Blog Tour – Through The Fire by Michelle Irwin

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I’m very excited to be apart of the blog tour for Michelle’s debut novel.

You might remember I reviewed the book HERE. If you haven’t seen the review, go and check it out! Michelle very graciously answered some questions for me!

Author Interview

In Through the Fire you’ve made the characters quite young, was there a particular reason for that?

In the original version that was submitted to Bottom Drawer Publications, the story focused a little more on what happens next—in fact, a significant portion of that manuscript now resides in book two. During very early discussions, we agreed that the history of “how they got here” needed a little more exploring. An origins story if you will. The encounters and events in Through the Fire are such defining moments in Evie’s life that they were worth revisiting and exploring in more detail.

Part of that exploration was a focus on the pressures on a young couple in love. Personally, I was very lucky and found my wonderful husband quite young (even younger than Evie and Clay are when they first meet), but not all stories of teen love have the same happy ending. Life and responsibility start to interfere, and it’s often hard to find a way to reconcile who you are alone, and who you are together, with who the world expects you to be. If part of that pressure involves destroying the very thing that you love, the pressure is even more intense.

This is part of what I wanted to explore in Through the Fire. The Romeo and Juliette aspect I guess you could call it. Can a couple come together despite all the odds being stacked against them, or is their relationship doomed before it even begins?

Do you find picspiration for your characters before you write them, during, or after?

A little of both. For some characters, what they look like comes through so crystal clear that I can write chapters before I need to find a reference photo or picspiration, and usually then it’s more for showing to my beta as comparison. The bulk of the cast in Through the Fire were like that. Some were based off real actors. For example: David, Evie’s father, is based off David Tennant.

Sometimes though, it works the other way around. For example: Aiden exists as he is solely because I found the perfect picspiration. In the original drafts of the first book, he didn’t really exist in the same capacity as he does now. A particular picture of Nicholas Hoult and his blue, blue eyes sparked something and then Aiden arrived on the scene, grabbed me by the hand and led me (and the other characters) on a brand new adventure.

Without spoiling the book, Evie manages to grow quite considerably through the book, how was it writing her growth, without rushing through?

Firstly, I would like to say thank you for the massive compliment. I never really intended to set out to make the story one about her personal growth. When I first started writing the very first draft of Through the Fire, it certainly wasn’t the focus. I was much more interested in exploring the interactions between two characters who could be perfect for each other, if only they weren’t mortal enemies. Over multiple drafts and reshuffling, that became more of a close examination on how fear and prejudice can drastically alter the course of someone’s life. Much of the book is about Evie learning how to exist in the wider world outside of the safe harbour she had for so long. Hopefully that growth will continue to be evident in the rest of the books; although I should add a caveat on that: like everyone, she has her good days and her bad days. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back.

I really enjoyed the fae aspect in the book – What type of research did you do into the fae, and paranormal worlds?

Research . . . so much research. It was good fun though, especially learning about different beliefs and fae culture. Just for the fae court section, I researched aura colours and meaning, different beliefs about the fae from around the world, about the seelie and unseelie courts and their typical hierarchies (for example, most courts are matriarchies), and research into different types of butterflies.

I’ve done research on much more than just the fae and their world though, I have researched wendigos, banshees, black annis, and a whole raft of other paranormal creatures for upcoming books in the series. Outside of the research, I’ve done a bit of world-building too, taking bits and pieces of the “real” lore and twisting and shaping it into something that is right for this world of Evie and Clay.

 What got you into the paranormal romance genre?

I’ve always been a massive fan of fantasy, ever since the very first books I read. I can still remember the adventures Enid Blyton took me on with magic chairs and far-away trees. Then I stepped into Narnia and fell deeper in love with the fantasy genre. The idea that there could be a whole world buried just beneath our own, if only you know what you’re looking for, is just fascinating. As I’ve got older, I fell in love with, well, love.

There are so many books, TV shows, and movies which all contributed to that love. Charmed, Twilight, Supernatural (okay, so not so much romance there, but the urban fantasy side), Just Like Heaven, and so many more.

Do you write a book from start – to – finish, or out of order?

Both. Generally I try to write in a lineal fashion, but occasionally there will be one scene that just demands to be written. When that happens, I tend to jump forward and write it. As I mentioned above, Through the Fire went through a bit of a restructure, so in reality it was written way out of order to how it now is.

Have you already written the next books, or are you in progress? (No pressure, but HURRY UP! hahaha)

The easiest answer to this question is yes. At least, mostly. The more elaborate answer is that I have written all of Evie’s side of the story, I know how and where it ends and all the twists and turns that the road takes along the way.

There will also be a series of four books from Clay’s point of view as well. I know the go-to assumption when people see two books of the same events from two different people’s perspectives is that it is unnecessary and a little pointless, and to be honest, I completely agree. The same timeline, yes, and there is naturally some cross-over, but each of these characters has a vastly different story to tell. However, and it’s a big however, the majority of these two series do not cover the exact same events. It’s hard to explain more without spoilering the story, but those who have read it will no doubt understand exactly what I mean. Basically it eventuated when Clay niggled and nudged until I relented and started to write what I thought might end up as a one-book supplement to Evie’s side of the story. But wow, the things that boy told me! Three out of four of his are all written too.

The first of Clay’s books will actually be the next one released through Bottom Drawer Publications, and is slated for February 2015. Then the books will alternate between Evie’s side and Clay’s side every four months.

Thanks for answering my Q’s

Thank you for having me.

Release & Blog Tour Giveaway

 Paperback copy of Through the Fire

 $10 BDP voucher

 3 x Through the Fire e-books

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For more information:

www.bottomdrawerpublications.net
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About the Author

Michelle Irwin

Michelle Irwin has been many things in her life: a hobbit taking a precious item to a fiery mountain; a young child stepping through the back of a wardrobe into another land; the last human stranded not-quite-alone in space three million years in the future; a young girl willing to fight for the love of a vampire; and a time-travelling madman in a box. She achieved all of these feats and many more through her voracious reading habit. Eventually, so much reading had to have an effect and the cast of characters inside her mind took over and spilled out onto the page.

Michelle lives in sunny Queensland in the land down under with her surprisingly patient husband and ever-intriguing daughter, carving out precious moments of writing and reading time around her accounts-based day job. A lover of love and overcoming the odds, she primarily writes paranormal and fantasy romance.

Find Michelle at:

http://blog.michelle-irwin.com/

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Blog Tour – Cutting Out by Meredith Shayne

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You might remember I had the pleasure of reviewing the new release, Cutting Out by Meredith Shayne. A story about sheep shearing in New Zealand, and finding love when the world seems to be against you.

I have the honour of hosting a spot on the blog tour this month and got to ask the author some questions. Check out the interview below.

In Cutting Out you’ve created such a great atmosphere surrounding the shearing stations and camaraderie amongst the crews, what type of research did that entail?

Thank you, I’m glad to hear you think that! I’m a bit of a reality TV nut, and there’s a TV show that plays here called Shearing Gang (an episode can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W4vkoDA5BI), which I watch and love. It’s a bit of a warts-and-all kind of show, very Kiwi in the way the subject is treated. The original idea for the setting came from that, but a lot of the way the Kiwis are with Shane, all the teasing about him being Australian, etc, came from my own real life. That’s just the way Kiwis are with us Aussies, bro! J

Was there any particular inspiration for the characters of Lachie and Shane?

Not really. When I decided to set the story in New Zealand I knew that I wanted a Maori presence in it, particularly since there’s a high proportion of Maoris in shearing. I also wanted one of the main characters to be Australian—it seems I’m incapable of writing a story without an Aussie in it, and in fact there ended up being two in there, so there you go! But apart from deciding on some general characteristics, once I’ve started thinking about a story the characters tend to pop into my head pretty much fully formed, and seemingly from out of nowhere. I wasn’t necessarily intending on making the second main character Maori, but then Lachie showed up and that was it.

Do you have a particular process of writing? From start – to – finish, or ending first?

I’m not a planner, so I never have an outline. I generally know how I want it to start and end, and a few things that happen in between, but that’s it. Things to add in come to me as I’m writing. I tend to start at the beginning, but then there’ll come a point where I start skipping around writing scenes out of sequence. Then I have to go back and stitch them all together. I wish I didn’t do things that way, but it’s happened during the writing of every one of my books so far, so that’s clearly my process! It’s a good way to avoid writers block though, I have to say.

Do you have any advice for people who would really like to get into the MM genre, but don’t know how to?

That is a really good question. I think to someone who’s never written before I would say: the only way to do it is to jump in, publishing a book has never been more achievable than it is now. Read a lot in the genre, decide what you do and don’t like in a story, then write the one that’s in your heart. Be prepared for writing to be harder than you ever expected. Find a writing process that works for you, and don’t worry if it’s different to everyone else’s, it can’t be wrong if it works for you. Put one word in front of the other however you can until you’re finished, then give it to someone—preferably at least two someones—you can trust to tell you the truth about it. Listen to them, but remember it’s your book, not theirs. Once it’s done, decide which publisher to send it to very, very carefully. Seek as much advice as you can about that from published M/M authors, because after you’ve signed on the dotted line is too late to find out you’ve made a mistake. Once it’s out in the world, let it go—some people are going to love it, but some people are going to hate it, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Holding a paperback book that you wrote in your hands will never get old, and all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve shed along the way will be worth it every time someone emails you to tell you how much they adored your book.

Will we get another book, perhaps Zach *grins*?!?!

Haha! Possibly. I don’t ever really plan sequels but if there’s one character who deserves to be completely knocked on his arse by love, it’s Zach Harris. And I did like writing in that setting, so… he might get lucky. J

Are there any parts to the book that you edited out, that you think would have been good, or that you could share?!

Actually, there’s not! I don’t tend to cut big chunks out when I edit, if they need to be changed I rewrite them instead, so I don’t have a little pile of deleted scenes to share. Occasionally I do write missing scenes or alternate point-of-view scenes after a book has been published which I usually make available for free, but I haven’t done that for Cutting Out as yet! Sorry. 😉

What’s your favourite genre to read?

I mainly read M/M these days, and I’m a pretty wide-ranging reader within that but funnily enough, because I hardly ever write it, if I was to pin down a subgenre I would say that I really like to read paranormals. That carries over into mainstream fiction as well, because I love a good urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. I mainlined the entire Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews last year, and they almost killed me, but in the absolute best of ways.

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Paperback copy of Cutting Out
$10 BDP voucher
3 x Cutting Out e-books

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About the Author:
A scientist in a past life, these days Meredith Shayne mainly uses her scientific training to poke holes in television pseudoscience. Originally from Australia, she moved to New Zealand to start a new life a few years ago and hasn’t regretted it for one minute, even if she frequently wishes that the New Zealand weather was a little better; if she’s forced, she’ll admit that the refreshing lack of animals that can kill you in New Zealand makes up for a little rain. Meredith travels a lot, so much so that she has developed a shameful love of airplane food and knows her passport number by heart. When she is at home, she enjoys baking, horrible music from the 1980s, reality television, and gloating any time Australia thrashes the living daylights out of New Zealand on the sporting field. Find Meredith at her website: http://www.meredithshayne.com   : Twitter  : Goodreads : Booklikes

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Blog Tour – Mythica by L.J. LaBarthe

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I’m very excited to present my first Blog Tour!!! Check it out!
A special guest post from Mythica author – L.J. LaBarthe

Hi and thanks for having me on your blog! I hope readers enjoy “Mythica.”

Inneston is a ruin now, and those ruins feature in the last quarter of “Mythica.” The ruins are in the Innes National Park, which is a gorgeous place at the very bottom of the Yorke SydneyGen - Guest Post Image 2 - MythicaPeninsula. The town itself was a thriving place when it was settled and built in 1913. Until 1930, it was a bustling mining town, and the product that was mined was gypsum. Now, it stands by the sea, half of it ruined, the other half slowly being restored by the Friends of Inneston.

On the beach, there are the scattered remains of mining tools, rusting away, old hunks left as reminders of the trade that once was worked here. Inneston itself had shops, houses, a pub—the essentials of life—and some of those buildings have been carefully restored and are now holiday accommodation for visitors to the National Park. Now, you can stay in the old Manager’s Lodge, the Engineers Lodge, Norfolk Lodge, the Miners Lodge, Sydney Gen - Guest Post Image 1 - MythicaMallee Lodge, Gatehouse Lodge and the old Post Office. Each building retains its historical exterior and interior and some of them don’t have electricity or kitchen facilities inside them—they have a communal area for cooking, bathing and bathroom.

Inneston is a picturesque spot in the park, surrounded by scrub and trees, facing the open water, and the park is home to a huge variety of wildlife and plants. It’s a gorgeous spot to visit, especially in late spring or late summer, as the full summer here does get extremely hot. Winter is wet, windy and cold, so not a great time to visit unless you want to stay indoors all the time. Because of the history of the area and its connection to the tourism of the whole of Yorke Peninsula, I wanted to include it in “Mythica,” no matter how peripherally, and then as I wrote, it became obvious to me that it would be a perfect location for a scene.

The photos don’t really do it justice, I think—it’s just a stunning, gorgeous place, and a terrific holiday destination… and book location!

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Caiden Jones is part-selkie and lives an idyllic life by the sea in South Australia. He’s had his fair share of disappointments, like being kept out of the Navy due to his mythica status, but overall he’s got a pretty good life. Until he’s in the wrong place at the right time.

Cai steps in to subdue an out-of-control minotaur and in the process suffers a serious injury to his ribs. As Cai struggles to breathe, a gorgeous suit-clad sy’lph with mesmerising blue eyes races to his rescue. When it’s learned that the minotaur was poisoned, the sy’lph, Gray, makes it his personal mission to keep Cai and his family safe.

Cai has always harboured some resentment towards the sy’lph because of their easy acceptance into the community, so the attraction he feels for Gray takes him by surprise. But how can they find out what this might mean when the lives of Cai and his family are endangered by someone closer than they realise?

 Full Review Here

About the Author:

L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just LJ LaBarthe Bio Picafter midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.

L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica.

L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, and is owned by her cat.

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