Through the wonders of social networking I was able to meet the lovely Denise J. Tompkins to discuss her debut novel Legacy and what it took for her to take the giant leap into becoming a published author!
You are about to become a published author for the first time - how do you feel?
Remarkably nervous. There’s this overwhelming sense of trepidation—this knowledge that you loved this story, believed in this story, and now will be asking others to fall in love with characters who are so important to you as a writer. This is tempered with the knowledge that there will be people for whom the story is a DNF (Did Not Finish) or worse. So to say I’m nervous probably covers it all. J
I’m also bouncing-off-the-wall excited. I have wanted this since I was a four-year-old child. When everyone else wanted to be a fireman or a ballerina, I always wanted to be an author. It’s literally a life-long dream realized.
What made you decide to try to get your writing published?
I had a series of things go wrong in 2007, including losing my job. I was at home, physically unable to return to work, and I felt like life as I knew it was over. This went on for about two years before my husband handed me a new laptop and said, “Write. It used to make you happy.” I avoided the laptop for a few days until the idea for Legacy literally pushed me out of bed one night and forced me to begin writing. I ripped through the first draft, re-read it and thought, “This is pretty good.”
The child’s voice, the one who hadn’t given up hope when the adult in me had, spoke up. She said, “Here’s your chance to do what you’ve always wanted to do. How many people have you known who walked away from opportunity? Don’t be one of them.” So I began researching writers’ groups, organizations, seminars, retreats, agents and publishers. It took off from there and I began submitting my work with very strong, very positive results. I’m glad I listened to the kid in me.
Your first book, Legacy, comes out October 18th, what is it about?
Legacy is about Madeleine (Maddy) Niteclif, a woman at her wits end. She’s having nightmares she doesn’t understand, feels a sense of connection to places she’s never been and, above all, feels the need to get to the British Isles as quickly as possible.
The story is really her personal evolution, from a quiet, mild-mannered individual with no history to a woman with a history—and an inherited responsibility—so expansive she never could have dreamt it up had she tried.
It’s about strength, love, obligation, choices, adventure and, as you’ll come to find out as the series progresses, saving mankind from a paranormal world that would take its place as the dominant faction on the planet given half a chance. Maddy’s going to make sure that doesn’t happen.
What do you mean it is an urban fantacy with very strong paranormal romance elements?
Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy. The stories are generally set in an urban setting and supernatural elements are typically involved. While the time period can, technically, be any period, the most readily accepted period is present day.
With Legacy, the story is set in contemporary London and involves global mythologies. There is a vague prophecy to be fulfilled, and it involves love and commitment and choices for the heroine. While she’s human, her love interests are not. I like to combine the best of urban fantasy with paranormal romance. It can sometimes make it a bit of a difficult thing to “shelve” my books, meaning it’s hard to know precisely where they are categorized both online and in bookstores. My editor felt that urban fantasy was the best genre classification, so I ran with it.
On a scale from 1-10 – how hot is this book?
Yikes! Okay, I’ll give this a try. On my scale, ‘1’ would be something like “Love Comes Softly.” Hallmark made it into a movie. A ‘10’ would be something I haven’t read yet. An ‘8’ would be Denise Rossetti’s “Gift of the Goddess,” and that makes Legacy about a ‘6’ in my mind.
There’s definitely sex, and the hero isn’t bashful about it. But it’s also not gratuitous. Is it graphic? Well, probably…yes. But it wasn’t so graphic that it had to be classified erotic romance.
Is this book a series? What is next?
Legacy is the first book in The Niteclif Evolutions. The characters all carry forward, the world stays the same, etc. Each book has a primary and secondary plot. The primary is generally a mystery of some type; the secondary has to do with the choices Maddy Niteclif has to make.
The next book in the series is Wrath and Samhain will release it digitally in April 2012 and in print in approximately January 2013.
The third book in the series is named Vengeance and Samhain will release it digitally in November 2012 and in print in approximately August 2013.
What made you decide to write Legacy?
When my husband bought me the laptop, I involuntarily began rolling ideas around in my head. I’d ask myself questions like, “If you were to write a book, what would it be about?” and “If you ended up selling in Barnes & Noble, where would you want to find your novel?” It was like my muse was toying with me, getting me ready to write.
The night I began to write, I literally had all of my ideas coalesce and I rolled out of bed, snatched up the computer and went to the spare bedroom. I wrote for a couple of hours that night. I hammered out the first two chapters and making a rough set of notes regarding the rest of book one and the beginning of book two.
Really it wasn’t so much a choice as it was a necessity. I needed to write. I needed to give my brain something to do to keep it active. I needed to see if I could write an entire novel. And above all, I’d unwittingly fallen in love with characters whose stories needed to be told.
Any advice for others out there who want to write?
We’ve all heard about “Ass Time.” People tell you to sit your ass in the chair and write. I think this is the very best advice a new writer can ever get. Legacy is my first full-length novel, and it amazes me to see how my writing skills have grown over the last year. The biggest reason they’ve improved is because I make a commitment to write every day, seven days a week. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to be something.
You always hear how difficult it is to break in to writing. I encourage you to commit to your craft and prove them wrong. Show the naysayers exactly what you’re capable of by carving out writing time, going to conferences, finding local writers’ groups and pairing with a critique partner who’s better than you. Then write.
Thank you so much Denise for stopping by! Did Denise answer all of your questions? If not or if she piqued your interest leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!
Denise will be back hanging out with me a few more times in the next two months. Be sure to stop by again to meet her characters and talk to her again!
Purchase Legacy at www.samhainpublishing.com , www.amazon.com , www.barnesandnoble.com , www.fictionwise.com , and many other online retailers on October 18, 2011. (Samhain offers 30% off new releases for their first 30 days on the market.)
Legacy is released October 18th, 2011. But before then Denise will be back to chat with us about her characters and other juicy details! Be sure to stop by!
When Fate makes you her bitch, accept it and adapt. Or die.
Looking back on the wish she made on Midsummer’s Eve, Maddy Niteclif should have been more specific. She only wanted to escape the shadowy nightmares that plagued her nights, not to be thrust into a completely altered reality.
If a strangely familiar, sexy dragon-shifter named Bahlin, who causes a never-to-be-mentioned-again fainting spell, isn’t enough to make her question her sanity, his insistence she’s the Niteclif ought to do the job. Prophesied super-sleuth of the supernatural world—a world that desperately needs her help—isn’t a job she’s remotely qualified for no matterwhat her family tree says.
Catapulted into a very different London ruled by dark mythology, mystery and murder, Maddy makes a few startling discoveries. Paranormal creatures exist. Getting shot really sucks. And her body responds remarkably well to dragon magic—in more ways than simple wound healing.
But in this kill-or-be-killed world, reality bites. And Maddy must choose to go back to what she knows…or stay and fight for the man she knows she can’t live without.
Warning: This book contains a shape-shifting dragon with a Scottish accent, modern and archaic weapons, global inter-species politics that make democracy seem mild, some very steamy sex underground, a severed head, murder, and…oh yeah…a woman caught in the middle of it all.