Thursday, December 6, 2012

Interview with Rory Ni Coileain

Storm Goddess Book Reviews presents an interview with Rory Ni Coileain. Rory, welcome to the blog, and thanks for hanging out with me today!

Tell me about yourself, and your writing.

Let’s see. Short form: I’m 50 years old, twice divorced and the mother of a 16-year-old boy (who wants to be a writer! – I guess I’m doing something right…) I have a law degree, and while I’m licensed to practice in New York State, I’m presently working as an attorney editor for the publisher who puts out Westlaw (if you’ve watched Law and Order, you’ve seen us in the credits!) I’ve been a lot of things over the years – comic book writer, modern dancer, medieval history graduate student, cabaret singer, corporate lawyer, flamenco dancer, telemarketer…
My writing is primarily m/m urban fantasy erotic romance, but I also write what I think of as mythic fantasy/erotic romance/erotica, and I have plans for a series about lion shapeshifters called changeurs, and a cloud-dwelling race I’ve been imagining in one form or another since I was very little. (You really ought to be able to live in clouds.)

How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres?

In one sense, I’ve been writing for 44 years. My mom still has the first story I ever wrote, when I was six. I believe it was about a suitcase who was tired of having things packed in it, so it ran away from home. I majored in creative writing in college, and right after I graduated, I sent a story out to an anthology that was being put together by Marion Zimmer Bradley, whom I totally worshipped. Got back a rejection letter that went beyond ripping into my story, to questioning why anyone as talentless as I was insisted on trying to write. So I crawled into a literary hole, did other things for the next 30 years or so, and came back out when I found Facebook, and role-play writing. The writing bug re-bit, and I’ve been at it ever since. I have short stories in a BBW (big beautiful women) anthology from Ravenous Romance, Dangerous Curves (under the pen name of Susan Swann, which I discovered too late is also the name of a reasonably prolific BDSM author) and the anthology Evernight, Vol. 2, from XOXO Publishing – that story, “Serpentine,” is part of a series I call the Gems of Night, and I suppose you’d call it mythic erotica. The first in a planned series of four (or more!) Soulshares novels, m/m urban fantasy erotic romance, Hard as Stone, came out in October, and I’m hoping for an early March release for the second, Gale Force (Ravenous might want me to naughty that title up a bit, we’ll have to wait and see!) Ditto for the third, Deep Waters, which I started about a week and a half ago.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

So far, I’ve published BBW, mythic erotica, and m/m urban fantasy erotic romance. I love writing romance (but never ‘formula’ romance’) because my favorite stories are all about two people making one another happy – eventually. And I love erotic romance because subtle is something I’ve almost never been accused of being. I love writing steamy, sizzling sex – but also wild, passionate love, heartwrenching sorrow, screaming rage. And I don’t think anyone has ever read erotica and said “Um, don’t you think you’re a little over the top, there?” My first loves as a writer, though, were fantasy and science fiction, and if I ever stray, that’s where I’m going to go. In fact, in a sense I’m already there – I’ve written the first chapter of my third Soulshares novel, it’s set in the Fae realm, and it’s one hundred percent pure fantasy, setting up the rest of the book. My editor may tear her hair out when she gets it, but that’s how the book wants to start!

Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants?

Yes. *chuckles* I actually sat down the other day and tried to figure out my plotting process, I’d just bought WriteWayPro and I was doing some soul-searching. And the process, for a novel, goes something like this: (1) spend two or three days waiting for your Muse to cough up the perfect opening line. (2) write the first page or so of the first chapter. (3) stop because you have way too many ideas to fit in a chapter. Write out summaries of the first seven or eight chapters. (4) write the first three chapters. (5) realize that what you thought was seven or eight chapters is going to need to be ten or eleven. Summarize those too. (6) write up to Chapter Fourteen and realize that you haven’t looked at your outline in a week… (7) Never look back.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I would purely love to have a whole day for nothing but writing. Unfortunately, I have a job that’s currently somewhat more than full-time, so it’s usually about 7 or 8 at night before I get to sit down and start writing. This is also my chat-with-friends time (you can usually find me on Facebook, both my personal profile and my Author page, If I’m really cooking, I can do 1,200 words or so before I fall into bed; if the Muse is being parsimonious, I’ll manage a couple of hundred. But I make it a point to write every day – I did NaNoWriMo in 2011, and it got me in the habit of writing, or at least doing something related to my writing, every day no matter what. And WriteWayPro is sneaky – it keeps track of my word count and shows me how much I have to write every day to make my deadline. And if it’s in a pie chart, it MUST be true, right?

Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books?

To tell you the truth, I haven’t read much of anything in quite a while. When I’m writing, I tend to soak up other writers’ styles (kind of the same way I pick up accents if I talk to someone for more than five minutes), and I really don’t want to lose my own voice while I’m working on a project. But I was formed as a writer by Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen, Robert Heinlein, Diane Duane, David Brin, and my college mentor, a wonderful fantasy writer named P.C. Hodgell. Presently I still make time for Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, and Elizabeth Hand. And I try to model myself after Dan Simmons. Not that I’ll ever be the polymath he is, but he simply doesn’t care about genre, he writes what he wants to and people read it because it’s amazing. His Hyperion saga is a blend of science fiction and fantasy and philosophy that’s beyond belief, Carrion Comfort will make you sleep with the lights on for a month, and I need to wrap myself up in a blanket when I read The Terror – it’s about John Franklin’s voyage to try to find the Northwest Passage. I think I’ve read that one book a dozen times. Oh, and Ursula K. LeGuin’s Always Coming Home. Stop me before I think of more.

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

Get all four of the first Soulshares books out in paperback. Have a contract for the next four or five. Start working on my changeur shifter novellas. Make enough at my writing to be able to quit my job. (Okay, so I’m dreaming. But you asked!)

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

The one I keep telling my son I have would be good – eyes in the back of my head. But if I can’t have that, anything that would let me fly would be pure heaven.

If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?

My cat informs me that she IS a mythical creature, thankyouverymuch. But apart from her, I’d love to have a fire lizard. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books were some of the first fantasy I ever read, and the fire lizards have stayed with me. I kind of gave one to Josh, the human lead in my second book – but you’ll have to read it. *winks*

Tell us a little about your latest release.

Hard as Stone is about a Fae, Tiernan Guaire, who’s exiled from the Fae Realm for killing his brother. And Kevin Almstead, a lawyer with a Washington, D.C. law firm who, when we first meet him, has just been informed that his career is pretty much over, that he’ll never make partner. The two of them share a soul – Tiernan’s soul was split when he crossed over from the Fae Realm, and Kevin was born with the other half of it. They have to come to terms with that, and deal with a supernatural evil being that was exiled from the Fae Realm thousands of years ago and is hunting for a Fae to give it a way back. And a not-quite-so-evil not-supernatural-at-all person that’s trying to wreck Kevin’s life.

What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members)

Coffee. Books. Designer purses (my one vice). Coffee. The early Billy Joel. Did I mention coffee?

Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write?

I think I could. Though I’ve heard from friends who have done it that it can be unexpectedly traumatic. *winks* I have several dear friends with whom I still write regularly on Facebook, and I’d gladly do a larger project with any of them. But if you’re talking about generally known authors, I would give any nonessential body part to write with Diane Duane, and specifically make her finish her Door series!

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them?

Abraham Lincoln. I would spend the day trying to get inside his head, and find out from him what his knack was, how he managed to persuade and reconcile people who bitterly opposed each other, and balanced the ones he couldn’t reconcile, and somehow found the common heart of a country that didn’t believe it had one.

What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing?

I love to sing. I used to sing in nightclubs, when I lived in New York, and now I’m a soprano in our church choir. I teach Irish ceili dancing, when I have time. I’ve been an avid Lincoln historian, though like I said, I’m not doing much reading these days. And back when I didn’t have a cat who loves to help me sort thread, I crocheted Irish lace and was a voracious cross-stitcher.

If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick?

Dan Simmons’ The Terror. Though I’m not sure who could pull it off. Maybe Ridley Scott.

What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?

Remembering names. I am TERRIBLE at it. I’m constantly embarrassed by being unable to put a name to a really familiar face. I got a button once that said “That’s okay, I don’t remember your name either.” I need to have that tattooed on my forehead.

             Favorite color?

Green. Though I also love purple, but after 30 years as a redhead, I’ve finally come to realize that there are some colors I can’t wear without the risk of spontaneous combustion.

Weather: Hot or cold?

Cold, please. I’m a Minnesotan. And if it gets too cold, you can always put on more clothes. There are only so many you can take off.

Favorite place to read?

Curled up on the sofa.

Favorite meal?

Breakfast. I could live on breakfast foods for the rest of my life, quite happily. Provided I was allowed to have cold pizza for breakfast every once in a while.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink.

Coffee. I’m crazy about CafĂ© du Monde’s coffee and chicory blend. It’s my only vice. (fingers crossed behind my back). Wait a minute, I said that about designer purses, too. Maybe one of them isn’t a vice.

If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go?

Easy. The Glens of Antrim, in the North of Ireland. I’d find a little cottage nestled in a maze of stone walls on a steep hillside, make sure I had an internet connection, and settle into the most beautiful corner of the world I’ve ever seen. (Although I think I’d manage to pass through Australia and New Zealand on the way there…)

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