also keen to write a new post-apocalyptic romance, one that’s been mulling in the back my mind for a few years now. A change of genre would be refreshing and I’m quite excited about this one as I’m venturing into new territory. It’s rather more erotic in tone than I anticipated.
Delish! You’re now three books into your Light Blade series. Would you like to share your thoughts on writing a series? Has everything continued as you expected or were there some surprises with writing linked books?
As a fantasy reader from way back – I think I read my first book in this genre at age 10 – I love the scope a series allows me as far as world building and developing an over arching story line. While each story is complete within itself, I love being able to play with the external plot, dropping hints, showcasing certain events that will one day impact the timeline further on in the series. And looking back readers will see this and, hopefully, appreciate the depth and growth of the series.
There were some surprises along the way when I wrote the series. A couple of characters I intended to be only background figures decided they wanted a story of their own and as a result they’ve taken more prominent roles in the stories than I anticipated.
One of these characters was Zaune, one of the half-blood scouts. He appeared in VENGEANCE BORN then he popped up in ALLIANCE FORGED and again in ALLEGIANCE SWORN. Over time he’s become quite a strong character in my mind, so much so I have a book planned for him.
Another shock in this series came when I wrote ALLEGIANCE SWORN, I’d planned the death of a major character but as I wove various plot threads together, the story of Arek and Imhara began to stall. No matter the direction I wanted them to go – the scenes, their dialogue, their actions, the revelations I wanted to hint at, or uncover or confront, the action I saw taking place – they point blank refused to walk the path I wanted them to take.
Turns out I was trying to force a scenario that would have given the story a too easy solution, too convenient an ending to the thread I was trying to tell. Robbing the characters of conflict also meant swindling readers out of the emotional roller coaster ride that came with the conflict. So in the end, I ignored the voice inside my head and listened to my characters.
Did the story thread have a “happily ever after”? It depends on your point of view. Happily ever afters do occur but sometimes not in the way we anticipate or expect and this was definitely the case for Arek, Imhara and me. What exactly did the HEA involve…well, you’re going to have to read ALLEGIANCE SWORN to find out the details!
Kylie, congratulations on winning favorite futuristic, sci-fi or fantasy romance of 2012 at the recent Australian Romance Readers Association awards. I was absolutely delighted to accept your award on your behalf! Could you tell us a little about how you felt about receiving this award?
Thanks, Anna, for the congrats and accepting the ARRA award on my behalf!
I was away on a writers’ retreat the weekend of the ARRA convention with some writing buddies. We were following the awards dinner via Twitter on the night. Some of the books and authors nominated were MY favourite reads for 2012 – so to have gone head to head to them was an achievement in itself.
Seeing as I don’t own a mobile phone (yes, I know, I’m one of the rare few) I was relying on my friends to announce the results. When they read out my name, I honestly thought they were pulling my leg and kidding around but when I saw the same tweet on four phones I had to accept the win was fair dinkum!
I’m sure I looked like a stunned mullet. I know I see-sawed between incredulous laughter and shocked crying. I think I did a bit of both!
Honestly, it’s a very humbling experience to know there are readers who voted ALLIANCE FORGED as their favorite read for 2012, and I’m ever so grateful! The ARRA award now sits on proud display on a shelf in the lounge room!
What do you like to read when you’re not writing dramatic and adventurous romance?
Paranormal romance is my first port of call when I pick up a book to read – some of my favourite authors span the gamut of sub-genres and include Nalini Singh, Denise Rossetti, Joss Ware, Joey W.Hill, Bec McMaster and Kylie Scott!
I’m also partial to science fiction and fantasy authors like Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, and Rowena Corey Daniells. But outside these genres I enjoy reading Maya Banks, Debbie Macomber, Jo Davis, and our own, Anna Campbell! (Anna says, why, thank you!)
I’m fairly selective, basing my choices more on the connection I feel with the author’s characters and their writing than the particular genre. I’m sure Anna won’t mind me using her as an example, but she’s one of two historical romance authors I read. I don’t usually indulge in this genre but I really enjoy her books because of her engaging characters and rich style of writing.
My nonfiction section of my library revolve around subjects likes names for babies, weapons, self-defence, herbal medicines, ancient cultures, myths & legends, and craft books like patchworking, photography, calligraphy and Lonely Planet Guides for travelling.
And my favourite place for reading these books – my garden! I have a couple of lovely spots where I can sit back, relax with a book and more often than not be interrupted by the wildlife that like to visit during the day.
Anna, thanks for having me here in the Lair – I always enjoyed my time here interacting with your readers. Knowing this, I’d love to ask them a question, if that’s all right.
I’ve just revealed Arek’s greatest fear – becoming a blood-slave to the Na’Reish demons – now I want to know – What’s your greatest fear? Is there anyone brave enough to answer this question? How about I dangle a signed copy of ALLEGIANCE SWORN Light Blade #3 as incentive to participate? Go on, I dare you! Face your fear, just like Arek does in ALLEGIANCE SWORN!
Thanks for that great interview, Kylie! And best of luck with ALLEGIANCE SWORN. It sounds like a corker. Get commenting, people. I’m sure you all want to win the signed copy of Kylie’s new book!
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 10 2012, 12:03 am in Anna Campbell, Australia, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, history, Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed, Sons of Sin, travel, writer's life
..for people who don’t live here! Especially if you’re from North America!
I’m a proud little Aussie gal!
Just now, I’m particularly proud (not for nationalistic reasons) because my seventh historical romance SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED recently hit the shelves.
In honor of all the 7s doing the rounds, I thought I’d pick out seven interesting facts about Australia that foreigners may find interesting.
So here are seven mostly obscure facts about my beloved homeland that you can use to dazzle the guests at your next barbecue:
7. Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the world’s driest continent. Perhaps that explains our dry sense of humor!
6. Australia is one of the few nations to send athletes to every modern summer Olympic Games. We’ve hosted the Olympics twice – in 1956 and 2000.
5. In World War II, we came very close to Japanese invasion (Darwin was bombed and there were Japanese submarines creating havoc in Sydney Harbor). Hundreds of thousands of American troops under the command of General MacArthur came to Australia to fight in the Pacific arena. So on behalf of my nation, a big thank you to the United States!
4. We had a series of gold rushes from the early 1850s through to about 1900, just in time for miners from San Francisco to hop on the nearest sailing ship and float across the Pacific to dig for the yellow stuff. The gold rushes established Australia’s prosperity and population – and when you look at the records, you’d be amazed how many Americans made the trip to our sunny shores!
3. We have some very strange animals (no, I’m not talking about the types who hang around our local pubs and clubs after midnight on a Saturday!). There are koalas and kangaroos and echidnas and wombats. I want to talk about the platypus here – this duck-billed, egg-laying mammal is so strange that when the first specimens reached London (stuffed, not live) in the early 19th century, the scientific community was convinced it was a hoax.
2. A couple of American slang terms have very different meanings in Australia, something which gives us great (and childish) amusement. In America, if you ‘root’ for someone, you’re cheering them on. In Australia, ‘root’ means intimate relations. And don’t start me on fanny pack! In some things, we’re two nations divided by a common language!
1. There’s a myth that we ride kangaroos down the main streets of our biggest cities. This is completely untrue. The kangaroos of Australia formed a union (the HEA – Hopping Entities of Australia – affiliated to the Transport Workers Union) in 1934 to object to this cruel and unusual treatment. Now the kangaroos ride the Aussies! There’s a whole underclass of people who work as Roo-shaws!
OK, not ALL those facts are 100% true. Can you tell which one? However, having read this post, even if you don’t come from my wide brown land, you may now consider yourselves honorary Aussies. Have a stubbie in your stubbies on the black stump outback of beyond in the never-never.
I’d love to know an interesting fact about where you live. And hey, it doesn’t even have to be true!
I’ve got a signed copy of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED available for one lucky commenter today. So get commenting, people. Or as we say in Oz, drag up a stump for your rump and have a chinwag, mate.