I’m so thrilled to host Christie Rich during the Blogger Book Fair. Her series for older teens and young adults incorporates the supernatural and a little romance, which is probably right up your alley. She agreed to answer my usual questions, so sit back and take a moment to get to know her better.
As my husband always says, “What’s your book about?”
This should be an easy question, but it always makes me pause. The Elemental Enmity series is about, Rayla Tate, a young woman hoping to claim her dreams. Unfortunately her plans get derailed when she discovers she is an Elemental. She can manipulate the elements, and it seems everyone wants her power. Five fae lords come after her, each hoping to claim Rayla and her power before the others can get to her. Rayla will have to face old fears, conquer new enemies, and discover how to harness her gift to overcome the evil Order and the backhanded fae Council.
Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? Can you tell us about it?
I have a mild form of dyslexia and reading was always difficult for me in school. I remember writing a story using the characters from the Outsiders. I had no idea that you couldn’t do that. I think now days it’s called fan fiction, but back then my English teacher scolded me for doing it. She didn’t even comment on my story, so I never found out what she thought.
It wasn’t until a few years ago after reading everything I could get my hands on that I discovered my love for writing. I wrote the first draft of what is now my first novel, and I would never go back. Writing is so much fun, and I am thankful to my friend that told me if I had a story I should write it.
Do you prefer plaid or stripes?
Plaid most days.
Was choosing to publish independently something you always wanted, or an option you hadn’t considered before? (Independently being defined here as NOT one of the Big Six.)
I didn’t know about indie publishing until I started researching querying agents. Once I learned about the complicated process of submission to the Big Six, I realized I wanted more control over my books and my career as a writer. Now days authors are starting to ask what publishers can really offer them, and that is a good thing. I can’t say I would never publish in a traditional market, but for now I am happy following the indie route. I actually learned quite a bit about this by reading Dean Wesley Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing series. http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?page_id=860 This is a great series if any of you are considering indie publishing you need to read this.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I’m releasing Genesis (Elemental Enmity Book III) on July 27, 2012, and I once that is up I will continue Rayla’s story. However, I have started a completely different series I am excited about. They mythology is loosely based on Hades/Persephone mixed with that of Morpheus. It will be about dreams, and that is about all I can share at the moment. I’m so excited to delve into this new world and at the same time sad that Rayla’s story is almost at an end.
Do you have any rituals before writing? Not really. I just write when I can. Music or silence? A little of both. If I can’t concentrate with music I turn it off. Coffee or tea? Neither. Twizzlers or M&Ms? M&Ms all the way!
Have you ever based a character on someone you know?
What color is your umbrella?
Multicolored flower print.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I love J.K. Rowling for her world building and amazing characters that brought magic to my life again.
What was the last book you read?
Crux by Julie Reece. It was amazing!
Do you write about locations you’ve visited, or do you rely on research? Or do you make up entire settings in your head?
I’ve had to rely mostly on research and my imagination, but I hope to someday be able to write on scene. I think that would be so much fun.
After the last word is written, then what? Do you have pre-readers and editors who take over? Do you begin query letters immediately?
I have beta readers and a series of helpers that I rely on to help me make my books the best they can be. I don’t do queries right now.
What song would be on the soundtrack for your book?
Uprising by Muse for sure. I also love My Immortal by Evanescense.
Where can people find your book?
Can we read a little excerpt?
Absolutely! This is the first scene where Rayla realizes what a fae lord can actually do…
I went for a run. The one thing that usually cleared my mind wasn’t working.
My thoughts cycled in a whirlwind of why’s. Cassie was definitely lying to me about something big, and I had come to the conclusion she had been lying to me for quite a while. I wanted to think Aunt Grace was the deceitful one, but that didn’t feel right. Her words came back in a rush: Fae lords will be coming for you.
Considering such a thing went against the foundations of reality. Even if I had hallucinated the pegasus, the guy on the bike was more than an ordinary man. Something within him called to something within me. I didn’t understand it. The only thing I could really hope for now was that I would never see him again. I shuddered at the thought even though I had always wished something magical would to happen to me.
I hadn’t realized as a child how frightening being swept off your feet by a fairy prince would be in real life. He hadn’t been the prince charming I had conjured up as a kid, either. He was a far sight larger and an eternity scarier.
Falling down a rabbit-hole sounded great compared to this. After all, Alice was in a land of wonder. I was in Indiana. I just needed to keep telling myself that none of this was true; none of this was real. The logical part of my mind sure thought that. Cassie was right. Aunt Grace was probably playing a trick on me.
My feet flew over the pavement, making short work of campus. I should have been recuperating from our trip, but I couldn’t rest with so many unknowns parading through my brain.
I slowed, my lungs needing more air than I could currently give them at the pace I had set. My mono-vision blurred outward. What the heck? No buildings were in sight. Enormous pine trees surrounded the narrow path I stood on. Dizziness overwhelmed me when I looked up at the sprawling branches.
How had I gotten into the woods? The place looked more like the Redwood Forest than the Nature Area of campus. This was just great. It probably wasn’t the best idea for me to be out here alone.
Okay. No need to panic. The rush of water thundered somewhere near me. If I followed the river, I could find my way back to my dorm. I started toward the sound, kicking myself for not paying attention to where I was going.
A fat drop of rain pelted my cheek and slid down my face. A couple more splatter on my scalp. What was going on? The sky had been clear moments before. I gazed unbelievingly at the voluminous clouds rolling toward me. They were the deep, dark gray of a turbulent summer storm. The wind picked up, sending my hair whipping around my face; I pulled it into a makeshift bun to get it out of my eyes. I had to find shelter. If only I had a clue where I was. Why had I been this stupid?
The heavens dumped on me like a waterfall. I usually loved staying out in the rain, that was because I had never experienced a tempest like this. A small roofline caught my attention, barely visible through the trees. I cut into the bushes toward it. The bramble dug into my flesh, leaving a crosshatch of welts on my arms.
The old shack looked deserted. The door hung open at an odd angle, only attached by one leather hinge. Most of the windows were broken.
Once in the clear, I raced inside even though this was the sort of place an ax-murderer would hang out. It wasn’t like I had a better option.
The second I entered the room the musk of wet earth and ancient wood surrounded me. I breathed in deeply, savoring the freshness. The world seemed newer somehow.
The intricacy of the hand-planed walls mesmerized me. It must have taken forever to build this place. I sat cross-legged on the rickety floorboards waiting for the clouds to break. I could probably sit here for hours without much of a problem.
The sounds of nature floated near—the song of a bird melded with the percussion of the rain in a timeless, soothing rhythm. I closed my eyes, my nerves calming with every revitalizing lungful of air.
I would figure this out. Whatever it was, I would deal with it. My plight couldn’t be as bad as Aunt Grace had implied.
I pulled out my phone, trying her number again. It was busy. Of course.
I called Cassie to smooth things over before I went back—the same. It didn’t even roll to voice-mail.
I hit every saved number I had. They wouldn’t go through.
I tried the customer service number. No luck.
Frustration bubbled up in me like an over-full pot. What was going on? Despite the trees, I had a clear signal.
I took some more calming breaths, squaring my shoulders. I would use Cassie’s phone to call home. Everything was going to be fine. It had to be.
A twig cracked near the back of the shack, startling me. My scar lit up like a skyscraper at midnight. I turned toward the broken window. Nothing was there, but my senses shot to high alert.
A dark foreboding washed over me in thick waves. Was that the wind or a hungry growl?
Forget this. I bolted out the door, bounding on the sodden ground. I ignored the branches pulling at my arms and hair like greedy fingers. The rain soaked through my sweatshirt and jeans as if they were nothing more than a linen sack. I had to get to my dorm. I needed the safety of people.
A person stepped onto the path up ahead, undoubtedly male by the bulking frame. I skidded to a stop, my arms flailing for balance.
Most of his face was shrouded by the hooded trench coat he wore. Despite that and the sheets of rain, I felt the caress of his gaze travel the length of me. He started toward me in determined strides.
Frantic to find an escape, I searched the landscape for a side trail. I was being ridiculous. He was just a man—probably a Notre Dame student caught in the rain, just like me.
I would glide past him calmly. I might even say hello just to cut the tension.
A niggling thought made its way to the surface of my mind: What if he won’t let you?
A new emotion hit me like a tsunami. My body ached to be near him…just like the man on the bike. Could it be him? Had he really followed me here?
I stepped forward timidly.
What was I doing?
One more step.
Why were my legs moving without me telling them to?
A horrible impulse surged through me to rush to his side. I longed for him to fold me in his all encompassing embrace.
I was insane.
I did not know this man.
So why did I feel his pull no matter how hard I fought? Maybe I was hallucinating again. But how could a hallucination make my heart ache like this?
My faltering will and terrible need collided violently: I had to get closer to him.
He was my world.
I was reborn.
I smiled at my redeemer.
He moistened his bottom lip, biting down invitingly. Ever so slowly, his hands moved to the edge of his hood. Just then purple light pulsated around him.
That wasn’t normal.
The thought floated away before I could grasp it.
A new one needed my attention.
I was going to see him. My heart beat frantically in my chest as if it might sprout wings.
Did I look okay? I raised a self-conscious hand to smooth my saturated hair and wiped running mascara from under my eyes. Hardly aware of what I was doing, I took another step toward him.
My body convulsed when he hesitated and pulled his hood back into place. The only part of his face I could see was those glorious lips. Why was he suddenly frowning? Did I do something wrong?
Voices cut through my thoughts.
Someone was giggling. I hadn’t seen it before, but another path shimmered into view between us.
The hold this man had on me shattered. Apprehension flooded through me in a relentless wave.
He moved closer.
What was I still doing here? Why hadn’t I run when I had the chance? I retreated another step. I could still scream.
He frowned as if he knew what I was thinking and spun toward the chatter.
His rugged jaw tightened before his head veered to the right and back at me. His fists clenched at his sides.
One heartbeat. Two.
A flash of white.
A predatory smile curved his mouth moments before he saluted me. Then he stepped off the path toward the forest, disappearing behind a thicket of trees.
I remembered how to breathe.