Deborah will be dropping by to answer questions so please leave a comment or say hello.
In celebration of the launch of Winter Kiss, I am having a giveaway of a complete set of the Dragonfire series (Kiss of Fire, Kiss of Fury, Kiss of Fate and Winter Kiss) to share this great series with one lucky winner. I have a signed copy of the first book and signed bookplates for the others thanks to the generosity of Deborah Cooke. Giveaway is open worldwide. You can check for details at the end of the post.
SFG: For readers that may not be familiar with your work, can you give us the who’s who about Claire Delacroix versus Deborah Cooke?
Well, I’ve written as Claire Delacroix since 1992. When I sold my first book, it was common for authors to take pseudonyms, so when the house suggested as much, I did. The Delacroix books have been – until recently – medieval romances, often with fantasy elements. I’ve also done some novellas that were fantasy with romantic elements. It was interesting to me that when the Republic series went to Tor, my editor there was insistent that it was a Delacroix series, even though it was set in the future. She was convinced of this because of the worldbuilding – the strong sense of being in another place and time, which she found characteristic of my medievals – as well the blend of fantasy and romance elements. This series does have a darker tone than the Kinfairlie series or my Bride Quest titles, but it has a lot in common with the Ravensmuir series and several of my earlier Harlequin Historicals.
Deborah Cooke. As I said in my keynote in Seattle at ECWC, it is kind of odd to be me again after so many years!
SFG: A few weeks ago Guardian, the second book in your Republic futuristic urban fantasy series was released. Can you give us an overview of the book, the series and the final book in the trilogy Rebel?
In the first book, FALLEN, Lilia sets out to prove that her husband’s death wasn’t an accident, as is the official ruling. She finds her sole informant murdered, then meets adversity in a homicide detective named Adam Montgomery. Montgomery is the fallen angel in this book, but his mission is being kept from him. He knows Lilia isn’t telling even a small percentage of what she knows and is determined to find out more. When his contact is murdered in the same way, right after Lilia met that person, the two are driven to work together – and unravel each other’s secrets.
GUARDIAN, the daughter that was taken from Lilia has her chance at a better destiny. Rafe has been assigned to help Delilah assume her destined role as Oracle of the Republic, but doesn’t remember his own past. Delilah isn’t sure whether this man is friend or foe, whether he is saving her from the people who want her dead or delivering her personally to them. (You can probably guess.)
I just finished writing REBEL, which features Theodora, a professional assassin with a secret cause. The angel in question is Armand, who remembers all of his mission and his past, has doubts. Can he persuade Theodora to fulfill his assignment for him? At what cost? And how will working with an idealistic angel change Theodora’s very earthy and cynical perspective? I like this book because the worst case scenario is realized and yet there’s still an HEA.
There are excerpts from the first two books in the trilogy on my website, and review quotes on my blog. The publication date for REBEL isn’t finalized yet, but it will be late 2010. As soon as the cover is done, I’ll get it and an excerpt on my site.
SFG: Winter Kiss is only just out and doing very well on the romance lists. Tell us a little about Winter Kiss and especially about Delaney and the world of the Pyr. What comes next in the Dragonfire series?
There is a difference in the characterization each time, in both the hero and heroine, but I also like playing with the firestorm itself. In KISS OF FIRE, the firestorm and the need to protect his mate was part of what brought Quinn back into the circle of his fellow Pyr. In KISS OF FURY, the partnership with Alex helped Donovan fulfil his own destiny, although he had to face his own concerns about commitment. In KISS OF FATE, Erik had a second chance at a firestorm, another chance to get it right after his first firestorm ended badly.
WINTER KISS was another twist on the firestorm. Delaney, having been compelled to drink the Dragon’s Blood Elixir, had been turned into a variation of a shadow dragon. The trick was that he hd been Pyr and had not been dead long when forced to consume the Elixir. So there was still a spark of goodness in him, one that was kindled by Donovan’s firestorm. What better to drive the last of the darkness from him than his own firestorm? Really, the premise of a romance is that love heals all wounds and Delaney had a considerable one. This book is a bit darker than the first three in the series, but I like it a lot. It seems as if readers do too! It doesn’t hurt that the cover is fabulous.
Next up is WHISPER KISS, in which Niall takes on the task of eliminating the last of the shadow dragons. This trilogy is focussed on the Dragon’s Blood Elixir – Delaney destroys the source, Niall gets rid of the shadow dragons and Rafferty…well, you’ll have to wait for that bit! Niall’s twin brother is a shadow dragon, so he has a personal stake in this quest. The trick is that when he fights Phelan, his twin, Phelan isn’t a zombie anymore. Something has animated him, although he’s still a shadow dragon, and Niall wonders whether Phelan can be healed as Delaney was. It’s no coincidence that Phelan has been drawn to Niall’s own firestorm – much less that Rox, Niall’s mate, is a woman who believes that we all have an obligation to try to change the world. I like Rox a lot. She challenges Niall and shakes up his assumptions – and of course, he shakes her world, too. WHISPER KISS will be an August 2010 release – I’ll put the excerpt and out-takes on my site when I get the cover art and can share it.
I’m working on Rafferty’s book, but no spoilers on that just yet.
SFG: You are participating in a unique writer-in-residence program with the Toronto Public Library. Can you tell us something about the program and the response it has received?
The Toronto Public Library routinely runs writer-in-residence programs, but this is the first time they’ve ever had one focussed on the romance genre. (There was one for the mystery genre in the spring, and will be an SFF one next spring.) So, I was pretty excited to get the post. A big part of the residency is critiquing manuscripts from aspiring authors, then meeting one-on-one with a number of those authors to discuss their work. There are some public events – we had an opening reception and an online chat, which is archived HERE.
There will be a closing reception next Thursday, with a panel discussion. Brenda Chin from Harlequin and Amy Moore-Benson from AMB Literary Management will be joining me to discuss “The Other Side of the Story”, essentially what this whole process of publishing is like for agents and editors. If you’d like to attend, you just have to let the library know – more information HERE.
The TPL also wanted a blog associated with the residency, so I chose to build a resource for aspiring romance writers. We’ve had a number of guests on the blog, and it’s been a lot of fun – it’s HERE.
The response has been really good, and the library is quite pleased. I’ve read a lot of wonderful work and met some interesting people. It’s busy, but fun.
SFG: With the two book releases out very close together, the TPL residency and working on your next books, how do you manage your time? Any secrets?
I’m planning to sleep in December!
SFG: When the Republic series concludes, do you have other writing projects waiting in the wings?
I always have a lot of ideas, more ideas than I will ever have time to write, so the hard part is choosing between them. One of the benefits of having an established editorial relationship is that I can toss out all the possibilities and discuss their pros and cons with my editor. I’m looking forward to having a couple of those discussions in the near future – in the mean time, there’s still Rafferty’s firestorm to navigate.
SFG: Do you think urban fantasy and paranormal romance are a phase that will burn out or do you see these genres as being here to stay? What attracted you to write in these genres?
I’ve always liked to include fantasy elements in my romances, so the hybrid is a natural fit for me. I was writing paranormal and fantasy romance in the 90’s when it wasn’t selling nearly as well. So, it’s exciting to see this surge in reader interest. I like urban fantasy and the active female protagonists, so that’s a fun new trend too.
Everything is cyclical, so I expect at some point in time, another subgenre will take the lead in terms of market growth. Every popular new subgenre eventually establishes a sales plateau that is sustainable, and I expect that will happen with both urban fantasy and fantasy romance. My crystal ball is a bit foggy, though, so there’s no telling when that will be.
SFG: What do you like to read for leisure? Any favourite books or authors? What are you reading now?
Most writers I know were avid readers first, and I’m no exception to that. I have read voraciously most of my life, and could be found in both the SFF section as well as the romance section – as well as all over the library. One of the casualties of writing for a living, though, is that I don’t read as much for leisure. This is true of many of my author friends, as well many editors. I don’t read fiction, for example, when I’m writing a book. In the past few years, that’s been pretty much all the time, so my TBR pile is really high. My plan is to dig in a bit in December, after I get some sleep!
SFG: If you could be any supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
Oh, I’d want to be the Wyvern, the only female Pyr. How cool would it be to possess the wisdom of the ages and the ability not only to see the future but to shape shift into a dragon?
That’s a gimme!
Thank you so much Deborah for appearing here today.
Readers wanting to learn more about Deborah Cooke/Claire Delacroix can visit her at these locations -
Claire Delacroix Website | Deborah Cooke Website | Alive and Knitting Blog
Giveaway Guidelines:One lucky winner will receive a complete set of the Dragonfire series (Kiss of Fire, Kiss of Fury, Kiss of Fate and Winter Kiss). I will send a signed copy of the first book along with signed bookplates and the other three books will be sent via The Book Depository.
- To enter leave a comment or question for Deborah or tell us which you prefer - urban fantasy or paranormal romance, and why.
- Open to anyone anywhere in the world The Book Depository ships to.
- Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
- Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
- Giveaway open until Midnight, November 30 EST.