Welcome to my chat with Kim! I hope you enjoy this week's interview and guest author. She's holding a contest at the end and will be giving away an e-book to one lucky commenter! Let's settle in and get started.
Tonya: Readers love to know more about their authors. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Kim: I’m half as old as dirt, I’m descended from 20th-century Russian nobility, and I spent one very memorable day when I was 19, hanging out with the son of the (in those days, not deposed) Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi.
Tonya: Now that's interesting! Wow! Sometimes my day job keeps me busier than I'd like. Do you have a day job?
Kim: I no longer work outside the home on a full-time basis, though I am called in now & then to substitute at the high school where my husband teaches. Thirty-something years behind the desk as a computer consultant, sometimes with a horrific commute thrown in for grins, was more than enough “dues” for me to pay!
Tonya: Good for you! Let's share a few fun facts with our readers. What is your favorite night time snack?
Kim: I’m always up for a taste of chocolate, especially the varieties filled with orange or raspberry.
Tonya: Mmmm....raspberry is my favorite, no matter what the food or snack! Do you like toppings on your ice cream?
Kim: I’m not huge into ice cream, though when it’s hot I love a good root beer float with a scoop of vanilla, or a smoothie made with mint chocolate chip. I do love the chocolate-dipped Dairy Queen cones too.
Tonya: What’s your favorite meal - Italian, Mexican, Thai, etc?
Tonya: What attracts you most about men?
Kim: I do love a man in a kilt—the shirt is totally optional… ;-)
Tonya: Tttsssss! I hear ya! Some of us have things we do to get into the writing frame of mind like music, or drinks. Do you have anything special you do to get into the writing mood?
Kim: Sorry, no rituals here! I am always in the mood to write; the key question is whether I have the time. My characters’ lives and stories are always swirling around in my head. When the spinning builds to a critical “speed,” then I must make the time so the words can flow from my head to the page.
Tonya: Are you a daytime writer, night time writer, and do you have to be alone to write?
Kim: I write whenever I have the time. For what I call my “virgin” writing—straight from my head to the page—being alone, at any time of day, is critical. Since my writing process involves a form of “method acting,” projecting myself into my characters’ viewpoints, interruptions don’t sit well with me. As a wife & mother of two, interruptions are a large part of my life that I have to manage.
Tonya: Where do you keep story ideas? Where do they come from?
Kim: My head. And my head. The only exception to that rule occurred around 10 years ago, when a dear writer-friend sent me a newspaper clipping about an archaeological find that ultimately resulted in the first novel to be published under my “Kimberly Iverson” pseudonym, Liberty (HQN Books, 2006, ISBN 0373771347).
Tonya: Can you tell us a bit about how self-publishing is going for you?
Kim: I love the creative control. The marketing is a huge uphill battle, but I’m conquering it one blog at a time.
Tonya: What advice would you give to new authors?
Kim: In this era of DIY publishing, please don’t give in to the temptation to release your work for public consumption without first having it professionally edited. Yes, it’s expensive. And yes, it may take a long time to pay yourself back for this investment. But your devotion to creating high-quality content will be well worth it in the long run, and greatly appreciated by your readers.
Tonya: Do you write better when you first have an idea of what your characters look like or do you write, then add character looks?
Kim: For me, it’s all about the character’s name. Names carry the power to shape personalities and dictate destinies. The character’s looks—while important—are secondary for me.
Tonya: We’re dying to hear about your latest book. What can you tell us without spoiling the storyline?
Kim: In Dawnflight and its sequels, I take everything you’ve ever heard about the Arthurian Legends and turn it on its collective ear, starting with my Guinevere character—renamed Gyanhumara to jettison any expectations the reader might bring to the experience. Gyan is strong, intelligent, feisty, compassionate, and mercilessly hard on herself when she perceives that she has made a mistake. The premise of Dawnflight is that Gyan is treaty-bound to marry Urien, the son of her clan’s deadliest enemy and Arthur’s greatest political rival. But when she and Arthur meet, sparks inevitably fly, high and fast and hot…and they spend most of the rest of the book trying to figure out how Gyan can break her betrothal to Urien without causing a civil war.
Tonya: I do love historicals! Where can our readers find you and your books?
Kim: I regularly post on my Facebook fan page, Kim Headlee’s Maze of Twisty Passages, and I also maintain a fairly active presence on Goodreads.
Dawnflight is available in print and ebook formats via Amazon.com, BN.com, Sony.com, Kobobooks.com, and Smashwords.com.
Tonya: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
Kim: Yes! Please be on the lookout for the audiobook edition of Dawnflight, which should be available via Amazon.com in July. I am working with Dorothy Dickson, a Scottish-born voice actor who now resides in California. Dorothy has been doing an outstanding job of bringing the characters and cultures of Dawnflight to life. And be on the lookout for the print and e-book editions of Dawnflight, titled Morning’s Journey, which is on track for a late-July release.
Excerpt: (From the latter part of Chapter 13)
After parrying one of Arthur’s lighter blows, Gyan spun away to disengage, catch her breath, and collect her thoughts. Sword cocked, she resumed circling him, relieved that he didn’t seem anxious to reengage. Briefly, she noticed a crowd forming along the rail; soldiers, mostly, gesturing and shouting words she couldn’t understand, nor did she wish to. She blotted them out to open all her senses to her opponent, even down to the huskiness of his breathing and the tangy odor of his sweat, trying to think of anything that might work to tip the balance in her favor.
An image flashed to mind of a bout with her father, fought on the eve of Urien’s arrival at Arbroch. Inspired by the outcome of that fight, she swiftly formed a plan. It carried high risk and no guarantee of success. She never would have attempted such a move in combat. Here, the only danger if she lost would be to her pride. But if she won…she bit her lower lip to keep her face from betraying her intent.
She let Arthur initiate the attack. While advancing to meet the blow, she stumbled, fell, and rolled to her stomach. As expected, he quickly moved in to claim the victory. The crowd cheered. But before she could feel the prickle of his sword on her neck, she twisted aside and hooked his legs with hers. Luck favored her; with a startled yelp, and equally startled noises from their audience, he went down. She scrambled to her feet and pinned him under the point of her sword. Amid the overall roar of disappointment, she could pick out phrases like “Trickery!” and “Not fair!” But the taunts didn’t bother her; victory had never tasted sweeter! Her only regret was that Ogryvan and Per and the rest of her clan couldn’t savor it with her.
Studying Arthur for a reaction, her grin soured. For several seconds, he stared at the sky as though stunned; whether physically or mentally, she couldn’t tell. Her concern rose as she wondered if she had injured him. Finally, he shook his head and attempted to sit up, but her sword barred his way.
“I concede the match, Chieftainess.” He released his sword and waved his open hand. “I won’t try anything unique. You have my word. Thank God my enemies aren’t half as devious as you are.” His grin could have stopped the sun in its course…and it was having an arresting effect on Gyan’s heart as well. “But I wouldn’t advise using that move in battle. Much too risky.”
“Oh. Yes, I—I know.” Chiding herself for how silly she must sound, she sheathed her sword and thrust out her hand. He tugged off his gloves and accepted her unspoken offer, gripped her forearm, and hauled himself up.
Pain stabbing her arm forced a strangled gasp from her throat. He shifted his grip to her hand and gently turned her arm to expose the underside. A long cut lay perilously close to one of the veins, seeping blood. He traced the vein lightly with a fingertip.
“When did I do this?” His voice was a hoarse whisper.
Staring at the cut, she wondered the same thing. Probably during their initial clash, though she really had no idea. She shrugged. Even that motion made her wince.
“Chieftainess, I didn’t mean to—” A stricken look shattered his bearing. He squeezed her hand. “God in heaven, Gyanhumara, I am so sorry.”
She wanted to reassure him that she’d be all right; the wound looked clean and wasn’t much deeper than a scratch. In fact, it was the least of her concerns. Enchanted by the sound of her name on his lips and mesmerized by his gaze, she felt the world seem to collapse to just the two of them. His face hovered over hers, his lips a handspan away. The warmth of his nearness had an intoxicating effect. She was acutely conscious of the tugging of her heart, as though it was trying to pull her closer to him. It wasn’t an unwelcome idea.
CONTEST:One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Dawnflight! Do you love paranormal or historicals? Leave your email, e-format and a comment to Kim.