Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write in this particular genre?
- I wasn’t so much inspired to write urban fantasy as I was inspired to write this particular book. However, I do prefer to read books that have strong historical and/or mythological elements, so I expect I will be frequently inspired to write stories in the same or similar genre.
What inspired you to write this book?
- Irish folk tales about fairy women who marry mortal men.
Please tell us about your latest release.
- Reflection of the Gods is about a man who is newly divorced. On his way out of town, he stops to help a damsel in distress. Unbeknownst to him, she is no damsel, but one of the Sidhe, Ireland’s fairy kings.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
- I do try to match the meaning of the name with the character. I start by looking up names of the appropriate culture, and searching for one that is (usually) easy to pronounce and has an appropriate meaning.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
- I found Das challenging to write. As a woman, it was difficult to write from a male first person point of view. I relied on male friends of mine to make sure I wasn’t making Das too girly.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
- My favorite character to write is in my current novel-in-progress. Her name is Nora, and she’s wonderfully sarcastic. I can use her to say all the things I would like to say out loud, but don’t have the nerve.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
- I do a complete character sketch of all the major characters before I start writing.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
- Alice’s witch trial. She’s completely confidant that she’s going to escape unharmed, so she has some fun with her inquisitor:
“You are an adulteress. During at least three of your marriages, you had lovers.”
I could not refrain from smiling. “If every woman who was unsatisfied in her husband’s bed were a witch, there’d be nary a Christian soul left in all of Ireland.”
Several women chuckled. A few applauded and cheered. De Ledrede glowered at them. “Silence.” He turned back to me. “A strange man has been seen visiting your home late at night. A man with hooves for feet and two horns upon his head. You have been having sexual relations with the devil. Do you deny it?”
“Indeed, I do deny it. I prefer a man have only one horn and not upon his head.” I accompanied my words with an evocative gesture.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
- I discovered a connection between Kilkenny castle, where Alice was jailed, and Dermot MacMurrough, the man who brought the English into Ireland, and who also appears in the book. Dermot’s grandson by marriage, William Marshall, was a powerful Anglo-Normal earl who built many castles in Ireland, including the one in Kilkenny. After learning this, I made the castle more of a presence in the book.
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
- I learned how to operate a completely manual SLR camera.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
- I can honestly say I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. I’ve suffered from writer’s laziness, and writer’s procrastination. I find that joining a class with deadlines helps me get over it quickly.
Do you write in different genres?
- I write whatever I am moved to write. Reflection of the Gods is urban fantasy, but my next book is leaning more towards sci-fi, but still has fantasy elements. The third book, still in the planning stages, is looking like it may throw some horror into the mix.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
- Not really. I don’t think about writing a genre. I just try write the best story I possibly can.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
- When I joined the Writer’s Community of Durham Region. They send a strong message that if you love writing and spend time doing it, then you’re a writer, regardless of whether you’ve ever been published.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
- Reading, of course. I also love studying languages.
What was the last amazing book you read?
- The Orenda, by Joseph Boyden.
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
- In bed after the kids are asleep at night, or before they wake up in the morning. It’s the only way I won’t get pestered. In the summer, I like to take a chair outside and read, but that can be challenging with little ones.
What can readers expect next from you?
- I’m currently working on my second book, tentatively titled The Divine Measure. When a deaf woman discovers a conspiracy to abduct deaf people from around the world, she also discovers she is the next target.
Where can readers find you on the web?
- My website is http://lisallamrei.com. I’m also on Facebook as Lisa Llamrei, and on Twitter @LisaLlamrei.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
A. Sure. This is the scene where Das can no longer deny that something is very different about Aislinn.
I turned around and darn near crashed right into Aislinn. “I didn’t hear you coming.”
Aislinn looked at the table and then at me.
“What is all this?”
Aislinn remained silent and immobile.
“I mean it. I want to know what all this is for.”
“That I cannot tell you.”
“You vowed never to ask.”
“I’m not asking about your past or where you’re from. I’m asking why there is a dining table set up in the foyer. For who?” I knew my voice was rising, but I couldn’t stop it.
Aislinn turned to leave.
I have never laid hands on a woman in anger before, but God help me I wanted to do it then. A picture flashed through my mind of Aislinn down here with that man. In my house. I wanted to grab her and shake her. Force her to tell me everything she’d been keeping from me. Instead, I jumped ahead of her and blocked the doorway into the dining room. I pointed a finger in her face. She didn’t even flinch.
“The first time I saw you, you were being attacked by three men. A few days later, they were all murdered. You start bringing home raw milk every day and local cows start disappearing. You come home from Toronto on a bus that isn’t running. And I don’t ask you anything about any of it because I promised not to. Then, you are walking around town in the dead of night with some man I’ve never met and doing God knows what in front of the house for all the neighbours to see. Still, I don’t ask because I promised I wouldn’t and I keep my word. But I am asking now. I want to know why you left food out last night and who it was for. If you feel you have to leave me, fine. I’ve had it.”
Aislinn remained silent, but all colour drained from her face. Her lips trembled. After what seemed like several minutes, she spoke. “I leave food out every night.”
“I’ve been up through the whole house in the middle of the night several times and I’ve never seen this before.”
“Tonight my thoughts were elsewhere. I did not realize you had wakened. Previously, I always knew your whereabouts and cleared it all away before you could see.”
“That’s impossible. You didn’t get up with me.”
“I can move fairly quickly when I choose.”
I ran a hand through my hair. No one was that fast, but no point arguing with her. “Who was this for? The man you’ve been meeting?”
“No. It is for the small ones.”
“The small whats?”
“You would likely refer to them as the ‘wee folk.’”
“Wee folk? You mean fairies?”
“They prefer the term ‘good people,’ but yes.”
“Why would you be leaving food out for fairies?”
“They dislike for humans to acknowledge their presence, but they do expect some recompense for their aid.”
Either she was still lying to me or … oh, God. I hoped she was lying. “Just what do you believe they do that requires recompense?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Enough. You demanded an explanation. I gave it.”
“I don’t believe a word of it.”
“You can believe or not; it is your choice. I’ve no more to say on the matter.” She turned and went up the main staircase.
I sat down on the coffee table and put my head in my hands. Oh, God. I’d seen Aislinn lying often enough to be sure she told the truth now. Or she believed she did. Oh, my God.
Reflection of the Gods
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Alchera Press
Date of Publication: May 1, 2013
Number of pages: 350
Word Count: 103,000
Cover Artist: Tania Craan
Newly divorced Das MacDermott longs for a fresh start. As he packs up and prepares to move out of the city, he spots a young woman being held at gunpoint by three men. Despite being outnumbered and unarmed, Das does his best to intervene. Once liberated, the victim seems oddly ungrateful, but on an apparent whim decides to join Das in his new life in rural Ontario. Aislinn, as she is called, returns the favour; with her encouragement and support, his start-up photography business takes off, and more importantly, Das is saved from loneliness and self-doubt.
Das, however, is never quite able to fully dismiss the contrary aspects of Aislinn’s nature, and is strictly forbidden from asking about Aislinn’s past. All seems too good to be true, and indeed it is. Aislinn’s unusual talents and odd Behaviour, unbeknownst to Das, come from her demigod status. Aislinn is half-Sidhe, daughter of Fionvarra, Ireland’s fairy king, and a human woman. Sidhe wars have so disrupted the mortal world that Aislinn has joined with other immortals in an effort to permanently separate it from Tir N’a Nog, the fairy realm.
Born in ancient Ireland, Aislinn spends millennia as the plaything of the cruel and narcissistic gods. The pain of being neither human nor Sidhe is offset by her relationship to the Fir Bolg, another race of fair folk who take pity on her lonely state; and the refuge she takes in being Das’s lover and protector. As Das comes to accept the possibility that Aislinn belongs to a supernatural world, he discovers that the two worlds are set to collide in a way that may mean the destruction of all humanity.
About the Author:
Lisa Llamrei was born in Toronto. She studied languages at York University. At various times, she has been an actor, professional belly dancer and holistic nutritionist. She presently lives in Durham region with her four daughters, and she works at a school of holistic nutrition. Reflection of the Gods is her first novel.