"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Bianca D’Arc has had several careers including running a laboratory, living the high life of a corporate jet-setter, and even running her own business for several years. All the while, she was carefully planning her escape from the rat race. She was first published in 2006 and her book, The Ice Dragon, won the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Erotic Romance Fantasy/Paranormal. She lives in New York and now writes full time. Her next print book, an erotic futuristic/paranormal titled Hara’s Legacy, will release in March of 2008 from Samhain Publishing.
An Interview with Bianca D'Arc
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Bianca D.: I’ve always wanted to write professionally, but had little time to pursue what I thought was just a dream while I studied other areas and climbed the ladder in another profession. Being a native New Yorker who still lives and works a few dozen miles from Manhattan, 9/11 had a huge impact on my life. I realized I was pretty unhappy though I’d gotten to the top of my profession. So I planned carefully, quit my job and started my own small business. That freed up a lot of my time so I could write a lot more seriously and pursue publication. In many ways, it was a dream come true.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Bianca D.: I try to write a minimum of 2,000 words per day. When I’m in the zone, that takes me about an hour. When I’m stuck, it could take all day. Either way, the minimum I like to hit is 2,000. Most of the time, I write for a few hours each day, so my word count is something like 5-10,000 words each day.
Just recently I’ve been trying to emulate some of the more successful writers I’ve read about, who have a set schedule for working, but it’s not that easy. My life involves a lot of interstate travel, often at the drop of a hat. I don’t have kids, so my schedule isn’t dictated by anyone else’s commitments. Sometimes that’s wonderful and sometimes—when I’m trying to get things done—it can be very challenging.
When I’m not writing, I like to do crafty things. I also am something of a shop-a-holic, though I’ve been better in recent years about not spending too much. I do a lot of online shopping too, and love to ebay! I also play a few instruments and used to sing professionally. These days, I like to perform with friends once in a while and I still write original music from time to time.
PNR: Who or what has been your biggest influence as a writer? Who has been your biggest support?
Bianca D.: Probably my favorite authors have been the biggest influence. My guilty pleasures are Suzanne Brockman, Linda Howard, Elizabeth Moon, Katherine Kurtz, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings, JRR Tolkein, and a whole slew of others. My biggest supporters have been my family. Though my parents and siblings aren’t allowed to actually read my steamy romances (they’re not romance fans anyway), they are never slow to give me pep talks and encouragement.
PNR: What are the greatest challenges to you as an author?
Bianca D.: Managing my time. Having a loose but busy schedule is both a blessing and a trial. I’ve been trying to devise a schedule I can stick to but the variables that keep popping up make a joke of all my carefully laid plans.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Bianca D.: Great characters that people identify with and care about, a solid plot with internal and external conflicts the characters must find ways to conquer, and lots of love. Although I write what some call erotic romance, it is NOT all about the sex. I strive for characters you root for. People you’d want to be friends with if you could meet them in real life and bad guys who you want to see get their comeuppance. Sure, everyone likes a sexy, romantic love scene, but that’s not all there is to the story. There has to be depth to the characters and love between them for the sex scenes to make sense, in my opinion.
PNR: You made your writing debut in 2006 and are quite prolific having 15 releases to date. You have received numerous honors, awards and a great deal of reader admiration for your writing. How does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
Bianca D.: It’s amazing! I always sort of wonder if it’s all real. Do people really mean the nice things they say or are they just being polite? I also don’t think I’ll ever stop growing and learning as a writer. I hope that each successive book is just a little more polished than the last.
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the September release of WINGS OF CHANGE from Samhain Publishing; this is the fifth in your Dragon Knights series. Could you tell us what inspired this extremely popular fantasy series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Bianca D.: I’ve always loved dragons and when I was searching for a topic to write about, the idea just popped into my head. I wanted to write something different. There are lots of werewolves, vampires, witches and the rest out there, but I hadn’t noticed too many dragon romances, so I thought, “why not?” Then I started writing the creatures and they really came to life for me. I discovered I absolutely love playing in the world they inhabit and am just thrilled people seem to like the books enough for me to be able to keep writing more of them.
The first part of the series – the first 4 ebooks (3 books in print) – focus on the love stories of a mother and her three adult daughters. Wings of Change, the short story that will bridge to the next series of Dragon Knights books, focuses more on the knights. The next books, starting with the novel FireDrake, which will be out next year, will focus more on the men of the royal line and the impending war that looms over all the books. I’m really excited to see how it’s working out. Already there’s a lot more magic, a lot of action and more kick-ass heroines. The first books had heroines who were more reserved, but in the next few stories, the women are much bolder.
PNR: Readers are captivated by the fantasy world you have created. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series?
Bianca D.: I don’t know exactly why, but “worldbuilding” isn’t such a big, huge, hairy deal to me. I know a lot of other authors spend hours and weeks figuring out every last detail of their worlds before they even start writing. I don’t do that. I think it’s because the world is so real in my imagination, I don’t really need any reference charts to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Sure, I have to remind myself of what’s come before every once in a while – that happens anytime I switch gears from writing one genre to another – but overall, going back to write in that world is a bit like going home again. The people, places and things are familiar friends.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Bianca D.: Character driven, for sure, but you also have to have a convincing plot. If you have to contrive something to make the plot work, readers will notice. Weak plots can ruin otherwise glorious characters, so you really need both. But if you ask me what I come up with first, it’s definitely the characters. Once I know who they are and how they will react, I can build the story around them.
PNR: Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Bianca D.: I’m a bit of a people-watcher. Often, I’ll see someone at the mall, on the street, or wherever, and start to weave ideas about what they do for a living, what their family is like, what events in their lives have made them look the way they do, etc. I don’t always have a super-clear image in my mind of what my characters look like superficially, but their inner struggles and strengths, and the over-arching ideals that guide them are always clear.
My favorite characters to write are the dragons. Especially the younger ones like Tor (The Ice Dragon) and Jenet (in FireDrake). They combine childlike innocence with several tons of fire-breathing muscle. They’re both a challenge and a joy to write.
PNR: Dragon lore is deeply embedded in the mythology of many cultures; they are powerful and dangerous yet have a sensual, beguiling quality. Why do you feel mythology in general, and dragons specifically, are such a popular theme in the paranormal romance genre?
Bianca D.: When I first decided to write dragons I did further research into the differences between Eastern and Western dragons in mythology. I decided my dragons would have a more Western look – wings, forelegs, and hind legs – but more of an Eastern outlook on the world. In Eastern traditions, dragons are often benevolent creatures of wisdom and power. In the Western mythology, they’re more likely to burn villages and eat virgins.
I think today, we’re less frightened of a dragon swooping out of the sky to burn our crops and more fascinated by the idea that something so huge, magical and potentially deadly could exist at all. Dragons are creatures of pure fantasy, and as such, they can be whatever we want them to be. At the same time, there’s a long tradition of the dragon as a creature that embodies the higher ideals of valor, honor, bravery, might, power and unstoppable force. They’re sort of the alpha hero of the magical world.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the hot love/sex scenes that readers demand?
Bianca D.: My books are definitely on the hotter end of the scale. I don’t find it especially difficult to write hot love scenes, but the real trick to it is not to lose sight of the emotion binding the characters together. I’ve written all levels of love scenes, from scorching kinky ménages to tender fade-to-black bedroom scenes. These two extremes and all points in between need emotion to carry the reader away with them to that magical place where love and sex meet.
PNR: You have written in the fantasy, futuristic, vampire and shifter genres; what is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Bianca D.: My paranormal world is very similar to our own contemporary world, with just a slight twist. I think the idea that supernatural beings could be living among us is a tantalizing tease to our imaginations. The idea that someone out there could read minds, or turn into a wolf, or even fly, is beguiling.
I’ve written sci fi, epic fantasy, futuristic, space opera, paranormal and military romance. Those are my favorites and I’ll keep writing in those areas as long as people keep reading them! But as a sci fi geek and fantasy fan from way back, I want to try my hand at urban fantasy, and am in fact, developing a new series set in a contemporary urban world where fantastical creatures live among us in secret.
PNR: You are writing series; Dragon Knights and Sons of Amber, as well as single titles. Do you prefer writing series or stand alone titles? What has been your favorite series to write so far? Single title? Why?
Bianca D.: I far prefer series because I always like to go back and play in familiar worlds. As a reader, I always look for series because if I find a world I like to read about, I want more than just one book. I’m greedy like that.
So far, I’d have to say my Dragon Knights series is the most fun to write. As a youngster I wrote a lot of high fantasy and epic fantasy – none of which was ever published, but was written for my own enjoyment. Writing epic fantasy in a pseudo-medieval world with dragons, knights, gryphons, magic and all sorts of other interesting beings is by far the most fun. Especially when I get to have all that and romance too!
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Bianca D.: My recent release is a vampire/cat shifter paranormal called Sweeter Than Wine. It released in ebook on December 11, 2007 and in print in the Fall of 2008. After that, my next Resonance Mates book, Davin’s Quest will be released in ebook in February and print late next year. The first book in that futuristic/paranormal series, Hara’s Legacy, is actually releasing in print in March, so you may be seeing advertising for that book early next year.
For print releases, March 2008 will be a busy time. My novel, Hara’s Legacy, will be releasing toward the end of the month, as will the dragon anthology called I Dream of Dragons. My story, Wings of Change, is in Volume I of the anthology. I’ll also have a compilation volume of my first two Sons of Amber stories releasing in print in March. The novellas Ezekiel and Michael will be put together in this print volume.
The next full-length Dragon Knights book is scheduled for ebook release in the Spring of 2008 and print sometime in early 2009, and is titled FireDrake. This book will take the Dragon Knight series to new places where we’ll encounter new creatures and people. Magic will reemerge in the lands and the knights will be called on to do things they have never done before. It’s a swashbuckling adventure with lots of love and a very cool juvenile dragon named Jenet.
PNR: Thank you, Bianca, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Bianca D.: That’s easy! Come over to The D’Arc Side… WWW.BIANCADARC.COM
You can reach me by email at: Bianca at biancadarc.com
I also have a discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BiancaDArc/
And a newsletter ONLY group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BiancaDArcNews/
I’m also on myspace and have a blog that I update every day or two.
For Additional Titles from Bianca D'Arc
Featured in this issue: ~Dragon Themed Romance ~Red Rose Publishing ~2007 PEARL Career Achievement Award
September 11, 2007
Dragon Knights: Book 5
One young woman could be the miracle that heals a dying dragon—and unites a family with her love.
I Dream of Dragons I
Lucia, born a lady in a foreign land, now waits tables for her keep. When she sees Sir Reynor wasting away, she storms the Castle Lair seeking help for the dying dragon. What she finds is a dashing rogue, a mighty dragoness, and a contrite knight who blames himself for his dragon partner’s injury.
Marcus is enchanted by the foreign beauty and intrigued by her mission. Few women will go near dragons and fewer still can communicate with them. Marcus recognizes Lucia for the treasure she is and knows she is meant for him…and for Kaden.
Kaden is wracked with guilt over the injury that has grounded the dragon—possibly forever. He knows Lucia is special, and he wants her. Lucia just might be the missing piece they all need to form a family. But with Reynor unable to fly, how can any of them be happy?
To make this family whole, they need a miracle. And love—the greatest miracle of all.
February 1, 2007
Dragon Knights: Book 4
Prince Nico is a cunning master of stealth, but can he master a maiden’s fragile heart?
Fourth book in the Dragon Knights series, but can be read on its own.
Prince Nico is known as the Prince of Spies for a reason. Not only is he the Spymaster of Draconia, but he’s a cunning shapeshifter able to take the form of a dragon at will. The gift of his royal heritage comes in handy as Spymaster for the king, but it’s a great secret known only to a few.
Riki lives in misery, chained up to serve a mad king’s perverted magic. Forced to use her draining healing skills to keep King Lucan of Skithdron alive, Riki is a shadow of the woman she should be.
Nico knows Riki is the woman he’s been searching for and wastes no time breaking them both out of the enemy palace. Thus starts an adventure that will take them across two countries, through peril and danger, and the discovery of an undeniable love and mutual respect. Will Nico have the courage to let her fly free, trusting she’ll return to him, or will his love smother the fledgling beauty who is breathing free air for the first time in her tragic life?
August 1, 2006
Dragon Knights: Book 3
A wild Northern Ice Dragon and the girl who raised him save the life of a fierce, shapeshifting royal black dragon, only to have him save them in return…with his love.
Third book in the Dragon Knights series.
When a royal black dragon falls under enemy fire, only the wild Northern Ice Dragon and his unlikely female rider can save him. Half wild, like the baby Ice Dragon she calls friend, Lana is a rare and powerful dragon healer. She saves the life of the royal black, only to learn this most sacred of dragons is half-man, able to shift from one form to the other at will.
Roland is king of all dragons and humans in his land but he’s far from home, mortally wounded, and his only refuge is the incredible woman who has saved his life and her young wild dragon friend. Lana is the purest form of magic to him, heaven to his senses in both dragon and human form. He knows almost from the first moment that he wants her for his very own.
But a warlord plots in the north, seeking to kill the dragons, who protect the northern border, and overrun Roland’s peaceful kingdom. Lana and her incredibly skilled Ice Dragon friend are the only ray of hope for the knights and fighting dragons of the Northern Lair. Just as Lana is the only love Roland will ever know. He can reunite her with her lost family, but can he win her heart and make her his queen?
May 1, 2006
Dragon Knights: Book 2
War has come to the Border Lair, but as enemies become allies — and lovers — hope springs anew for the dragons and their knights.
A young widow, Adora raised her daughter by herself, but her girl is married now. Can Adora find a love of her own in the crowded Border Lair? Dare she even try?
Lord Darian Vordekrais is about to turn traitor, giving up his title, his lands, and his home in order to warn the dragons and knights of his treacherous king’s evil plan. Will his life be forfeit or is there some way he can make a new life in a foreign land?
Sir Jared lost his wife and child to treachery, but he knows Lord Darian and trusts him. Both men admire the lovely Adora, but Jared’s broken heart is frozen in solid ice. Or is it?
As war comes to the border, the knights and dragons of the Border Lair rise to the occasion. New allies rally to their side. Love blossoms and grows even as evil invades the land. The knights and dragons must stand fast against the onslaught, the beautiful woman of royal blood bringing them hope, healing and love.
February 1, 2006
Dragon Knights: Book 1
War is coming for the knights, dragons, and a damsel who is not quite in distress, but finds her heart’s desire in the strong men of the Border Lair.
A chance meeting with a young male dragon seals the fate of one adventurous female poacher. The dragon’s partner, a ruggedly handsome knight named Gareth, takes one look at the shapely woman and decides to do a little poaching of his own.
Sir Gareth not only seduces her, but falls deeply in love with the girl who is not only unafraid of dragons but also possesses the rare gift to hear their silent speech. He wants her for his mate, but mating with a knight is no simple thing. To accept a knight, a woman must also accept the dragon, the dragon’s mate … and her knight too.
She is at first shocked, then enticed by the lusty life in the Lair. War is in the making and only the knights and dragons have a chance at ending it before it destroys their land and their lives. But there’s nothing a knight enjoys more than a noble quest and winning the heart and trust of a maiden is the noblest quest of all.
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