by Diedra Drake
Genre: Mythic Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Apache Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: September 03, 2019
Number of pages: 402
Word Count: 107,500
Cover Artist: Apache Creek Publishing
Tagline: What if the myths were all real?
1000 years ago the Elves nearly destroyed their species through war. As punishment, their ancestors cursed them and trapped them on the Earthly plane.
Priscilla Forester is a 500-year-old Cursed Elf, with abilities far different from most. She knows there is some secret about her origins, but has given up thinking she will ever discover the truth.
However, Fate was only waiting for the right moment to reveal its secrets. As Priscilla and her lovers battle against warring Elf Houses, her true nature begins to emerge, and it is more than anyone had bargained for.
Welcome to JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder. Tell us about your newest book.
My new release is actually my first fiction novel, and it’s also the beginning of a mythic fiction series. The book is called ‘Cursed by Furies,’ and it’s essentially a version of the modern world in which ancient mythology is still playing a role behind the scenes. It focuses on an Elf named Priscilla, who is more than five hundred years old, and the way that Elves function in the Human world. For a variety of reasons to do with the curse hinted at in the title, Humans refer to Elves as ‘Vampires,’ but they don’t consider themselves anything other than the Elves they are. Most Elves don’t spend a lot of time involved with Humans, and the ones in my story are no different.
This first book is the introduction to the world with this new reality. It covers the curse, introduces Priscilla and those closest to her, shows some of the biggest differences about Elvish culture (inherent polyamory being one of those), and allows the reader to meet one of the Gods who will have a profound influence on the series as it continues.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing your newest book?
Editing. I’m a very fast writer, but coming from a background of non-fiction, I was surprised by the amount of author involvement in the editing process. In the non-fiction world ‘voice’ isn’t as critical, so largely I didn’t have to worry about being consulted on edits, it was very hands-off. Like, ‘Here, take this and make it pretty.’ Fiction is completely different, in that regard. It easily took ten times as long to edit the book as it took to write it, because of all the back-and-forth.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
I’ve been a non-fiction writer, under a different name, for almost 20 years. My preferred topics to write about in non-fiction have largely been in the business, finance, and technology spheres.
They say Hind-sight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
I gave my first finished book to one beta reader right away, but then stopped for a couple of months while I was writing the other two books. After, it was still a bit longer before more betas read it, and even longer before it was fully edited. To put it in context, the book has been finished since halfway through December 2018, but I didn’t even have the first editing pass on it until late spring because I needed my beta feedback to come in first. Had I sent it out to betas earlier, I would’ve been done with it much sooner.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
After the prologue, the very first scene in the diner was difficult to get to a place where I was truly happy with it. There’s so much emphasis on getting the beginning perfect, that I tweaked words here and there over, and over again. In fact, the scene actually started off with her telling him he was a half-Elf in the diner, but I decided to ease that in later.
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
I am not a fan of adult fiction that has moral messaging in it --- I feel it’s my role to entertain not to persuade. Obviously, because these are people with lives, there are some sub-themes that are just built into everyday existence. Things like accepting ones nature, the drive to survive, and protective instinct are things that are involved in the story just because people are involved.
What are you working on now?
I’m actually working on book 1.5! I know that sounds silly, but what happened is that last winter I churned out books 1-3 really quickly, and they’ve been done for a while. When beta reader feedback started to come in on book 2 (see, I’ve gotten faster at sending it out to betas now!) I got some reader feedback that said it felt like two years was a long time (book time) between book 1 & 2. They wanted to know what had happened in the in-between.
So I started writing. And I walked away after a couple of days and I had 15,000 words toward another book. Now I’m at the point where I’ve gone to my publisher and said… hey, I might have a book that comes, chronologically, before the next release. I do understand that’s not a terribly nice thing to do to your publisher. They’ve got timelines, and plans, and here I go tossing in another book. Well, basically I’ve been told that if I can churn it out by the end of September, and write it clean enough to zoom through editing, they can make the adjustments. If not… it will just have to come out afterward as an in-between books 1&2 story.
Is there a release date planned?
The next book release was originally planned to be book 2 in the series, Well Deserved Wrath, coming available for sale by Christmas. As I mentioned about my current project, it’s possible it could end up being book 1.5 for Christmas instead.
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
That’s a hard one. It’s a toss-up between Jonah and Raymond, possibly because I personally identify most with those two characters. Priscilla may be my main character, and I do like her, but she’s most definitely not some shadow extension of myself.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
Oh, certainly! Very avid reader as a child and onward, it never stopped. In Elementary school I was really into mysteries and very into reading the Trixie Belden books. If you’re not familiar, they were a lot like Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys books. The major theme is that the mysteries are solved by Trixie (and her friends usually).
What are your plans for future projects?
My current plan is to continue writing this series. I have the 1.5 book I’m working on, then book 2 is ‘Well Deserved Wrath,’ and book 3 is called ‘Memory of Betrayal.’ I’m planning to write up some interesting adventures in book 4 that will take the characters to Italy, and possibly even Egypt.
When the main story of the series is complete, if that ever happens, then I may write some books on the history of some of the characters. I do also have some plans to write some mythology for children, but that’s in the very early stages.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
If any of this mythology stuff sounds interesting to you, give it a shot. If you’re on Kindle Unlimited, the book will be released into that program. Also, on Amazon I will be offering the eBook free with the purchase of the print version so you can read it immediately on your Kindle while the print version is being shipped. I will have large print versions, hard cover, and audio all coming out in the future, and we’re currently talking about going into translation.
If you’re at all interested in getting your hands on my next beta release, and I’m always interested in beta readers, head over to my website at DiedraDrake.com and sign up for the newsletter. They only get sent like one or two emails per month, but if you’re looking for opportunities to read early, the newsletter folks get everything first. Plus, if you have a question, you can always just hit reply on the newsletter and send me a personal email that will come to me directly.
Good luck with your newest release, and thank you for being with us today.
It was a pleasure. Thank you so much for the great questions!
Keep scrolling for an excerpt from Cursed by Furies.
Mitchell parked in the lot, careful to stay out of the immediate line of sight while Raymond filled up his tank.
He replaced the pump nozzle before entering the store to get his chips and pay for the gas. Another car pulled up, and the driver also went inside. A few more minutes passed, and Mitchell started to grow concerned.
Raymond didn’t normally dawdle, and there weren’t so many cars around that there should be a big line. Maybe the clerk was having problems with his register or…
A shot rang out. Then another.
Mitchell’s heart sank and fear surged through him as he nearly tore the door off getting out of the car. He was inside the store in a blink and took stock of the situation in seconds. Raymond lay on the floor bleeding from his side, the red pool growing quickly. The clerk's body hung slumped over the register counter, blood pouring out from his chest.
The shooter’s eyes darted back and forth between the two victims, his breathing chaotic as he rubbed his fingers through his hair and pressed his palms to his temples. His eyes wide as he stared at the bodies and the blood. He didn't immediately realize anyone else was standing there. When he finally noticed Mitchell, it was but a moment before the shooter’s neck was broken and he collapsed next to where his gun had fallen.
Mitchell dashed to the automotive aisle and returned with a pack of terry cloth rags and duct tape. He ripped open Raymond’s shirt, tore one of the cotton rags out of the bundle, and started mercilessly packing the wound. Raymond screamed in agony for a few seconds, then his body became limp as he lost consciousness.
“Sorry Ray, it’s better this way," Mitchell mumbled as an apology.
He put his fingers underneath the bleeding side of Raymond’s body and felt around looking for an exit wound. Sure enough, the bullet had gone entirely through. With one hand Mitchell shifted Raymond onto his side, then shoved another piece of rag into the exit wound. When he rolled him back over, he noticed the fabric on the front was completely saturated and blood was pouring out of the injury again.
“Dammit. Something’s bleeding inside." He took a shaky breath. “Shit!”
He wiped off as much blood as he could to dry the skin, folded a piece of cloth like a bandage, and duct taped it over the opening in his flesh. He repeated the process on the back.
Mitchell looked around and realized he needed to lock down the scene. He stood and flipped the sign on the front entrance to 'Closed,' then hit the nearby light switches so the interior went dark.
He returned to Raymond, lifted him effortlessly, and carefully carried him outside to where he’d left his vehicle in the parking lot. He managed to open the passenger door and put him in the seat, then reclined it back to keep his body at an angle. As he was about to close him in, he noted the seat belt. With a last-minute idea, Mitchell ripped it from the wall of the car and started sliding it under Raymond.
Raymond regained consciousness for a moment, took one look at Mitchell, and began yelling in terror while pulling away.
About the Author:
Diedra Drake is a life-long student of mythology and history, with a particular interest in the ways that different cultures tell the same stories using name variations. She is competent in classical Latin, and enjoys reading the classics – particularly Homer, Plutarch, and Shakespeare. For relaxation, Diedra loves to crack open a new historical romance novel or binge a new series on streaming. After a couple of decades being a business owner in the technology industry, she decided to explore her other interests through the creation of a mythic fantasy romance world. She lives in Central Texas with her family, which includes a small cat colony and a couple of dogs, and tries to ensure she gets a daily serving of ice cream for continual inspiration.
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