It is my pleasure to introduce award winning author C.L. Wilson to the Romance Bandits! C.L. combines sweeping sword and sorcery fantasy with the simmering passion of romance in her two-book publishing debut, Tairen Soul: Lord of the Fading Lands and Tairen Soul: Lady of Light and Shadows coming October and November 2007, from Leisure Books.
Welcome to the Bandit Lair, C.L! Congratulations on your debut release, Lord of the Fading Lands. Can you tell us a bit about your road to publication?
Thanks so much for having me. And thanks for the congratulations. I’m still very excited about the sale – and really looking forward to seeing my books in the stores in a week or so. Thanks, C.L.! To celebrate C.L. Being with us today, we're giving away three prizes; an 11"x13" poster of the cover of Lord of the Fading Lands, an 11"x13" poster of the cover of Lady of Light and Shadows and an autographed copy of Lord of the Fading Lands. So, Dear Readers, we'd love to hear from you. What was your most memorable travel experience? Where is your dream destination? Three lucky commenters will win!!
As for my road to publication…well, that’s been an interesting journey. I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was a little kid. I wrote my first story when I was six and started my first novel at age fourteen. Of course, I was one of those “million starts, zero finishes” writers. Ideas I had by the bucketful, but I was coming up skint on endings. Finally, when I was twenty, I typed my very first “THE END”. I thought for sure fame and fortune were right around the corner waiting for me! Er…not quite. My first rejection was, though. I did keep writing. I took a few fairly lengthy detours along the way – for college, career, marriage and kids – but I never gave up on my dream of publication. I studied, learned the craft, wrote – and finished! – another three books, each time getting closer to publication. I got critique partners and started entering lots of contests. My fourth book was a Golden Heart finalist and was the project that got me my agent. My fifth book was the one that sold.
My “Call” was pretty cool. The manuscript had finalled in the Low Country RWA’s Jasmine award and Alicia Condon at Dorchester was the final judge. She read the entry and emailed me to say she really liked it and if the rest was as good as the opening, she wanted to offer me a contract. I was very excited, but I also knew I’d broken all the rules with the book – it was 1,000 pages long (675 TNR12) – it was the first of a planned trilogy about the same couple, and it was sword & sorcery fantasy romance (nary a vampire or werewolf to be found). Anyways, Michelle and I shipped the thing off…and about eight months later (after Alicia got over the shock of the *size* of it) I received a call from Michelle who said “Well, would you like to sell a book today?” Most writers talk about screaming their heads off in excitement when they get The Call. I cried. LOL.
Of course, then my Call got even better – two days later, we got a second call, and the next thing I knew we were at auction (which is, really exciting and very nerve wracking, BTW). I sold the book to Dorchester, and I will always be grateful to them and to Alicia for taking such a chance on an unknown author.
Your books are a wonderful blend of fantasy and romance. What can you tell us about Lord of the Fading Lands and your next release, Lady Of Light and Shadows?
LORD and LADY are the first and second half of the original manuscript, called Tairen Soul. I had to split my 1000 page monsterscript into two books for publication – but they’re coming out back to back Oct 2 and Oct 30, so readers won’t have to wait too long. The books tell the story about an immortal shapeshifting Fey king, Rain Tairen Soul, who is trying to save his people (the Fey) and his soul-kin (the tairen - think fire-breathing dragon-sized panthers with wings) from extinction. He’s the last Tairen Soul – the only one of his people able to shapeshift into a tairen – and when he consults a magical oracle to find the key to saving the tairen and the Fey, it sends him to the mortal city of Celieria. There he meets Ellysetta Baristani, who is far, far more than the quiet, unassuming daughter of a mortal woodcarver she appears to be. Together, Rain and Ellie embark on a journey of love and self-discovery and perilous, high-stakes adventure in their quest to save the tairen and the Fey and defeat the dark forces of the High Mage of Eld.
What's next in this fantastic series?
I’m currently working on books 3 and 4 in the Tairen Soul series, which will conclude the story about Rain and Ellie. And then, well, that’s up to the readers. If they like the world, I’ve got many more stories to tell.
World building is an important part of this series. How did you go about creating the world of the immortal Fey and the evil Elden Mages? What about the legends, poems and art you use in the story?
I adore world-building. To me, it’s half the fun of writing the stories – I finally get to put all my years of trivial pursuit-worthy knowledge to use! LOL. I’m doing a series on the basics of world-building on my website blog, but in a nutshell, you find out what your story is about (both the plot AND the theme(s) of the story) and build an entire world or certain aspects of a world (cultures, creatures, magical systems) to explore, mirror, or set into conflict the plot and themes of your book. Successful world-building (Frank Herbert’s Dune series, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Christine Feehan’s Carpathians) completely integrate the world into every aspect of their book – without that special and unique world, the story could not be told.
I did a lot of world-building for this story. I actually started with a single image – an immortal Fey king, sitting on a throne before a magical oracle, facing the extinction of his peoples and desperate to find a solution. Everything else sprang from that one very vivid image. And it’s an ongoing process for me. I’m on the same journey of discovery as my heroine Ellysetta, and we find out all sorts of things together as the words appear on the page. (Of course, I have to pause to jot down new discoveries in my world building notebook so I don’t forget them!)
As for legends and poetry…oh, I love them. Like with like fairy tales and music, you can derive such powerful emotion from legends and poetry. Legends are just, to me, little short fantasy stories with full of concentrated emotion and drama. They are a delight to read and write. And the same goes for poetry.
I know you love to travel - what's your most memorable trip? Any dream trips you'd like to share?
My most memorable trip was the three and a half months my cousin and I spent backpacking around Europe after we graduated from college. What an amazing experience – one I’d highly recommend to every adventurous soul! Some of our most memorable experiences included a trip was to Berlin, Germany on reunification day – my cousin and I both got a piece of the wall – and to Prague, Czechoslovakia, not long after it emerged from the Soviet block. Both were fascinating, and very eye-opening first-hand experiences of what life was like for most people in the Soviet Union under the communist regime. Oh, and Pompeii. Defies description. Amazing. And Rome – the coliseum was right outside the door of our pension.
Apart from that, probably my favorite trip has been the honeymoon my husband and I took to Hawaii. We stood about 10-12 feet from red-hot pahoehoe lava as it poured into the ocean from the Mt. Kilauea eruption. Fascinating.
Thanks, C.L.! To celebrate C.L. Being with us today, we're giving away three prizes; an 11"x13" poster of the cover of Lord of the Fading Lands, an 11"x13" poster of the cover of Lady of Light and Shadows and an autographed copy of Lord of the Fading Lands. So, Dear Readers, we'd love to hear from you. What was your most memorable travel experience? Where is your dream destination? Three lucky commenters will win!!