Monday, January 27, 2014

Author: Donna Hatch

No one creates chemistry between Regency Historical characters better than Donna Hatch.  If you want a "sweet" read, but with lots of sizzle, you have to read one of her books.

For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
I always aim to provide a sweet, emotional romance interwoven with an accurate historical setting, with heroines readers admire, and heroes readers fall in love with. And I always promise a happily ever after.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
It's sorta like juggling spinning plates--sometimes I do it well if I keep moving fast enough and sometimes I unintentionally let something fall. I try to write at least 100 words a day; sometimes I exceed that goal by a long shot but sometimes family, work, and other commitments don't make that possible, and I have learned to be okay with that. 

Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
There is no typical day--it's grabbing writing time whenever I can get it. Most often I do it first thing in the morning after the kids have left for school and before I leave for work. Sometimes it happens during break at work. Sometimes, it's when I'm waiting to pick up a child from soccer or choir or orchestra. Sometimes it's late at night after everyone else is in bed.

Can you describe your writing space for us?
I most often write at the family desk in the dining room, which was converted into an office of sorts, or sometimes my work space is on my laptop whenever I think I can snatch a few minutes. I've stopped waiting for the perfect set up and learned to make anyplace into writing space.

What you are most passionate about outside of writing?
Besides my family? Music. I love music. I sing and play the harp and don't get to do either of them as much as I wish I could. I also love to ballroom dance but a foot injury has made that pretty much impossible now.

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I write romance, specifically Regency historical romance and fantasy with strong romantic elements. I love the Regency era and the people who lived then--it just seems to speak to me.

Do your characters come to you first, or the plot, or the world of the story?
Sometimes it's the plot and sometimes it's the characters. I even wrote a YA futuristic (so far unpublished) that started with the world and the characters evolved. We'll see how that goes.

What sets your books apart from other authors?
Even though I'm labeled a "sweet" romance writer, meaning no on-screen sex, I like a fairly high level of sensuality especially when it comes to the chemistry between the characters and that amazing first kiss. I also tend to go more into the darker, more tortured heroes than most sweet authors do. And I do a great deal of research so I can create a realistic feeling world rich with detail using only a few words describing the setting so it doesn't feel "info dumpy."

How do you go about developing your characters?
It's different with each of them but I spend a great deal of time learning about their personality, goals, backstory and what drives them so they feel well rounded, balanced and realistic, yet larger than life. 

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
No fair! That's like choosing a favorite child. I love them all.  They all have a special place in my heart.

Can you share a little of your current work?
I am working on a new series about a group of young men in Regency England who are proud of the fact that they are menaces to society. They will each meet their feminine match.

Where can readers find more information on you?

Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

The Rogue Hearts series: The Stranger She Married, The Guise of a Gentleman, A Perfect Secret. My fantasy romance: Queen in Exile.

Historical Anthologies:
Regency Hearts: “The Reluctant Bride,” “Constant Hearts,” “Emma's Dilemma”
A Timeless Romance Anthology: Winter Collection “A Winter’s Knight”

Regency Short Stories:
Mistletoe Magic, Constant Hearts, Emma's Dilemma, The Reluctant Bride, Troubled Hearts 

Here is an excerpt from my newest novel A Perfect Secret:

Tarrington Castle, England, autumn 1801

Six-year-old Christian Amesbury stood in the churchyard, trying not to crush the flowers he’d brought to put in front of the family crypt where they’d laid his brother to rest, the brother he loved, the brother he killed. Alone in every way, he stood, shaking, as his last taunting words to Jason echoed in his head. Christian had wanted to prove he was brave and strong. Instead, his brother, best friend, and advocate, was dead.
His throat tightened and tears blurred his vision. “I’m sorry, Jason,” he whispered. “I’m so sorry. I miss you.” He knelt and placed his offering of wildflowers in front of the crypt.
A drop of rain landed on his cheek and mingled with his tears. He stood, unmoving, embracing the desolation. He had no one to blame but himself. He’d never be happy again.
That horrific day three months ago had started out innocently enough, with Christian running with all his might after his older brothers, desperate to prove he wasn’t a baby who should have stayed in the house with his sisters. As usual, he couldn’t keep up as they raced to the tree. But one day he’d outrun them all.
Christian’s brothers disappeared around a corner in the gardens, the shaking of shrubbery all that bespoke their passing. Drawing from some inner well of speed he didn’t know he possessed, Christian darted around the corner and skidded on loose gravel. His feet went out from underneath him and he crashed to the ground. Pain burst from his thigh and elbow. Now, he would be last. Again. But he wouldn’t quit.
Blinking back hot tears of humiliation, Christian scrambled to his feet and charged down the stone path toward Zeus’s Garden. He flew headlong through the arch of roses, past statues, dodging fountains and flowers and shaped shrubbery.
His brothers’ voices led Christian to their tree. Perfect for climbing with low, strong limbs spaced as evenly as a ladder, he’d imagined it as a pirate ship or sometimes a navy ship, a castle where a dragon lived, and a deep, dark dungeon filled with ogres.
Hanging from a branch, Grant mocked Christian. “Sorry, Chrissy, you’re last. Go back home and sew and draw and play music with the girls.”
Christian stuck his chin out. “I don’t sew.”
“Rules are rules,” Jared said with a taunting smile. “Last one here has to go back and play with the twins. Maybe they’ll put bows in your pretty blond hair.”
“Aw, come on, let him stay.” Jason’s voice broke in. “Look, he fell and scraped up his leg and arm and didn’t even cry.”
“ ‘The perfectly perfect Christian’ is too perfect to cry,” Grant sneered.
Christian clamped his mouth shut as Grant taunted him with that all too familiar, sing-songy phrase that never failed to make his blood boil. He wasn’t perfect, but he did try to be good for Mama’s sake. Which was the only reason he didn’t climb up the tree and punch Grant in the face.
“Let him stay,” Jason urged again. “He’s not bothering anyone.”
Grant let out a snort. “You’re too soft on him.”
Cole, highest in the tree and holding a paper he’d rolled up into the shape of a spyglass, let out a long-suffering sigh. “You can be the cabin boy. Ahoy there!”
A ship, today.
From his perch on one of the lower tree limbs, Jason leaned down and held out a hand. “Come on up, Chris. I’ll help you.”
Christian shook his head. “I can do it by myself.”
He would prove he could climb just as well as they could—without help. He stood below the lowest limb and jumped, his fingers curling around the branch as he caught it. After swinging his legs, he hooked his ankles around the limb and hoisted himself up.
“I’ll bet you can’t reach that one,” Jared said to Cole, their voices filtering down from above like falling leaves.
“Watch me.” Cole inched away from the trunk and tucked his feet below his body. After shifting into a crouch, his legs wobbling a little, he jumped toward an upper limb, and caught it. Within moments, Cole, Grant and Jason began leaping from limb to limb like sailors climbing the rigging of a ship.
Eyeing a branch far away from the others, Christian climbed. He’d jump to that far one, and prove he was as strong and able as the big boys. He ground his teeth against the throbbing pain in his elbow and leg, and hauled himself upward.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” Jason put up an arm to block Christian’s climb. 
“Up there.” Christian pointed to the isolated branch near the top. “I’m gonna jump to it.”
Jason looked up. “That one up there? You’re mad.”
“I’ll show you. Bet you can’t jump to it.”
Jason let out his breath slowly as he looked up. “That’s a long way from the other branches.”
Christian nodded. If Jason admitted he could never do it, even on a dare, and Christian did reach it, they’d see how big and brave he was. “I dare you to try.”
Jason hesitated.
“You’re too scared,” Christian taunted. “But I’m not. I can do it.”
Grant’s voice cut in. “Jason’s not scared of anything.”
A bead of perspiration trickled down the side of Jason’s face and his hand trembled as he wiped it away. He jumped. His body made a graceful arc, his legs straight, his arms reaching outward. The tip of his fingers grazed the coveted branch.
And slid off. 
Jason fell.
Christian stared in horror as down, down, down Jason’s twisting body plunged, slowly, like one of Christian’s nightmares when it becomes impossible to run even when a monster is in pursuit. Someone screamed—a terrible keening noise that rent the air. Jason landed on the ground below with a thud that tore through Christian’s body like a lightning strike. Jason lay unmoving.
All sound faded away except for the wild pounding of Christian’s heart, and that terrible, terrible scream. Christian reached the ground without knowing how he got there. Faintly aware of searing pain in his hands, he collapsed on the ground beside Jason, reaching for him but terrified to touch him. Dizzy and out of breath, he gulped in air and the screaming stopped.
“Jason?” he rasped.
Other noises, other shapes, swarmed around him in a fog of confusion, but his vision fixed on Jason’s chest struggling to rise.
Christian put his forehead on Jason’s brow and wrapped his arms around his brother. “Jason, wake up. Open your eyes.”
Jason’s breathing grew more labored. He made a terrible rattle, then fell silent. All motion in Jason’s chest stopped. Christian’s own heart stopped. All the world stopped.
Someone peeled Christian off Jason and shoved him away. Voices, frantic and shrill, poured in all around him but he stood alone in a sea of horror. Adults shoved past him, crowding around Jason’s motionless form. A dull roar built up in Christian’s head drowning out everything but the image of Jason lying so still. Not moving. Not breathing. Not living. Somewhere the far reaches of his mind registered the knowledge that Jason would never open his eyes, never play, never laugh.
Someone shook Christian so hard that he bit his tongue. “What happened?”
Christian pushed back the suffocating fog. “He fell.” His voice sounded far away as if someone else were talking through the other end of a hollow log. The truth wrenched out of him. “I dared him to jump. And he fell.”
The ground had rushed up then, smashed Christian in the face, and had hurled him into darkness.
Another raindrop fell, jarring Christian back to the present. A moment later, the soft ping of raindrops pelted the roof of the crypt. Wiping his tears, he turned away, and stopped up short. Grant, as silent and dark as a shadow, glowered at him from the gate of the churchyard.
Christian glanced at the family coach waiting on the side of the road. The sound of Mama’s weeping scraped against him like sandpaper on bare skin. Father’s low voice as he tried to console her burned like lemon juice on an open sore.
He’d done this. He’d torn apart the family. It was his fault. Mama cried constantly and some days didn’t get out of bed. Father never smiled. Two months later, Cole and Jared left for the sea. Jason was gone forever. Grant never spoke to him, only shot him murderous glares that left Christian constantly looking over his shoulder, half expecting to see a knife plunging toward his back.
Christian squared his shoulders and strode with dignity he didn’t feel past gravestones and monuments. As he passed Grant at the gate, his brother spoke his first words to Christian in three months.

“I wish you were the one who had died.”

Monday, January 20, 2014

Author: Suzanne Adair

If historical author Suzanne Adair had written high school history books, more students would have been riveted to the pages instead of their weekend plans.  She tells historical events in a way that makes you anxious to turn the pages.  I'm so glad she decided to stop by and share a little insight as to how she accomplishes it.

Welcome Suzanne, please tell the reader something about yourself.
Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in a two hundred-year-old city at the edge of the North Carolina Piedmont, named for an English explorer who was beheaded. Her suspense and thrillers transport readers to the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, hiking, and spending time with her family.

For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
My books provide you with escape on a grand scale: a time portal to unforgettable characters and thrilling adventures in the past.

All five of my published books are crime fiction with an American Revolution setting. Among my characters, you won’t find those stuffy, powdered-wig types who spout social philosophy gibberish. Most characters are approachable, ordinary people who are called upon to find extraordinary courage. (That’s what we have to do in our everyday lives sometimes, isn’t it?)

To help me understand what motivated 18th-century American people, and to better capture the sensory impressions of the period in my writing, I became a Revolutionary War reenactor. After years of all that hands-on research, I now have gowns and petticoats, working muskets and pistols that I’ve fired, an appreciation of redcoats—and an idea of what filled the lives and shaped the decisions of the average American during the Revolution. That’s what you’ll find when you open my books.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
By scheduling and fiercely guarding my writing time.

Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
My best writing happens before noon, so that’s where my focus is. I prefer to use the afternoon for editing and social media.

Describe your writing space.
In my writing space, on the wall behind my desk chair, is a white board covered with yellow sticky notes. Each note is a plot point that I must address in at least one of the remaining Michael Stoddard books. On the opposite wall hangs an Audubon bird clock, batteries for the bird noises yanked out because I could never get the sounds synched with the birds, and quacking owls were just a little too weird for me. The diplomas for my B.S. in Microbiology and my M.B.A. in Marketing also hang on that wall, as does my certificate for winning the Patrick D. Smith Literature Award. Near the white board, there’s a four-drawer filing cabinet that’s bursting its seams with background information (like old maps) for my novels. (And there’s 81% dark chocolate on top of the filing cabinet.) Three sets of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are crammed full, and I haven’t seen the cushion on the peacock chair in about two years for all the books stacked on it. Research books and notes are also piled around and on my desk—but the ILL books that I frequently borrow from the library are in the dining room, so they don’t get misplaced. Every six months or so, I dust the place. Kinda what you’d expect from a history and science geek, right?

What you are most passionate about outside of writing.
Other arts: dancing (ballet, Latin, contra), singing, playing the piano. Qigong and meditation.

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
My five published books are interconnected stories of crime fiction set during the southern theater of American Revolution. I’ve also blown the dust off a science fiction series about genetic manipulation that’s set during the 24th century and am editing it toward publication of the first book in 2014 or 2015. And there’s some contemporary paranormal suspense coming, 2015 or 2016.

When I was growing up in Florida, I heard a lot of wrong history about Florida from residents and tourists. People believed that Florida’s history started with railroad barons Flagler and Plant constructing their empires down the coasts about a hundred years ago, and they forgot that as a European settlement, St. Augustine, FL predates Jamestown, VA by decades. Also, history is often taught in a way that leaves students with the impression that the American Revolution took place mostly in the northern colonies—but this war was just as virulent in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and the Caribbean. My historicals reflect my efforts at letting you learn the correct history while entertaining you. And I emphasize “entertaining.” You aren’t going to read it unless it’s fun, right?

Other than that, I’ve been told that I write the “David v. Goliath” story. The little guy perseveres and triumphs over the big, bad guy in all my writing, including my science fiction. Readers tell me my books plunge them into a world where they can win against a tyrannical boss or an upcoming surgery.

Do your characters come to you first, or the plot, or the world of the story?
My characters are a product of the world and culture in which they live, so characters, world, and culture come first, simultaneously, then plot.

What sets your books apart from other authors?
There aren’t many mysteries set during the American Revolution, especially the southern theater. But mostly, the main character and hero for my most recent books, Michael Stoddard, is an officer and criminal investigator in the 82nd Regiment of Foot, Crown forces. Nobody else is writing a series about a likeable, relateable redcoat stationed in North Carolina in 1781. In deciding to show this war from the point of view of someone who many Americans think of as an “enemy,” I took a big chance. But it’s paid off. Readers like Michael and his assistant, Nick Spry. (One reader wrote me that she wished her daughter would find someone like Michael to marry.) And since Cornwallis will surrender at Yorktown the last book of the series, you’ll see what the wind-down of this war looks like from the eyes of a non-patriot.

How do you go about developing your characters?
Understanding the world and culture that my characters inhabit is my first step. Participation in Revolutionary War reenacting for many years has given me a leg up into that world and culture. Next, I must have a good idea of where the story is going. I don’t need to have it all plotted out before I write chaper 1, but I have to know where it starts, where it ends, and a few points in between. That means I also have to know what real historical events were taking place during that time and the effects of them on people. At some point, I trust to my Muse and begin writing the first draft. 20–25% of the way into the manuscript, the characters take over and develop the rest of the plot around their greed, fears, and unfulfilled needs. I keep them on track if they wander off on a tangent.

Then comes the part I enjoy: editing. Since it’s my fifth drafts that get published, a lot of editing happens in the second through fifth drafts. When I said that my characters take over and develop the the plot, plot is primarily what fleshes out of the early drafts. In later drafts, after the plot has stabilized, that’s when I find all the places where I forgot to let you know how my characters were feeling. It’s vital that I find and correct all those spots where I skipped mentioning the characters’ feelings because I was in such a hurry to hammer out the plot. Allowing you to check in with my characters’ emotions is what connects you with my characters.

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
So far, my favorite character is Private Nick Spry, assistant to criminal investigator Michael Stoddard. Michael, being a British officer, is often faced with having to work matters out “by the book”—or at least make it look that way. When he gets stodgy or frustrated, Spry, intelligent and humorous, reminds Michael that he can loosen up every now and then. And Spry has an interesting family.

Can you share a little of your current work?
I plan to write three more Michael Stoddard thrillers set during the American Revolution.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m editing the first book of a science fiction series set during the 24th century, toward getting this book published in 2014 or 2015. The series is about genetic manipulation. It was agented in the mid-1990s and was almost picked up by Warner.

When I didn’t get the contract, I put the science fiction series in a drawer and began writing to a larger audience: contemporary paranormal suspense. That series also found and agent. It predated the great tide of paranormal novels by a couple years—but the agent didn’t know the gold mine was just over the horizon and was thus unable to sell the series. It, too, went in a drawer. But I’ll eventually get it published, too.

Where can readers find more information on you?

Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
Paper Woman: A Mystery of the American Revolution
The Blacksmith’s Daughter: A Mystery of the American Revolution
Camp Follower: A Mystery of the American Revolution
Regulated for Murder: A Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller
A Hostage to Heritage: A Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller

The following information is for my latest release, A Hostage to Heritage, winner of the Indie Book of the Day Award.


Book description from cover:

A boy kidnapped for ransom. And a madman who didn't bargain on Michael Stoddard's tenacity.

Spring 1781. The American Revolution enters its seventh grueling year. In Wilmington, North Carolina, redcoat investigator Lieutenant Michael Stoddard expects to round up two miscreants before Lord Cornwallis's army arrives for supplies. But his quarries' trail crosses with that of a criminal who has abducted a high-profile English heir. Michael's efforts to track down the boy plunge him into a twilight of terror from radical insurrectionists, whiskey smugglers, and snarled secrets out of his own past in Yorkshire.


Buy links:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Author: Dayna Leigh Cheser

I would like to introduce Historical Romance author, Dayna Leigh Cheser.

Welcome, Dayna.  For new readers – what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
Over 50 years ago, I discovered my mother’s stash of romance books – ‘Lolita’ and ‘Peyton Place’ stick out in my mind (psst … don’t tell her, she still doesn’t know I found them).  Since then, I’ve loved romance novels.  Over the years, I’ve added historical, time travel, a bit of paranormal, and other elements but my favorite books are romances at heart, whatever other activities are part of the stories.  It’s only logical, therefore, that I write romances.  I’d like to think that, since I don’t use computer programs to write my books for me, my books bring fresh ideas to the table.  So, new readers will not find the ‘same old – same old’ when they read my books.

My favorite writers: Bertrice Small – the Queen of Hot Historical Romance (Skye O’Malley Series) in the late 70s and into the 80s - has had the most influence on my writing, followed by Lynn Kurland, early Karen Marie Moning, Jean Auel, Diana Gabaldon, Victoria Holt, and many others.

Your secret is safe with us.  How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
I mostly work at the writing (and related) tasks when my husband’s at work, or occupied with his own thing when he’s home.  I’m not sure how it’s going to work out when he retires, but we’ll adapt, I’m sure.  We just had our 45th wedding anniversary back in early July.  We’ve been ‘adapting’ for a lot of years.

Congratulations! Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
As I’m retired, I don’t have to punch a clock anywhere. Still, I’m up most days around 7:30 AM – sometimes later, on rare occasion earlier.  As I go through the waking-up process, I tend to household stuff. When those chores are done, I’m ready to fire up the computer.  I usually give myself some time to tend to non-writing tasks (correspondence, checking emails, etc.), but by mid-morning, and certainly by noon, I’m doing writing, editing, blog posts – writing-related stuff.  By late afternoon, I’m looking for a break so I stop and fix supper.  After that, I clean up and settle in for an evening on the computer.  At some point, either my eyes have had it, or I’m brain-dead (sometimes both).  That’s when I call it a day.  Most nights I’m in bed between 10 and 11 PM.  Some days are different, especially weekends, which belong to my husband, but I still get work done in between.  Some days, I have shopping or errands outside the house but rarely does a day go by that I don’t do SOMETHING in the writing-realm.

You sound very dedicated.  Can you describe your writing space for us?
Until recently, and for several years, I had a comfy old rocker-recliner I all but lived in.  For quite a while, I had a laptop propped up between my knees, or I used a small, nearby table.  When the laptop died, I got a big desktop, which required a larger table.  Then, the rocker-recliner gave up the ghost.  At that point, I got a small desk and a standard desk chair.  The whole ‘office’ measures about 4’ x 6’ in one corner of the living room.  The TV is on ALL THE TIME, but I seldom watch it – it just keeps me company. 

I know that feeling.  What are you most passionate about outside of writing?
This is actually a tough one.  I have lots and lots of interests other than writing.  Over the years, I’ve done crafts (sewing, crocheting, and more).  I also follow a number of issues on the social media.  I pay attention to what’s going on in the country (politics and national issues).  I care a lot about women’s issues (health, abuse, etc.) as well as animal issues (same scenarios).  I’m into natural health in a lot of ways, for myself and others.  But, do any of them preempt the writing?  Am I passionate enough about any one or more of the aforementioned to give up the writing?  No.  From the time I was very young, I knew I wanted to write but life kept getting in the way.  When I retired, all that changed.  I still have many interests, and I stay involved, but the writing comes first.

What genre(s) do you write?  Why do you write the stories you write?
So far, I’ve only written historical romance because that’s what I like to read the most. 
But when I’ve finished the series I’m working on now, the next book(s) may be a different genre.  My muse stopped by for a visit not long ago with an idea, which I took the time to work on for a while.  After about 3000 words, it’s definitely contemporary.  What else is it?  Where is it going? 

Is it viable?  I don’t know yet.   
I write what I write because that’s what shows up on the screen when I’m writing – it’s not a grand design of some sort to write a specific something.

Do your characters come to you first, or the plot, or the world of the story?
I’m a ‘pantser’ writer.  I don’t outline, and I usually don’t have much in the line of specifics in mind when I sit down at the computer.  I just start writing.  When you’re working on a series, it’s not that simple, of course, but from one day to the next, I don’t have any idea of who-what-where-when-why.  Sometimes, my fingers disconnect from my brain and go off on their own.  I sit and watch as anywhere from a couple of pages to a whole chapter just flows onto the page.  This phenomenon is not unusual among visual artists (painters, sculptors, etc.) but is less common among writers.  The first time it happened, it scared me half to death – as in WTF‼ - but now, I welcome it because what appears is exactly what the story needs, when it needs it, and, it’s done perfectly.  I’m not sure if it’s my muse, or just what it is … I don’t ask questions. 

Good idea.  Don't rock the boat.  What sets your books apart from other authors?
Comparing authors to each other is like comparing apples and oranges.  We’re all different. 
I think every author has something unique to offer.  What I write will appeal to some people and not to others.  What some other writer produces will appeal – or not – to completely different people. 

I’d like to think that historical romance readers who enjoy the Regency and Victorian time periods will like my books, but I know they ALL won’t.  I’ve had reviewers trash Janelle’s Timefor exactly the same reasons other reviewers LOVED it.  Who can account for that? 

All this ‘branding’ and  ‘platforms’ stuff really isn’t what it’s all about.  Oh, they might help sell books in a force-feeding kind of way.  What it’s really about is whether or not a single reader likes your work.  If more individual readers like what you write than don’t, you’re successful.  You build a readership, one reader at a time.  Branding and platforms won’t change someone’s opinion of your work.  Having a snazzy bookmark to hand out won’t change things either.  Have you ever bought a book based on the bookmark?  Writers who actually have bookmarks probably didn’t design it so, how does that count for anything?  It’s what’s between the front and back covers that matters.  For that, we’re all different – incomparable - with different stories to tell.

Very good point.  How do you go about developing your characters?
There are a number of considerations, many of them environmental.  What’s the genre of the book? (For example, you wouldn’t put a George Jetson in one of Jean Auel’s books.)  What time period do they live in?  What level of the socio-economic scale are they part of?  What age are they when they are first introduced?  How long do they stay in the timeline?  Who will they marry, if that’s part of the story?  What is their personality?  Who will they interact with most?  Will they have any special talent/skill?  Their physical description is less important to me (I suppose that’s because a person’s physical description isn’t important to me in real life) - many of my characters aren’t described in that way.  There are many things to consider before creating a character.  And, sometimes, characters just happen.  A minor character suddenly becomes a major character when a scenario presents itself. 

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite and why?
Logan Conor, the Scots Duke of Muileach (pronounced mule-ECK).  Janelle’s Time, book 1 of the series, wasn’t originally planned to be part of a series.  In that book, I needed a character to come in and mess with Richard and Janelle’s wedding.  Picture Fabio (if you remember him – the Italian model who graced the covers of over 400 romance novels in the 70s and 80s), with red hair, blue eyes and an attitude … and make him a bit bigger, too.  That’s Logan.  He and Richard have a history that includes a drunken brawl in Paris where Logan’s paramour gets accidentally pitched out a window and, eventually, dies from her injuries.  After Minuet’s death, Logan comes looking for Richard with revenge on his mind.  He’s come all the way from Scotland (to New Hampshire) to accomplish this goal.  It’s a standoff that eventually is resolved (after a fashion) when a friend of Janelle’s, Rachel, approaches Logan. 

After Janelle’s Time was complete, Logan got in my face, wanting his own book.  Of course he wants his own book, he’s Logan!  He’s not happy with just a chapter or so in someone else’s book.  Long story short, Logan now has his own book.  It’s book 4 of the series, Logan’s Time.  It’s not a sequel as Logan is a different family, on a different continent.  It’s a spinoff and actually begins 30 years BEFORE Janelle’s Time (book 1).  I strongly suspect book 4 will be the best of the series so I’m eager to get back to it (the first draft is well over half done).  That will be sometime next year.

Can you share a little of your current work?
This is the back cover blurb of Moria’s Time, published in 2013.
Old Agnes MacKendall has a vision of Janelle Grayson’s infant daughter, Moria, as a young woman, far from home in a dangerous place.
Janelle and her husband, Richard, must prepare their little girl for whatever’s ahead.  It’s a future charged with risk that could spell certain doom.
So begins Moria’s Time – Book 2 of the TIME Series
At six-years old, Moria starts to learn about her heritage.  Like her mother, Moria is a MacKendall. The women of this Scots clan have many skills, including natural medicine – which is Moria’s gift.
At fourteen, Moria meets Elizabeth Blackwell who befriends and mentors her, guiding her toward her goal of becoming a doctor.
Later, while visiting family in England, Moria meets Florence Nightingale who, later, summons Moria to London, where she works for a while at a charity hospital and meets Dr. Simon Hensley.
Thirty-eight women, including Moria, travel to Turkey with Miss Nightingale to be nurses for Crimean War soldiers.  Dr. Hensley, in love with Moria, follows her, much to her chagrin, and she rebuffs him.
At home for a visit, Moria reconnects with her twin sister, Adelle, and her beau, Walter, who convince Moria that Dr. Hensley isn’t the enemy. Moria and Dr. Hensley work things out.
Simon and Moria return to London after the war. At Devonwood, the Grayson family estate, Moria’s Grandmother convinces Moria she can marry Simon and not lose herself. He proposes; she accepts.
After the wedding, Simon and Moria visit medical schools for interviews. Moria is rejected, simply because she’s a woman. Finally, a school in Pennsylvania accepts her.
Not sure about their future, Simon and Moria stumble upon a charitable project that fits with their combined experience and their desire to help people in need. They’ll be doctors, but where are they going?

This was a fun book because I incorporated 5 very different real-life historical characters to make it interesting.  The first, Elizabeth Blackwell, was the first female registered MD in both the US and the UK.  What she went through to achieve that goal‼  Moria went through much the same process, with Miss Blackwell’s guidance. 

Others include Frederick Douglass, American slave-turned-newspaperman/author, Florence Nightingale (by way of Elizabeth Blackwell), and, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  All of these folks interacted with at least one of my characters, if not more, and in some cases, many of my characters over varying periods of time.  It’s not easy weaving a story around real-life historical characters … there are published accountings for the whereabouts of these folks and you have to adjust your fictitious characters to mesh with the real-life activities of the real-life characters. 

At one point, I needed to have all but Frederick Douglass in London at the same time Moria’s extended family was there.  During that calendar year, I found I had a 6-week window, which, it turned out, was more than enough time to accomplish what I wanted to do.  I even had Queen Victoria be more involved in the Grayson family than I’d originally planned, even into the next book, Adelle’s Time, although the queen doesn’t know it’s Adelle she’s involved with.

I love your dedication to research.  Where can readers find more information about you?
Website:  There, in the menu, you will find an ‘About’ tab, my blog tab, a tab with lots of information about the TIME Series, a tab where you can do your own author interview (DIY Interviews), and a tab that will take you directly to my original blog (the contents there are still available).
In addition, you can find me on:
Twitter: @Writers_Cafe
Facebook Fan Page: Author Dayna Leigh Cheser
Linkedin: Dayna Leigh Cheser
I have other social media sites but I’m not active on most of them – not enough hours in the day.

Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
My ‘TIME Series’
Janelle’s Time – published in 2012, available at Amazon (US/UK/CA) and Barnes & Noble, print book (Amazon only) and e-book (Kindle and Nook only).
Moria’s Time – published in 2013, and will be widely available as a print book and e-book.
Adelle’s Time – will likely be available in the spring of 2014.
Logan’s Time – will likely be available later in 2014.
Clarissa’s Time – will likely be available in 2015.

Dayna, thank you so much for stopping by today.  You have shed a lot of light on areas I had never considered.  Each time I read one of your books, the story will be more enriched because of knowing the attention you place on each aspect of your writing.