One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of the book. Details are listed at the end of the post.
You can read the first three chapters from Assassin’s Honor here.
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
Whenever I get this question, I go a little nuts. I never know what to say, and I always throw up the cover blurb. While it’s hard to describe this book without the blurb, I’ll try. In a nutshell, you have the good guys (the Sicari) facing off with the bad guys (the Praetorians). The Sicari have telekinetic abilities (and a few other abilities depending on the person) and the Praetorians are telepathic (with the occasional oddball thrown in). The Sicari culture itself is brutal yet fair and honorable. And of course, these heroes are Italian. The Sicari and the Praetorians have a joing past. Both groups are descended from the Praetorian Guard that once guarded the Caesars of ancient Rome.
They’re in this amazing race to get to an ancient artifact that no one really knows what it is (well the leader of the Sicari knows, but Atia isn’t telling). Emma Zale can see the past when she touches ancient relics. She just happens to see some things about Ares DeLuca she shouldn’t have, and he’s forced to carry her off to his secret hideout to protect her. Emma, like the reader, winds up learning a lot about the Order of the Sicari (she thought they were a myth) and the Sicari culture, all while falling in love, having some really steamy love scenes and having Ares speak Italian to her during the heat of the moment.
DFT: What motivated you to write Assassin’s Honor?
The historical market had dried up for almost everything, especially exotic settings, which I’m partial too. So my agent suggested I try my hand at paranormals. She did that in 2005 and it took me three years to develop and write the proposal for the Order of the Sicari. It’s been five years in the making, and I hope readers respond to it well.
DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?
Ares – HAWT, honorable and loyal
Emma – Smart, gutsy, and adaptable
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
My research is pretty meticulous, and I tend to research as I go along. Sometimes it can really interfere in the writing process. For example, I’ll be writing like a freight train and slam into a wall when I’m missing a word or description. So instead of just leaving a blank, I have to go research. That takes time, and I wind up doing too much research for one miniscule piece of the book. BUT, I think the tradeoff is that it’s the little things that make it more realistic.
When I initially began development of the Order of the Sicari series, I did a lot of research via books, the internet and I used the historical footnotes of the HBO DVDs of ROME as a starting point to research and verified as fact. HBO did some extensive research for the mini-series, and I had a great foundation on which to learn more.
DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe? What happens after book 2, Assassin’s Heart?
I have a long-term vision for the series, but sales will drive whether or not there will be other Sicari stories past Book 3. The third book, just like Assassin’s Heart, will be a dual story line. I’ll be showing Cleo’s story as well as wrapping up Atia’s and Marcus’s relationship, who readers meet in Book 2. Cleo is shown briefly in Assassin’s Honor, and is given more exposure in Assassin’s Heart and is the daughter of Atia (Prima Consul).
There’s a lot of rich culture to be explored with the Sicari and I hope I get to share it. There are a couple of Praetorians who are asking to be redeemed, and I think it would be fun to share their stories as well. So we’ll have to see.
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing Assassin’s Honor?
I drew from a lot of different inspirational sources when I wrote this book. Naturally history, and my love of all things Italian (my heritage). I’m an avid Dan Brown fan, and I’ve always been fascinated by the Catholic church and all its mysticism. The DaVinci Code was my first read of Brown’s, and he won me over quickly with his story telling. I also love Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens, and Victor Hugo because they wrote action, romance and heroics so well. Then there are the Indiana Jones, Xena, Warrior Princess and Star Trek influences that have enthralled me. General Martok (Klingon from Deep Space Nine) was a strong influence in developing the hero from the Sept book Assassin’s Heart.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
I love Emma (Ares too). I want to be her. I love adventure, and I think she gets to have the adventure of a lifetime when Ares pulls her into his world. I would also love have the ability to touch something and see it’s past in Technicolor.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line from Assassin’s Honor?
The blood bond scene. Emma is so totally clueless as to what’s going on around her, and I think it shows her ability to adapt. In writing that scene, I was clueless too. The whole thing was driven by the characters, and I didn’t have a clue as to what was happening until one of them explained it to me.
“Not half as sorry as we’re both going to be,” he growled. Something bad was going to happen. She could see it in his stormy blue gaze as he cleaned the blade of his sword with a cloth he’d pulled out of his pants pocket. Grim-faced he eyed her coldly. “Hold out your hand, Emma.”
DFT: What is your most important feature in a hero?
His ability to be vulnerable. I like my alpha’s tough and sometimes hard to crack, but when they break out of the shell, I want them to show their vulnerability. Show that they’re tough guy armor can be cracked when it come to the right woman.
DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?
I just wrapped up an erotic historical of a male virgin and an older courtesan. Pleasure Me is scheduled for a March 2011 release. I’m finalizing edits for Assassin’s Heart due out in September and I am getting focused to start writing book 3 of the Order of the Sicari series. No idea what the title will be…Assassin’s….????
DFT: What is your favorite fairy tale, and why?
Wow! That’s not something I’ve ever thought about before. In fact, I had to go scan the Grimms Brother’s list of tales. LOL I’d have to say The Frog Prince. There’s something about transformation and bringing someone down to size that appeals to me.
DFT: What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
Q: What are your fondest memories of your childhood? A: Going to my Aunt Nene’s and listening to the loud talk and laughter (I was living the Godfather before the made the movie). I also remember camping with my parents. Every weekend from April to end of November, we’d truck up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and camp. Serene moments those. I wish I could revisit them with a time machine. Maybe tell myself things to watch out for.
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
Loretta Chase is my go too historical romance author as comfort candy when I can’t get maple cream candies. Then there’s Eloisa James, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Angela Knight, Shiloh Walker, Christine Feehan in romance
Dan Brown and Stephen King (The Stand has to be the best damn characterization novel ever written!). I love Michelle Moran for historical fiction.
DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?
A bad writing day is when either the characters just refuse to cooperate or I’ve managed to dig myself into a hole that I don’t know how I’m going to get out of. I tend to stress about word count (not enough words), but I tend to be verbose and I’m ALWAYS over. Fortunately, Berkley doesn’t stress about the page count. When I’m having a bad writing day, I got take another shower or a walk. I can usually work out my problem then get back to the computer and move forward when I have one of those epiphanies.
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?
I like to write when I’m fresh and when it’s quiet. That means getting up early in the morning, between 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. The silence is peaceful (that is until that bloody woodpecker starts pounding on the tree outside my window at 6:00a.m. Grrr). Before I actually start writing, I have to have my software open a certain way on my status bar. First I have Windows Explorer open, next Word then if need to research something Firefox gets opened. As soon as I’m done researching, I shut the browser down—need to prevent playing.
I must have ice water, and the room temp has to be just right. I usually wind up getting up and down to adjust the ceiling fan’s speed (here is where the Sicari telekinetic ability would come in handy!). I get all of this set up before I actually write anything. If something’s out of place it throws me for a loop. Ever seen The Wedding Planner and that great scene where JLo carries her meal on a tray to the living room and everything is in its own little spot? That’s me.
Music is a hit and miss with me when I’m writing. Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t, but I do have specific playlists for certain types of scenes that I’ll listen too if I need to get in the mood.
DFT: If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?
Well, I already have a bit of psychic ability myself, so I’m not sure I’d want to mess with that. I get messages from people who’ve crossed over, and I’ve bought three houses just on dreams. I can’t complain. I sort of like me for who I am, although it would be nice to have my ability be a wee bit stronger. Sometimes, it would be nice to win a little extra on the lottery. LOL
DFT: Thanks Monica for taking the time to stop by.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Assassin’s Honor.
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
If you had either ability (telekinetic or telepathic), what would be the first thing you do with it?
1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
4. Giveaway is open to everyone.
5. Please include your email address in your comment.
6. Giveaway ends Tuesday, June 22nd at 11:59 PM EST.
7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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