Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Author Arial Burnz

Please join me, WildAboutBones, in welcoming author Arial Burnz as we talk about her recent books Midnight Conquest and Here’s Blood in Your Eye and other goodies.

Arthur Bio:

Arial Burnz has had a love of paranormal and fantasy fiction since childhood, scratching out her stories on her lined notebooks and getting in trouble in class for daydreaming. Today, she is an author of paranormal and fantasy tales, writing for young adults, children and adults. She lives in Southern California with her husband/romance novel hero (DeWayne), their two cats (Nicodemus and Cody) and their dog (Zeddicus Drool Zorander).

Would you tell us a little about yourself? Like most writers, I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I didn’t really take it seriously until I was in my twenties, and then life happens, and the next thing you know, it’s 20 years later. I now have a very supportive husband who allows me to write full-time and I also edit for an erotic romance publisher.

Do you have a process or any special rituals in your writing routine? Not really. Since I’ve been a writer in the corporate world for 15 years (i.e., training manuals, marketing materials, web design, etc.), sitting down and writing is a job for me. The challenge is being disciplined enough to sit and write and NOT surf the Internet!

You write several different genres. Which is your favorite genre to write and why? I actually like to say I write paranormal/fantasy. Everything I write has some kind of supernatural connection to it and it usually has history tied to it. The backdrops of my stories make them appear that they’re different genres. At least that’s my take on it. For instance, the western romance I have planned has magic and Norse mythology as the root of the plot. It’s more like an Indiana Jones adventure with mysticism and unknown powers. Bottom line, I love fantasy and paranormal.

Out of the books you’ve written so far, do you have a favorite hero or heroine? If so, who and why.

That’s a tough one!! MIDNIGHT CONQUEST (Davina Stewart-Russell) is the only published novel at this time, but I am concurrently writing two other books – Book 2 MIDNIGHT CAPTIVE (Cailin MacDougal – Davina’s daughter grown up) and WAR OF THE HEARTS (Katima Halstone) a fantasy novel in pre-history earth. I love all three heroines to death! However, if I had to pick one, I’d say Cailin is my favorite heroine right now. She’s a pretty feisty character who wields silver daggers at her side. A real spitfire!

There are quite a few interesting characters in Midnight Conquest. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s next for this series? Who, from the book, might get the lead in upcoming books?

Thanks for the compliment! It’s always wonderful to hear people find my characters interesting. As you know, in MIDNIGHT CONQUEST my heroine Davina has an eight-month-old daughter, Cailin. Book 2 is seventeen years later and readers will get to experience her love story. Cailin is a woman who is thrust into a life she didn’t choose – being the adopted daughter of Broderick MacDougal – and in order to survive the many attacks and attempted kidnappings by Broderick’s enemy Angus Campbell, she’s had to learn to fight like a man and is constantly guarded. A woman in the early 1500s of Scotland, for the most part, is the property of her father and eventually her husband…but Cailin is taught to think and act like a man through combat training. She WANTS a family and a normal life, but she is far from the model of a Renaissance woman who runs a household and embroiders. As such, she’s a strong character, feisty and rebellious, but she has a lot of insecurity issues in not feeling she deserves a family life.

How did you come up with the idea for “the prophecy” in Midnight Conquest?

I love reading a series where the overarching storyline stretches from book one through to the last installment, where you get to see the characters and the storyline progress one book at a time. I enjoy reading the beginning, middle and end of the current book AND see how that pushes the overall storyline along. The Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles started out as just a string of stories that had Broderick MacDougal in common with each one, and another element I’m not ready to give away yet. However, after establishing the string of stories, I looked back and saw the opportunity for a “big picture” storyline that could tie everything together. That’s when I saw the prophecy unfold. If I say any more, I’ll spoil it!

What character name have you been dying to use as a lead character, but haven’t found the right fit yet?

Hrmmmm, not sure how to answer that. I derive the names of my characters, usually, from who they are, so names come last. For example, one person had asked me if Cordelia, Davina and Amice were historically correct. I focused on the meanings of their names versus historical accuracy. Cordelia actually has an unknown origin, and that plays into her role of the prophecy, but more importantly she is the daughter of Shakespear’s King Lear. Even though she was rejected by her father and sisters, she comes to her father’s rescue. Unfortunately, she is also captured and hanged by her sisters. She sacrifices much for what she believes in. Hrmmmm….I wonder how that plays into Cordelia’s role in the Bonded By Blood series? Davina means “beloved” and that is truly what she is to Broderick. They are soul mates and their love transcends the centuries and the obstacles they experience throughout the series. Amice, the old Gypsy woman who has become a replacement for Broderick’s mother…her name means “friend”, and that is an understatement for what she is to Broderick and Davina in Book one…and throughout the series. (I hope I understood the question correctly!)

Who are some of your favorite authors and what are some of your favorite books? And which has made the biggest impact on your writing career?

Anne Rice, by far, has made the biggest impact on my writing career. She is my motivation and inspiration for taking my writing seriously. I dedicated MIDNIGHT CONQUEST to Mrs. Rice and was fortunate enough to share a correspondence with her when I let her know this. I almost peed my pants when I got a response from her! I’ve read almost every book she’s written and read The Vampire Lestat four times.

Another inspirational author for me is Terry Goodkind and his Sword of Truth series. Though I am only a fan of the first 4 books in the series, it is his amazing ability to weave a story that thrilled me. He implants clues and details in the early books that SEEM insignificant, but later are essential to the overall plot of the series. I’ve read those first four books twice through, taking extensive notes on my second read. That is what inspired me to weave the prophecy through Bonded By Blood.

Is there something you’d like to tell your fans that no one ever asks you in an interview? No one knows to ask this, but my husband is actually a descendent of Clan MacDougal. When I first crafted MIDNIGHT CONQUEST 20 years ago and married to my first husband, I picked the name MacDougal because it means “son of the dark stranger”. I thought, “Ooooo! What a kewl vampire name!” (Although, now as an afterthought, I realize it may be an old Scottish name for ‘son of the milkman’.) Anyway, I chose the name 20 years before I met my current husband. When I met my father-in-law for the first time, my then-future-husband told his dad I was writing a book. When I mentioned the name of my main character, he said, “MacDougal? We’re MacDougals! A MacDougal married into the Henderson Clan, so we lost the name.” (Arial Burnz is my pen name.) That was just one more bit of evidence that told my husband and me that we were meant to be together.

The story line for Here’s Blood in Your Eye is such a cute, ironic one. How did you come up with the idea for it?

This is another story I wrote 20 years ago and I just revamped it this past year. Since I was so into vampires, I had played the “what if” game. “What if I was an author who wrote vampire novels and pretended to be a vampire in order to generate sales and hype?” One thing led to another and the story was born. The twist simply comes down to, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Are there any plans for a future book or short story featuring Marty, the sidekick, and/or Layla, the antagonist, from Here’s Blood in Your Eye?

No, this was simply written as a short story with a twist. However, both my friend HP Mallory and my husband insist I need to create a full-length novel from it and create a series. Hee hee…who knows! WildAboutBones agrees ... go for the full length novel and series. {grin}

Do you have a hobby or something to help you unwind and relax when you aren’t writing, if so, what?

My husband and I had a business where we did hand-crafted gift items, but the economy has been so bad, we had to close our doors this past year. I still wood burn and paint when I have an opportunity. You can see some of our stuff at Everything we did usually had a Celtic and/or fantasy theme/design and we still take special orders every now and then. It’s very therapeutic burning a design and smelling the burning wood, painting the various colors in the design to give it dimension, and then I accent it with glitter paints. I love it!

I also play Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering – a fantasy card game.

Are you working on anything else right now you can tell us about?

WAR OF THE HEARTS is the fantasy romance I mentioned above. I LOVE writing this story!! It has dragons and unicorns, faeries and elves, orcs and evil wizards. Any fans of romance AND high fantasy I think would enjoy this story. My heroine, Katima Halstone, has a special magic that can help get through the defenses of the evil wizard who has captured the hero’s sister. Talon Allman, our hero, has taken a long journey to the Bellan Valley to escort Katima to his homeland in Serena and rescue his sister who is a Draconic Heart and survival of their Dragon Clan. It’s a fun adventure story of forbidden love as Katima and Talon are different races and mating with each other is actually FATAL. I have pictures in my photo album on Facebook of how I envisioned my characters for WAR OF THE HEARTS, as well as MIDNIGHT CONQUEST AND MIDNIGHT CAPTIVE. It’s great to put a face to the names!

I’m using the WAR OF THE HEARTS storyline in a Dungeons & Dragons group we just started. I’ll be the Dungeon Master (DM), weaving the story for the characters playing the game. So far, their involvement has spawned new ideas for the series I’ll be writing, which is what I hoped. I’m pretty excited about it.

Fun Questions:

What is/are your favorite type(s) of paranormal character(s)? Another tough question! Right now, I’d have to say vampires. However, Book 4 in the Bonded By Blood series has werewolves and even though I have an age-old rivalry between vampires and werewolves, I’ve invented a completely different lore for their background based on Norse mythology. I’m pretty excited about that! Book 4 will have two spin-off stories from “Davina’s” brothers – a heterosexual romance and a male/male romance.

Boxers, briefs or commando for your hero? Well, since most of my heroes are in historical backdrops, they’re usually commando.

What are you currently reading? I usually read several books at once, so right now I’m reading: Brodie’s Bride by Amie Louellen, After Midnight by Sarah Grimm, Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton, The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within by Alan Watt, and Past Her Time by Melissa Jarvis. I think I have a few more I’m juggling, but those are the main ones I’m flipping between.

Dog, cat or ferret person? Cat, but we do have a dog.

Tea or Coffee or Soft drink? Coffee

Spoilers or no spoilers in book reviews? NO spoilers!!!

What’s your favorite movie of all time? Young Frankenstein! (Gene Hackman should have got an Oscar for his performance!)

What’s the first book you remember reading? I know I read many books before this one, but this is the first one I remember the name of as it was impactful: Ariel by Steven R. Boyett. It’s a book about a unicorn and it’s where I got my pen name.

What’s your favorite cartoon character? Bugs Bunny because he’s such a witty smart-ass.

Thanks so much, Arial Burnz, for taking the time for this interview.

WildAboutBones' Review of Midnight Conquest

For more:

Arial Burnz

Kami Cummings

Purchase Links:

Midnight Conquest

Here's Blood In Your Eye


Giveaway and Contest Policy

Giveaway open August 17 - 20, 2011 (midnight)

Arial Burnz will be giving away a set of her Midnight Conquest and Here’s Blood in Your Eye eBooks (warning – both have explicit love/sex scenes) to two lucky winners. This is an International giveaway.

To enter, be a follower and make a comment and/or ask Arial Burnz a question, along with your email address so we can contact you if you win.

Good luck, everyone!

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