TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Alix: I don’t know if I have any actual quirks, although my cp’s and family may answer differently. I do tend to whine about midway through every book. Things like, “this book stinks” and “how did I ever think this was a good idea”, and the ever-useful, “Help!”. That’s when they pick me up, dust me off, and tell me to suck it up and get back to work. It’s habit, but it works. :-)
TQ: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Alix: Your blog isn’t long enough to list every author that has all of them, but I do have authors who hold a special place in my heart. I dedicated HEIR OF DANGER to four of them; Mary Stewart, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jane Austen, and Rosamunde Pilcher. These are my four go-to authors. Different in genre, style, characterization, but I read their books over and over whenever I need to get lost in a familiar story where the writing is flawless and the characters are old friends.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Alix: I’m a confirmed pantser so my process requires a lot of nail-biting and hair-pulling as the story moves forward, mainly propelled by my muse and lots of coffee. The hardest part is restraining myself from adding so many twists and turns in the plot that I corkscrew myself right into a corner (see answer above). Before I sit down, I will have a general idea about the major turning points of the story. Then it becomes a matter of connecting scenes to build the tension up to each point. But those scenes always evolve as I go and I’m never certain what will pop from a character’s mouth that will change everything.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Alix: Starting over. Every new book is a new challenge and I’m always certain when I begin that I have forgotten how to write and the new book will never be as good or better than the last one.
TQ: What inspired you to write the Heirs of Kilronan Trilogy?
Alix: The inspiration for the story came from a previous manuscript. The heroine of that book’s father was murdered under mysterious circumstances, and now and again there was an allusion to some larger dark conspiracy. From those seeds, the entire Heirs of Kilronan series grew. Though it wasn’t until I began writing the first book, EARL OF DARKNESS, that the King Arthur ah-ha! moment struck. After that, the story clicked into place pretty rapidly. HEIR OF DANGER is the culmination of the three books, so it was where I had to wrap up all my loose ends. This made it both easier since by the time I began writing, I knew my characters really well, and I knew where the story was going. The hard part was trying to write myself out of all the corners.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for the Trilogy?
Alix: The series is set in Ireland which is close enough to England that much of Society and custom were the same, but far enough removed due to its occupied status that there was a lot I had to learn before I could place my characters there. I found some fabulous research material on Ireland during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, both city and country life as well as travelogues and diaries kept by visitors to the country which helped tremendously plus some great travel maps from the period that zeroed me in on every little bump in their roads. And last but not least, my s-i-l is from Limerick, so I was able to pick her brain when I needed an authentic phrase or expression to place in my characters’ mouths.
TQ: Describe Heir of Danger (Heirs of Kilronan Trilogy 3) in 140 characters or less.
Alix: A man too dangerous to live. A woman determined to make it on her own. An inescapable destiny that will change both their worlds forever.
TQ: In Heir of Danger, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?
Alix: The most challenging characters were either Rogan or Helena Roseingrave. Both characters have clearly defined goals of their own that don’t always fall into line with that of Brendan and Elisabeth. I needed to give them strong and plausible motivations for acting the way they do and yet work to make them sympathetic characters.
The easiest character was also the most fun to write. Brendan Douglas is cynical, self-serving, but smart, determined, and never takes himself or anything else too seriously. I tend to write tortured heroes whose past actions still haunt them. Brendan is no exception to this, but while circumstances may be cripplingly dire, he never loses his self-deprecating sense of humor.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Heir of Danger?
Alix: This is the first time I’ve written an animal as a major character in a book. Killer is a stray dog who attaches himself to Brendan and Elisabeth along the road. When he first appeared in the story, I had no real idea of how he would fit into the whole. He was just a fun addition to their dangerous road trip. So it was almost as much a shock to me as anyone when he ended by playing such a pivotal role.
TQ: What's next?
Alix: I’m working on a new series, but plans are still sketchy at this stage. I’m also thinking about dipping my toe in the indie-world with a new book in my Bligh Family series. Again, I’m still in the beginning stages of this venture, but readers can catch any developments on my website www.AlixRickloff.com or my FB page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alix-Rickloff/101434889914147
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery
Alix: Thank you so much for inviting me here today to chat. Now, I want to turn the tables and ask a question of my own. It’s a new year and we’re all about resolutions and goal-setting this month. My goal for 2012 is to finally jump into the Twitter-verse. How about you? Something you want to do or somewhere you want to go before Dec. 31st? I’d love to hear about it!
About the Heirs of Kilronan Trilogy
Heir of DangerHeirs of Kilronan Trilogy 3
Pocket Books (December 27, 2011)
Mass Market Papberback, 400 pages
A man too dangerous to live . . .
After seven years outrunning enemies, friends, and his own soulcrushing memories, Brendan Douglas is risking everything on a desperate mission. He has vowed to thwart the evil mage Máelodor’s plans to unlock the past and reshape the future; unfortunately, the precious treasure that is his key to success lies with a woman Brendan jilted seven years before.
A woman determined to find a life of her own . . .
When her golden-eyed childhood hero abandoned her at the altar—disappearing in a storm of magic and mayhem, destruction, betrayal, and disaster—Elisabeth Fitzgerald struggled to put away her humiliation and loss. Finally, she has found a new fiancé and a comfortable future. Then, the one man she thought she would never see again appears—among her wedding guests. Brendan Douglas has returned.
An inescapable destiny . . .
It’s not just that Elisabeth is promised to another; Brendan knows he is drawing her into terrible danger. But he cannot resist the bewitching, brave, wholly unexpected woman his youthful nemesis has become. He promised to sacrifice everything, but is he willing to sacrifice Elisabeth?
Lord of ShadowsHeirs of Kilronan Trilogy 2
Pocket Books (June 28, 2011)
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Who is working the demon arts . . .
Was it her murdered father? Her fugitive brother? It has been seven years since Lady Sabrina Douglas cloistered herself with the Sisters of High Danu, but the questions remain. She is Other—a mixture of Fey and mortal—quietly using her powers to heal. That is, until she saves a half-drowned man, his soldier’s body a roadmap of scars, his fathomless eyes filled with heartbreaking loneliness. The inexplicable connection overwhelms her defenses, touching her heart, mind . . . and body.
. . . and to what end?
A man with no memory, Daigh MacLir seeks his past even as unknown threats fill him with monstrous rage and inhuman abilities. But as a desperate game of hunter and hunted is played out from ballrooms to bedrooms, what Daigh discovers is more chilling than anyone could possibly imagine. Defying death was only the first step in the task he has been given, and Sabrina is his last hope. But dare he risk involving her? Daigh has been summoned to find an ancient king, and even the powers of love may not be enough to win the battle against the powers of darkness.
Earl of DarknessHeirs of Kilronan Trilogy 1
Pocket Books (December 29, 2010)
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
The magic she tries to hide . . .
Born a lady, but reduced to surviving in the slums of Dublin, Catriona O’Connell has been hired to steal a mysterious book from Aidan Douglas, Earl of Kilronan. But Cat is secretly Other, an age-old mixture of Fey and human—something Aidan recognizes immediately when he surprises the lovely young burglar in his library, about to steal a magical diary.
. . . is the magic he desperately wants.
From the moment Aidan sees her, Cat’s spirited beauty enchants him, but her uncanny abilities are what he truly needs, for Cat can understand the mystical language in the diary he inherited from his murdered father. So Aidan makes an offer: translate the book or be thrown in prison as a thief. And as Cat slowly deciphers each page, she and Aidan are drawn together by passion . . . and into the violence of the Other world that is the Kilronan legacy. Can they defeat those who seek the book, or are their lives in even greater danger than their hearts?
www.AlixRickloff.com, www.facebook.com/pages/Alix-Rickloff/101434889914147 or www.blameitonthemuse.com.
What: One commenter will win a copy of Heir of Danger (Heirs of Kilronan Trilogy 3) from Alix. US/CANADA ONLY.
How: Leave a comment answering Alix's question:
Is there something you want to do or somewhere you want to go before Dec. 31, 2012?
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 US or Canadian mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, January 18, 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.*