"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Mystery in Moonlight
on Gothic and Historical Paranormal Romance
I've been a regular columnist featured in the women’s special interest publications of Tower Press and House of White Birches for over 40 years, one of which, CROCHET WORLD, since its inception over 25 years ago. I’ve won awards not only for my novels, but also for my poetry, paintings, and needlework design. I write historical fiction drawing from the history, theology, legend, and lore of my Celtic and Norse heritage.
I have two grown children who have flown the coup, a son and a daughter, five grandchildren, and two great-grand babies! Of course, I was a child bride.
I live in Long Island, New York, with my very regal Tuxedo cat, Shadowfax (alias Miss Fuzz for obvious reasons), and Espirit, my scandalous Senegal parrot, a shamelessly incurable flirt.
PNR: When did you begin writing?
Dawn T.: I was about twelve years old when I began to write. I would dream up exciting stories, design the covers, and even cast them with my favorite movie stars. I cut my teeth on my dad's Zane Grey books, and my mom’s Bronte sisters’ collection. The Bronte sisters’ won.
PNR: How do you manage to balance your writing and personal time? What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Dawn T.: An accident nearly nine years ago forced me into early retirement. I became joined at the hip with my computer, so to speak, and decided to pursue my dream full time. Working this way, I'm able to fit my personal time in around my work schedule, which is at least 8-12 hours a day writing. I love what I do. Working this way, I can turn out 4 or 5 books a year.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading my fellow author’s books, and doing reviews when I can. I believe it’s very important that we support one another in our writing careers. I enjoy researching Celtic and Norse myths and legends, and I particularly enjoy researching the Regency period, since I seem to have found my niche there. I also enjoy needlework. It's a great stress and tension reliever.
PNR: What is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
Dawn T.: The best part of writing for me is creating characters and worlds that readers can escape to guaranteed of a good love story and a happy ending. The most frustrating? Well, none of us like deadlines. The more you turn out, the more deadlines you have, so I try not to circulate unfinished work. There's nothing worse than scrambling to finish a manuscript for an agent/editor before they forget who you are.
PNR: Where do you get the ideas for your books?
Dawn T.: Right now, I’m writing paranormals. My mother loved all the old horror flicks—Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. I think I write what I know she would have loved to read. And a lot of my ideas come from the Celtic and Norse legends and myths of my heritage. My Regency-set historicals evolve out of the research I do of the period. Once you delve into that, all sorts of ideas present themselves.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Dawn T.: I believe the key elements of a great story are lifelike characters that walk off the page and stay with you long after you close the book, conflict that makes you think they will never surmount it, and a happy ending defying all odds that takes your breath away.
PNR: Which is your favorite genre to write? Is there a genre you would like to try?
Dawn T.: I would have to say I/m happy in the paranormal genre, but I'm equally happy writing Regency-set romance. I’m most happy that my publisher, Dorchester, gives me the freedom to combine them both.
Believe it or not, I would like to try a western, something my dad would have loved to read…just once.
PNR: Could you tell us about the publication of your book, The Ravencliff Bride?
Dawn T.: The Ravencliff Bride won four awards before it won the Red River Romance Writer’s Ticket to Write Contest in 2004. The final round judge was Chris Keeslar of Dorchester. He requested the full, and bought it. It happened so fast, I was speechless for a week! It was released last September with a 4-star review from RT.
I belong to the Gothic Romance Writers (GOTHROM), and I wrote the book so I would have something to enter in their Haunted Hearts Contest. It won there as well, and also received the gold Haunted Heart Pendant of Excellence. That encouraged me to enter the Ticket to Write in hopes of attracting an editor, and it did.
PNR: As a reader, I found myself drawn in by the atmosphere of your book; tell us how you are able to create such a tangible world.
Dawn T.: Some of my ancestors hailed from Cornwall. All my life I've enjoyed the tales they handed down of the strange climate, wild storms, and rugged coast, and of the magical legends and lore of the Cornish folk. I was blessed with a family of gifted storytellers. I simply fell in love with all of it, and most of my books are set there, at least in part.
PNR: In The Ravencliff Bride you bring together all of the elements necessary for a true gothic romance: a foreboding atmosphere, mystery and sexual tension. What do you think is the attraction of the gothic genre? Why do you feel this genre continues have a large reader following?
Dawn T.: There's something very sexy—very sensual about a dark, creepy old house, a heroine trapped there somehow with a drop-dead handsome brooding alpha male hero/villain, or both. We all like to be scared a bit when we read this type of book. We all like to be kept in suspense until the very last page. Many of the original gothics weren’t romances as we know them today. Some didn't have happy endings. The emphasis was more on the suspense than the romance. Today’s gothics ramp up the romance and offer a happy ending with all the foreboding and mystery synonymous with the gothics of old.
Gothics fell by the wayside for a while there, and gave way to Romantic Suspense, when romance novels got steamier and happy endings became mandatory. But you can't keep a good gothic down. I feel the genre continues to thrive because we’ve married the two elements that make for a great story. We’ve combined the dark ambiance of the traditional gothic with a satisfying love story, attracting both the old fans and the new.
PNR: What projects you are currently working on? Please tell us about The Waterlord.
Dawn T.: Right now, I'm just finishing a vampire series with a twist, and working on a short story for an anthology.
The Waterlord was just released March first, with 4-stars from RT. It features a hero out of Swedish folklore, half human, half astral creature, who travels between the Otherworld and the Physical plane, and must mate with a human woman once each generation to perpetuate his race, then return to the Otherworld never to see her again. But he is not supposed to fall in love with her; therein lies the story. It is the first in a three-book contract I signed with Dorchester before The Ravencliff Bride was even released. The next, The Falcon’s Bride will be released in September, followed by Blood Moon next year.
PNR: Thank you Dawn, for taking time out to speak with us, where can readers find out more about your work?
Dawn T.: You're quite welcome. It was my pleasure!
Readers may visit the Dorchester website, www.dorchesterpub.com, or visit my website at to find out more about my work and read chapters.
Thank you for having me.
DRAKE'S LAIR, winner of the Golden Wings Award, AVAILAVLE NOW from www.wingsepress.com
THE RAVENCLIFF BRIDE, Dorchester Love Spell, IN BOOKSTORES NOW! 4**** RT
THE WATERLORD, Dorchester Love Spell, IN BOOKSTORES NOW! 4**** RT
THE FALCON’S BRIDE, Dorchester Love Spell, September 2006
BLOOD MOON, also coming soon from Dorchester
Featured in this Issue:
THE WATERLORD - Lady Rebecca's life changed forever in the blink of an eye. One moment she was fleeing her father across a storm- swept Bodmin Moor, in the next, her carriage overturned on a steep gorge. But she did not die. Somehow, she was pulled clear. There was an eerie luminosity about her savior, a fluid silver aura like the lightning filling the night sky. And while his voice was deep, mellow— comforting, like the music of the waterfall he haunted, it, too, held a hint of the Otherworldly. Who was this strange savior, this displaced foreign nobleman? Everything about the Count was an enigma. Becca had heard myths of the Fossegrim: creatures that traveled between the astral and the physical planes through waterfalls, driven to find ecstasy with human women then vanish forever. From their world, humans never returned. This man, Becca was willing to follow.
THE RAVENCLIFF BRIDE - As the coach flew up the Cornish coast, Sara saw the end of her journey: Ravencliff Manor. She was now its Baroness. But what sort of man would rescue her from debtors prison by marriage--sight unseen, by proxy? Obviously a scoundrel--the same sort of man who kept the draperies drawn and his house in a state of gloomy disrepair. The same sort of man who let a strange, wolf-like animal roam his grounds as if it were master. Of course, Sara would have accepted the proposal of the Devil himself to get out of the Fleet, so she was resigned to her fate. Then she met her husband--hair black as sin and a handsome face, and all her assurance vanished. What strange curse had befallen Nicholas Walraven, and what secrets did he hide? What dark fortune had brought her to this place? For good or ill, she was now...The Ravencliff Bride.
DRAKE'S LAIR - It's Beauty and the Beast in the Garden of Eden, when Lady Demelza (Melly) Ahern, and Tristan (Drake) Hannaford, Earl of Shelldrake clash head-on at Drake's Lair, the earl's Cornwall estate. Drake, returning from five years at war on the Peninsular, finds Melly gathering herbs on his lush, burgeoning land, confiscates her gathering basket, and forbids her to gather there again.
Melly, impoverished by her father's gambling debts, and shunned by the ton after his subsequent suicide, turns to her love of making herbal preparations for her livelihood. Evicted by the strange, brooding earl without explanation, she is determined to find out the reason that no one will tell. Sparks fly when they fall in love. But is love enough to bear the earl's dark secret? Can two so totally different and strong-willed souls at cross purposes ever join, or will that secret tear them apart?
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