Hello Cecilia, welcome to Fang-tastic Books.
1. Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
Thank you so much for hosting me today!
I’ve always written fiction, and my mind is drawn to the weird and unusual. As a psychologist, I’m also interested in how people express different aspects of their personalities at different times and how they integrate them as they get older. The Lycanthropy Files series has allowed me to incorporate my fascination with strangeness with the psychology of personality and personality development.
2. What is it about the paranormal that fascinates you so much?
I always wanted the world to be more interesting than it really is. As a child, I daydreamed a lot and peopled my space with magical creatures. For example, one autumn morning, I looked out to see a leaf that looked like a little fairy perched on a tree branch being tossed in the wind. I imagined it was a magical creature having a good time hanging on for a wild ride. When I got older and discovered the genre of urban fantasy, where magical elements are part of ordinary life, I was hooked.
3. What inspired you to write this book?
Blood’s Shadow is the third in the Lycanthropy Files series, so I needed to finish out the series arc and have the characters strive to reach the goal of finding the cure for lycanthropy. Of course I had to put interesting barriers in the way, and what’s more interesting than a murder? Although the second book in the series Long Shadows was a fun suspense to write, I wanted to bring the series back to a murder mystery, so of course someone gets offed in the first chapter.
5. Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
The series is written in first person, and I felt Gabriel was the hardest because he’s the most different from me, being an eighty-year-old male Scottish werewolf, although he only looks thirty-something. And he’s really hot – I love my cover!
The best way to describe the experience of writing Gabriel is that it was like writing in a foreign language I’m fluent in but still not totally comfortable with. I’m fortunate to be a psychologist, so I’m in a job where I have lots of in-depth conversations with men of all ages, and I’m also a good eavesdropper. Writing this book gave me the excuse to purchase and read Norah Vincent’s Self-Made Man, in which she talks about going undercover as a guy in different situations. I’ve studied gender differences, but her book was particularly helpful because she really digs into male relationships, ways of thinking, and communication styles. Gabriel is fairly enlightened, having come of age in the sixties and being an observer of the world and how it changes, but sometimes I found being in his head exhausting because he tends to collapse past and present into his observations. Thankfully one of my critique group members is a guy, and two others are pilots who work with men most of the time, so they were able to say, “A guy would never think/do this.”
6. Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Lonna, the POV heroine of Long Shadows, the second book in the series, was my favorite. She’s got this confidence I wish I could pull off. She also says snarky things I could never get away with.
7. 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’ll start writing the book and get maybe three to five chapters (7500-15,000 words) in to allow the characters to tell me a little about themselves and start revealing their conflicts. Then I’ll do character sketches from a template in the book First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner (www.karenwiesner.com). I’ll also sometimes take an online Myers-Briggs-type personality test as the character to get ideas for internal conflicts and tendencies.
8. Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
I call the Lycanthropy Files a series of “werewolves with a scientific twist.” The world is very similar to ours including that a hot new behavioral disorder in kids is discovered every ten years or so. For the purposes of the LF world, it’s Chronic Lycanthropy Syndrome, or CLS. It partially expresses in some with just the behavioral symptoms, but in others who have recessive genes from lycanthropic ancestors, it turns into full-blown lycanthropy with physical change. Those who are just turned have difficulty managing the changes, and I modeled the experience after parasomnias like night terrors and sleepwalking, where people are partially aroused from sleep but don’t have much control over or recall of their actions.
For Blood’s Shadow, since I was writing from the point of view of a genetic, or born, lycanthrope, I had to come up with a society, which of course includes government and bureaucracy. They also hide in plain sight, which the internet and explosion of paranormal/urban fantasy popularity helps.
9. With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
Of course it’s best for readers to start at the beginning of the series, but I tried to write the books to be read on their own as well. Do be aware that there will be spoilers for the romantic subplots if you jump in the middle, but the main plots should still work.
10. Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
I used to have a ritual of reading comics before writing, but I’ve gotten away from that. I usually like to have a window open to the outside if I’m writing during the day. Some writers love shutting out any possible distractions, but for me those come internally or from my inside surroundings. I do feel I need to have at least twenty minutes to get anything productive done.
11. Do you write in different genres?
Yes! I’ve just accepted a contract for a book in a genre I was calling meta romance, but which my publisher says is new adult contemporary with romantic elements. My current project, which I haven’t sold yet, is a four-book steampunk series. I also have a YA paranormal historical project I’m seeking a home for.
12. Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
No, I actually find it more difficult to stick with just one. :-/ The theme is that I love to do research, which I guess is a strange holdover from my graduate school days. I don’t believe in “Write what you know. Instead, it works for me as, “Write what you want to know so you can know what you’re writing.” Often coming across an interesting fact or an area I want to know more about determines my next project.
13. Where can readers find you on the web?
I am at:
Web page: www.ceciliadominic.com
14. Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Well, since I mentioned the murder, here’s the opening scene up to but not including a possible spoiler for the previous book…
I noticed the blood first. Earthy and metallic, its scent wove over and under the olfactory texture of the clinic, a red ribbon among the blues and greens of antiseptic and rubber glove. If it had been any other clinic, and I had been any other type of man, I might have dismissed it or processed it with only mild curiosity. But here among my fellow predators at the Institute for Lycanthropic Reversal, the spilling of blood in the quantities I sensed meant someone had made a deadly mistake.
As Lycanthropy Council Investigator, I was accustomed to fixing mistakes, and I thanked whatever gods may be watching that I had come on this official Council visit instead of one of the others.
“Mister McCord?” The woman’s voice startled me and brought my attention back to the human part of the brain, mostly ruled by the visual.
I was glad to be back in the realm of sight, and my impressions resolved into a lovely picture. The voice came with high cheekbones with a dusting of freckles, large gray-blue eyes, and long dark red hair pulled back in a ponytail. I could even forgive the flat American accent—which stood out to me no matter how often I heard it here in my home country— particularly as it came through pale pink lips pursed in inquiry.
“And you are?” I turned on all my Scottish charm, mindful that, as a former colleague had said, “American chicks dig the accent.”
“I am Doctor Selene Rial, one of the psychologists.” Her tongue rolled the r just enough to make me focus on her mouth and her full lips before she took my outstretched hand. She leaned in and again surprised me, this time by giving me the customary sniff of our kind’s greeting. On our facial cheeks, lest you think I’m being crude. Her scent brought to mind a vivid image of a waterfall in the humid twilight of the American Southeast in summer and a lithe red wolf watching its broken reflection in the ripples of the pool below. I wondered, as usual, what she caught from mine.
Whatever she saw, amusement and some concern flickered across her face when she stepped back. “It is an honor to have you here. We haven’t seen much of the Council since the Institute’s ground breaking ceremony.”
I inclined my head. “I am pleased to be here. But tell me, has there been an accident? I smell blood.”
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date of Publication: 11/25/2014
Number of pages: 214
Word Count: 84,000
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Encountering werewolves can be deadly. Trying to cure them? Murder.
As the Investigator for the Lycanthrope Council, Gabriel McCord encountered his share of sticky situations in order to keep werewolf kind under the radar of discovery. Now, as the Council’s liaison to the Institute for Lycanthropic Reversal, he advocates for those who were turned werewolf against their will.
Everyone seems to be on board with the Institute’s controversial experimental process—until one of its geneticists is found lying on his desk in a pool of blood.
Gabriel races to single out a killer from a long list of suspects. Purists, who believe lycanthropy is a gift that shouldn’t be returned. Young Bloods, who want the cure for born lycanthropes as well as made. The Institute’s own very attractive psychologist, whose most precious possession has fallen into the hands of an ancient secret society bent on the destruction of werewolves.
Failure means he’ll lose his place on the Council and endanger the tenuous truce between wizard and lycanthrope. Even if he wins, he could lose his heart to a woman with deadly secrets of her own.
Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction.
The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style.
She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each.
Web page: http://www.ceciliadominic.com
Wine blog: http://www.randomoenophile.com