Today I have the pleasure of hosting the lovely Rory Ni Coileain on my blog. Rory is here to tell us more about herself, her books and her Muse, or Muses….
How would you describe your latest book ‘Deep Plunge’ in 20 words or less without using the blurb?
A Fae healer discovers how much he will risk, how far he will go, to save his human SoulShare’s life.
How would your friends describe you in 20 words or less?
Big-hearted cat-loving Irish lawyer with a wicked imagination and an encyclopedic memory missing a few volumes.
Sue – errm, a bit like this then? *chuckles*
State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I have arthritis in my tailbone, as the result of an injury sustained while demonstrating a tango move in the Irish dance class I was teaching. (I think that’s about as random as it’s possible to get in a single sentence.)
What started you on your journey to be a writer?
That journey’s had several starts. The first one was when I was about six years old, and first realized that books didn’t just appear on shelves; someone had to write them, and I decided I wanted to be one of the someones, someday. I never really took my writing seriously until college, though, when I decided to major in creative writing. The only problem was, back then hardly any colleges offered it as a major, so I had to design it myself. I ended up with close to a triple major, in English, social sciences, and medieval history. I had a wonderful major advisor, a graduate student by the name of P.C. Hodgell, and if you want to see where my prose style comes from, pick up any of her books. But right out of college, still very much wet behind the ears, I submitted a short story to Marion Zimmer Bradley, for one of her “Sword and Sorceress” anthologies. I was nineteen years old, and I’m sure my story was very… well, nineteen years old. And fangirl to boot. Plus, I’m not sure I really read the submission guidelines. But the rejection letter I got from her totally crushed me. She told me that she couldn’t understand why anyone who wrote as badly as I did even wanted to try to be a writer. So for the next thirty years or so, I wrote for my own amusement only. Then, about two and a half years ago, I happened to see a manuscript call for an anthology of BBW stories. I’d never had any interest in writing in that genre, but something whispered in my ear that it would be a fun challenge to write something completely “to spec.” Not to mention an interesting challenge to see if this Irish girl could meet a deadline and a word count! I did it, and I sent it off… and it was funny, suddenly after all these years, I was thinking of myself as a writer again. NaNoWriMo that fall was just the icing on the cake.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Several of them, actually. Kevin Almstead, in HARD AS STONE, is a lawyer, as much because I wanted to redeem my own profession as for any other reason. And he gets in trouble as a lawyer for the same reason I did at his age, he’s not a shark. Josh LaFontaine, in GALE FORCE, shares my tendency to put pretty much everyone in his life ahead of himself, only I think he’s less neurotic about it than I am. But I think the character I identify the most with is Garrett Templar, from DEEP PLUNGE. He’s a dancer, which I was for years, and he has my childhood and my general outlook on life. Once I had a dream where I looked in a mirror, and saw his face looking back at me.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
I think it chose me. Seriously. Two years ago, I was doing a lot of adult role-play writing, purely for the fun of it, but I’d never written m/m. In fact, I was absolutely certain I couldn’t. But a dear friend asked me to try it, as a favor to her. So I created a character, and I found an amazing writing partner who challenged me to go places I’d never gone. And I fell in love. Completely. And I stay here because I love it here. When I sent my first book off to a gay friend of mine for, um, fact-checking – as in, “Is that even physically possible?!?” – he came back with “Have you been a gay man in drag for the last 20 years and you just never told me?” There are wonderful stories to be told here, and I hope I’m doing something good for the LGBT community as well, by showing that those stories are as compelling as any other.
Which genres do you prefer to read?
I would give any nonessential body part to have time to read. But when I can steal time for it, I love to wallow in fantasy and science fiction. They were my first loves – I should probably have listed DUNE as one of those journey-starting moments, I think I was in seventh grade when I started in on Frank Herbert. I tend not to read my own genre, though – which is probably very bad of me, but I swear I’m a sponge for writing styles and I would hate like hell for anyone to think I was cribbing from them on purpose!
What projects are you currently working on right now? Would you mind sharing them with us?
My current work in progress is the second in a series of novellas I’m doing for Ellora’s Cave. The series is called Tales of the Grove, and it’s about tree spirits out of Scots legend, called the Gille Dubh. The first one, HEART OF THE OAK, is due out as part of Ellora’s Cave’s “Boys Will Do Boys” release, the first or second week of December; it’s set on the shore of a loch on the Isle of Skye. (Yes, I know which loch it is, and the names of all the hills around it, and the nearest town, and how long it takes to drive from that town to Glasgow and the route one takes. I’m a little retentive that way.) The work in progress, TEMPTED FROM THE OAK, is set in the Highlands, not far from Ben Nevis, which is the highest mountain in Great Britain. In Scots legend, the Gille Dubh are something like male dryads, and in my books they live in certain ancient and magickal oak trees. And when a Gille Dubh encounters a human male, a whole different kind of magick happens. After that? I’ve just finished the first four Fae books, and I have another set of four planned, though I don’t have titles for them yet. The first four were the SoulShares; the next four are the Broken Pattern.
When choosing the title for your book(s) do you have a process or do you wing it?
I pretty much wing it. The Fae books have an elemental theme, because the Fae are of four Demesnes, or Houses, Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. The Grove stories, I’m trying to stay with the Oak theme. Other than that, it’s mostly a matter of waiting for the right title to hit me over the head.
Do you ever use someone in your life as a sounding board for ideas or are you a lone wolf?
I have several friends I turn to when I’m stuck. My Muse is stubborn as hell, but he (or she, I was told in a tarot reading recently that Brigid is one of my Muses) can’t stand it if I start complaining about how stingy he’s being with me, and usually starts giving up the goods at that point.
Sue – I rather like this idea myself…
If I give you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to?
I’d be sorely tempted to hunt down the Tenth Doctor… but if I had to pick just one time and place, I think it would probably be Washington, D.C. in 1860. My ‘random fact’ could just as easily have been the fact that I’m a thorough student of the life of Abraham Lincoln, and I would purely love to have the opportunity to get to know him.
Do you have any favorite writers of gay literature? Tell us what draws you to these authors, or what in general you admire in other writers.
I’m having a really hard time answering this question. But it’s a GOOD hard time. Like I said before, I don’t read in my own genre. Maybe after I have a couple of dozen books under my belt, and am a little more secure in my own voice (well, hopefully it won’t take a couple of dozen…), that will change. Also, frankly, I have a very bad tendency to measure myself against other authors, and to see myself as coming off worse, every time. I think a lot of authors struggle with that – the insidious voice in the back of the head, whispering “You’re only playing at this, you don’t belong at the table with the grownups, it’s just a matter of time before everyone finds out what a fraud you are.” The only way I’ve ever been able to shut that wench up is to smother her with a pillow—not give her any grist for her mill. But as for what I admire in other writers… Diane Duane, Jane Yolen, Ursula K. LeGuin, David Brin, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Hand… they all have a gift both for seeing the wonderfully fantastic in the everyday world, and for making even the most fantastic world seem so normal that I’m surprised I don’t wake up in it after I fall asleep reading. The trouble with a lot of “high” fantasy is that it’s just that—high. As in removed, out of reach. Their gift is a quality I strive for in my own writing, to make it both fantastic and real. I think it’s just as important in erotic fiction as it is in any other kind of fantasy, and I hope I pull it off.
Where can readers find your books?
I’m on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Ravenous Romance’s own Web site (which sells in all three of the major e-formats). If you’re a Kindler, the easiest way is probably to go through my Author page,
http://www.amazon.com/Rory-Ni-Coileain/e/B009M8XQP2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 .All three of the novels are there, plus a couple of great anthologies I had the pleasure and honor of contributing to.
Thank you so much for being here, Rory and giving us some wonderful insight into what makes you tick as a writer. I can identify with your comment about reading other author works in the same genre, and finding yourself thinking you don’t measure up. It happens to me too more times than I can count on one hand. But the answer to that is what Neil Gaiman said below- each of us has a unique voice that no one else in the world can imitate so we need to revel in that as an individual and do the best we can with it.
And so you can get an idea of exactly how great a writer Rory is – here’s my review of ‘Deep Plunge’, a definite 5 star read in my book.
I’ve read each SoulShares book avidly, salivating at the interaction between the strong, sexy men that they feature, marvelling at the intricate world building and snorting in amusement at the banter and snarkiness between the characters. I’ve hissed at the Marfach – tried to boo it out of existance, (it and its horrible decaying human host Janek)- and wished for the combined army of Tiernan, Conall and Lochlann to blast the damn thing out of existence so these guys and their soulshares, or their ‘scair-anams’ can live happy, danger free and fufilling lives. But no, Rory keeps bringing the damn monster back to wreak havoc on their lives. But it does mean we hopefully get more SoulShare books so in my view the damn boogeyman is a double edged sword I have to live with.
And once again in the story of Lochlann Doran- a Fae who’s lived a long time without his magic- and his soulshare, the damaged, beautiful Garrett Templar, dancer extraordinaire, Rory weaves a tale of magic, lust, romance, love and endurance, all spun together within the inextricable pull of the human and Fae love dance, each man unique in their own way yet bound together so tightly in each other’s hearts. I loved the character of Garrett, so noble, brave and steadfast even in his darkest moments. And believe me, it doesn’t get any darker than what he suffers. We should all have a Garrett in our lives and I love the way Lochlann gives him hope, embraces him so fully that Garrett can’t possibly resist.
The book blurb tells you everything you need to know about the basic story. What it doesn’t tell you is about the wonderful writing, the humour and the passion between the lovers, the friendships between the Fae and their human SoulShares and the emotional voyage of discovery as each brings their own special talents and emotions to bear on the story. It’s a magical tale of escapism, fantasy and pure, feel good emotions as you live and breathe with each and every character.
I simply can’t wait for the next one, as I find each time I read one, Rory brings yet another breath taking level to her work that leaves me breathless and impatient to turn the next page.
If you love the paranormal genre and want to read something that plucks at both your heart strings and your nether regions with warm, fluid sexy scenes and romance, then the SoulShares series is a must read.