Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview with Historical Romance Author, Dayna Ross & Giveaway!!!

Today we have a very special guest and giveaway. I'm interviewing romance author, Dayna Ross, who is from my home state, Wisconsin. How cool is that? Anyway, let's get started. Welcome to Ravencraft’s Romance Realm, Dayna, it’s a pleasure to have you here today. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to be a writer?

DR:  Hello!  Thank you for having me. Well, I currently live in Texas with my Husband of eight years and we have an adorable three year old Daughter together.  Before that, I grew up in Wisconsin.  I started writing poetry when I was about eleven or twelve.  I usually wrote about boys or things going on with my family.  Through the years I wrote several short stories but never was inspired to write an actual novel until I was 14.

What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

DR:  In all honesty, I start off being a plotter.  Sometimes it works out, but the majority of the time I'm a panster.  I usually always know my characters.  Most of the time, I know the story and where I want it to go.  But I often find myself reworking the story as I go to the point where it doesn't always end the way that I originally had planned.  It makes the writing experience a lot more interesting and helps to build the story just that much more.

What do you like to do in your spare time and how do you handle balancing your writing life with your personal life?

DR:  I consider my writing time to be my free time.  It's not always easy to be able to sit down and just write.  When I write, everything else around me vanishes.  There is nothing but my book and I.  That doesn't happen that often.  I am a stay at home Wife and Mom and I am extremely family oriented.  I have always put my Husband and Daughter first.  My Husband really doesn't require a whole lot of tending to.  He's a pretty independent person.  So as far as being with him goes, we make sure to spend a good amount of time together and it still works out really nicely.  My Daughter is still pretty young yet.  She likes to run around and play and do her own thing, but requires a lot more of my time.  So when I do write, it's usually at night after everyone has gone to sleep.

What do you love most about writing romance and why?

DR:  I just love the idea of love.  I love being able to create characters, whether they are a lot alike or from opposite sides of the track, and really make them into something.  There are so many different obstacles that people go through within themselves and with other people.  And to be able to imagine that two people can come together and accept one another for everything that they are is a lot of fun.

Your book is called A Kindred Spirit’s Sanctuary. In your own words, what is the story about? 

DR:  Ultimately, the over all theme of my book is love.  The story itself centers around a love story, but I also portrayed different types of relationships and expressed how vital and complex they are respectively, be it parental relationships or personal relationships with accepting one's self and their surroundings.  The story itself is a young woman that is having difficulty escaping the loneliness that her new home has introduced before happening upon Akash, a Native American slave, who she has been forbidden to have anything to do with.  The progression of their relationship takes place as the two strain, not only to accept one another, but to fight for the companionship that they come to find that they cannot live without.

What inspired your premise for A Kindred Spirit’s Sanctuary? Since this is a Historical Romance, did you have to do a lot of research?

DR:  I was actually inspired to write this story by a vacation that I took to Missouri with my aunt.  I couldn't help but to fall in love with the landscapes there.  They were unlike anything that I had ever seen in Wisconsin and made it evident that there were actually several meanings to the word 'romantic'.  So it was the land itself that made the creativity wheels start turning.  I had to do A LOT of research.  I had to research everything from the clothes to the houses to the state of Missouri...  The list goes on and on.

Tell us a little more about Nicolette. What kind of woman is she and what makes her different from other heroines? Was she based on you or anyone you know in real life?

DR:  Nicolette is a woman that knows who she is and knows what she wants.  She's constantly second guessing herself and she's constantly thinking.  She realizes that she has the arrogant, spoiled mentality and is smart enough to know that it comes from within the way that she was raised.  She also knows that she possesses the power to change that about herself, and anything else that she may not like.  I would have to say that it is her spunk and her inability to accept the word 'no' that makes her different.  Within her coming of age search for happiness and growth, she uses everything about herself  (including the things that she doesn't like) to fight for what she knows is right and also to fight for her love for Akash.  Her spunk is definitely something that comes from me.  I think it's important for any woman to have that sort of umph about them.  But that's really about all.  Everything else was just what I imagined a woman like that would be. 

 Let’s pretend it’s your birthday; what does Nicolette give you as a gift and why?

DR:  Oh wow.  Um...  Well if it were before she met Akash, then she would probably end up giving me a nice dress or a necklace.  She's a girl that likes to be pampered and believes that all women expect to be also.  If it were after she met Akash, she would probably give me a woven basket or a fur coat that she made herself.  Akash really brings out the sentimental side of her.

Tell us a little more about Akash. I love his name, does it mean anything? What was your inspiration for Akash’s character?

DR:  Akash is a man that was forced into slavery after his parents and tribe were all slaughtered when he was a boy.  He spends years upon years being beaten and talked down to and forced to live a life that consists of nothing more than manual labor and solitude, causing him to become very reserved and leaving him unable to trust anyone.  Even though he works for a wealthy land owner, he is still forced to fend for himself when it comes to food and shelter.  The only thing that is ever given to him is a pair of pantaloons.  These are not even given to him out of kindness.  The land owner that he works for only wants to push his belief of the white man being superior on him.  He is the epitome of strength, both inside and out, as he has to be in order to merely survive.  Through the research that I have done, the name 'Akash' means 'The sky' and/or 'Open air'.  However, I didn't pick the name because of the meaning.  I honestly just liked it and thought that the character in my book looked like an Akash.  I don't know about any other author out there, I can only speak for myself.  But when I am writing a book, I usually picture either a celebrity or someone that I know as the characters in my books.  When I write, I'm usually playing the scenes of the book through my head as if it's a movie.  As for Akash, I used Taylor Lautner.   

 Let’s pretend Akash takes you out on a date, where would he take you and what would do or talk about?

DR:  Hm...  Akash would probably find or already know about a peaceful place to go where the scenery is beautiful and it's quiet.  He would probably lay out a nice picnic area where everything from the food to the eating utensils were all made by him.  He would more than likely be up for talking about anything that I wanted to talk about.  He's really interested in what's inside a person's heart and mind.  He's a man of true character and is very intuitive.  

Besides the hero and heroine, who is your favorite character and why?

DR:  Reverend Rawlins.  He represents the goodness that we all have somewhere within us.  He loves everyone equally and understands that everyone needs and deserves forgiveness.  He believes in these things so much that he just emits this comforting aura.

Where can we buy a copy of A Kindred Spirit’s Sanctuary?


What are you working on now or what’s in store for the future (sequel, up-coming projects, etc)?

DR:  I don't think there will be a sequel to “A Kindred Spirit's Sanctuary”.  I think that Nicolette and Akash's story has thoroughly been told and anything else that is in store for them should be left to the reader's imagination.  I am currently working on another romance.  It's not a historical one.  It's more present time.  And it's a little less innocent than “A Kindred Spirit's Sanctuary”.  And I do not have a title for it yet.  I don't know why, but the titles only seem to come to me after the story is written.  So stay tuned!

Where can our readers find you (website, blog, facebook page, etc)?


 What do you hope readers will take away from A Kindred Spirit’s Sanctuary?

DR:  I'd like to see if the readers can identify a theme with each individual character, see how they positively and negatively identify with one another, and then see if they can identify any of the conclusions that they come to with themselves.  If they can, then that means that they can really take away from this story what it is that I want them to.  And what I would like for them to take away from this story is love.

What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

DR:  Find confidence and clarity through exuding your passions and interests.  You'll never steer yourself wrong if you live by what you love and apply it in everything that you do.

Thank you so much for being with us, Dayna Ross, it was a true pleasure.

DR:  Thank you for having me and thank you for the support!  It's been a blast :)  You're awesome!!!

Excerpt from A Kindred Spirit's Sanctuary:

Haze turned to blackness. Blackness turned to haze, and so it continued for a moment. Nicolette’s eyes fluttered as she aimlessly rolled them beneath their lids, trying to clear them into focus. They were heavy and stung with a dull pang of exhaustion as they fought to resist her effete efforts, with the dirt and gound roughly tickling the scleras of them like sand paper.

Slowly, she began to roll over in hopes of forcing them open.
As she lay on the hard, bumpy ground on her side, the weight of her weak, exhausted body pressed her sore hip and arm into the relentlessly impenetrable and wounding, awkward earth.

As she attempted to shift the position of her body to become more comfortable, her nightgown snagged on something sharp. What ever had caught her clothes had also scraped her ankle.
‘Owe,’ she thought to herself. What was that?

As she slid her leg away from the injurious source, a tearing sound followed.
At that moment, her eyes shot open.

A dark wall stood inches from her face. It smelled funny. Like… a natural scent. And old at that.
In confused curiosity, she reached out to touch it. The uneven crevices were coarse and grainy.
She slowly sat up.

Slowly, one by one, all of her senses continued to awaken.
It was chilly. The stiff humidity left a layer of clamminess on her skin.
She rubbed her arms, looking up. She could hear a faint pounding off in the distance.
‘What is that?’ she wondered.

As her eyes adjusted, she noticed walls upon walls of limestone surrounding her. A few stalagmites were risen from the uneven ground, carrot shaped stalegtites suspended from the ceiling. It was moderately intimidating.
As her eyes continued tracing along the top of the dark and towering formation, she realized that it started to narrow. She could see daylight kissing an incline slightly off to her right.
She stood.

‘Owe!’ Her body felt beaten and worn as her muscles were tight and bruised.
Then she looked down at the base of her night gown where the tearing noise she had heard originated from. And without fail, there was a giant laceration in the fabric that rested at her calf.

She slowly eased her way forward, cursing the hard ground quietly in her mind. ‘Stupid rocks,’ she thought.
She peered out of the jagged, oval shaped mouth. Immediately, the bright sun stung her eyes. Layers of thick shrub were widely spread at her feet with a fresh green scent that blew in the warm breeze. Bright monarchs fluttered along in unison with the uplifting chirping of the birds. Only a narrow man made looking path was pressed down, moving away from the cavern.

Where was she? Where was Akash?...


****GIVEAWAY!!! ****GIVEAWAY!!! ****GIVEAWAY!!! ****

Dayna Ross is giving away one free e-book copy of A Kindred Spirit's Sanctuary to a lucky winner! All you have to do to enter the drawing is leave your name and email address in a comment below before Midnight tonight, CST Time!!!
>>> The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon. Good luck! :)

Interview hosted by Danielle Ravencraft


J. D. Brown said...

Welcome to the Realm, Dayna. Let's get this party started! What a great to start the week off - with a giveaway!

Danielle Ravencraft

Sharon Hamilton said...

Nice excerpt, Dayna. Love that name (in case you chose it). What an intriguing story, and I can understand getting lost in the history of a place, and a time as well.

The story arc sounds like a wonderful read, sprinkled with a lot of sensuous description.

Welcome to the Realm!

Kay Dee Royal said...

Great interview Dayna and Danielle. I know what you mean about Missouri - my husband and I have stayed in a condo on the Lake of the Ozarks...what a lovely place, pure and natural. We've been there a few times, not just because the fishing is superb, but also for its beauty and kind people.
We live in Michigan ~ Northern Michigan is close, but there's definitely something unique about Missouri's beauty.
Your love story sounds fascinating ~ congratulations.

Thank you for visiting us on Ravencraft's Romance Realm. I enjoyed your interview & book excerpt.

J. D. Brown said...

Well the giveaway ended up being a coin toss between Sharon and Kay Dee.

AND - Sharon, you are the winner!

I'll send your info to Dayna so she can send you your prize. Congrats! :)

Charlene A. Wilson said...

Wonderful interview, ladies. Thanks for joining us as the Realm, Dayna. Such a romantic plot. :) Bless Akash's heart.

Dayna Ross said...

A HUGE thank you to each of you :) For your support and also for being so welcoming. I look forward to chatting with each of you on here and also viewing and hopefully reading some great reads.