Atonement: Lilith the Calico

Lilith and mirrorCharacter Interviews: Lilith the Calico

Teagan: Lilith, won’t you come over here and sit with me? (She looks all around the room — everywhere but at me.) You’re even prettier than I expected. (Now she jumps onto the sofa.) For this interview, the Creative Muse has given you the power of human speech.

Lilith: Meow…

Teagan: Now, Lilith. There’s no need to be contrary. You know you can talk for now. Take advantage of it. I understand you were a rescue kitty. Tell us about your life before Ralda adopted you.

Lilith: Meow…

Teagan: (I sigh… ) I think what everyone wants to know most about you is — are you really a cat? Or are you some kind of supernatural? Maybe an enchanted person?

(Lilith narrows her eyes then turns her back on me and proceeds to wash her face.) All righty then; I’m not going to get an answer to that one either. Okay, moving on. You tell the parts of the story that Ralda doesn’t see. What about Cael? Do you know more about him than anyone else? …Are you purring?

Lilith: Oh, Cael is simply divine. (Purrrrr…) Yes, I know more about him than Ralda does — at least up until the end of the story. He’s strong, powerful, and he knows about a lot more than is apparent. Cael is also childlike sometimes, which is an intriguing contrast to his strength. I also sense even more about him than I witness. I can’t really say everything I sense. I can’t quite put my paw on some of the things.

Teagan: At least that brought you out of your shell. Ralda said you like attractive men. Anyway, I don’t think Ralda really trusts him. Do you know why?

Lilith: She can’t put her paw on it either. Or rather she can’t put her finger on it. Cael is truly extraordinary though. His backstory is only hinted at in this novel. I’m sure there will be more about him in “book 2.”

Teagan: What about Gwydion? Ralda seems to try to trust him. Should she?

Lilith: (She purrs again, even louder. Then she even turns halfway upside down, a paw across her face.) Ah… Gwydion! Oh he smells delicious, all manner of flowers and herbs and catnip. Did you know that he brought me catnip?

(Lilith sits back up, still purring.) Gwydion is a magical creature, you realize. His magic is tied to flowers. It’s not stated outright in the novel, but it’s pretty obvious. At the very beginning it’s even hinted that his grandmother was a faery. You know, Fae’s Flowers, named for his Gran?

Teagan: Who do you think is stronger, Gwydion or Cael?

Lilith: Oh, it would be awful if those two fought, wouldn’t it? But it would be sexy! No, I couldn’t bear for either of them to get hurt. I’m not sure, but I have a suspicion that if it came down to it, Cael might be stronger than Gwydion. I’m not sure. I don’t like that question.

(Her tail makes a slash-thump against the sofa. Lilith jumps down from the sofa and sashays out of the room.)

Atonement: Ralda Lawton

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Available in paperback, Nook, and Kindle

On Christmas Eve, I finally released my debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee.  With that done, I thought it would be good to re-blog the few posts I did a year ago — when I first started getting ready for the book’s (postponed) launch.  I did a couple of character interviews.  This one is with the heroine of the story.

Character Interviews:  Ralda Lawton

Teagan:  Welcome Ralda.  Thanks for stepping outside of Atonement, Tennessee for this interview.  Forgive me if I’m not great at this – I’ve never interviewed one of my characters before.  Help me avoid giving any spoilers in this!  (I laugh.)

Ralda:  That’s no problem.  I already know that you used assorted bits of yourself not just for me, but for all the women characters in Atonement.

Teagan:  Yes, that was the only way I could write an entire novel in thirty days – for the 2012 National Novel Writing Month.  However, you are your own woman.  You’re not my alter ego, even if there is a good bit of me in your character.  But this interview is about you, not me.  So, are you really a small town girl at heart?Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268

Ralda:  I should have known you wouldn’t let me get away with controlling the interview.  (She jokes.)  Not exactly.  I’m more of a city girl who prefers small towns.  I don’t think that’s quite the same thing.  Despite all the crazy things that have happened since I moved to Atonement, TN, I like the town and the people.  There is always more to the people than I expect.  Plus I feel like it’s the kind of place where I never know what might happen.  I mean, it’s interesting.

Teagan:  What do you think about Gwydion?

hero-position-6468259Ralda:  Ugh!  I knew that was coming.  I try not to think about him – or Cael for that matter.  Gwydion is undeniably handsome and charming, and sometimes I admit that I’m attracted to him.  But…

Teagan:  But you don’t trust him? 

Ralda:  (She sighs and slouches back against her chair.)  I’m not a trusting soul.  When I ask him a question… it’s not that I think he’s lying.  But I always feel like he’s leaving out something; like I’m hearing a partial truth.  So how could I trust him?  Besides that, it seems like odd little things happen when he’s around.  I don’t know how to explain that, but it doesn’t help me trust him.Gate Ajar Night

Teagan:  Speaking of souls…I understand your new home has a cemetery.  (She shakes her head as if she can’t believe that herself.)  How do you feel about having a graveyard on your property?  Also, is one of the graves that of your ancestress?

Ralda:  I admit it was a creepy idea at first.  But I was so drawn to the house, Sunhold, that I tried not to think about the cemetery.  I sort of ignored the fact that it was part of my new home.

Teagan:  I’ve noticed that seems to be how you handle things that bother you – deciding not to think about them.  (She looks at me archly, but then sheepishly.)  I’m sorry – please continue.

Ralda:  I realize that – thinking about something later, is not one of the traits I get from you.  Don’t even try to figure it out.  It’s old baggage.  Like I said, at first I thought having my own cemetery was creepy, and right off the bat I had a frightening experience there.  However, I quickly came to feel protective of the old place.  It was overgrown, and unthreatening.  It has a certain kind of beauty.  It seems contemplative, peaceful, and oddly vulnerable.  There is something special about that old cemetery.Lilith standing on stone

As you know, Ralda is a nickname I chose.  My given name is Esmeralda.  One tombstone in the old cemetery has the name Esmeralda Gwynedd.  My friend and neighbor, Bethany, is absolutely determined that it is an ancestress of mine.  We’ll have to see how that plays out.  You said not to give any spoilers.

Teagan:  True.  With spoilers in mind, maybe we should leave it at that.  At least for now.  Thanks Ralda.  I know you’d much rather be in Atonement, TN than in DC talking to me.

Atonement, Tennessee is available in the following formats:

A Departure

Atonement, Tennessee was a style departure for me.  I usually write what I like to call “quest type” fantasy.  While it’s a fantasy, Atonement is written in first person, and set in our current, real world.  It was designed to be something I could write ultra-fast for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2012.

Since it was within the NaNoWriMo rules to use existing notes and research, that’s exactly what I did.  (Again, the need for speed)  I had unused ideas from developing The Dead of Winter.  That’s why both stories involve Celtic mythology.  However, without digging deeply into a self-analysis, I think that’s about where the similarity ends.  The two books are quite different.

Right now I want to focus on finishing The Dead of Winter.  However, I plan to independently publish Atonement soon.  I got the free printing offer from Create Space, and they looked great.  That really encouraged me.  It was so exciting to have a “real” book in my hand that I had written!

Working on Winter

This weekend I was hard at work on The Dead of Winter (DoW). Everything is gearing up for the big showdown. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write and post a synopsis soon.

DoW is what I like to call a “quest type” fantasy. That’s the type of story that I usually write.  Atonement, Tennessee was a style departure for me. It was designed to be something I could write ultra-fast for National Novel Writing Month. While it’s also a fantasy, Atonement is written in first person, and set in our current, real world.

DoW, however, is another matter. It’s a well-developed fantasy world, with a wide assortment of characters. (That’s what I love about writing fantasy – the world building.)

This weekend I got support from friends in New Mexico who were quick to reply when I asked them to send me “3 Things.”  That’s a writing exercise I created for myself.  Take three random things, and write at least until I’ve mentioned all of them.  The “3 Things” they sent helped get me around a block.

This book is a long-term labor of love. Working fulltime, I can’t shift gears to write fantasy during the week, when I’m doing real-world tasks. So, it’s taking forever to finish DoW, but I hope to do so before winter is over again!  Wish me luck.

Synopsis: Atonement, Tennessee

Synopsis:  Atonement, Tennessee

Ralda-in-car_dreamstime_xs_28934268Look for some characters inspired by figures in Celtic mythology in this urban fantasy that comes with a side order of mystery.

It is a dream come true for Ralda (short for Esmeralda).  An old estate, complete with historic cemetery, and she’s won it at auction.  Okay, she isn’t so excited about the cemetery, but she’s strangely drawn to the estate.  She leaves the big city for the cozy, quiet, small town of Atonement, Tennessee.  However, her new life is anything but quiet.

The estate house is full of antiques, some of which have extraordinary properties, such as a brass bed that causes strange dreams, and a mirror that might show the truth of who you are.Mirror

The graveyard is secretly watched over by a mysterious neighbor.  Ralda knows there’s more to him than meets the eye, but what?  She’s drawn to his exciting combination of childlike innocence and something else that she can only describe as dangerous.  However, despite the fact that he rescued her cat, she is distrustful.

Ralda becomes intrigued by the owner of a local business, Fae’s Flowers, but she stubbornly resists her feelings for him.  A charmer with a compelling gaze, his name is Gwydion.  He has an amazing way with flowers that one might even call magical, and he knows an awful lot about her new home.

She quickly makes friends with a group of neighbors.  Just when Ralda thinks she’s off to a great start in her new hometown, she witnesses a gruesome sight and one her friends becomes a murder suspect.  As if that didn’t complicate her life enough, that brass bed is giving her the most extraordinary dreams!

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