Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Author Interview and Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen

Never Deal with Dragons 
Book 1 of Dragon Trilogy 

by Lorenda Christensen

  • Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
  • Publisher: Carina Press (July 22, 2013)

Our Review:
Picking up a book about dragons is not an automatic thing for me, but hey, good writing can lead me anywhere, so my mind was open. Regardless, I never expected to find myself laughing, feeling empathetic, and maybe a touch grossed out, all by the end of the first paragraph.
Myrna Banks is a mediator between the human population and the dragon population – not an easy task, but obviously one she is well equipped to handle – until her lousy ex, Trian, shows up to spoil an already problematic day. And a wonderful romp takes off from there.
Ms. Christensen’s writing is faultless, fun, and fast-paced. She deals with back story and setting with ease, while giving us vividly drawn characters and loads of humor. Even when danger and evil creep in, humor is not far off, and I found myself smiling right up to the last page.
Very well done.
-Cary Morgan Frates

Author Interview:
We are delighted to host an interview with Lorenda, and hope you enjoy this little foray into her life and writing. Lorenda, welcome.

Where are you from and from where/who did your love for writing come from?
I am from a small town in Southeastern Oklahoma just minutes from the Arkansas border. And if you ask any of my English teachers, my love of writing did not present itself until way after graduation! In fact, my mother worked as a journalist for a local paper during my high school years, and I distinctly remember thinking that writing for a living—with constant deadlines on your shoulders—would be the worst job in the world. And while I still haven’t gotten over my hatred of deadlines, the writing has grown on me. J

Can you say that your journey to publication was difficult? If so, what were the hardest moments to get through?
I’ve been to a couple of writer’s conferences, where successful authors stand up and talk about their 10, 15, or 20+ years of writing and the strings of rejections they had to wade through for that first “call”, and it makes me a little ashamed. Because fate was so nice to me. Never Deal with Dragons was my first finished manuscript.
Is that to say that I am a better writer because my “first” book got published? Haha. No. In fact, I think it just says that I am a total sissy. The real truth is that Never Deal with Dragons was my first finished manuscript only because it was the first book that had a plot cohesive enough to stick to the page. The rest of my attempts were so awful they didn’t make it past the first three chapters.
No, the hardest moment so far in my career came with Book #2 in this series. I sat down to write the darn thing and words came out of my fingertips…unfortunately they made no sense when stuck together. I wrote about 200k words, cried a bit, wacked at the mess a bit, cried some more, wondered if NDWD was going to be my one-hit-wonder book and I was a failure. My gloriously, wonderfully, lifesaving editor took the book that sucked and helped me to zero in on the major problems (and yes, there were hundreds of them).
I still had a ton of work to do (And my editor even more—Carina press editors are absolutely the best in the biz), but at least now the beginning and ending of the book sorta make sense after you read the middle.
I’m just about to start on Book #3 and I’m praying it goes a bit smoother.

How do you overcome i-suck-at this, that little voice in your head that tells you your writing isn’t good enough?
See question #2 above to see that Lord, yes, I live in that state of mind. It doesn’t help that there are books out there by the likes of Meredith Duran, Darynda Jones, Kristan Higgens, and Nalini Singh and more. All of these authors can write the crap out of a book.
But the thing that try to remind myself of? They all bring something different to the table. Meredith Duran is queen-of-the-prose, Darynda Jones has the action packed sarcasm market cornered, Kristan Higgens can make me shoot Pepsi through my nose anytime/anywhere with laughter, and Nalini Singh makes me feel like I’m going through menopause a decade too early with all the sexy sexy, hotflash-inducing love scenes.
All I can do is try to find what I can bring to the table. And then hope there are readers out there looking for it.

What is your dream vacation?
While I like talking to people, I’m primarily an introvert. That is to say that I get my energy from alone-time. So I’m pretty easy to please. Take me somewhere (or leave me at home) where I can veg out, enjoy the sun, and nap as much as I want.
I’ve decided I’m half reptile, so I prefer warm places – I love beaches so long as you don’t make me swim – but I’m equally happy wrapped in a fuzzy blanket and watching snow fall out my window.

Describe your writing style in five words.
Just get it on paper.

What movies are you currently excited to see?
Here is where I admit to being an enormous nerd. I love anything and everything sci-fi or fantasy related. (Can I change my vacation question to ComicCon?). I will watch every super-hero film that they put out, and anything written or directed by Joss Whedon. Which lately has been the same thing. J

What are you currently reading?
I just finished a major glom of all Kristan Higgens books, and I’ve been looking around for a good Linnea Sinclair-style Science Fiction Romance. Or a good historical romance. Or, well, anything romance. I take suggestions!

If you weren’t a writer, what other careers would you pursue?
Well, since I just started writing, I’m not exactly rolling in the dough. My day job consists of working in an accounting office, doing half a day of general accounting stuff, and the other half of the day writing little scripts to automate the boring stuff.

If you could create a holiday of your own, what would it be called?
The Day in Which the Pictures in my Head Magically Appear on Paper Without Typing
Or maybe we could just call it “Author Day”

For people who haven’t read your novel, how would you summarize the plot?
Dragon language translator Myrna Banks takes on a job working with her ex-boyfriend in hopes of securing a long-overdue promotion. Dragon-related hijinks ensue. (Did I mention I’m terrible at plot summaries?)

What are two of your pet-peeves?
Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m one of those annoying people who NOTICE bad grammar or misspelled words on public or business signs. They make me itch for a pen. (But I never manage to catch them in my own writing. Go figure.)
My other pet peeve? People who talk around a point but refuse to directly say it. (Yes, I’m pointing at you, politicians.) I want my words to count, and I think it’s a waste of time if we don’t say what we mean the first time.

To you, what makes a good story?
Something that makes me forget where I am, even for a single moment.

What usually turns you off about a story?
I’m a bit sheepish about this, but I’m a reader who skips scene settings. I could care less what color a book’s houses, dresses, hair, etc are. I’m always shocked to see book covers, because I read so much on my kindle nowadays that I have no clue what the characters are supposed to look like. So books that really spend a lot of time on this sort of thing – even if they’re historical – tend to bore me.

If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose, and why?
Oh – this one is hard. I’d want to pick someone that doesn’t something I’m absolutely horrible with. So maybe someone like Tolkien who can spend chapters on descriptions and make it interesting.

What is on your night stand?
Right now? Lots of cough drops, my iPhone charger, a lamp, and my car keys.

What is your favorite book?

You can’t ask me this! Because it changes depending on the last book I read. Hmm. I’ll go with Meredith Duran’s Bound by Your Touch. Absolutely stunning.

Thank you, Lorenda, and good luck with Never Deal with Dragons!

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