Friday, June 24, 2011

Interview with Alix Rickloff

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Alix Rickloff. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called LORD OF SHADOWS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

This is the second book in my latest regency paranormal series—The Heirs of Kilronan which follows one family’s struggle to stop a madman from resurrecting King Arthur as part of a plot to instigate a war between Other and Mortal.

LORD OF SHADOWS features Lady Sabrina Douglas. Since her father’s murder, she’s hidden herself and her healing powers away from the world. But when she saves a half-drowned man, she’s unwillingly drawn back into her family’s dark legacy. A man with no memory, Daigh MacLir seeks his past. But what he discovers is more chilling than anyone could possibly imagine. Defying death was only the first step in the task he was given, and Sabrina is his last hope.

LORD OF SHADOWS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I’d love to say I came up with it all on my own. But Pocket had more to do with it than me. They wanted a title that conveyed both the paranormal and the regency aspects of the story. And for what it’s worth, I think they did a fabulous job.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always loved the Regency period and devoured both non-fiction books exploring the era as well as fiction set during the period. But I’m also a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction. It seemed natural to try and combine the two into something unique. Thus was born the race of Other.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Actually, the inspiration came from a previous manuscript. The heroine of that book’s father was murdered under mysterious circumstances, and now and again there was an allusion to some larger dark conspiracy. From those seeds, the entire Heirs of Kilronan series grew. Though it wasn’t until I began writing the first book, EARL OF DARKNESS, that the King Arthur ah-ha! moment struck. After that, the story clicked into place pretty rapidly.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

My office shelves are overflowing with wonderful resources on everything from fashion to architecture to military history, but I have to admit I’m a map geek. I have books of Napoleonic Wars maps, English town and city maps from 1800-1855, old county maps of England; one from the Tudor era and one from the 1830’s. I have maps of Regency era London, a Cary’s Itinerary with coaching routes and timetables, and a Taylor and Skinner that offers the same information for Ireland. My pride and joy is my Cary’s. It’s an 1812 edition. Musty and a little foxed round the edges. I love reading it and thinking of all the people who browsed its pages as they planned their journeys.

Maybe that’s why so many of my stories have traveling in them. I love flipping through the maps and imagining where my characters went, how they got there, and what they passed along the way.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I love Daigh MacLir. He’s an honorable man forced to do dishonorable things. And fighting the compulsion every step of the way. He’s a character who really took charge of his own destiny, evolving in ways I never envisioned when I first sat down to write.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I start with character sheets, but the information I enter is very basic. The characters really don’t come alive until I begin to write. At that point, their quirks, backstory, motivation, and conflict flow onto the page. It makes for a very messy and drawn-out process, but somehow it all works and by the end, they’re fully fleshed out and completely realized.

What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?

My books are paranormals with plots that rely on an otherworldly universe of my own creation, but the setting is a real one, and thus I want to make sure when my characters are not battling demons or wielding magic, they interact with a well-researched Regency world.

With Lord Of Shadows and the Heirs of Kilronan series, the history major in me reveled in chasing down sources on early nineteenth century Ireland. The landscape, the flora and fauna, the daily life of both the rich and the poor in what was basically an occupied country in a perpetual state of armed stand-off.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I don’t know about inspire, but I love Robin McKinley’s Damar books and anything by Anne McCaffrey. These are my go-to books, and I usually end up re-reading them every few years.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I can Facebook and blog and toot my own horn forever, but in the end, it’s all about getting my book in the hands of readers. So, anytime I can give away a copy, I’m creating a potential fan. Hopefully, today will be one of those opportunities.

What do we have to look forward next?

The thrilling conclusion of the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy comes out in January 2012. HEIR OF DANGER features Brendan Douglas. He’s been on the run for seven years, but with the looming threat of King Arthur’s return, Brendan will have to confront his past—including the woman he left at the altar. I’m also working on a new regency-paranormal project that I hope to unveil soon.

Thanks, Alix!

To celebrate her book release, Alix Rickloff is offering a free book of LORD OF SHADOWS to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

ALIX RICKLOFF has never been able to decide who she enjoys reading more; Austen or Tolkien. That lifelong indecision drove her to create stories of her own, combining those distinct loves. Her writing awards include a final in the Golden Heart, while Romantic Times Magazine calls her work both compelling and original.

Check out author’s website at http://www.alixrickloff.com/.





13 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good morning Alix. Thanks for joining us today. Coffee is brewing and the chocolate is waiting for you in the refrigerator. Lord of the Shadows sound delish and a wonderful combination of genres. I have a soft spot for old things,too, and have often imagined or wondered about the people who owned it or touched it before me. Glad I'm not alone! Enjoy your day with us and let me know if you need anything else.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Alix. Great interview. Lord of Shadows sounds awesome. I love the cover.

catslady said...

I like variety and I love the idea of regency/paranormal. I don't believe I've read that combination before but it sounds exciting. Can I assume I should read the first book before the second? And what a gorgeous cover!

Alix Rickloff said...

Kim,
Thanks for a warm welcome. Coffee and chocolate are a must this morning, so don't mind me while I fill up and grab a huge helping.

My love of old isn't confined to old books. My house dates back to the early 1800's -- there's not a right angle or a level floor in the place. LOL! But I've always enjoyed daydreaming about all the lives it's seen - births and weddings and new loves and kids running up and down the stairs. I guess it's the sentimental romantic in me.

Alix Rickloff said...

CrystalGB,
I love this cover!! The cover gods at Pocket were phenomenal with this entire series. They got the mysterious brooding feel of the books perfectly. Oh, and the guys aren't too shabby either.

Alix Rickloff said...

catslady,
Great question! I tried to make each book as stand-alone as possible, so you won't be completely lost if you read the second book first. But if you're like me, you'll want to go back and read the first book first because doing anything out of order is completely unthinkable.

Jena Lang said...

I love the premise of this book! I can't wait to find out what happens to Daigh and Sabrina!

jenalang@live.com

Na said...

I really like that the book is a regency paranormal. That's new to me, there are some paranormal historical but regency? I haven't come across much, or any actually. Regency has always been "fun", marriage games, the matrons matchmakers and such but I like how you're giving a paranormal dimension to the regency era. I do like a darker read. Looks like an interesting book.

Thank you for the interview.

Alix Rickloff said...

Jena,
Thanks for swinging by today. Wonderful to see you.

Na,
I've always loved the Regency period since I read my first Georgette Heyer back in high school. But my Regency has always been a darker, more suspenseful world. Adding the fantasy elements just gave me a wider scope for playing with the era and finding my voice.

Erin Quinn said...

Great interview, Alix. Thanks for blogging with us!

Caris said...

Alix,
I really enjoyed your blog. I'm a map geek as well. When I was in England a few years ago, I picked up a handful of topographical maps, which I love because they have names of hills and creeks and woods, etc. Because I was writing Regency Romance at the time, I'd use all those wonderful names as character surnames!

Best of luck with your series!

Caris

Sheree said...

As much as I like the cover of "Earl of Darkness", I LOVE the cover of "Lord of Shadows"! Okay, it does have my favorite cover model, Paul Marron, on it so I may be biased. :)

ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

I envy you your research books, Alix! :} Great to find another book to add to my tbr list!