You just released the first book in a brand new series called The Grim series. The book is called STORM WARRIOR. Could you please tell us more about this book?
This is a departure from my usual Changeling (werewolf) stories. In fact, there isn’t a wolf in sight! Here’s the blurb:
Two thousand years ago, Rhys was the fierce Celtic warrior branded by the Romans as “the Bringer of Death.” Mortally wounded in battle, he was captured by the Fair Ones, cunning and powerful masters of the Welsh faery realm. They spared his life…but for a price. As a grim, he has roamed the earth as a messenger of death—until a single act of kindness breaks the ancient enchantment and delivers him into a strange new world…
As a child, Morgan Edwards marveled at the faery tales spun by her beloved grandmother, stories of the magical beings hidden in the heart of ancient Wales. But now Morgan is all grown up, a veterinarian who believes only in what science can prove—until the night a massive black dog saves her from a vicious attack, and life as she knows it changes forever. Suddenly a stranger stands before her, the man of her dreams made flesh and blood not by science, but by a magic that could bring them their hearts’ desires…or cost them everything they have.
You published a short e-novella called A LEAP OF KNOWING awhile back and it inspired the STORM WARRIOR, a full length novel. Could you please tell us what drew you to continue to this story? And also, do readers have to read A LEAP OF KNOWING to fully understand STORM WARRIOR?
Frankly, the characters “hounded” me to continue – really and truly, they would NOT leave me alone. There was SO much more to tell than the little novella could hold, and I always knew I would have to expand the book. And no, there’s no need to read the novella – it’s quite securely contained inside STORM WARRIOR, but now my readers will get the full story!
Rhys is such a sexy name! How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Very often the characters come with their names when they show up in my head. Most of my characters are fully formed by the time they start pestering me to write about them. I always do my research though, and I double-checked to make certain this was a genuine – and old – Welsh name appropriate to the character.
How do you keep track of all the names, the mythology and story arcs in a series? Do you keep a document? A notebook to keep it all straight?
My husband will tell you that I leave a trail of paper wherever I go. It’s on every horizontal surface in the house, spilling out of my purse, stacked on the seat of my truck, you name it. I just HAVE to put down my ideas (it should be noted that my wonderfully supportive hubby got me a mini tape recorder to help with this process – I keep it on the nightstand for those middle of the night ideas).
Most of my notes for my current WIP, however, are loose in a single big plastic bin that I drag from place to place with me. I do draw big diagrams on giant sheets of paper of who’s doing what to whom, and I even have a storyboard in my office that I put cards on from time to time. In spite of all that paper, though, the story is largely juggled in my head.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing this book? What was the easiest?
For me, the hardest part is trying to ensure that the ordinary human in the relationship reacts appropriately when the paranormal partner reveals their “otherness”. I really hate stories where the heroine is all “Oh, you’re a vampire? Okay.”, and everything’s cool. You and I both know that’s not realistic. I spend a lot of time observing people and watching their reaction to new ideas, new concepts, forever trying to capture that difficult transition from WTF? to pure wonder.
The easiest part of any book for me is writing about animals. The heroine’s clinic is a natural for me – I spent time volunteering in one, I’ve had a small farm of my own, and I’ve known quite a few veterinarians.
For this particular book, I’d also say it was easy to talk about the faery mythology. Like Morgan, the heroine, I had a Welsh gramma to inspire me!
How would you say this new series is different in style from the Changeling series?
I think I would almost call STORM WARRIOR a paranormal fantasy. Yes, it’s a romance, but there’s so much more going on than just the relationship. And there are other characters to enjoy as well – a couple of which are probably my favorites of any I’ve written.
You’ve announced that STORM BOUND will be book two in the series. What little tidbit can you share about book two?
The first book revolves around the fact that Rhys, the hero, was captured and turned into a grim by the Tylwyth Teg (the ruling Faeries in Wales). The faery realm itself is suffering from a great deal of corruption and intrigue, and I realized that that’s where the story arc is. It’s not the human world that needs saving – it’s the faery realm. Because if they fall apart, they’ll take the mortal world with them.
With that in mind, it became obvious that I was going to need a bigger book – and therefore a series. Book Two is STORM BOUND, and the hero’s name is Aidan ap Llanfor, a 12th century blacksmith kidnapped by a faery princess and turned into a grim because he refuses her advances.
What’s the best way to celebrate a release of a book?
For me, there was only one way to celebrate THIS book. The grim is a giant mastiff. Today is release day and I finally got the opportunity to get up close and personal with a beautiful mastiff named Titus. I’ve researched mastiffs extensively, admired them from afar, but never got to actually touch one. This wonderful fellow let me put my arms around him and pet him and really feel what my heroine, Morgan, must have felt. This dog’s back comes up to my waist, and I’m not short! It was a truly amazing experience to feel Titus’s energy and his loving nature.
Do you have a favorite scene from STORM WARRIOR you’d like to share with the readers?
It’s important to remember that faery creatures come in all shapes and sizes. Some are beautiful, almost ethereal beings like angels in appearance. Some are very ugly. All are very dangerous.
One of my favorite scenes is as follows:
“Come along, now.” Rhys made soothing sounds at the big gray mare. “True it is that it’s a fine day but you’re not healed enough yet to be walking o’er much.” Instead of obeying, however, Lucy’s nostrils flared and she threw her head, yanking back on the lead rope and even showing the whites of her eyes.
He didn’t urge her forward again. Many a warrior had been saved by heeding his mount’s warning. Horses could hear sounds too soft and too high for human ears, and Lucy was too steady a beast to start at nothing. Rhys stood where he was and carefully studied their surroundings for something, anything, out of place.
The September afternoon was warm and still, a pleasant remnant of late summer. Yet there was no birdsong and even the insects had gone silent. There were no bees laboring in the nearby clover. No sound at all except for the quivering breath of the horse beside him. Then suddenly Rhys frowned at a large patch of tall grass just ahead.
How was it managing to wave without a breeze?
The stems appeared to be disturbed from underneath the soil. A burrowing creature, a mole perhaps, might move a few blades of grass as it moved through the earth. But the area affected was much wider than Rhys was tall. Suddenly a great mound of sod began to rise slowly like yeasted bread until it tore away from its surroundings. Clods of dirt rolled off the quivering earthen sides as something heaved itself upwards. An icy calm settled over Rhys, as it always had when it was his turn in the arena.
Thanking the gods that Morgan was yet at the clinic, he took firm hold of Lucy’s halter. He had no time to see her safely to her stall. Instead he turned her away and led her as quickly as he dared into the shade of the machine shed where she couldn’t see whatever happened. Tying her lead rope to a post, he prayed for the sake of her wounds that she wouldn’t break loose and run.
He needed a weapon. Rhys eyed the tools that hung in the shed and quickly settled on a long-handled spade. He hefted the thick hardwood shaft in his hands – oak, he hoped – and approved of the pointed steel blade at one end. It was old, but heavy and solid. He would have preferred a sword, or even a Roman trident, a fascina, but in the ring as in battle, one learned to use whatever came to hand. Armed, Rhys headed out to face whatever was invading the farm.
The mound, now chest-high, had split along its base on the side facing him, like a long gaping mouth with snaggled roots for teeth. The darkness within seemed blacker than shadow ought to be on a bright afternoon – and a pair of silvery eyes flashed in the depths, many handspans apart. Rhys allowed himself a quick glance at the house, reassuring himself that no one was home, and braced to meet the unseen enemy.
A hand-like appendage reached from the darkness, the flesh pale like something long buried as it grasped at the dirt with four long thick fingers. Its owner hesitated as if testing the strength of the sun – and suddenly the moist white skin flushed a deep and mottled brown. Nostrils flared on the sides of the blunt nose that followed. The flat, arrow-shaped head was as wide as a wheelbarrow and swiftly became the color of the earth as well as it emerged from the gaping crevice. Silvery eyes the size of apples flashed in the daylight but didn’t flinch or blink.
Blind but far from harmless, thought Rhys, as the creature’s mouth opened to reveal double rows of conical teeth, some longer than a spearhead. He’d seen these monstrous salamanders before. It was a bwgan, a creature of the darker side of the faery realm. Like the faeries themselves, bwganod lived almost forever.
Unlike the fae, they relished the taste of human flesh – and the creature’s nostrils were flaring as the great head tracked his location by smell.
Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with us!
Grim # 1
by Dani Harper
Enslaved for millennia by the masters of the Welsh faery realm, the fierce Celtic warrior Rhys is doomed to wander the earth forever. But when a brave beauty unwittingly breaks the enchantment, he is drawn into a strange new world…and an all-consuming desire.
Sensible Morgan doesn’t believe in magic—until a mysterious being saves her from a fate worse than death, and life as she knows it changes forever. Now the man of her dreams has become flesh and blood, igniting a spark in Morgan’s soul which science cannot explain. But even a love that transcends time may not be strong enough to withstand the power of an ancient curse.
From the best-selling author of Changeling Moon, this stirring novel of passion and magic launches an addictive new series for fans of paranormal romance.
BUY NOW: Amazon
About the Author:
Dani Harper is a newspaper editor turned paranormal author. There isn’t anything she likes better than exploring the supernatural — unless it’s writing sizzling and suspenseful romance. Of course, all of her stories have at least one foot in the netherworld!
Dani is the author of the Changeling series. CHANGELING MOON was chosen as a 2012 RITA Award Finalist in the Paranormal Romance Category by Romance Writers of America.
TWO brand new paranormal romance series begin this year. The Grim Series kicks off on August 6, 2013 with STORM WARRIOR. The Dark Wolf series is slated to begin October 15 with FIRST BITE.
Check Dani’s website at www.daniharper.com for the latest info.
Ms. Harper is giving away an MP3-CD of Storm Warrior
(it’s unabridged, read by actress Justine Eyre)