BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW: The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson
The Stone of Darkness
by Resa Nelson
The Dragonslayer Series, Book Three
Today I am excited to introduce you to the cool fantasy author, Resa Nelson! This tour in particular is promoting her book The Stone of Darkness, but allow me to tell you about all the books in the series.
The Dragonslayer’s Sword
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover-the dragonslayer-disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning. Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child. Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much…or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?
The Iron Maiden
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it’s her duty. She’d rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer’s sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.
The Stone of Darkness
In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route–until she’s bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago. Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane’s mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them. Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She’s convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she’s convinced it must hold before it’s too late.
My interview with Resa Nelson:
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I think of myself as a goofball. When I have to do something serious, I get deadly serious and focus on the task at hand, giving it 100% of my attention. But the rest of the time I’m just silly. I make myself laugh all the time. Now that I think about it, my books are kind of like that, too. My books tend to be pretty dark, so I’m always looking for ways to lighten things up with a little humor. And some characters will sometimes lapse into a little silliness. An odd thing about me is that I live in New England but after watching every season of Lost on TV, I’ve somehow become convinced that I need to live in Hawaii. I’ve never been to Hawaii, and I have no idea if I could deal with living on an island. But every time I see a photograph of Hawaii or watch Hawaii 5-0, I always say, “I SO need to live there.”
2. What made you want to become a writer?
When I was in the 2nd grade, I was given a group assignment to illustrate and re-write a classic children’s story. My group was assigned The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens. We were a big hit, and that’s when I first knew I wanted to be a writer.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
Everything comes from how I feel about the world and what I see and experience. I have a degree in sociology and a keen interest in psychology, so I’m always studying people’s behavior as well as trends and changes in the world and the way people think. So when I start planning a new novel, I usually start with an opinion I have that I want to share by telling a story.
4. Tell us about The Dragonslayer Series.
It’s a 4-book series that began as a short story. When that story was published, I was really surprised by all the positive reader feedback. I decided that if I could come up with an idea that I loved with my whole heart, I’d turn it into a novel. It took me about 8 years to come up with that idea. Once I started writing the book, I realized the story was a lot bigger than I’d ever imagined, and one book turned into four. The hero is Astrid, a young woman who was chewed up and spit out by a dragon when she was a little girl. Her entire body is covered in scars, and her family gives her to a child seller. But Astrid learns how to be a blacksmith and also learns the carefully guarded secrets of making swords for dragonslayers. She lives in the Northlands, which are modeled on Scandinavia and the beginning of the Viking era. Ironically, Astrid is a pacifist, so she struggles between her love of blacksmithing and her discomfort with the fact that the things she makes are used to kill dragons. There are lots of twists and turns in my novels, so things are constantly changing for Astrid, and she has to deal with it. The entire series is about how she learns about the world and finds a place in it. She literally learns how to stand up inside her own skin.
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Because the publishing industry has changed so drastically during the past 25 years or so, the biggest challenge is “book discovery,” or letting people know that my books exist! Unless an author already has readers numbering in the millions, the work that a publishing house’s marketing and promotion people used to do now falls on the shoulders of the author. That’s fine with me, but it really is a big challenge.
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
Unless I’ve found specific music to play for specific reasons, I usually play the same CD every time I write. It’s the soundtrack of a movie, and hearing the music makes it easy for me to walk into the world of my novel. Also, whenever I start a new book (meaning, a standalone or the first book in a series), I prepare “Character cards” ahead of time and keep them stacked up next to my computer. For each scene I write, I pull out the cards of the characters in that scene to help me get to know and understand them. But I’ve found that when I’m writing books in a series, I already know the characters so well that I don’t need the cards after writing Book 1.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
That’s a tough question because there are so many I love! I’m a big fan of Jane Austen’s work. I’ve loved Toni Morrison’s Sula since reading it in college. Ditto for Bang the Drum Slowly, which is a novel about baseball and deciding how you are going to treat other people. Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book left me sobbing during the last 50 pages. A recent favorite is The Hunger Games, and I’m looking forward to finishing that series.
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
My characters are based on aspects of my own personality or my attempt to empathize with people I don’t understand. I’m always asking “why.” There’s always a reason for everything anyone does, but that reason isn’t always obvious. So for every character, good or bad, I work at digging into their psyche and understanding them as deeply as I can.
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
I just started writing a new novel this week! The last book in my Dragonslayer series is scheduled for publication in November, and I’m writing something completely different. It’s soft science fiction blended with mystery/thriller, and it takes place in today’s world. Even though it feels really different from any of my other novels, the one thing that you can always count on from me is that the main character in any of my novels is a woman who’s smart, strong, and courageous. She will encounter many twists and turns, but she’ll figure things out.
10. Why do you love writing?
Writing is so much a part of my life that it feels like breathing. When I go for too long without writing, I feel like I’m deep underwater and running out of air. I feel panicked. I think I love writing for many of the same reasons people love reading. When I write, I go into the world of my novel, and all of the characters are very real to me. It’s like being in the middle of a movie.
About the Author
Resa has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.
Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasymagazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was Recommended for the Nebula Award, the highest honor in science fiction and fantasy. It was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine’s first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer’s Sword is Book 1 in a 4-book series. Book 2,The Iron Maiden, and Book 3, The Stone of Darkness, have also been published. Book 4 is scheduled for publication in late 2012.
Resa’s standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star reivew.
Resa’s website: http://www.resanelson.com
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories: http://www.resanelson.com/files
GoodReads giveaway: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at: http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)