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Before Brianna fully understands who and what she is, she accidentally binds her soul to Blake. Forced to find a way to reconcile forbidden love and her bloody heritage, Brianna discovers that there's nothing pointless about her, and Blake may be in the most danger of all.
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Me: Please welcome...and applaud...the totally awesome...and totally amazing...TALIA VANCE! Thank you Talia for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads! It’s a pleasure to have you here.
Wow! So the release of your debut Silver is right around the corner! Congrats! How do you feel about that? Is it a long time coming? Are you excited? Or nervous?
Talia: I am thrilled, excited, nervous and terrified. It’s both a long time coming and not that long at all. I’ve always wanted to write a book, and for twenty years, I would start something, write a few chapters and stop. It wasn’t until 2008 that I finally committed to finishing a book. I finished Silver in late 2009, found an agent for it in spring 2010, rewrote a large part of it in summer 2010, and sold it within a week and a half of going on submission. I’ve written two other books since Silver sold, including its sequel, Gold, which comes out in 2013.
Me: OK, I’m not familiar at all with Irish Mythology, so I was hoping you could educate us while also talking about your book!
Can you tell us about “your” Bandia and/or Danu mythology without giving us spoilers?
Talia: “My” mythology centers on a centuries’ old war between Pagan gods and the humans who banished them to the underworld. The gods are bound to the underworld, but use their human descendants as soldiers in a war that, if successful, will allow them to return to the earth. Because Paganism is often associated with witchcraft and sexuality, a central theme of the story is a battle of the sexes, with sex and attraction being used as a weapon by both sides.
That’s pretty general, but I do want to avoid spoilers. So let’s just say there is a history of murder, magic, sex, soul bonds, betrayal and revenge that underlies the conflict as it exists when Brianna discovers it.
Me: How is the mythology in your book similar and/or different than the traditional Irish mythology?
Talia: My mythology came about by taking several real Celtic myths and then creating my own story and world around them. The first myth that interested me came from the idea that dark powers manifested every seventh generation. I loved the idea that enough time would pass between generations before the powers showed up again, so that information could be ignored, lost, misinterpreted or, in some cases, carefully preserved.
The other myth that came straight from Irish mythology was the story of the Milesians, human warriors who drove the Tuath de Danu (people of Danu) from Ireland to the underworld, bringing an end to Paganism and ushering in a new era of Christianity. This myth is at the heart of the conflict in Silver- what if this war was still being fought by each side’s descendants?
Lastly, I came across a myth where a dark witch cursed a man with powers he didn’t want. This myth gave me the idea for the heart of the conflict between the Sons and the bandia- the fear that men have of female power over them (which I equate with female sexuality and intimacy) and the lengths they will go to avoid it.
The story of Danu and Killian, the giolla, and the curse that binds Blake and Brianna together are products of my imagination. There is a Celtic god named Arawn who is the guardian of the underworld, but I took significant liberties with his backstory and role in the conflict.
Me: What inspired you to write Silver, and with Irish mythology?
Talia: The story began as a contemporary novel that was loosely based on my husband and me when we were teens- we danced around each other but never quite connected because we kept getting pulled away by other people. I thought it would be interesting to write a story about a girl who lets her friends and the wrong guy keep her from the boy she really loves. Early on, I realized that I wanted to create something with a paranormal element, and I began researching Celtic myths after discovering that a lot of our American superstitions and beliefs about magic originated there. Once I found several myths that intrigued me, the story took on a life of its own, and became something very different than what I originally set out to write.
Me: How many love interests does Brianna have in book #1? *giggles*
Talia: There are two, but I wouldn’t call it a love triangle. While Brianna is attracted to Austin, she is tied to Blake in a way that doesn’t allow room for anyone else. Not that Austin doesn’t try…
Me: Which character(s) were your fave to write and why?
Talia: I loved writing Austin. He is so British and proper, but everything he says has layers of meaning. Of all the characters in Silver, Austin surprised me the most as I was writing. He is so complicated and I found that I couldn’t stop loving him, despite his flaws. I also loved writing Joe, because he’s just so cool all the time. I’ve said this before, but with Joe, I can’t help wondering what it would take to break him.
Still, I’d have to say that my favorite character to write was Brianna, because I experienced the story from her point of view. I loved how she evolved from a wall flower into a strong character, embracing her femininity and making her own decisions about what was right. I wrote Spies and Prejudice in between writing Silver and its sequel, and slipping back into Brianna’s voice felt like coming home.
Me: How were you able to connect with the intense love/hate emotions between Brianna & Blake?
Talia: I think first love tends to involve intense emotions, and those can twist into jealousy and hate as easily as love and friendship. Blake and Brianna drove me crazy at times, but they had their own fire when they were together, and there was so much external pressure warring against their emotional bond, that the distrust and conflict was easy to connect with. Lust was also easy, because they had great chemistry. Connecting with love was harder, in part, because I think it was the hardest part for Blake and Brianna to come to terms with. They have hurt each other, they will hurt each other, but they are also a part of each other, and in some ways they always will be.
Me: Was it always your intention to write in 1st person POV?
Talia: I actually started this book in third person, but I found it difficult to write internal dialogue in that point of view, so I switched to first person, past tense after a chapter or two. About halfway through the first draft, I switched again, to present tense, and that’s when I really started to connect with Brianna’s voice as I wrote the story.
Me: Are any of the characters in your book similar to someone you know, including yourself?
Talia: That is a loaded question! (See my answer to inspiration above). Silver was my first novel, and there are definitely pieces of my life in this story. Some characters did start out as people I knew, but I found that to be way too limiting as an author. The characters quickly evolved to such an extent that only tiny pieces of them have any connection to anyone in real life.
Brianna is the closest character to me. Like Brianna, I had an investment horse I had to sell to pay for college; I felt invisible until I met a boy playing quarters, but that boy ended up dating my best friend; and I dated a guy in high school who could only hurt me. Unfortunately, I do not look like a goddess or have awesome powers, but one of my ancestors was hung as a witch, and I come from a long line of independent women who defied their times.
Me: Now I’d like to learn a little bit about you!
Me: Fear or phobia?
Talia: Heights. Seriously, I will never bungee jump, parachute or go to the top of the Empire State Building.
Me: Guilty pleasure?
Talia: Reality television. My new favorite is Million Dollar Listing. Half of it is obviously staged, but the houses are really cool and the cast is likeable. It walks the line between cheesy and fun perfectly.
Me: Strange quirks?
Talia: I always write on the corner of a couch with a laptop. Writing at a desk feels too much like work.
Me: Embarrassing moment?
Talia: Just one? The first time I met a literary agent, I basically said everything that an aspiring writer should not say. Pitched my book with a rambling summary that was unfocused and over enthusiastic? Check. Compared myself to best-selling author? Check. Offered to send a manuscript that wasn’t finished yet? Yeah, I did all of that. I knew it was bad as I was doing it, but I couldn’t stop myself. A few weeks later, the same agent used my faux paux as an example of what not to do in a blog post. I wasn’t mentioned by name, but I might have resembled those remarks…
Me: Facebook or Twitter?
Me: Most visited website?
Talia: I’m not gonna lie- Goodreads. I know I shouldn’t look, but I can’t look away. Part of it is just the excitement that people are actually reading Silver. I still can’t quite believe it. It’s fun to see how people react to these characters and their story. And I truly appreciate every posted review, even the less than flattering ones, because it means that someone took the time to read the story, and then to talk about it. For me, the biggest fear of putting a book out there is not reviews- it’s more a fear of no one reading it. Can that count as a phobia? I think I might have to change my answer.
Me: Kindle or Nook?
Me: Preferred weapon?
Talia: Broadsword. Let’s just leave that alone for now.
Me: Top 5 authors that inspire you?
- Rachel Hawkins (the Hex Hall trilogy): I love the way she uses humor. I can’t read one of her books without laughing out loud, definitely something to aspire toward.
- Jennifer Echols (Forget You, Going too Far, Such a Rush): She is the queen of steamy YA romance as far as I am concerned, but always infuses her stories with emotional heart.
- Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky): her writing is seamless and clean, but full of tension, with lots going on between the lines. And she writes amazing boys. She’s also the hardest working writer I know.
- Katherine Longshore: Katherine has an incredible grasp of language and imagery. Plus, she writes character-driven historical fiction that still manages to be pacey and tight. I’m still trying to figure out how she does it.
- Donna Cooner: I know Donna, and she inspires me not only with her ability to craft characters that seem so real I feel like I know them in real life, but also with her ability to never, ever give up.
Me: Top 5 fave movies?
- The Jerk: this movie was one of the first adult movies that I fell in love with as a kid, and I still laugh when I see it.
- Ice Castles: swoony romance and ice skating? Um, yes.
- The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: I loved this film. It was mind-bending and poignant.
- Peggy Sue Got Married: This one can count as guilty pleasure. Kathleen Turner is not believable as a high school student and Nic Cage mumbles through it, but I love how she has the chance to change everything, knowing how their relationship will end, and she doesn’t.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: This is my go-to action/adventure film. It still holds up, and young Harrison is sexy as hell.
Me: Top 5 book recommends recently read?
- If I Lie by Corrine Jackson: a gorgeous, literary page-turner. Bring hankies, but so, so worth it.
- Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone: a sweet romance with a cool time travel twist.
- Gilt by Katherine Longshore: I just reread this and am still holding my breath.
- Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins: a fun, sexy paranormal that I read in one sitting.
- Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally: Parker is so messed up and relatable, plus Will (aka Corndog) is a sweetie.
Me: Fave TV show and/or movie when you were a kid?
Talia: I loved Walt Disney’s Bambi as a kid. I remembered it as being cute and romantic until I saw it again as an adult and realized it was filled with anti-war messages. But I still melt when baby Thumper is on screen.
Me: Which would you be willing to kiss, scares you the most and willing to ally with in an apocalypse? Your options are: Alien, Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie and Faery.
Talia: Kiss- vampires are sexy. Werewolf- Ally- dogs are loyal, right? Zombie- Dead people are scary. And gross.
Me: Thank you Talia for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!
Sept 1st: YA Sisterhood - Blake Interview
Sept 2nd: Page Turners Blog hosted by Sophie - Lightening Round Q&A
Sept 3rd: The Review News - Review
Sept 4th: Two Chicks On Books - Dream Cast Post
Sept 5th: What The Cat Read - Silver Playlist
Sept 6th: I'm a Bookshark - Top Ten Scenes from Silver
Sept 7th: Debbie's World Of Books - Guest Post
Sept 8th: Magical Urban Fantasy Reads *Release Day* Scene from Blake’s POV
Sept 9th: The Ravenous Reader - Interview and Review
Sept 10th: Taters Tall Tales - Review
Sept 11th: Books Over Boys - Interview
Sept 12th: Jean Book Nerd - Interview
Sept 13th: Fiktshun - Celtic Myth Guest Post
Sept 14th: Literary Exploration - Interview