Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Rory Ni Coileain, another great MM writer Mark and I met at Rainbow Con. We had a great time with Rory – she’s sweet, sassy and a real kick.
Thanks so much, Rory, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Rory Ni Coileain: MM mythic and legendary fantasy – and, presently, erotic romance. The fantasy element is every bit as important to me as the romance; my stories turn out to be romances because the stories I most want to tell involve two (or occasionally more) people engaged in the biggest and scariest and most wonderful human endeavor ever – opening up heart and soul to another person. And it’s erotic because, well, I like to paint in big bold strokes.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
RNC: It was a short story in a BBW (big beautiful women) anthology for Ravenous Romance. I found the manuscript call totally by accident, and I decided it would be a fun challenge to try to write in a genre I’d never considered, totally to someone else’s specifications, and *gulp* meet a deadline. So I did it, and sent it off, and for almost a year I heard nothing. Turns out the project had gone through several editors, as anthologies sometimes do. So it was a total shock when I got the e-mail saying it had been accepted. And then while the anthology was being put together, the editor asked me if I thought I might have a book in me. By then I’d already finished HARD AS STONE…. And the rest, as they say, is history.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
RNC: I usually outline the first few chapters of a novel, then then next few once I’ve finished the first few and can tell what they’re supposed to be. By the time I’ve finished those, I usually have a pretty good idea what the rest of the novel is going to look like. But I’m trying to change this by outlining further ahead – I have a hard time jumping ahead in the story when I get stuck on something and I’d like to change that.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
RNC: Gosh, I’m pretty much an open book, so to speak… how about this, I’ve taken company class with American Ballet Theatre. (Well, company barre. Their center would probably have killed me. And a few bystanders.)
JSC: What was the first speculative fiction book (sci fi, paranormal, fantasy, horror) that you ever read? How did it influence you?
RNC: Well, when I was five years old, the first book I checked out of the school library once I’d convinced them I’d left the kiddie section behind a long time ago (a process that involved reading to the librarian from a book picked randomly off the shelves, which was a book about clouds. I remember there being cumulonimbus and cirrostratus involved) was Gods and Heroes of the Greeks. Never got over it. And my first sci fi was Dune. From which I learned a sense of wonder at the vastness of the universe, and an appreciation for the art of a good editor.
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
RNC: A Gille Dubh, a darag, and a bottle of Talisker. (See, Gille Dubh are really sexy male tree spirits who love good Scotch, and the daragin are sentient oak trees who can teleport people….)
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
RNC: Well, I’d kill Janek, except he’s already dead, kind of. And I’d definitely kill the Marfach, except it can’t be killed. Yet. Fucking and marrying are tricky issues because I tend to write fated mates – I think I’d have to write myself a love/lust interest. Fae are quite happily pansexual, so the fact that I write m/m romance wouldn’t be a problem…. Hmmm…. (goes off in a corner to think. Yes, think. Sheesh.)
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
RNC: Not really. But I do have a jones for blank books. I love the potential of a new notebook.
JSC: 9) Are you a plotter or a pantster?
RNC: I’ve always been a die-hard pantser, but lately I’ve started feeling a tug toward plotting. Maybe it’s just a phase.
JSC: 10) What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
RNC: I’m expanding “Ilya and the Wolf”, my Dreamspinner Advent Calendar short story for 2014, into a novella, “Wolf, Becoming”. Hoping to have it done any day now. If Dreamspinner picks it up, I have hopes it’ll be out by Christmas, but I really don’t know. MANTLED IN MIST, the next SoulShares book, comes out the first week in December from Riverdale Avenue Books.
And now for Rory’s latest release, Blowing Smoke:
Lasair Faol, Master of the Fade-Hounds to the Royal court of the Demesne of Fire in the Fae Realm, has been exiled to the human world by the Princess Consort for failing to catch her son’s kidnapper. Bryce Newhouse, Greenwich Village investment banker, is universally loathed by all who know him. Generally, he’s perfectly cool with that, but he discovers what he’s been missing—literally–when he finds Lasair chained in his basement.
Bryce was supposed to receive half of Lasair’s soul at his birth, but thanks to the Fae of Purgatory, the Pattern – portal between the worlds – has been damaged, and Bryce’s soul arrived thirty-one years too late. Now the exiled Fae is the shunned human’s only hope of healing his broken past. And with the fate of two worlds riding on that healing, Lasair is going to have to overcome both his race’s innate mistrust of genuine emotion and his own very unFae awkwardness, to have any chance of reaching Bryce’s impenetrable heart.
For some reason, Bryce was caught up in the memory of being taken to Long Beach by his parents, when he was maybe five or six years old. Walking out into the water, laughing as it came up to his waist, his chest. Then, without warning, stepping off a drop-off, and cold water closing over his head, his footing gone, his breath stolen in an instant.
He was having the same problem with his breath now, almost exactly, only this time it had nothing to do with water and everything to do with the fact that Lasair was kissing him again. Not gently. With soft growls, and a demanding tongue, and sounds that had to be hunger, there wasn’t any way they could be anything else.
Bryce wasn’t into kissing. You had to let men close for kissing to happen. Risk letting go. No fucking way. And right up until these last few minutes, that state of affairs had been fine with him. Now he found himself wishing he’d done enough kissing to know what the hell he was doing, so he could return what Lasair was giving him.
I’m still going to get the fuck out of here. In a minute. When he’s done.
Lasair’s knuckles brushed softly along the line of his jaw. He’d never felt anything like the pure delight the gentle caress sent rippling through him.
I am such a goddamned liar.
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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 the kind of rejection letter that puts therapists’ kids through college, and found other things to do, such as nightclub singing and volunteering as a lawyer with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, for the next thirty years or so, until her stories started whispering to her. Now she’s a legal editor, the mother of a budding filmmaker, and amanuensis to a host of fantastic creatures who are all anxious to tell their stories. And who aren’t very good at waiting their turn.