Welcome, Lea. Your new novel, Torn Avenger, is brimming with action and what a stunning cover!
All authors have their own reasons for writing a book. What are yours?
I love putting my fantasies to paper, always have, and I’m more comfortable and skilled with the written word than the spoken. Then, the more books I publish and reader feedback I get, the more I understand this really is what I’m supposed to do. It’s a part of me!
What would you like readers to take away from your story? Does it contain a message?
Torn Avenger is a story of impossible love (of course, lol) so I’m doing my best to prove that concept wrong and tell my readers if you want something bad enough, you can get it. It’s not going to be easy and you must prepare to make sacrifices – sometimes you have to be so brave to turn your life upside down, say a few goodbyes, and start everything anew – but if your mind is set to it, you can definitely succeed.
Where did you find your inspiration for the story? Was it a person, a current event, something you witnessed, or something else?
It was the cover! When I saw this premade last year, it immediately spoke to me and I had to have it. I knew it would be a historical romance, but not what period the story would be set in or which type of characters should be featured. It took almost a year of my looking at it every now and then and thinking, “dammit, it deserves a story!” before an idea came to mind in April, and suddenly I couldn’t write fast enough.
Did you face any obstacles or challenges while writing the story and if so, what were they?
Yes, historical accuracy bothered me from start to finish. I wanted to set the story in a real period and not be arrested for having my facts wrong. One character was to represent the last of the Norwegian raiders and Roeland the first of European merchants to settle in Norway, so I had to conduct quite the research to make sure these two civilizations actually met!
Also, I wondered whether they co-lived in peace or bloody confrontations occurred. I couldn’t find any information, but thought it quite probable that some Vikings, tempted by the precious, imported goods and the wealth of their merchants, raided the trading post the same way they were reputed to in the rest of the world. Why wouldn’t they? In this case, I allowed myself some artistic freedom 🙂
How much emphasis do you put on supporting characters to move the plot of your stories along? Have any of your supporting characters ever gotten their own story?
I usually give great importance to supporting characters. In Torn Avenger, Alv’s mother is practically the driving force, scheming and manipulating, forcing him to make decisions that aren’t really his, and thus sparking his need to rebel. As for giving her her own story? Ha, she’s such an irritating and disturbing element in the book, I almost want to strangle her!
I was delighted, though, to hear a reviewer say she hoped I would write a companion novella for one of the other couples that was formed in Torn Avenger. Well, who knows, maybe someday I’ll be tempted to dive into the turbulent Viking world again and write another romance.
Do you write in other genres and if so, what are they? What genres would you like to try that you haven’t already?
I write many genres, but my favorite is dark thriller/suspense. That’s where my corrupted heart thrives, where my dirty soul roams and finds what to feed on. I’ll leave it at that, ha ha!
What is your writing process? Are you a patnser or a plotter, or a little of both?
I’m mostly a plotter. Just an example – last week, I spent two days painstakingly outlining my next project, which has 70 short chapters/scenes told from 5 different POVs (three conflicted protagonists and two bad, bad antagonists), one in 1st person present and the others in 3rd past. I had to punch everything into a spreadsheet, with a strict timeline, expected word count per scene, etc.
I guess by now, you are yawning and thinking I’ve completely lost it. But wait, I’m not always that crazy! There have also been times when a special scene flashed in my mind and I liked it so much, I proceeded to build a story around it, little by little adding layers and meat to the bone.
Do you have any author idols and if so, how would you like to meet them?
I’m a mega super huge fan of psychological thriller authors Mo Hayder, Cody McFadyen, and Lisa Gardner. James Patterson is awesome, too. Oh, and many others, of course. Their influence is evident in my darkest books, and I would sit down with them in a bar any time of the day to pick their brains and toast to their literary genius.
What are your three favorite books by other authors and why? You don’t have to limit this to three. (I know I can’t.)
“Shadow Man” by Cody McFadyen is a must, hands down. Then, I’d recommend the equally brilliant “Birdman” by Mo Hayder and “Hide” by Lisa Gardner. Why? I thirst for dark, hold-your-breath, high-tempo stories that blend the strongest of human emotions, graphic violence, and nauseating gore with the sickest forms of mental deviance. Lol, it probably says something about me…
What do you do in your down time to feed your soul?
I read (not often enough, these days, sadly) or watch gangster/western movies, cuddled up to my man with a nice drink in hand 😊
What’s next on your literary horizon?
I mentioned earlier that I’ve started work on a new project: it’s the sequel to my debut novel Wild Hearted, a gritty inner-city crime drama that came out in 2013, and I’m very excited about bringing my two favorite characters Tomor, an imprisoned gang leader, and Luz, his long-lost love, back to life in a new psychological thriller!
Murder. Passion. Two worlds colliding.
As the second son of a Viking earl, Alv Gunnulfsen wasn’t meant to inherit a throne or avenge a murder. But when his brother is slain during a raid and their father dies of grief, Alv is expected to take command and claim the killer’s death. In a world of ruthless retaliation and strict social codes, he must also maneuver cleverly to protect a troublesome secret: his attraction for men.
Roeland van Dijk, a wealthy Dutch merchant settled in Norway, has done the unthinkable to protect his family — hacked off the head of a Viking rapist. The wrath of the blond savages will cost him his freedom, and possibly his own head… Unless he’s willing to accept the love of another man.
After a moment, Alv looked up again and almost gasped from the erotic vision in front of him. While shaving Roeland, he’d only seen his wet, hairy chest and stomach, but the handsome man moved to a kneeling position in the basin and washed his lower body. His stunning maleness made Alv hot and bothered. They had discussed, argued, shared personal details, and apologized to each other, but now, the seriousness of their conversation faded. The sight of Roeland’s cock bathing in white foam between his legs had Alv’s own cock jolt and press painfully against his pants.
Oh, Roeland attracted him on several levels—mental, emotional, and physical—and Alv longed to discover and develop more of everything with him. Hedin was an exciting lover, but nothing like what Roeland had the potential to be.
Speaking of Hedin, it’d been a surprise to see him again this morning, right after Elke left. He’d arrived in a terrible mood and refused to excuse his disappearance act. It was outrageous of a slave to come and go like that, but Alv had too much on his mind to think of punishing him.
For one, he worried about Roeland’s future. He’d inherited part of Father’s wealth, but not his title. After returning to Eðni, he’d claimed to be the only one who could decide of what to do with his brother’s murderer, but it wasn’t true. He had no standing, no support from his fellow citizens. They could choose to kill Roeland if they wanted to—all it took was a word from Mother. It made her idea to have Alv marry Elke and adopt the community’s natural heir that much more important to push through.
“There’s something we need to talk about,” he said, hoping Roeland wouldn’t oppose to the plan.
“Normally, I would ask you, but since you’re not in a position to make decisions, I’m just going to tell you.”
“About what?” Roeland frowned.
“I’m marrying your sister.”
Roeland stood so fast in the basin, water splashed to all sides. He stepped out and leaned into Alv’s face. “Don’t you dare to touch her!”
“But I’m not…”
“Hasn’t she suffered enough?” Roeland bellowed, his dark eyes slit with anger.
By Thor, he was insanely sexy, standing naked and wet, so near Alv could feel his damp bodily heat, water drippling from his hair and rolling alongside his tanned, chiseled cheeks. Alv couldn’t help hardening more, and needed to focus on the words that came out of Roeland’s luscious mouth to be able to answer. “She has already accepted.”
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