We am thrilled to host author Gail Dayton today who will talk about her current release HEART’S BLOOD, a Victorian fantasy romance with steampunk elements, published by Tor Paranormal Romance.
Lolita Marie-Claude: Welcome Gail. Can you please tell us a little about HEART’S BLOOD?
Gail Dayton: Magic is an everyday thing in the world of this story, but women have been barred from working Great Magic since the witch hunts of the 1600s. The exclusively female magic of sorcery—blood magic—has been lost. But a new sorcerer has been found, and women are fighting for the right to become magicians. When the best conjurer in England wakes up in a gutter not far from the body of a man murdered by magic, a young woman sees her chance to escape the poverty trapping her by becoming his apprentice. The story is a murder mystery, as they solve the crime, and a love story, and an adventure.
L M-C: Me loving all this sorcery and magic, I MUST get this book! Where did you get the idea for this story?
G D: I’m afraid to look. The universe was developed when I noticed that most fantasies refer to blood magic as evil, and I wondered how it would work if it wasn’t. Then, as I was writing NEW BLOOD, which is the first book in this series (but you don’t have to read it to enjoy HEART’S BLOOD), the hero in this book started…coming to life. Making quips. Waggling his eyebrows. Taking naps at strange times. I just had to write about him.
Also, I tried to put way too much plot in NEW BLOOD. This book is the part of the plot I took out—the murder mystery part. It takes up a whole book of its own, so it was definitely Way too much to be shoehorned in as a subplot. I mostly had the idea of the murder by magic, and a magician being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the villain’s motivation. The rest came as I wrote the book.
LM-C: Now you are getting me even more fascinated! What series of words would best characterize your writing style or tone?
G D: Adventurous, emotional, occasionally clever, heartfelt, exciting, entertaining—that’s about all I can come up with. I’m not good at characterizing my own tone…
L M-C: Clever? How does this characteristic translate in your story?
G D: I have a fair bit of clever dialogue. At least, people tell me it’s fun to read. It is definitely an adventure, but it isn’t dark. More exciting. Exciting things happen—ghosts appear and do things. Villains ruin magic spells. Clever dialogue amidst exciting events, I suppose.
G D: I like adventure—but I don’t actually want to be in one. I’d much rather read about them, or write them. I’m a big fan of the old H. Rider Haggard or Edgar Rice Burroughs books, like King Solomon’s Mines, and John Carter of Mars. Only they wrote wimpy waiting women, so I needed to fix that and put some Real women in my stories. And I just adore fun dialogue—everything from old Cary Grant movies to Georgette Heyer books. Books are an escape to another world for me. Exploring new places and new ideas, having new experiences, falling in love, and yes, saving the world, if necessary. All while bantering cleverly with the handsome hero. J
L M-C: I love a brave heroine. How is your heroine in HEART’S BLOOD?
G D: The heroine, Pearl, is smart. She knows there’s more than one way to reach her goal, and if she can’t go through the door, she’ll go through the window (literally, if necessary). She’s honorable—there are things she just won’t do, if she can possibly help it—but if it takes blackmail to save her own life and honor, she’ll do it, and make up for it later. (She sort of blackmails the hero into taking her on as his apprentice.) She’s also independent, determined and more than a little stubborn, but not to idiotic lengths. She and the hero deal very well together, because they have a similar sense of honor. And the nice thing about being his apprentice is that she is Supposed to ask a lot of questions.
L M-C: And what is your hero like?
G D: My hero is alpha, I think, but he’s not your usual alpha. He’s a care-for-nothing charmer—except the care-for-nothing part is all an act. He enjoys stirring people up and shocking them, but he would never hurt an innocent, and he protects the helpless. And when he meets the heroine, she’s a bit of both. She’s stuck in an awful situation through no fault of her own and desperate to get out, and despite his own preferences, he simply can’t leave her there—though he puts on a good act. To me, an alpha is a man who protects and provides and takes care of his responsibilities. The rest of it is just style—and an alpha who can do those things and not be an arrogant jerk is even better.
L M-C: It sounds like you have a great pair of heroes there! Tell us a bit about the world building of your story.
G D: I wanted a world where magic was just part of everyday life. Most people can work simple spells of one sort or another, and then, there are the virtuosos. I borrowed a bit from music—Women simply cannot sing certain notes, and very few men are coloratura sopranos, but there’s some crossover in the middle. So most all alchemists, who work magic with the elements—stone, water, fire, etc.—are men. A majority of conjurers, who work spirit magic, are male. Most wizards are female—or would be if they were allowed to be magicians. Wizardry involves magic from plants and green growing things. And sorcerers are almost exclusively female, working magic with blood and sex. Since women have been banned from magic, and sorcery has been lost, the world has gotten a little out of whack over the past 200 years.
L M-C: Working with similar elements in my own writing, I have to say that your world building is very clever. I like the music analogy.
Can you share with us your writing schedule?
G D: I write in the mornings, since I tend to fall asleep over the work if I try to write in the afternoon. (That sinking spell.) I work at a newspaper in the afternoons at my parttime day job, and squeeze in e-mail, blogposts and business in the time I can find in between.
L M-C: You are busy! Do you have any more projects in the work?
The third book in the blood magic universe, HEART’S MAGIC, has been turned in to my editor. She also has a proposal for a science fiction romance set in a universe where people have been genetically engineered to provide slaves to do the work regular people don’t want to do. Some of the slaves have escaped, and created their own society, but the family that created the “vat” people have noticed the missing product, and has sent one of their sons to investigate.
And then there’s the contemporary fantasy romance with my agent, and the mainstream historical I’m currently working on. They’re all romantic adventures. Or adventurous romances.
L M-C: How very exciting! So many projects! If readers want to know more about you and your writing, where on the web can they find you?
G D: My website is www.gaildayton.com, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, my blog is Dreaming in Daylight at magysty.blogspot.com and I’m on twitter @GailDayton. I’m on facebook, but I can’t figure it out. However, I do participate on Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) and Shelfari (www.shelfari.com) because book people hang out there. Just look for Gail Dayton.
Thank you so much for visiting us Gail. Magic, sorcery, alchemy, clever dialog and steampunk elements. I think I’m sold and I want to read the whole trilogy!
I’m sure I am not the only here!