I’m actually English, but I now live on an almond farm in the mountains of southern Spain between the Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean. I share the farm with my husband and a whole load of animals (four dogs, two cats, a horse, four chickens, two goats, and a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig). I write full time now, so my life is a combination of looking after the animals and sitting at my desk, typing away.
2) How long have you been writing?
I actually started a long time ago when I was working as a volunteer in Africa—I ran out of things to read and resorted to writing my own stories out of desperation. But writing was put aside for many years after I left Africa, and I started again when I moved to Spain. I’ve been writing seriously now for about six or seven years.
3) Do you have a favorite place to write?
I have an office where I usually write. I love it; there are bookcases on all the walls for inspiration (and distraction!)
4) Why did you decide to write Daughter of the Dragon Princess?
I wanted to write a paranormal romance, but I’d just finished a story with vampires and werewolves and so wanted something a little different. Dragons seemed perfect.
5) Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Actually, I’m going to go with someone other than my hero and heroine. Detective Cole is a police officer with the metropolitan police in London. He’s also my hero’s friend (and they are few and far between). Mal, the hero of the book can come across as perhaps a little hard at the beginning, and Cole gives opportunities for seeing Mal’s more ‘human’ side and hinting at what he can actually become.
6) How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
The bad guy—Vortigen the King of the Dragons. He’s a real baddie, not nice at all. On the other hand, he was great fun to write.
7) Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I had the book edited by a professional editing service. I’m not particularly strong on grammar, and I’d rather not waste my energy working out where a comma should or shouldn’t go. But I also believe that if you don’t get those details right, it can be very distracting. Also, a good editor (and mine was great—thank you!) can point out weakness and ideas as to how to make the story stronger, that the author is usually too close to see.
8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read, I walk my dogs and I ride my horse. I’m also quite fond of lying under almond trees with a bottle of wine and contemplating my latest plot problems.
9) Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I don’t read as much as I used to, as writing takes up so much of my time, but I still read a lot. Some of my favorite authors right now are Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Harlan Coben, Anne Bishop, Susan Elizabeth Phillips…
10) What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
Why did you choose to write about dragons?
I’ve always loved stories about dragons. Some of my favorite books have dragons at their heart, Dragonriders of Pern by Anne Mcaffrey, Game of Thrones by George RR Martin, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy. With Daughter of the Dragon Princess, I wanted to write a paranormal romance set firmly in our world, but also give it a flavor of those fantasy stories I enjoy so much. For me dragons do just that.
Daughter of the Dragon Princess
Genre: Paranormal romance
Date of Publication: 7th October 2013
Number of pages: approx.. 240
Word Count: 60k
Cover Artist: Keith Draws
Found abandoned as a baby and brought up in a children’s home, Lily Palmer has no clue that she is the last of the Dragon Princesses and destined to be mated to a king. But when she wakes up one night to find her apartment invaded by a stunningly gorgeous, but totally deluded madman, she can no longer ignore the dreams which have haunted her life.
Exiled on Earth, and trapped in human form, the dragons have waited two thousand years for the only person who can open the portal between their world and this one. Now they have found her and Malachite Smith has one job—to deliver Lily to his King. According to dragon law, only the King and the Dragon Princess together can open the portal and take them home.
But neither Mal nor Lily are prepared for the overwhelming attraction which flares between them. Or for his reluctance to hand her over to a king he despises. Can they stand as one and challenge the old ways, even if it means destroying his people forever?
“You know, all I ever wanted was to be normal.” Lily swiped the rain from her eyes and glared at the scene in front of her.
They stood on the crest of a hill. All around them, the land fell away steeply, and straight ahead, the stone circle loomed out of the mist.
“Doesn’t seem very ambitious,” Joe said, coming to stand beside her, his tall figure hunched against the downpour.
“Maybe not, but they didn’t exactly encourage us to dream big in the children’s home, and I thought—be realistic—keep my life goals small. How the hell hard can normal be?”
Too fucking hard, obviously.
She kicked a rock at her feet, and then winced. Trudging up here, cold, wet, her heels rubbed raw from her new hiking boots, she’d somehow convinced herself this whole thing was a figment of her imagination.
No such luck.
The scene before her was familiar. She’d seen it so many times… in her dreams.
It was official—she was a crazy lady who had visions.
She turned to Joe. “Sorry,” she muttered. After all, this wasn’t his fault. He’d been a real sweetie. Nor was it his fault that beneath her shirt, the mark on her arm tingled, reminding her of its existence. She rubbed it absently and caught Joe’s speculative gaze before he glanced away.
“What’s the matter, Lily?” His voice was gentle, his gray eyes worried.
“Nothing.” She gave him a bright smile. “So, this is where you found me?”
“Yes. Hard to believe it was over twenty years ago.”
A lifetime—her lifetime anyway.
Coming to this place had been a whim, when the dreams had become too much, invading even her waking moments until they were impossible to ignore. Something had told her that the answers were back here where it had all started. Illogical—but then nothing about her life made sense recently.
She’d never met Joe before—well, except for the one time, but she had no memory of that—though he had sent her a “birthday card” each year on the anniversary of the day he’d found her. He’d sounded genuinely pleased when she’d called and asked if they could meet.
“Will you tell me what happened?” That’s why she was here after all. At the children’s home, they had told her she’d been found abandoned as a baby and handed in. Nothing else. And by the time she was old enough to ask questions, she’d seen enough of life to accept that she probably wouldn’t like the answers.
Joe nodded. “I was checking the sheep down in the lower pasture when I heard some sort of explosion. I ran up here and there you were.” He waved a hand in the direction of the circle. “All alone, so tiny. You were naked but with this mark, like a tattoo, wrapped around your arm. I kept thinking—why would anyone do that to a baby?”
But a faint quiver of excitement tingled in her gut. Was this the answer to the dreams and visions? That she’d been here before. Was it that simple? Okay, she’d been a baby. Even so, those memories would be locked in her brain somewhere. Now they were trying to get out. That was all. There was nothing weird or unexplainable about what had been happening to her.
She took the last few steps, which brought her into the lee of one of the great stones. It was slick with rain, but warm to the touch, and she traced the swirling patterns cut into the rock, too regular to be carved by nature. Resting her forehead against the warmth of the stone, she allowed her fears to drain away.
Maybe she wasn’t crazy after all. She could go home. Forget all this and get on with her nice, normal life.
As she raised her head, she caught a glimpse through the gap in the stones to the amphitheater beyond—also familiar. The space was empty except for a flat table-like slab in the center and behind that, a stone arch, as tall as the uprights. She stepped into the circle, prickles shivering across her skin as she passed between two of the huge pillars.
“You were lying there, on the altar stone,” Joe said from behind her.
A faint hum filled her ears. The sound arose from within the arch, and she walked slowly toward it.
“Do you hear that?” she asked. The hum grew louder, more a buzzing now like a swarm of hungry bluebottles.
“Hear what?” he asked. “There’s nothing here.”
“But there is. It’s coming from the arch. You must be able to hear it.” It seemed impossible that he couldn’t.
She came to a halt in front of the flat stone and peered into the archway, to the gray sky and the standing stones behind it. As she stared, the image wavered, a ripple running through the view.
Her heart pounded in her chest, her whole body rigid. Even as her feet itched to run as fast as possible in the opposite direction, longing washed through her, an impulse to step through the arch and find whatever was on the other side. Taking a deep breath, she forced her feet to remain still while her hand reached forward, fingers outstretched. Joe called out from behind her but she ignored him. Flames flickered within the frame of the arch. The crackle of fire filled her ears as the scent of smoke teased her nostrils. On her right arm, the mark burned through her skin like a brand.
The noise grew and grew until a shrill scream crowded her head, drowning out her conscious thoughts. A jolt of electricity slammed through her.
About the Author:
Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
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Thanks for sharing the great interview and excerpt. Sounds like a great book and I have added it to my TBR. Thanks for sharing the giveaway. evamillien at gmail dot comReplyDelete
You live on an almond farm in Spain? How positively exotic!ReplyDelete
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