Woo hoo! We are thrilled to have you here today, Coreene. Welcome to our annual “A Scandalous Affair” Historical Romance event! And thank you for being here and helping us close out our historical romance month!
Thanks so much for inviting me! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here today. Particularly for an event called “A Scandalous Affair”? Sounds like to so much fun!
For our readers who have not had a chance to read your books before today, could you please introduce yourself? Maybe share some interesting facts that readers would not know?
Oh, boy. I never know what to say when asked this question! I always think, “What…me? Not much to tell.” But for you? I’m willing to try, so here goes…
I’m the author of both the Dragonfury novels and the Circle of Seven series. Last year, I released four books, three in the Dragonfury series (Fury of Fire, Fury of Ice and Fury of Seduction) as well as Knight Awakened, the first book in the Circle of Seven series.
Fury of Desire (Dragonfury series, book 4), I’m excited to say will be released this fall—October 15th, 2013. And I’m super excited about that!
Okay, so what else? I’m Mom to three very busy girls and one happy-go-lucky golden retriever. I love sports of all kinds, have played hockey all my life, and was an interior designer before I became a full time writer. I still dabble in design, and am constantly repainting rooms, moving furniture around while I fantasize about gutting my kitchen to design the one I really want. All of which drives my hubby crazy!
You have begun a new series called the Circle of Seven. What was the inspiration for this series?
Inspiration comes from all kinds of places. But for me, it usually begins with one character. In this case, it was Xavian, hero of Knight Awakened.
From the moment he walked into my head, I knew he was special, the kind of guy I couldn’t take for granted. Complex characters intrigue me. Especially when one arrives fully formed and with a boatload of attitude.
Xavian was like that. Hardened by war and brutalized by circumstance, he strode in and tried to take over, to control the pace, play and direction of the story. He did a good job of it too…making me scramble to keep up with him and the elite group of assassins he leads. A force of nature packed into a gorgeous package, he’s a bad boy with serious attitude: a lover, a fighter, a strategist with the cunning of a chess player and the skills to back up every move. But more than anything, he’s a man in need of repair, a wounded warrior desperate to find acceptance and be loved by right woman.
And honesty, the more I learned about him, the less I wanted to resist him. His story needed to be told.
The first book KNIGHT AWAKENED is set in 1331 AD. Why did you decide to set your series in this time period?
I fell in love with medieval age as a pre-teen. From the moment I learned about Kings and knights in history class, I became enthralled with the time period, its customs, culture and the political landscape that formed both. I guess you could say I’ve always been a history buff, so it feel very natural for me to set a story down in the medieval era. The first two novels I wrote were set in Medieval England. And the third? Well, that book is Knight Awakened.
Not many know this, but I actually wrote Knight Awakened before Fury of Fire, the first book in the Dragonfury series. So the dragons in my Circle of Seven series gave birth to the premise behind the Dragonfury novels, not the other way around.
Did you discover anything interesting while researching the 1330s?
Knight Awakened is set in an interesting place…fourteenth century Transylvania. At that time, the region was under Hungarian rule along with the other provinces that surrounded it. The political power plays between the leaders (or lords) of these distinct areas are fascinating. The geography is interesting too…lots of forests, incredible mountain terrain, verdant valleys. The more I learned about the area’s rich history and unique culture, I knew it was the right place to set the series. Add that to the fact Drachaven (the leader of my league of assassin’s castle) is close to Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), and I was sold.
I love going back to that world. It never fails to capture my imagination.
Though Knight Awakened is a new series, like Dragonfury novels, there are big sexy dragons in this world. What do you find so alluring about them?
Dragons have always intrigued me. It’s been that way since I first saw a picture of one in a history book. I was thirteen, and in that moment, my imagination took flight, allowing me to envision the possibilities. Legend and myth have always treated dragons like a scourge, a monster in need of defeating. But I’ve never seen them that way. To me, dragons are not only powerful, but majestic creatures capable of magnificent things: love, kindness, mercy, but above all heroism.
Not that dragons aren’t capable of the exact opposite. Oh, boy, are they ever! But even in those moments of nastiness, I love them. Not sure what that says about me, but I can’t seem to help myself. Dragons are my Achilles heel!
What can readers expect from book two in the Circle of Seven series, KNIGHT AVENGED?
Lots of action! Lots of up and downs! Lots of romance too!
Knight Avenged is Henrik’s story. A famed assassin, he’s a bad ass and terribly conflicted about serving the Goddess of All Things…the deity he believes abandoned him to cruelty as a child and is responsible for the death of his twin. The problem, however, lies in the fact his younger sister and best friend (Afina and Xavian from Knight Awakened, Circle of Seven, book 1) are now irrevocably linked to the Goddess.
On the verge of war with the Lord of the Underworld, he must decide what is more important…defending his honor and exacting revenge on the Goddess. Or protecting what is left of his family. Not an easy choice for a man who’s heart has been hardened by the savagery of his past and believes retribution is his by right.
So, lots of interesting stuff on the way in Knight Avenged. Not the least of which is the woman fated to heal his heart while helping him let go of his rage.
Were there any particular writers that influenced your craft or your desire to be a writer?
I knew from early age that I was a storyteller. It didn’t know what that meant, however, until my late teens. I started writing my first novel after reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. A teacher introduced me to the book, and in reading it, I awoke to the possibility of writing stories of my own.
Another huge favorite of mine at that time was Johanna Lindsey. She introduced me to the romance genre, and I loved her stories. Kurt Vonnegut was a big influence too. I enjoy his books and re-read them upon occasion. Stephen King is a favorite too. I read almost everything he writes, even though some of his books scare the heck out of me!
Can you give us a peek into the day of a writer? Do you write every day? If so, for how long?
I love mornings, so I do the bulk of my writing before noon. When I’m writing, I write everyday…weekends included. I don’t put a timeframe it. I prefer to challenge myself with word count. My goal is 1500 words a day. Sometimes hitting that mark takes a couple hours, sometimes it takes many more. But I don’t close shop for the day until my word count is in the kitty.
After I’ve finished a book, however, I like to take a break and recharged my creative batteries, which means I don’t write at all. How long the break last depends on how tired I am. Sometimes I take a couple of weeks to relax, sometimes as many as four, but I wait to start another book until I can no longer stand to be without a story. The second the pressure mounts (and I start itching to get back to my computer) is the moment I know I’m ready to begin the next novel.
Out of your own characters, do you have a favorite hero/heroine?
I think, like most writers, my favorite character is always the one I’m currently writing. Right now, I’m finishing Fury of Desire (Dragonfury series, book 4). This book is Wick’s story, so naturally, I’ve fallen head over heels for him. Although, I have to admit he’s been my favorite from very beginning of the series. I’ll believe it too, until I start the next book and fall in love with the next character!
Thanks again for inviting me to hang out with you today. I’ve had a lot of fun! To learn more about me and my books, please visit my website www.CoreeneCallahan.com or drop by my Facebook page for the latest news. I’d love to hear from you!
In AD 1331, warlord Vladimir Barbu seizes control of Transylvania. But in spite of his bloody triumph, his claim to the throne remains out of reach. The king of Hungary opposes his rule, the Transylvanian people despise his brutal ways, and the high priestess needed to crown him has vanished without a trace. But Barbu hasn’t come this far only to be thwarted by a woman. He unleashes his best hunters to track her down and bring her to him—dead or alive.
For Xavian Ramir, killing is the only life he has ever known. Torn from his family when he was a child, he was trained from an early age to be an elite assassin. But now he longs for something more, vowing to start anew after one last job. The bounty on his target’s head is enough to set him up for good—if he can resist the long-dead conscience that stirs to life when he meets his beautiful mark.
Afina Lazar never wanted to become high priestess, but the brutal murders of her beloved mother and sister leave her no choice. Now she is running for her life, desperate to protect the magical amulet entrusted to her care. But when Barbu’s assassin comes for her, she realizes her only chance of stopping the warlord’s rise to power is to convince this enigmatic—and handsome—hunter that she is more valuable alive than dead.
Dramatic and fast-paced, Knight Awakened is a stirring love story between two people searching for a second chance in a magical world of assassins, warlords, unearthly beasts, and nonstop adventure.
About the Author
As the only girl on all guys hockey teams from age six through her college years, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys and loves to write about them. Call it kismet. Call it payback after years of locker room talk and ice rink antics, but whatever you call it, the action better be heart stopping, the magic electric, and the story wicked, good fun.
After graduating with honors in psychology and working as an interior designer, she finally succumbed to her overactive imagination and returned to her first love: writing. And when she’s not writing, she’s dreaming of magical worlds full of dragon-shifters, elite assassins, and romance that’s too hot to handle. Callahan currently lives in Canada with her family and writing buddy, a fun-loving golden retriever.
Here’s your chance to win KNIGHT AWAKENED! US/Canada only