Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Interview and Giveaway with DB Nielsen
Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.
I was born in British Hong Kong and immigrated to Australia with my family when I was six-months-old. I spent much of my childhood travelling the world with my family as my Dad is an architect. Now, I divide my time between Sydney and London, and enjoy visiting the cathedrals, crypts and museums all over the world. My dream project is to do a series of book tours in the Champagne region of France and High Tea establishments everywhere.
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a princess, a ballerina, and eventually a children’s doctor. But I always enjoyed writing. When I was in high school, I would write short stories and poetry for the school magazine and even entered a few newspaper/ magazine writing competitions. I never formally studied creative writing – I think if you love to write (and have people read your work/s) then you’re a writer whether you’re published or not. Instead, I studied Humanities at university, majoring in English Language and Literature and Linguistics (Semiotics) and became a university lecturer. But I continued to write for fun and it was only when some of my students encouraged me to publish my novel that I thought about writing professionally (and not just publishing academic essays and articles for journals which many people would consider boring!)
My genre is YA/ NA paranormal romance (which I also love to read – you’ve got to be a fan of the genre to be a writer of the genre!)
Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
SEED is best described as The Mortal Instruments meets The Da Vinci Code. It follows the journey of Sage Woods, the seventeen-year-old daughter of an eminent archaeologist, who uncovers the disturbing secret about a powerful, hidden artefact; unearthed in modern day Southern Iraq (formerly ancient Mesopotamia). With its discovery, an ancient conflict is reignited and Sage is placed in terrible danger as, unwittingly, she stumbles into an invisible war. She is embroiled in a quest that takes her from the British Museum to the Louvre to the Vatican Secret Archives and realises that her blossoming romance with the mysterious, alluring St. John Rivers is inextricably tied to the artefact. Up until now, St. John has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Sage is determined to delve deeper to uncover his dark secret and his connection to the artefact. It is a decision that will have a devastating effect on humankind…
Are you a mom?
Yes, I’m a mum and I have four children (aged from 2 years old to 18 years old) who keep me on my toes!
If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?
Parenting comes first. I often feel guilty that I might need to lock myself away to write and have to leave the kids to my husband to take care of (he’s wonderful with them but I hear them through the closed door and just itch to get involved in their dramas) – though mainly I try to write late at night when the kids are in bed and asleep. I don’t write every day or to a schedule but I am trying to be more disciplined as I admire writers who can write 2,000 words a day and stick to a schedule. But I’m more a stop-and-start, when-the-mood-takes-me, bash out a chapter in a day then take a hiatus for two weeks, get some inspiration from other authors/ reviewers/ readers and bash out another few thousand words, get distracted by my family (kids demanding food/ drinks/ misplaced toys/ misplaced clothes/ toilet trips…) and grind to a stop (swearing in frustration because I want to write but have to prioritize), then do it all over again.
On the upside, I do have a plan of where I want my novel to go and work around that. I always have a mental map of about half the chapters (including the beginning, climax and denouement) and let the rest work itself out.
Also, I get to spend time with the kids (dance class, soccer practice, baking brownies, school concerts, kids’ parties all have their place in my life) – but my secret is to be organized with everything else so that when I get time, I can lock myself away for an hour or two to write (and try not to feel guilty!)
Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?
I wish!! I would love to meet these characters or go to these places but my life is much more ordinary than that! I think the only sections I can safely say are based on events in my own life are the recipes in the novel and the Christmas celebrations I describe with the specific cultural and familial traditions and customs. The character of Sage’s mum is, perhaps, similar to my own mum who was also an artist/ designer – so she’s the only character in the novel that is close to being real.
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?
I think there’s quite a few messages within the novel. One of them is that history is often stranger than fiction or fantasy. If we can understand the past, we can make sense of ourselves and our world.
Also, I want readers to understand that some things have to be taken on faith. There is much to discover still in our world – the unknown, the unexplored, the unseen – but, in the end, the story is about us; about love and mortality; the human condition.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I have very little background in archaeology and history. I love the subject but I never formally studied it beyond my first year at university. Yet, in the novel, there’s a lot of historical details which I tried to make as accurate as possible.
On a personal note, they may be interested to learn that I wrote the novel virtually one-handed whilst nursing my infant son. Typing one-handed is not my forte but I managed to write SEED within three months – a fact I’m very proud of!
When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
I love to cook. I especially love baking – cookies, cakes, brownies, scones … just about anything really. I use it as an excuse to procrastinate when writing. When I was young, the kitchen was my mother’s domain but the thing she’d let me cook was desserts. So every Saturday when my brothers went to play soccer and after my netball games, I’d rush home and bake a cake or cupcakes. It seemed to give lots of pleasure to everyone. Now I bake for my kids.
I really love planning events for my family – birthdays in particular – and everything from baking the cake to table decorations, room decorations, even hiring performers. For one special occasion I planned a medieval feast and was lucky enough to hire the basement cellar of the old castle near where I live. It had been renovated but retained its charm – sandstone walls, dim lighting, flagstone floors. And I had the invitations made up as scrolls complete with tassles (made in India because I couldn’t find a local person to do it) and got everyone to dress up in medieval costumes (so we had friars, Vikings, maidens, knights, etc…) and I even had performers and a glass blower (so everyone went home with a little gift as a memento of the night).
And, by the way, my guilty pleasure is drinking champagne. An expensive hobby but I collect the corks and tag them to display them in glass jars. Each cork is marked with a special occasion, date, time, location, who was present and what we were celebrating – it makes for an interesting conversation piece but also happy memories.
Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?
Of the classics, I wish I had written Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as there is something rather wonderful about the story of a young, headstrong, independent woman marrying the ideal man (who appreciates her for her brains and not just because she’s attractive).
Of the contemporary novels, I wish I had written The Time Traveler’s Wife by Hiffenegger as it made me laugh and cry and think about a love that lasted a lifetime and beyond.
Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?
Futuristic dystopian novels – I know that this is probably a trend with The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc… out at the moment, but I have a couple of ideas that are slightly different from the books published at the moment and I’m hoping to be able to write them down when I finish the KEEPERS OF GENESIS series.
Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?
This is a tough question but I think … I think it would have to be Gabriel Chevalier because he’s such a charming, capricious, mischievous figure. Think Loki in The Avengers and Thor film series – that’s Gabriel. But Gabriel is quite charismatic and humorous too (and he’s secretly a very deep character but the right girl will be needed to unlock all his secrets).
If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?
The next book in the series is SCROLL. It follows Sage’s sister’s journey (so the narratives in the novels are alternating between books) and her trials and tribulations. Unlike her sister, she’s confused about love and involved in a love triangle – but she’s very attracted to the Byronic hero-villain/ the bad boy figure, Phoenix (also known as Finn). Here’s an extract of the next book (soon to be published):
He leant forward, his eyes now so dark a blue that they were almost black in the emptiness of the shadowy gallery.
‘Oh, I understand perfectly,’ he said, his tone now mildly amused. ‘But do you?’
I scowled up at him as I took a step back. ‘Do I what?’
‘Do you understand what it is that you want?’
He stepped closer to me as he spoke, forcing me to retreat until I found my back pressed up against the stone monument that I had admired only moments before, ironically mirroring the event of the previous night.
I shook my head hesitantly. ‘What are you talking about? You’ve lost me. You constantly speak in riddles and I don’t understand you.’
‘Again, you do not see, because you do not choose to see, Saffron.’
This time when he said my name it was like a caress that tingled through me, electrifying every nerve ending in my body.
‘You make me forget, Saffron…’ His voice drifted off.
Staring up at him, I asked, ‘Forget what?’
But he ignored my question.
‘Is it so wrong?’ he mused again, speaking more to himself than to me.
I frowned in dismay. ‘What?’
‘Is it so terrible to want what you should not? To crave what you cannot have? Do you fear to seize what you desire? What is forbidden?’
I found the very breath strangled in my throat. Somehow our conversation had wandered down a different path and I was alarmed by the direction which it was now taking.
I didn’t know if I was ready for this.
And I had a strange feeling that Finn wasn’t just talking about me but himself. I wasn’t afraid of the wild look in his eyes, but it made my stomach flutter in an uncomfortable way, sent my pulse hammering through my veins.
I moved, but he was quicker, placing himself directly in my path.
‘Let me pass, Finn,’ I demanded futilely. But even to my own ears, my voice lacked conviction.
The top of my head scarcely reached his shoulder and I felt dwarfed, yet oddly protected, by his height and solid muscle. He slowly bent down, his lips brushing against my ear, making me shiver in reaction as his breath fanned the tendrils of loose hair curling around my left earlobe.
‘Fear and passion are but two sides of the same coin.’ The scent of fruit was stronger now. ‘You’ve felt fear, Saffron, but have you ever really felt passion?’
Musical notes dropped from his lips like pearls, seducing me.
‘We all are afraid of losing ourselves, of losing control and being possessed, and consumed. And yet, like moths drawn to the flame, we crave it.’ Finn’s eyes seemed to see into my very soul. ‘Against our better judgement, we’re tempted … and it would be so easy to give into that temptation…’
‘Finn, please. Let me pass,’ I said again, my voice even weaker. I tried to clear my throat, but instead my mouth felt dry like sandpaper.
‘You give me an order, Saffron, yet I do not feel the force of it. Perhaps you do not mean it…’ he whispered seductively into my ear. ‘Yet you could make any demand of me, if you only knew your power…’
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
I’m hoping that Book Two of this series, SCROLL, will be released early next year, and then I’m planning on finishing off writing Book Three, SWORD, in the KEEPERS OF GENESIS series (I’m about a third of the way through). And later I’d eventually like to try writing a futuristic dystopian text (maybe).
What book are you reading now?
Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger
What is in your to read pile?
I love discovering Indie authors so there are a few books from the #IndieBooksBeSeen movement I’m dying to read (including JC Brennan’s A Fine Line, Robert A Palmer’s Relyk, CL Schneider’s The Crown of Stones and Renee N Meland’s The Extraction List) but I’m also interested in those books recommended to me by my readers. I deliberately stay away from any books containing angels and Nephilim whilst I’m writing, but I have just discovered Rachel Caine’s The Morganville Vampires series and I’d also like to look into Jennifer Armentrout’s books that so many of my readers just love.
Keepers of Genesis Series
Genre: YA PNR/ Urban Fantasy
Publisher: LBLA Digital
Number of pages: 432
Word Count: 160,000
Cover Artist: XLintellect PTY LTD
A powerful, hidden artefact is unearthed and, with its discovery, an ancient conflict is reignited. Seventeen-year-old Sage Woods, the daughter of an eminent archaeologist, uncovers the artefact’s disturbing secret and is placed in terrible danger.
Unwittingly, she has stumbled into an invisible war between two primordial dynasties of a supernatural order – a war in which she has a fateful role to play in a race to control the power of the SEED.
Embroiled in a quest that takes her from the British Museum to the Louvre to the Vatican Secret Archives, Sage realises that her blossoming romance with the mysterious, alluring St. John Rivers is inextricably tied to the artefact.
Up until now, St. John has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Sage is determined to delve deeper to uncover his dark secret and his connection to the SEED.
It is a decision that will have a devastating effect on humankind…
Available at Amazon
I had no idea where to begin in my quest, so I decided to simply follow the path of least resistance, working my way around the exhibition. It was like a jigsaw puzzle; reconstructing pieces of the past and trying to find the bigger picture. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, I only hoped that there would be something, some tablet or bas relief, that would be able to shed some light on the artefact and, more importantly, on what I’d seen. I would have sworn that I saw it transform before my eyes in Dad’s office but I didn’t know whether I should doubt myself now. I’d only seen the artefact for a few moments and yet it had felt like it was speaking to me, imparting some ancient knowledge. Of course, I didn’t understand any of it, but I hoped to.
Because I was in a reverie, I almost missed the piece altogether. It was a tablet not much more than ten centimetres in length, containing a cuneiform inscription and a unique map of the Mesopotamian world. The symbols on the tablet were an exact copy of some of the symbols I’d seen on the artefact though a little more crudely formed.
The cuneiform inscription composed the top section of the tablet whilst, underneath it, was a diagram featuring two concentric circles. The outer circle was surrounded by triangles at what seemed to be random distances. The inner circle held more geometric symbols and cuneiforms. A rectangle in the top half of the inner circle in the centre of the tablet represented Babylon. Assyria, Elam and other cities were also depicted. The tablet and its inscription were by no means complete as it had been reassembled from the broken pieces found by archaeologists. Information was obviously missing but I was elated at finding anything that could tell me more about the artefact.
It was because I was so transfixed with my find that I initially failed to notice that I was being scrutinized from across the room. The first I became aware of it was a prickling sensation down my back, the hairs on my neck and arms raised giving me goose bumps. I turned my head round nervously, looking back over my shoulder.
He stood at a distance, a young man in his mid-twenties perhaps, taller than average. No mere accident of lighting, his slightly curly locks, the colour of polished brass, formed a halo around a face that was much too beautiful to be called handsome. The only way to describe him was golden. His skin was golden, his hair, which he wore slightly longer than was fashionable, curling into the nape of his neck, was golden and I suspected his eye colour was, if not golden, amber like mine.
When I caught him staring at me intently, he neither looked away in embarrassment nor did he pretend to know me. Instead, he continued to assess me with an unblinking, hypnotic gaze. It was I who broke contact first; flushing with embarrassment, I dropped my eyes at once.
This can’t be happening! I thought, feeling panicky. Dragging in a deep breath, my eyes skittered back to his. He was still staring at me, his indescribably beautiful face unmoved.
My heart fluttered in my chest. I didn’t know what to think – was this some random stalker or had he seen me before around the museum and couldn’t place my face, seeming familiar to him? No serial killer looked the way he did. He was dressed immaculately all in black; a pair of black trousers was topped by a fine woollen black turtleneck. He wore the sleeves rolled up, exposing his sun-kissed skin. And the black only accentuated the perfection of his face. Of course, I had no idea what a serial killer looked like, but I was fairly certain it wasn’t this golden god.
As curious as I was, I did the only thing that made sense; I ignored him – or pretended to. Deliberately turning my back on him, I tried to refocus on the tablet in front of me. But I was merely staring blankly, nothing was registering. It was all so unreal.
‘It’s not real.’ A low, attractive voice remarked by my side.
I almost jumped out of my skin, whirling to face the owner of that voice.
‘Sorry if I startled you.’ He smiled, apologetically. ‘I saw you looking at the map of ancient Mesopotamia.’ He nodded in the direction of the display case.
I blinked. He was even more stunningly golden up close. He belonged in a museum – he had the kind of face and figure that artists used as a model. Statues should have been made of this man, posing as Apollo, Phaenon or David. I almost envied him his looks; such beauty on a guy wasn’t fair.
I had been wrong about the eyes though; they were an impossible jade green flecked with gold and framed by the longest eyelashes on any guy I’d seen. He was also taller than I imagined; a good few inches above six feet. All in all, he was quite a package and way out of my league.
I somehow regained my scattered wits to stutter, ‘S-s-sorry?’
Great! Now he was going to think I was an idiot! An idiot with a stutter!
I almost groaned aloud.
About the Author:
db nielsen was born in British Hong Kong and immigrated to Australia in childhood. db likes to travel the world with family; dividing time between residing in Sydney and visits to the cathedrals, crypts and museums the world over, doing research for new projects. The author is a university lecturer in Linguistics and Semiotics, and continues to teach English Literature and Language whilst writing fiction.