Please join us in welcoming author Dianne Sylvan here today to Dark Faerie Tales. The third book in her Shadow World urban fantasy series, Shadow’s Fall, was released back in March. You can read an excerpt from the book here. We are featuring this series in our UF/PNR Reading Challenge 2012.
Dianne Sylvan, author of the Shadow World novels (Queen of Shadows, Shadowflame, Shadow’s Fall, and at least two more forthcoming) as well as two books on NeoPagan spirituality (The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition and The Body Sacred), lives in Austin, Texas.
She is an unabashed Mac enthusiast, a froofy iced coffee beverage addict, a chronic Twitterer, a seasoned snark professional, a Spiritual Nomad, a shameless Vampire Diaries (TV) fangirl, a happy herbivore, a bit of a moody Scorpio, a sock junkie, a slightly freaky tattooed postmodern hippie, a cupcake baker extraordinaire, and is prone to hyperbole as well as fits of profanity.
Want to read more from Dianne Sylvan?
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about Shadow’s Fall?
Dianne: Shadow’s Fall is the third book in my urban fantasy series The Shadow World. The Shadow World is a society of vampires that lives alongside the human world; it’s divided into territories and each is ruled by the most powerful vampire in that territory, the Prime. Each Prime can have a Consort, their soul mate; the two rule together and die together.
DFT: Could you tell us about your main characters in Shadow’s Fall?
Dianne: The main protagonist is Miranda Grey, a musician in Austin, Texas who sort of falls into the Shadow World and ends up changing it; then there’s her husband, David Solomon, the most powerful vampire in the Southern United States. He’s a typical badass vampire, but he’s also a computer geek, engineer, and genius. There are also various other Primes and Consorts, including David’s ex-lover Prime Deven and his Consort Jonathan, who are very important to the story. Shadow’s Fall also introduces a young Witch named Stella who is a big fan of Miranda’s and gets sucked in to their story.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Dianne: Miranda is always my favorite – following her journey from broken-down victim to Queen is one of the most enjoyable things about writing the series. She’s strong and smart, but she screws up in grand fashion from time to time.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line in Shadow’s Fall?
Dianne: Well, I can’t give too much away, but I’ll say that the ending was amazing to write and I think it’s going to knock people off their feet.
DFT: How much research went into creating this series?
Dianne: Since I’ve lived in Austin for 15 years I mostly just go with my knowledge of the city; I do have to research a lot of little things, especially when it comes to David’s tech. Luckily I know people who are knowledgeable about a lot of interesting things. In the first book for example I had a friend suggest I move David’s server room underground; in the second another friend who knows about horses read over those parts so they’d sound as accurate as possible without distracting from the story.
DFT: What is your favorite part about writing this series?
Dianne: I really enjoy getting to portray Austin almost as its own character in the books. This city is easily the best thing about Texas, and it’s a great place to live; it has its own spirit and personality, and I wanted to show that to the world. I also really love sticking in pop culture references, which I can get away with since David’s a geek and Miranda’s a musician.
DFT: Do you have a long term plan or goal for this story universe?
Dianne: I have an endgame, but I definitely don’t have the path from here to there worked out – and even the endgame is subject to change if I feel like it serves the story better. I let the characters do a lot of the decision-making, which is one of those insane things writers say.
DFT: How do you maintain a story arc though the course of a series while still delivering a conflict and resolution in each book?
Dianne: That’s one of my biggest challenges, to be honest, because I tend to be focused on the story arc and the actual conflict/resolution of each book gets all twisted up in it. Since this isn’t a detective-type series where there’s a monster of the week, it’s a little easier to have the conflict/resolution of each book be *part* of the larger arc instead of just happening in front of it. Pretty much everything that happens is leading up to something; almost every event in the books has greater meaning.
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or ritual?
Dianne: First I need coffee, iced if possible. Then I usually put on either my Writing Mix on Spotify or one of my Pandora stations, and spend a little while rereading what I wrote the day before so I can slide back into the story seamlessly. Of course, I do a lot of writing while I drive – not literally, but I always come up with great ideas and dialogue in the car, so that’s become a part of my process as well – the occasional long drive around Austin at night.
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) do you draw from while writing?
Dianne: My biggest influences are on television, actually. I feel like I have more in common from a storytelling perspective with showrunners like Joss Whedon, Julie Plec, and Kevin Williamson than other writers in my genre. I also have a pretty significant background in spirituality – specifically NeoPagan – so bits of that tend to leak through in my work. A lot of mythological concepts are starting to show up in the story.
DFT: Which genre do you prefer to read? Do you have any favorite authors or series?
Dianne: I read mostly memoirs. I love delving into a person’s story, especially if it’s a transformative one. I honestly don’t read a lot of fiction, but last week I read the entire Hunger Games trilogy, and it was amazing.
DFT: What can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?
Dianne: Right now I’m really focused on finishing the fourth book of the series, Of Shadow Born. I also have an e-course I recently launched called Becoming a Spiritual Nomad, which is all about eclectic spirituality. I don’t have any other fiction going on at the moment.
DFT: What creature are you afraid of the most? Why?
Dianne: If you mean fictional creature, I guess I’d say zombies, but it’s not so much that they scare me as they disgust me. I don’t really understand their popularity right now except as the antithesis of all the sexy vampires in fiction these days.
DFT: What is your favorite faery tale? Why?
Dianne: I’ve always been quite fond of Beauty & the Beast. That’s really what most vampire romances are, at heart – that or a retelling of the Persephone myth, which was the metaphor I used when writing the first book in the series, Queen of Shadows.
DFT: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
Dianne: Thank you for having me! It’s been fun.
Available March 27, 2012 from Ace/Penguin
About this Book:
For three years, Miranda Grey-Solomon has kept her role as Vampire Queen of the South separate from her Grammy-winning music career. But now, her dual lives are starting to collide, threatening everything Miranda and David, her Prime, have worked for.
The entire Signet Council has descended upon Austin for its ten-year summit, bringing with it Prime James Hart of the Northeast, a sworn enemy come to take his revenge on those who defied him. But Miranda and David receive an unexpected offer of help from David’s sire, an ancient and powerful vampire with knowledge that may be their salvation–or their doom.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
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