Thursday, March 28, 2013

Author Interview with Kylie Griffin

Today I have Kylie Griffin, author of the super awesome Light Blade series on my blog answering a few questions. She's a fantastically fun lady and a gem of an author to talk to. Check out what she has to say about writing and her new book ALLEGIANCE SWORN, which comes out in just 5 days!!! And don't forget to post your comment to win Light Blade goodies. I can tell you from personal experience that they are super cool!

Kylie, thank you so much for stopping by today. I'm dying to know some of the ins and outs of how you've created this amazing world.
Amanda, thanks for having me. I'm sure you've got some great questions, so let's get started!

Okay, first question. Are the Light Blade books the first books you've ever written? I know a lot of new authors say they have been writing books for years until they finally wrote one they thought would sell. Is that your experience?
Yes, I have been writing for years, Amanda. I started as an 11y.o. and continued right through high school, encouraged by two wonderful English teachers.
Most of the stories though will never see the light of day again. Those years are what I consider my apprenticeship, the time I spent learning the craft of writing, entering contests, going to workshops and learning about the publishing industry. Many of the ideas from these early pieces of work however will be salvaged and reused.
So, the Light Blade series aren't the first books I've written. If you're talking complete manuscripts, then they're #6, #7 & #8 of the work I've produced that are what I view as being of a publishable standard.

Do you have a special place where you do your writing?
I have an office/library where I like to do most of my writing. Sometimes I migrate with my laptop into the living room and write in my recliner, just for a change of scenery.
Something I do like when I'm writing is a burning incense or a scented candle. Other than that, I like silence. Music just distracts me. If it has lyrics then I end up listening to them or breaking out in verse. LOL.

I've always wanted to know, how do you choose the names of your characters?
I have half a dozen baby name books on my bookshelf. I'll flip through them looking for names, take part of one and a bit of another and combine them. I like saying them out loud and hearing the combination of sounds as well as how they look on paper. Sometimes I spot a name in the credits of a TV show and use it.
That's sounds really interesting, and hard to decide!

When you write your books, do you write from beginning to end, or do you have specific events in mind and then fill the story in around them?
My writing process has evolved over time. When I first started out I was a pantster. I took an idea and just wrote, and ended up with with many, many incomplete pieces of work. 
Now, because of the publishing process, I've had to evolve and become more of a plotter. My editor needs a rough idea of what happens in the story when I submit a proposal. So I have to know he beginning, several pivotal scenes, and the end before I write it.
As for the nitty-gritty process of writing, I like to go from beginning to end rather than just writing scenes out of order and cobbling them together. I'll write fresh scenes in the morning and by evening go back over and edit it. The next morning I like to reread what I wrote the day before to get into the mind-set and go again from there.
Rinse and repeat for about 3-4 months and I end up with a finished book!

When you started the Light Blade series, what came first? Did you have an idea about the characters you wanted to write and then created the demons and the half demons and such to fight that, or did you want to write about demons and then develop the characters from there?
Annika first “appeared” to me exactly as readers discover her in the opening scene of VENGEANCE BORN - descending into father’s dungeon about to meet a human Light Blade warrior for the first time, about to begin her escape and achieve her goal of beginning a new life.
It's usually the characters I see first when I come up with an idea for a story. They're usually in a situation and I just play around with the idea (aka daydream) until the details take shape and form.
As the Light Blade series developed I put all the details of characters, places, animals, the language, politics, military and cultural information etc. into a series bible so I could keep track of everything. I even drew maps as the world grew (they appear in ALLIANCE FORGED an ALLEGIANCE SWORN).
As an avid reader of fantasy, I appreciate a map in the front of the book to see where everything is and get perspective on a world I've never been to.

Will you ever give us access to your "Series Bible" that you reference on your blog? I know we'd all be dying to see it!
LOL! You make the "Series Bible" sound like a Top Secret document! I guess it could be considered just that given it has blurbs and information about future stories in the Light Blade series.
It's not a particularly neat notebook, as I write most of the information in by hand (and I don't have the neatest handwriting!) and I've loose leaf pieces of paper shoved into it as well. The pages are divided into sections, one for each book I've written so far, and they have preliminary ideas jotted down for future books in this series. Each completed book section contains information under the heading I outlined in the previous question.
But, yes, to answer your question people have had access to it and probably will again. I've taken it to writers conferences and author talks as a "show and tell" item for workshops, and I have no doubt that it will go on similar future excursions. :-)
It's just so interesting to see how authors think through their process, I think it would be like an insight into your mind :)

Okay. Last question and this was one I was dying to know the answer to before I read ALLEGIANCE SWOWN. The events in Vengeance Born and Alliance Forged all seem to be leading us to a big battle. Will we get the battle in Allegiance Sworn? And will that wrap up the current plot line and move us into a new one, or will we not get the resolution quite yet?
Amanda, this is a great question! 
Before I wrote ALLEGIANCE SWORN I'd have given the resounding answer of "Yes! A big battle is planned for this book! The Light Blades and Na'Reish will decide once and for all which of them will prevail over the other. And yes, this will wrap up the current plot line."But - yep, you knew that was coming, didn't you? - all I want to say is that the big battle morphed into something I wasn't expecting. No specific details (*grin*), but there is a battle or two, lives are threatened, decisions are made, people die.
As the story is set in demon territory for the most part, readers will get to see the Na'Reish up close and personal. And as Arek spends most of his time as a slave in this story, readers will see and experience Na'Reish culture from his perspective, and it ain't pretty!
For those also wondering if we get to see the demon leader, Savyr, you will. Arek and Imhara encounter him in a rather tension-filled scene that has unexpected consequences for both of them.
What I envisaged as "the big battle" and what the characters wanted, ended in a compromise that I hope readers will understand and like. Instead of one final battle, ALLEGIANCE SWORN is the first of many confrontations between opposing sides. I can't say more than that without giving away spoilers for this book and the next two (which I hope my editor will contract!).
I totally saw this as I was reading ALLEGIANCE SWORN. The demon realm was so interesting and the book had such a different feel to it. It was really powerful. And I thought I was going to be disappointed that there wasn't the resolution I was looking for, but I found it incredibly satisfying in the most unsatisfying way! If that makes any sense. LOL.

Amanda, it's been great being here on your blog! I really enjoyed answering your question about the "Series Bible" and I was wondering what sorts of things readers like authors to share with them along these lines.
Do you enjoy reading about how the author keep their world-building consistent? Deleted scenes? Character interviews? Something else? The information would be helpful to know for future guest blogs or when talking to readers at events or book signings.
Anyone who shares an answer & leaves an email address (so you can be contacted) will have their name thrown into the hat for a special Light Blade swag* draw in thanks! (*signed bookmarks, magnets, notepad & Allegiance Sworn tote bag) The winner will be announced Wednesday, 3rd April, 2013.
Kylie, thanks so much for coming! It's always so interesting to get a look inside a favorite author's brain. Thanks for hanging out with us today, and I can't wait to see where we go next in the Light Blade world!

Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when
she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend
the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her
childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young
children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she
volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit
her website at

ALLEGIANCE SWORN (Bk#3 in the Light Blade series) comes out on 2nd April, 2013. For those new to the series, the mass market version of VENGEANCE BORN (Bk#1) releases on the same day. If you aren't familiar with the series, jump on the wagon! You don't know what your missing!

If you want an inside look at Kylie's books, check out my reviews!
Book #1
Book #2
Book #3

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. How long does it take to write "sex scenes"? Yours are so beautifully written and are so emotional. Can you "whip one out," or does it take a LOT of editing to get one to work?

    1. Hi Shelljo,

      Thank you - it's so gratifying to hear readers connected with the emotional journey of your characters and enjoyed their sex scenes.

      And what great questions! Ahh, sex scenes, the bane of my existence...LOL - give me an action scene any day.

      No, only kidding (but I do find I have more of an affinity for writing action scenes, they seem to play out a lot easier when I write them - almost like a movie in my head - than when I write a sex scene).

      But I love writing sex scenes because they're such an integral part of the story. They're part of the character's journey as much as anything happening in the external plot.

      I find getting the balance right between the physical action and emotional intimacy or internal growth to be the most time consuming thing when writing these types of scenes. It's so important to get that right, to make what they do ring true otherwise the reader senses something is amiss or off or forced. Does that make sense?

      The wonderful thing about sex scenes is that there are so many different types of scenarios you can include in a character's story arc. There's the initial tension building scenes, the first, kiss, the teasing/innuendo/near happening sex, the first time they have sex, hot raunchy sex, intimate sex - all different and all able to be used to convey progress (or throw hurdles in the way).

      So, how long does it take for me to write a sex scene, well, it takes as long as it takes. Let me give you an example or two.

      In Allegiance Sworn, Imhara & Arek's first kiss scene - the dirty draft, so to speak - took me about an hour to write. Then over the editing stage I layered a little more into it, tweaked sentence structure, checked that what I wanted achieved re:both character's internal conflict & growth was "just right", changed a few words to something with more precise impact...and so on. That probably took me another hour or so.

      With Arek & Imhara's first physical-they're-actually-doing-it-sex scene (in Trader Ilhan's House) that took me a week to get down the draft, mainly because of the size of the chapter/scene/points I wanted to make sure I included were there.

      There was so much external plot happening and this was a defining moment for Arek so the internal motivation and growth had to be right.

      Where Imhara met a female adversary who wanted to stake a claim on Arek was all part of the lead-up and set-up to Arek & Imhara having sex. The external plot pushed the characters into a situation where the internal plot needed to be taken to the next level - physical sex. It was very much a tug-of-war sort of scene for Arek, and to some extent for Imhara as well.

      A heck of a lot of fun to write, to finally get them together after so much build up and strife, so that ahhh-satisfaction factor had to be spot on!

      So, Shellyjo, this is a very long winded way of saying it all depends on the type of scene. The important thing for me though is getting the draft done, then going back and editing as long as it takes to get the right balance for what you're trying to achieve at that point in their journey - external or internal.

    2. Wow. Awesome explanation, Kylie. I so loved Arek and Imhara's sex scene. So powerful. I just wish there had been more to love!

  2. I always love hearing the stories about where the 'idea' came from or how the character 'spoke' to an author for the first time.
    Thanks for sharing some of yours Kylie :)

    Great interview Mrs Clare :)

    1. Hey Cath, thanks for dropping in! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Thank you for a great post, Mrs Clare! I'm a huge Kylie Griffin fan and can't wait to add Allegiance Sworn to my collection.

    Kylie, you rock! with each new release, I get drawn deeper and deeper into the world's you create.

    1. Hey Juanita! There's nothing like disappearing into a character's world, is there? I hope Allegiance Sworn lives up to your expectation - this time you get to go across the border into demon territory! :-)

  4. Hi Kylie! Congrats on the upcoming release of Allegiance Sworn. I love love love this series. My 1st thought on reading Vengeance Born was "OMG, this is a debut book? It's awesome. I want more!"

    I like hearing about the behind the scenes/the making of sort of thing but to be honest what I really keep an eye out for is what the author is working on I know how long more I have to wait for the next book(s

    1. Thanks, Linda, for the compliment on the series and for dropping in and saying hi.

      I'm like you - I like to know what the author has coming out next - I know I'll often pre-order the book if I can, especially if it's one of my fav.authors!

      I've been hashing out story lines for Light Blade Bks #4 & #5, and I'm also daydreaming about a post-apocalyptic romance. Just need a couple of clones to keep up with the pace I want to keep to get these books written! LOL

    2. Linda,

      I felt just like you! No way could Vengeance Born been a debut album. I'm so glad I picked it up. I would be missing out on an AWESOME series!

  5. Their favorite place to write and what music they like to hear when they're writing!

    1. For the moment, my to write is in my recliner, with my laptop on a steady table. I usually write in my library/office but got sick of staring at a wall (my desk is pushed up against one).

      As for music - I don't usually have any playing when I'm writing. I like silence so I can concentrate on the scenes and characters, particularly the first draft. If I play a CD I tend to get distracted by the lyrics.

      Sometimes, just sometimes, but I have to be really in the mood, I'll put on a movie soundtrack, like LOTR and as it's mostly instrumental, I can "listen" to it as I write.

  6. Hi All

    I do love hearing about how authors form their "world" so to speak how they create the landscapes and the names of the places and characters and modes of transport these are all interesting for me and I so love meeting the authors and hearing them talk about all of this.

    Whoo Hoo and I am so looking forward to reading this one

    Have Fun

    1. Me too, Helen. I love listening to author's talk about their world and how they created them. And then to dive into them by reading a book from their series. One of my fav. worlds is Pern (Anne McCaffrey)!

  7. Hi Kylie - fabulous interview. I love hearing about the process of other authors. I also love reading books from people I know, but as a Harlequin author, read mostly contemporary romance... yours is the first fanstasy/paranomal series I've read since Louise Cusack's Destiny series and I have to say I just love your Light Blade books and am so looking forward to your next release. Congratulations!!!!

    1. Hi Helen, wow, so cool to hear that you enjoyed reading the series even though you mostly prefer contemporary romance! Music to my ears. :-)