Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Interview with Diana Pharaoh Francis and Giveaway - December 27, 2011

Please welcome Diana Pharaoh Francis to The Qwillery. Diana is the author of the Horngate Witches series, the Crosspointe Chronicles, and the Path series.  Diana's most recent novel is Shadow City, the 3rd book in the Horngate Witches series. Shadow City is published today by Pocket Books.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery and Happy Release Day for Shadow City!

Diana:  Hello and thanks for inviting me to play in the sandbox with you!

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Diana:  Hmmm. A quirk. Well, you know how people at home will shout at the people on the TV expecting them to listen? Like when the person on Wheel of Fortune should know the puzzle but doesn’t? I do that at the characters on my computer. I will yell at them and tease them and generally abuse them. Out loud. And pretend like I have no control over what they do. I mean, I OWN the delete button, right?

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Diana:  Honestly, it depends on the story. I like to have some things planned out and the more the better. But a lot of times it takes me writing the story to discover what will happen. So even if I plan, I often end up pantsing. But sometimes when I plan, I will actually follow it. And sometimes I start with a voice or an image or a scene and just chase it down to see where it’s going to end up.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Horngate Witches series, Bitter Night, Crimson Wind and Shadow City?

Diana:  I was noticing that all sorts of things were happening all over the world. Bridges collapsing, the mud volcano in Jakarta, hurricanes, tornadoes, famines, floods, disease . . . Pretty apocalyptic stuff. And I started wondering, what if someone was behind all of it? That it was purposeful? Then I started wondering who and why and the answers evolved into the Horngate books. I also had this face in my head of a girl I’d seen on a bus in Ames, Iowa a number of years ago. I never forgot her or her expression and walked into my questions and started tearing up the place and became Max.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of the Horngate Witches?

Diana:  I read a lot about magic and folklore. Most all the critters in the books come from some kind of real stories from around the world. I have very little that I make up. There is such a rich story heritage out there and I want to take advantage of it. Who knew that Easter Island had its own peculiar brand of fairy? Or that Hags came in varieties? It makes writing very exciting.

I also research places. I want them accurate. I go there if I can, but Google World is my friend and so is the internet in general. And people. My goodness, but I’ve had some amazing help from kind strangers on the net who go visit places for me and report back, or they take pictures. I can’t tell you how important that has been.

TQ:  Describe Shadow City (Horngate Witches 3) in 140 characters or less.

Diana:  Max goes to war with Scooter and Horngate ends up with a magical nuclear bomb in the backyard. It gets very ugly.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Shadow City?

Diana:  Hmmm. Not giving anything away. That’s not hard or anything. I would say . . . there are several, but I can’t mention a couple. But I can mention: When Giselle gets to meet Holt and Valerie and has to ask them for help. I did like that scene. Oh, and when someone very important dies and someone very important goes off the deep end. And the Torchmarch. I love the Torchmarch.

TQ:  In the Horngate Witches series, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Diana:  I think Scooter is the hardest to write because he is so enigmatic to everyone, even me, and I know a lot about him. Making him feel like a real person was tough. The easiest is probably Max. I know her so well now. And she’s so fun to write. I guess troublemakers are.

TQ:  Do you and Max have anything in common?

Diana:  She and I both like to eat a lot? Only she never gains weight, dang it. I like guns too. And I’m a bit snarky with my friends. Who are snarky back.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the series?

Diana:  Right now, four. I’d like to explore some other characters and some other places and have some ideas for those, but a lot depends on how well received these books are. So please! Go buy one for Christmas! Buy ten and give them a way!

TQ:  What's next?

Diana:  I’ve got a short story coming out in Demon Lover: Succubi, which will release very soon. I’m finishing up Blood Winter, which is the fourth Horngate book, and I’m working on some other things that I hope will see the light of day soon. And maybe sleeping. And probably shoveling snow. And doing laundry, dishes, and cleaning bathrooms . . . Ah, the glamorous life of a writer.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

About the Horngate Witches

Shadow City
Horngate Witches 3
Pocket Books, December 27, 2011
Mass Market, 384 pages

The world is falling apart. The magical apocalypse has come. Now is the time to guard the covenstead against both raiders and refugees. But Max has been stolen by a powerful demi-god who is determined to force her to find a way to use a magical power she never knew she had—even if it kills her. Meanwhile, back in Horngate, a Fury is birthing. When the creature breaks free of the fragile bonds that enclose her, her rage will scour the covenstead from the earth.

Max finds herself in the Shadow City, a place of mysteries and magic, where she must battle for her freedom or become a slave to creatures of dreadful greed and power. Back in Horngate, Alexander must swallow his anger and pride if he hopes to defeat the Fury, a creature that no one has ever successfully fought before.

In the end, it will be courage, friendship, faith and loyalty that win the day. Or else so one will live to see tomorrow.

Crimson Wind
Horngate Witches 2
Pocket Books, December 28, 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages


Max knows what trusting the wrong person can cost you. Her former friend Giselle, a powerful witch, enslaved Max years ago, turning her into a Shadowblade—a deadly warrior compelled to fight for Giselle. But there's more at stake now than Max's thirst for revenge. The Guardians, overseers of the magical world, have declared war on humanity and on any witches not standing with them. Max and Giselle have come to an uneasy truce in order to protect what's left of Horngate, their coven's home. Max would do anything for Horngate—even give herself over to a mysterious otherworldly creature in the nearby mountains in exchange for his help. But first, she intends to save the mortal family she left behind. And Alexander, the Shadowblade warrior who could be her closest ally or her deadliest enemy, is going with her.

On a road trip into the unknown, Max and Alexander face wild magic, desperate enemies, and battles that bruise both body and soul. But the greatest challenge will come from unexpected revelations that test everything Max believes about who she is—and where her loyalties lie. . . .

Bitter Night
Horngate Witches 3
Pocket Books, October 27, 2009
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages


Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom...and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle's personal magic weapon -- a Shadowblade -- and she's lethally good at it. But her skills are about to be put to the test as they never have before....

The ancient Guardians of the earth are preparing to unleash widespread destruction on the mortal world, and they want the witches to help them. If the witches refuse, their covens will be destroyed, including Horngate, the place Max has grudgingly come to think of as home. Max thinks she can find a way to help Horngate stand against the Guardians, but doing so will mean forging dangerous alliances -- including one with a rival witch's Shadowblade, who is as drawn to Max as she is to him -- and standing with the witch she despises. Max will have to choose between the old life she still dreams of and the warrior she has become, and take her place on the side of right -- if she survives long enough to figure out which side that is....

About Diana

Diana Pharaoh Francis was raised on a cattle ranch in Northern California. She spent much of her early life on horseback, or so far buried into a book that the rest of the world ceased to exist (much to the annoyance of her family). After much hijinks, adventures and near-death experiences, Francis began teaching English at the University of Montana-Western and started publishing books. She has written the Path trilogy, the Crosspointe Chronicles, and the Horngate Witches series.

She has a fascination for the Victorians, weather, geology, horses, plants and mythology, crocheting and random facts. She likes spicy food, chocolate and cheesecake, and she has an odd sense of humor. She has a husband, two children, and two very spoiled corgis. Incidentally, the Pharaoh is in fact her real name, and oddly enough, is of British origin.

Diana's Links:


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Bitter Night (Horngate Witches 1), Crimson Wind (Horngate Witches 2) and Shadow City (Horngate Witches 3) from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering 1 of the following question:

Who is your favorite witch from literature or TV? 
Who is your favorite female warrior from literature or TV?

You can list more than one if you have more than one favorite!

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. My favorite witch in the literary arts would be Heminone Granger from J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter series.

    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted
    +1 comment

  2. My favorite witch would be Rachel Morgan from books by kim Harisson

    My favorite female warrior: cats from the night huntress serie or Kate daniels from Ilobna andrews


    all the best and thanks you for this international giveaway


  3. God, I've got way too many! Witch: TV - Sandra Bullock from Practical Magic, all Charmed; literature - The Island trilogy by Nora Roberts all three witches; Camille from Sisters of The Moon series by Yasmine Galenorn.
    Female warrior: Seline (Underworld), Alice (Resident Evil) - actually any warrior by Mila Jovovivch, she is perfect! Jill Kismet from Lilith Saintcrow books, Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, Maliha from Dakota Banks series, Cat, obviously, from Jeaniene Frost series, also Jane Yellowrock (Faith Hunter), Anita Blake (LKH)... I better stop :)
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 blog mention
    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  4. My favorite female warrior is...MAX. ok too obvious? I do like her... TV i'd have to say XENA!!! woot. *nerd* happy release day Di!!!

    +1twitter (@witchywoman2118 to verify)

    Email the.purple.witch21188 at gmail dot com

  5. Hmmm.

    Favorite witch? That would have to be Granny Weatherwax from Discworld.

  6. Honestly, the first witch that came to mind was Samantha from Bewitched (the tv series, not the movie). For book witch, it would be Rachel Morgan.

    Female warrior? Xena as portrayed by Lucy Lawless or Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews.

    GFC Anne38

  7. My favorite witch would be Piper from the Charmed series. She was pretty level headed. My favorite warrior is Merit, from the Chicagoland vampire series. +1 Comment +1 follower brendem7@comcast.net

  8. My favorite witch from literature is Rachel Morgan. My favorite TV witch is Willow from the Buffy series.

    GFC: ML
    Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/Rogue237/status/151733554097831937

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  9. What a delightful post. I have been following Shadow City, but obviously did not follow far enough. I had not idea it was book 3. This is a series that I would love to sink my teeth into :) My favorite witch today is Rachel Morgan from her series by Kim Harrison.
    +1 question
    +1 follower
    +1 tweeted = https://twitter.com/#!/ZDz59001/status/151737829477728257
    Thank you for this giveaway fun and for the awesome post today.

  10. oh dang my fav heroine is SheRa and Wonder Woman, plus Xena. The classics all the way.

    + follow GFC Teril
    + comment

    terilhack at gmail dot com

  11. Please do not enter me, I have already purchased this book and I would like others to enjoy this wonderful series.

    I just wanted to say thanks for an awesome interview. I really enjoy this author and I'm sooo looking forward to this newest edition in the series. It's on its way through snail mail and I can't wait!!!

  12. my favorite witch from literature is Hermione from the Harry Potter series and from TV is Willow from the Buffy series.
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC: Blackwolf
    +1 tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/PandoraSWolf/status/151754853092302848

  13. My favorite witch from literature is Rachel Morgan from the Hollows series by Kim Harrison.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower


  14. I liked the witch Sandra Bullock played in 'Practical Magic'.
    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower
    +1 Tweeted - http://twitter.com/#!/DianeSallans/status/151779340370190337

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  15. I always loved Endorra from the Bewitched series. (I also liked Uncle Arthur, though he was a warlock.

    Diana's books sound great; I look forward in reading them.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  16. I love Savannah from Kelly Armstrong's books. I also really like Hermione Granger.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  17. Hmmm...
    Favorite witch: Does Corine Solomon (Ann Aguirre) count as a witch? If not then I pick Persephone Alcmedi (Linda Robertson)
    As for favorite warrior woman: Maxine Kiss (Marjorie N. Liu)

    comment, follower, tweeted = +3


  18. My favourite witch from literature is Hermione from Harry Potter. I loved Samantha from Bewitched and the witches of Charmed!

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  19. My favorite witch is Hermonine from Harry Potter. I also like Luna Lovegood from HP too.


  20. My favorite witch from TV is Willow Rosenberg from Buffy. From books I'd have to go with a popular one, Rachel Morgan.
    My favorite female warrior from TV is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. From books I'd choose Jennifer Estep's Gin Blanco.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  21. Sabrina is my go-to witch :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    I facebooked the contest. GFC Krystal Larson

  22. OMG, so many...
    I loved Samantha from Bewitched... Mildred from the Worst Witch, Willow from Buffy... and so many more in books... including Hermione in the Harry Potter series... Probably my fav witchy story from the last year was A Discovery of Witches. AND I was always a big fan of Wonder Woman... LOL!
    Thanks for the contest!

  23. My favorite witch is Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and my favorite warrior is Xeena. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber. Tore923@aol.com

  24. Here's my super lame answer- when I saw the question for who your favorite female warrior is, my mind automatically jumped to Mulan. Lots of favorite witches, but I'll say Rachel Morgan (and shout out to the witches on The Secret Circle.) See, super lame.
    I'm a gfc follower


  25. hmmm Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews, Elena from Nalini SInghs Archangels, Gin from Jennifer Esteps Elemental Assassin Series.. those are some of my fav warrior women..

    + following

    alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

  26. Mine would be Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews).

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follow
    +1 Tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/LindaThum/status/151932925938647041


  27. My favorite female warriour would be Buffy. Frem the literature it would be Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews books.
    +1 comented
    +1 GFC follower as Sofija Kapranova
    +1 tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/soni_sonik/status/151938558104584192

  28. My favorite witch is Rachel Morgan from books by Kim harisson.

    My favorite warrior is Elena Deveraux from books by Nalini singh.

    Thank you for amazing giveaway!! and make ths international.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  29. Hermione from HARRY POTTER would be my favorite witch. Feisty & intelligent are a great combination.

    I follow: Mary Preston


  30. thanks for this great giveaway!I think my favorite witch from literature is Alex Craf from the Alex Craft books by Kalayna Price, or Tammy Jo from the southern witch series from kimberly frost; I really like both of them, they're amazing!

    I'm a follower: Melliane

    I've shared on twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/betweendandr/status/151976469982228481


  31. 1+ I know she was evil but i like Bellatrix from the Harry Potter books.
    1+ GFC: Gisele Alvarado
    1+ tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/Gisselle_Alv/status/152120136650862592


  32. The covers for these books are kick ass!
    Willow is my favorite TV witch; she was just the best!
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB

  33. Great interview, Diana & Qwill. Now you've made me add another series to the TBR... ;)

    My favorite witch, huh? Well, from books, Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan, hands-down. As far as TV, does a movie witch count if we can watch it on TV now? 'Cuz my first witch love was Glinda, the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Now if movies don't count, on TV I've always been partial to Willow on Buffy. (Speaking of whom, Buffy fits in on the fave fem warrior part of the question...LOL)

    Guess I better get my budget figured out so I can fit in all the books you're making me buy, what with finding more and more and more titles that sound so good. *sigh*

    (comment, follow, retweet)



    XENA ,


  35. My favorite witch from TV is Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries tv show. She's great, oh and I love her lips :)
    +1 comment
    +1 follower

  36. My fav. witch is Sandra Bullock's character from Practical Magic. Love that movie and don't understand why I don't own it. Hmmm, must change that :)

    +1 GFC follower
    +1 commented
    +1 tweeted-https://twitter.com/#!/joleneallcock/status/153196933786243072


  37. My favourite witch would have to be Tara from Buffy - she was so cool! I always enjoyed watching Charmed as well though. From books though I lov Paige from Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series

    Favourite warrior - Xena just rocks! And Mulan of course! :-)

    + 1 Follower - Mel S
    +1 Comment

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  38. My favorite witch is Bonnie from Vampire Diaries (the show not the books)

    megnate at telus dot net

  39. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/zaira_faith/status/153948926272221184

    megnate at telus dot net

  40. Jadis of Charn, the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia is my favorite witch. Favorite female warrior is Eowyn from Lord of the Rings.

    Retweeted by @timlewis: http://twitter.com/#!/QQwill/status/154364555462582274

    lewis dot tim at gmail dot com