Welcome! While cool weather is giving us a chill, we are chatting with some very hot authors, like Bianca D’Arc who is chatting with us today about her work and a little about herself. Coffee Time wants to extend a warm welcome to Ms. D’Arc. Welcome!
How did you get started writing? How long have you been writing?
I've been writing sci fi and fantasy since high school, though mostly just for fun. I started writing romance in college and found it hard at the time to get published with traditional publishers when I mixed the two genres. I stopped writing for a while, dejected, then I found ebooks and realized the new breed of publisher that was emerging was more willing to take a "risk" on the kind of story I wanted to write. I started writing hotter, more erotic romance about two or three years ago.
What was your first published book and when did it come out?
My first book was Maiden Flight, the first in my Dragon Knights series. It was published as an ebook last Valentine's day. My first print book came out in September of 2006 and is titled Ladies of the Lair. It's a compilation of books 1 and 2 of my Dragon Knights series, Maiden Flight together with Border Lair in a single print volume.
What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
The hardest part comes when I'm about half-way through the story. I know where I want it to go, but often I find myself stuck -- or more likely -- lured away to plot out and write some other story. The easiest part, as you can imagine, is dreaming up new stories.
Tell us what kind of writer you are. A structured one that plots and outlines your story and characters and sticks rigidly to it, or are you more relaxed in your writing style? Have your characters ever developed a mind of their own and taken off in a direction that surprised you?
I'm very relaxed. Often I start a story with no clear idea of where it's going to go. By about one-third to half-way through, I've usually written a loose outline of what's going to happen next, but I still allow wiggle room for surprises because every once in a while, my characters do surprise me. For example, in Lords of the Were, I had a character (Duncan, the half-fey knight) that was supposed to come in, do something very specific, then leave, but the more I wrote, the more I realized he just didn't want to leave! I ended up having to adjust things a bit because the character was just too good to write out and now I'm planning future stories with him in them as well.
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
Probably the characters, then the setting, then the story, but it's all very close timing. One leads to or compliments the other, but ultimately, it's the characters I want to connect with and that I want the reader to connect with. The characters, and what motivates them and makes them who they are, is vital. I also like to have solid backstories, and in the case of imaginary SF&F worlds, detailed explanations for why things are the way they are. I don't like to fudge over the details. I'm a sci fi fan with a science degree - a dangerous combination. LOL.
What do you consider to be the key elements to a good story?
Great characters. Solid backstories for them. Real reasons for things to be the way they are in the world you've created. Good conflict and a satisfying resolution. I'm a big believer in the HEA - Happily Ever After. It's pretty much guaranteed that all my books end with an HEA. To me that's key. I want to be left with a positive feeling, not depressed.
Most Romance Authors are also avid readers. What is your favorite reading material?
Erotic romance with a sci fi/futuristic or fantasy bent. I also really like contemporaries, though I don't write them too often unless they're also paranormal. I really enjoy anything with a military hero - either contemporary or SF&F. Love those men in uniform!
Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
Oh, it's hard to choose. I'd say among my heros, I really love Lars from Maiden Flight. He's the ultimate strong, silent type. I also really love Hal from Warrior's Heart. He's one of those hunky military types with a heart of gold. Of the women, I really like Belora from Maiden Flight. She proves you can be ladylike and still tough. LOL. And there are a few characters that have wormed their way into my heart. Tor, the baby Ice Dragon is one of my all-time favorite characters to write. He's so lovable, so innocent, and he's been hurt so much, but he doesn't dwell on the bad, only finding good in those around him.
I have just read the third book in your Dragon Knights series. I adored The Ice Dragon and intend to go back and read the other two. Will there be any more installments in this awesome series? If so, how many books are planned and what direction do you see the series headed in?
Yes, there will be more. Book 4, Prince of Spies, will be coming out in ebook in February 2007 and print in May or June. Originally, I'd intended to stop there, but as you'll see, some amazing new characters came into the picture in Prince of Spies that just begged to have their story told. I'm about half-way through Book 5, which I haven't titled yet, and have plans for a few more after that in order to tie up the over-arching story. There is a subtle over-arching plotline that flows through all the books, but I believe almost all of these books could be read on their own quite easily.
I found Lana, Roland and Tor to be utterly enchanting, do you feel as if you had an emotional connection with the characters in The Ice Dragon? If so, is that something that usually happens for you while writing a story?
Yes. I really did feel close to Tor, especially. It doesn't always happen that strongly, but I think it's important for me to connect with the characters. If I can do that, perhaps the reader will as well. If I find them uninspiring, then chances are, the reader will too.
If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Probably what I was doing before... running like the gerbil in the treadmill, working at a job in Manhattan. I enjoyed my time in the corporate world and all the traveling I did, but it's given me an appreciation for the simple things that I never had before.
Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I'm single, but looking. LOL. I've managed to turn my main hobby - writing - into a bit of a career. I also have wide-ranging interests in things like art, classical music, pottery, martials arts, skiing, and crafting. I love making things and creating in many different media. As for education, I have a bachelors in chemistry and ran a laboratory for a few years early in my career. I have graduate degrees in unrelated fields because I was in danger of becoming something of a professional student there for a while. My master's is in library science and I have worked from time to time as a reference librarian. I think those research skills help a lot when I'm working on backstories for my characters.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I visit my parents. They have a little farm in rural Pennsylvania and I just love seeing the horses, cows, and other "wildlife." Hearing the rooster crow in the morning (and all day long sometimes) is like magic to this suburban girl. A few days in the country recharges my batteries like nothing else.
What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
At it's deepest core, I think it has to do with escaping to other worlds or other settings where things that are impossible in our world suddenly become possible. I also like to speculate on what the future may hold for the human race and space exploration. I love asking "what if"? That's probably the biggest motivator for me.
What can we expect from you in the future?
There will be more dragons and more werecreatues, but I also have some more in-depth sci fi/futuristic things waiting in the wings. My new series, Resonance Mates, will begin in May 2007 with Hara's Legacy, a futuristic tale of three brothers who possess special gifts, and the woman who is their salvation. Part futuristic sci-fi, part western, this story marks the beginning of a series that will introduce us to the survivors of humanity and the alien invaders, with surprising results.
Also, the next of my vampire tales, Forever Valentine, will be out in both print and ebook in January as part of the Caught By Cupid Anthology from Samhain. It's the story of a female doctor who knows about the existence of vampires and the ancient warrior who's been assigned to watch her. A Valentine’s date gone wrong marks the beginning of a love that will last for all time.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep writing, and don't get too tied down to your first efforts. If your first book is rejected all over town, move on to the next. With each book you write, your writing should improve. Finding a critique partner or group can also be a great help, as is joining professional organizations such as the Romance Writers of America. But the most important thing is to keep writing and don't get bogged down if your first manuscript doesn't sell. Perhaps the next one will.
Where can readers purchase your books? How can they contact you?
My print books from Samhain are available in most Borders, Borders Express and Waldenbooks stores. If you don't see it on the shelf, you can have them order it for you. They're also on Amazon.com and other online booksellers.
My ebooks can be purchased in several ways... the publisher websites are probably the best way, though some are available on FictionWise and other online ebook sales sites. For links to places to buy my ebooks, please visit my website "books" page. www.biancadarc.com
Readers can contact me through my website or most easily on my Yahoo group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BiancaDArc/
I also have a newsletter group where readers can keep up with the latest news each month. It's a no spam list that only sends out special announcements 2-3 times per month - at most - with no chatter. I also include excerpts and links to contests and other fun items in each of my newsletters. You can sign up for the newsletter group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BiancaDArcNews/
Any last thoughts that you would like to leave our readers with?
I feel very blessed to finally be able to share my stories and imaginary worlds with readers. An avid reader myself, I still can hardly believe folks are out there, reading and enjoying my work. It's a very special feeling. So I just want to say thank you to all the readers who've supported my work. I couldn't do any of this without you!
Coffee Time Romance wants to say Thank you to Ms. D’Arc for taking the time to chat with us. Thank you.
Interviewer for Coffee Time Romance