Saturday, February 3, 2018

Savvy Saturday: Interview with Renee Wildes, Author of New Release, A Guardian's Heart

Hello all and welcome back to Savvy Saturday! Today we have new author Renee Wildes here to tell us a little bit more about her new book, and her life as a writer. Wildes has her new book, A Guardian's Heart, coming out Monday!

1. When and why did you begin writing?

I first began working on A Guardian's Heart in 2002. I kept having visions of a redhaired woman in a burning room. When I discovered she SET the fire, I had to know why! My writer’s group was like, “Run with it” and so I did!

2. Tell us your latest news.

Signing the Guardians of Light series to Champagne after the demise of Samhain Publishing. Also working on a sci fi romance series, Seduction by Starlight, and also contemporary paranormal shifter romances set in Kootenai National Forest.

3. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

My late Grandma Jeanne first called me a writer when I was 6, penciling horse stories (ala CW Anderson “Billy & Blaze” style). I was the only student in school with a MAXIMUM word count.

4. Do you have a specific writing style?

I grew up reading Mercedes Lackey, and am a huge Joseph Campbell groupie, so I tend to write lyrical, slightly archaic prose that lends itself well to fantasy romance set in a Dark-Ages-type fictional world.

5. How did you come up with the title?

A Guardian's Heart perfectly describes my Cinderella heroine Dara – half-human/half-dragon, healer/warrior/fire mage, peasant/princess

6. Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

You live by the choices you make – there’s no such thing as pre-ordained destiny. Love is the ultimate playing-field leveler – it can overcome all barriers, will ultimately defeat hate. Good can and will triumph over evil for those who work to make it so.

7. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Coming up with various unique cultures, ceremonies, and spells. I love intricate world-building, and can get lost in the research and creative minutia.

8. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I struggle with smooth transitions between scenes, and have a bad habit of editing as I go, which makes me a slow writer (but a CLEAN writer!)

9. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

The old adage of “I dare you to do better.” My Grandma Jeanne listened to me lament over how the books I was SUPPOSED to read were too easy, so she told me to write my own. I’m a Taurus – we never back down from a challenge!

10. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’m definitely a plotter rather than a pantser, but to trust my characters and let them live their own story – not to be so controlling, but to observe and record.

11. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you want to read; write what you love. Don’t try to fit a mold or write to market. Write from the heart, and you’ll touch the hearts of other readers.

12. Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for embracing the Guardians of Light magic, and I hope you’re inspired to shine your own unique Light in this world. May the Light never fall before the Darkness!

13. What inspired you to write your first book?

I loved fantasy and romance, but when I started no one was combining the two together. I decided to fill the gap. Now, there are all kinds of fantasy romance authors out there, but 20 years ago, no so much. I wanted heroines who DID stuff, who got to rescue the prince and slay demons and save the world. I wanted heroes who could appreciate a strong woman and weren’t intimidated by her.

14. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A Guardian's Heart  – Chapter One – Scene 2 – Uncut

Sifting self from pain, Loren began trance-healing. Banisha verilli far. Gloria verilli far… Breathing and pulse decreased. Blood flow slowed. Seeping wounds clotted together.

He summoned strength from pain and followed its path through his body, checking his injuries. He bled from a half-dozen sword cuts. The worst? A deep laceration in his upper right thigh from an unhorsed Boar’s attempt to confiscate the bay mare. An arrow pierced his chest just below his right collarbone. He sighed. He would heal in time without scarring.

But, Lady, it hurts.

He examined the grove with a practiced eye. He liked not this exposed position in unsecured territory. A twig snapped. A young woodsman approached from the battlefield. Grief and black rage hammered into Loren. The lad—no beard growth—must be half-mad with it. Loss, despair… The dark emotions threatened to drown Loren, and he fell out of trance to shield himself. Watching the other approach, he edged his sword closer.

The lad staggered toward him, not visibly injured, but with such gaping wounds to his soul Loren wondered at his ability to function at all.

“Looking for you.” The lad eyed the bronze sword in Loren’s hand and spread his hands out in a conciliatory gesture. “I’m a Safehold healer.” He took in Loren’s position at a glance. “You know hazel healing. You don’t follow the One Truth.”

Pity. Desire to help. Truth-hidden…not so worrisome. Who in these dark days had naught to hide?

The lad knelt beside him in the damp leaves and cradled Loren’s head in his lap. His slender fingers ran over Loren’s battered body with gentle thoroughness. Sense-casting followed the arrow’s path; Loren shuddered at its touch. This human used the anathema of blood magic as part of him, natural as breathing. The dark shimmering stole Loren’s breath as it coursed through him. His seeming dissipated.

Without the seeming, the lad would see what he was. Nonhuman. Only King Hengist of Riverhead, his one real friend among Arcadian mortals, knew who he really was. Followers of the ascending One Truth would burn Loren as demon born. No nonhuman was safe from the cleansing fires of religious fanaticism and racial supremacy sweeping these lands. Hengist’s stewardship maintained a fragile truce of tolerance under secret cloaks of seemings, but Loren held no illusion what would happen should Count Jalad of Westmarche prevail.

The lad traced pointed ears beneath tangled hair. “You’re no riever. You’re Elder.”

Loren tapped his chest, struggling to make the lad understand. “Loren…” His hand dropped. True names held power, but no harm divulging his first name. It was common enough in Cymry, the Realm of the Dawn.

The lad’s eyes welled. “Lady, for the lives he saved today, may he enter the Hall of Fallen Heroes.”

How did a human know of the afterlife but not how Warriors of the Light got there? How did he know the ritual words? Loren’s suspicion grew. A human wielder of blood magic communed with the Lady of Light, an ancient Elder deity banned by most humans? There was no taint of evil about the lad, but dark fire’s unmistakable touch was upon him.

A mystery.

15. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, it’s a purely fiction twist on Cinderella. I wish I was that bold and daring!

That's all for today folks! I hope you enjoyed learning about Renee Wildes, and remember to check out her new book, A Guardian's Heart, available for preorder at the Champagne Bookstore.

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