23 October 2009
Time Raider interview: Merline Lovelace
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Silhouette (November 1, 2009)
Danger. Max Brody's body tingles with it when he meets Cassandra Jones, the mission specialist with whom he'll jump back to seventh-century China. Petite and guarded, Cassie may look like someone who needs Max's protection, but her essence whispers to him of untamed talents that could destroy as easily as seduce. Yet Cassie's powers and passion, if properly awakened, might be their only safeguard. For amid the splendor and intrigue of the Imperial Court of Empress Wu Jao, they will confront a formidable enemy—and an unstoppable force of nature that's beyond their control….
Merlin Lovelace – The Person:
1. What was the highlight of your week?
Hmmm, this week it was getting the green light to drive again. I had back surgery a couple weeks ago and was starting to feel house bound!
2. Last movie you watched?
THE CHANGLING, starring Angelina Jolie. Incredible story.
3. If you could have one thing right now what would it be?
The thrill of typing THE END to the manuscript in progress!!! Every book is a grand adventure that turns into extremely hard work. I’m always so thrilled to type those two little words.
4. What is your favorite store?
The Apple store. I’ve been the proud owner of at least a half a dozen versions of a Mac since it first burst onto the scene in ’84. I thoroughly enjoy making DVDs of our travels and movie trailers for my books, so I’m always checking out the latest computers and software and assorted gadgets.
5. What is your favorite vacation spot?
Oh, boy, this one’s hard! I would have to say Positano, Italy, was the most romantic spot we ever spent time in and Cairo was the most thrilling historically. It’s right up there with Beijing and Paris as my favorite cities to get lost in.
Merlin Lovelace – author of The Protector:
Q 1 Leontine: What was the first thing that intrigued you in participating in the Time Raider series?
A Merline: I loved the idea of centering our stories around on powerful women in history.
Q 2 Leontine: What are the pros and cons of writing a series with multiple authors?
A Merline: It was all pro and no con for me. I was thrilled to participate in this project with such terrific authors as Lindsay McKenna, Cindy Dees and PC Cast. We had a ball brainstorming ideas and plots and really fed off each other’s enthusiasm. We also reviewed each other’s proposals and manuscripts to make sure we kept the continuity straight.
Q 3 Leontine: What is one of the best things about writing PNR?
A Merline: You can let your imagination run wild in Paranormal Romance. You’re not bound by rules of evidence or a certain locale or even logic. Aliens assume human form, people jump back in time, historical events take a diferent twist. It’s great fun.
Q 4 Leontine: What is THE PROTECTER about and who are the main protagonists?
A Merline: The heroine is a former air force weather officer with a unique – some say eerie -- ability to sense changes in atmospheric conditions. Because of that ability, she’s selected to go back to a period when the forces of nature dominate every aspect of life, from when crops are planted to the most propitious time to conduct a royal ceremony.
The hero has his own reasons for volunteering for this time jump. He understands the critical need to locate a piece of the medallion that could save Earth. He also wants to wring the truth from the heroine about the deadly accident that took the life of his best friend.
Q 5 Leontine: The Time Raider series is at the foundation about exploring time periods and inspirational female characters throughout history. Which historical figure inspired your novel in this series?
A Merline: Empress Wu Joa, who was the only woman to rule China in her own right. I read a bio about her years ago and was absolutely fascinated by her Machiavellian rise from concubine to Empress.
I have a personal interest in China, as well. I studied mandarin in college, was stationed in Taiwan as a young lieutenant, got married there, and honeymooned in Hong Kong. My husband and I recently spent some time in Beijing and beyond, which rekindled my admiration for the Chinese people and their rich history.
Q 6 Leontine: What was the greatest challenge in writing THE PROTECTOR?
A Merline: Well… Not everyone is as enthralled with Asian culture and history as I am, so I tried very hard not to go overboard with details. I also made the hero and heroine Outlanders. They go back in the guise of a Viking warrior delivering the gift of a slave/seer to the Chinese empress. Thus readers see events through their eyes.
Q 7 Leontine: What is your daily routine as an author?
A Merline: I’m a morning person, so I’m in my office Mon-Sat around 6 am. I usually write until early-afternoon, then go exercise. After that, I work edits or correspondence.
I try to take off a month or so between books to travel and recharge my batteries. I get most of my ideas for new books on these trips, which is why so many of my stories are set in exotic locations.
Q 8 Leontine: Can you give a small enticing excerpt from THE PROTECTOR?
Sure. Here’s the beginning of Chapter Two, where the heroine blinks awake after shooting thru time.
Get away from me!”
Shrieking, Cassie leaped back to escape the fearsome creature breathing down on her. She didn’t move fast enough. It butted her shoulder and sent her flying into a mound of slushy snow. Hideous black gums and giant yellow teeth followed her down.
Scuttling backward like an oversized crab, Cassie doubled her fist and swung with all her strength at the snapping jaws. The creature brayed in pain and jerked its head up. And up. And up. Its long neck writhed like a furry python. Its hooves beat the earth in a frantic retreat.
A camel, Cassie realized when she blinked away the snowflakes clinging to her lashes. It was a camel! Complete with tasseled bridle and saddle.
A gloved hand shot out of the swirling white and grabbed the skittering animal’s reins. Cassie followed the hand to an arm sleeved in rough wool. The sleeve led in turn to a wolf pelt draped over a set of broad shoulders, a bristling blond beard and a pair of eyes narrowed to slits under a flat-brimmed felt hat.
“Do you try to escape?”
With a jerk of his chin, the stranger summoned an underling to take the camel’s reins.
“Be warned, slave. Try again to escape, and I swear by Thor’s hammer I will strip you naked and whip you to within an inch of your life.”
Cassie’s jaw dropped. That was Max under all those layers of beard and fur and wool. He’d made it! They both had!
Giddy with relief, she was still trying to assimilate that astounding fact when he grabbed her arm and hauled her to her feet.
“Hey! Back off, Brody.”
His grip tightened brutally. A warning glinted in his steely eyes.
“I am Brodai the Bold. Your master until I deliver you to the Empress of China, as I have been charged to do. You will address me with respect, slave, and speak in the tongues I have taught you.”
Cassie struggled to reset her mind to their new reality. She was astounded Max had made the transition before her. Then again, he hadn’t blinked awake to a gust of noxious camel exhaust.
She took a quick glance around to orient herself. It was late afternoon, she noted, close to dusk. Gray clouds obscured a sun sinking fast toward snow-covered mountains. The faint glow of the rising moon shone through the haze above another mountain peak.
Squinting through the snow, she saw she’d landed a short distance from a group of travelers. They were all bundled against the cold and swirling snow. Some wore coarse blankets across shoulders hunched under the weight of corded bundles or straw baskets. Others held onto the reins of pack animals or stood between the yokes of heavily laded carts. All were watching the by-play between Cassie and Max with varying degrees of interest.
Max played to the crowd by giving her arm a hard shake. “I will not tell you again, slave. You will address me with respect.”
All right, already! She got the message and assumed a sullen scowl. “Yes, master.”
“We travel thousands of leagues to reach this point,” he said in disgust, “and you fall from your saddle like a drunken Magyar.”
That was one way of explaining of their sudden drop into the 7th century, Cassie thought as she stamped her feet against the cold. A heavy cloak covered her from chin to knees. Beneath the cloak she wore a scratchy wool tunic, baggy pants and boots stuffed with straw. The pants, unfortunately, were soaked from her immersion in the icy slush. She twitched, trying to separate bare skin from clammy fabric, and glanced behind her. The massive castle looming out of the snow made her jaw sag.
Holy cow! Professor Carswell had delivered them right on target. They’d landed not twenty yards from the gates of the fortress guarding the mountain pass that led to China’s ancient capital.
The fortress was part of the Great Wall, which snaked across steep peaks and ridges for almost four thousand miles. Damned if the fortifications didn’t look every bit as formidable up close as they had in all the pictures Cassie had seen of them. She was squinting through the snow at the high, undulating walls on either side of the fortress when Max gave her arm another squeeze.
“Your duel with the camel drew the guard’s attention,” he muttered under his breath. “Keep your story straight.”
Her heart bumped at the sight of the heavy-set solider tramping toward them. Bundled up in quilted cotton, leather armor and a bronze breastplate, his wore a distinctly unfriendly expression under his conical helmet. The two soldiers trailing him hefted vicious looking pikes. Not the kind of men Cassie had planned on messing with ninety seconds into her mission.
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Labels: Author interview