Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Brunch 12/15/13


First and foremost, it is a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to Harper’s Sunday Brunch Interview!

So, can you tell us what makes Rory Ni Coileain tick? What got you started on the path to becoming an author?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write! I majored in creative writing in college, a LONG time ago, but I got smacked down hard by my first rejection letter, and didn’t really write again (for anything other than my own amusement) until I started role-play writing about three years ago. After that… well, it just kind of snowballed.

What are you currently working on? Would you care to share a snippet?
The second novella in my Tales of the Grove series, Tempted from the Oak.

Gavin stopped walking, and Tearlach stopped with him. Reluctantly--for it was wonderful to be held in living arms once again--he straightened, took his weight on his own feet, and looked down into the human’s eyes. He knew Gavin’s eyes to be blue, but by moonlight they were as clear as rainwater.

Thank you, my human.

“Yours?” Gavin’s husky voice caught in his throat.

My darag brought you here for me. He smiled, his hands resting lightly on the human’s hard biceps. But you are only as much mine as you wish to be. Once more, he stroked the prickly softness of Gavin’s short hair, then caught him by the back of the neck and bent his head until their lips brushed. You steal my breath.

“Take mine.” Gavin laughed, almost soundlessly, warm and soft against Tearlach’s mouth. “I can’t think of a damned thing I’d want to be doing with it right now anyway.”

Do you include some of your own personal experiences in your books or do you prefer to use your imagination?
There are a few of my own personal experiences worked into my books here and there, but more often I share facets of my personality. I think the character who’s the most me is Garrett Templar, from Deep Plunge, though there’s quite a bit of me in Kevin Almstead, the lawyer from Hard as Stone, too.

What genre do you typically write in and why did you choose this over others?
Almost all of my published writing is m/m erotic romance. And I don’t remember ever “choosing” it – I think it chose me. I wrote m/m for the first time as a favor to a friend who really wanted to see what I could do with the genre, and I fell in love with it.

Do you have a specific process or a ritual you go through when sitting down to write?
Not really. The ‘ritual’ comes in after I sit down, when I try to make my son and my cat leave me alone long enough to actually write… there’s a lot of “pick the cat up, put the cat down, pick the cat up, put the cat down, erase the gibberish the cat just added to the story by walking across the keyboard” involved.

Where do you find your inspiration for your plots? Do you have any tricks of the trade you would care to share?
I’m not sure where the plots come from. I think maybe I believe in Muses; there are definitely times when I can feel a story telling itself. And if I’m trying to take a story in the wrong direction, I swear my Muse puts on the brakes. If I’m blocked, it’s always because I’m trying to take the story someplace it’s not supposed to go. Or forgetting something important. As far as ‘tricks of the trade’ go, one that I learned back in my first writers’ group has stood me in good stead for the last, um, 34 years. Only if there is absolutely no other choice will I write a sentence in the format: “I don’t like that,” he said. First of all, if all you’re going to add after a comma is “he said,” or “he asked,” don’t bother. You’re not adding anything – if the beginning of the sentence is in quotes, he obviously said something, and if it’s followed by a question mark, he obviously asked something. (I personally would add “he thought” to my list of no-nos, because I set thoughts off in italics, but that’s my own style and someone else might not share it.) And even other, more descriptive words – “he growled,” “he screamed,” “he groaned” – don’t add much all by themselves. And if I try to think of a way to make the next sentence convey the same information, by showing what he did next, or as he spoke, I always come up with a stronger image, something more vivid and more real.

What is the oddest place/situation where an idea for a book/plot has come to you?
Probably the liquor store. I was shopping for some Jamesons (I love a good Jamie and ginger), when I happened to notice a bottle of Tennessee Honey on the shelf next to it – Jack Daniels and honey liqueur. And Tiernan Guaire (my bad-boy Fae from Hard as Stone) laughed in my head and said “Fae get completely shit-faced on honey, you know.” And so he did, and it turned into one of the hottest scenes in the book.

What makes a book stand out and perk your interest?
If I’m shopping online, a well-written blurb. If the sell copy grabs me, I’ll read even something I hadn’t originally meant to buy, in a genre I’ve never read! I’ll also take the recommendations of friends whose taste I trust. Some of the best books I’ve ever discovered, I’ve come across because I told a friend “I’m in your hands, pick something you think I’d like.”

We all have our favorite authors. Can you share some of yours and tell us why you like them?
I grew up a science fiction and fantasy fangirl – I love Diane Duane, David Brin, Ursula LeGuin, Jane Yolen, Julian May. They all create incredibly vivid characters – and they all demonstrate how great characters and a fabulous plot aren’t either/or. That distinction’s drawn a lot in science fiction and fantasy – supposedly fantasy focuses on characterizations and science fiction is all about the story. These authors make it clear that you can have both – that you need both. And that’s what I strive for in my own work.

We all have a pet peeve, care to share yours?
People who are reflexively negative, all the time. It’s corrosive.

When you’re not writing, what are the things you enjoy doing to relax?
Hmm. When I’m not writing, working the day job, or doing mom things with my high school senior son (eek – when did THAT happen?) I love to sing. 20 years ago, I was a nightclub singer in Manhattan; now I love to sing Irish traditional music and pub tunes, and I sing in my church choir and with the St. Mark’s Cathedral Choral Society. And I used to love to do cross-stitch and crochet Irish lace, until I acquired a cat who likes to “help” me…

Thank you so much for joining me here today, Rory. I know my followers will enjoy this spotlight as much as I have conducting it. Good luck on all your future endeavors. 


Rory Ni Coileain majored in creative writing, back when Respectable Colleges didn’t offer such a major, so she designed it herself – being careful to ensure that she never had to take a class before nine in the morning or take a Hemingway survey course. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at the age of nineteen, sent off her first short story to an anthology being assembled by an author she idolized, got shot down in flames, and found other things to do, such as nightclub singing, for the next thirty years or so, until her stories started whispering to her. Now she’s a lawyer, a legal editor, an Irish dance teacher, the mother of a teenaged son, and amanuensis to a host of fantastic creatures who are all anxious to tell their stories.


Twitter or @RoryNi

Magick is reawakening after a sleep of thousands of years-and passion is not far behind. Darach is the first reborn of his race, a tree spirit living within an ancient oak on the shore of a remote loch.
Trevor knows nothing of magick or passion. He's escaping an oppressive family and a lonely life. One breath of freedom, he thinks, before his stark, loveless reality swallows him up. The last thing he expects from his vacation to the Isle of Skye is to spend his first night being thoroughly ravished against a tree by a naked man who speaks in the sounds of leaves and wind.
Darach never believed he'd have his heart stolen by any man, let alone one so different from any human he remembers. Freedom is intoxicating and the potential for sensual play limitless. But can what was built in a night of scorching desire survive both men's fear?


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