We are really happy to welcome author Lisa Hendrix here at Book Lovers Inc today. I met Lisa on twitter and when she told me about her new release I practically begged her to come over for an interview. Her latest novel Immortal Champion, book 3 in her her Immortal Brotherhood series, will be released tomorrow but I already heard rumors about it being seen in some stores. Please give Lisa a warm welcome.
The Geeky Lover: Lisa can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Lisa: I swear, this is the hardest question you can ask me! I’ve made four false starts already.
If I had to do it in one sentence, I tell you that I’m an average person with a rich internal life that comes out all over a computer screen. (And thank goodness for computers. I started my first book back when typewriters were the tool of choice for writers. I didn’t get very far, largely because I spent so much time retyping over and over to edit and make things legible. And even then, I had lines of xxx’d out text.)
I’ve lived a peripatetic life, moving from Colorado to California and back, then to Alaska, Japan, and all over the Pacific Northwest, all the while working the kind of odd jobs that are fodder for a writer’s mill. Somewhere in the midst of all that, I managed to meet and marry my own romance hero, have a two-baby epilogue, and write a bunch of books. If you want more detail than that, you’ll have to check out the official bio on my website.
The Geeky Lover: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Lisa: I’m definitely a planner/plotter. I jot notes for character development and for the plot. When I have a good idea where things are going, I begin a working synopsis and then start the chapters. I end up going back and forth between the synopsis and chapters as I learn more about my characters, and usually by the time I have three good chapters, I also have a completed synopsis with a fully drawn plot. Then it’s just a matter of writing the rest of the book.
That doesn’t mean the finished book strictly follows the synopsis, because I have new ideas all the time, but it gives me a general line to follow and helps if I get too far off track.
As for a typical day…it varies according to what part of the book I’m working on. At the beginning, I write slowly, edit as I go and make sure everything is just right. But as I get deeper into the book, I pick up speed. By the end, I’m roaring along at several thousand words a day, barely sleeping.
The Geeky Lover: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Lisa: The size of the TBR pile. *g*
The Geeky Lover: You are very active on twitter. Why do you think social networking is important in the modern publishing world?
Lisa: I have to admit, I joined Twitter thinking it might be another way to promote my books (these days, we authors are constantly searching). But I stay and play because it’s so darn fun. I can chat with friends that I used to see only once a year at the annual RWA conference. I’ve gotten acquainted with people I might never have met at all otherwise. I even discovered another romance author who lives in my semi-rural area, and we’ve become good friends in real life and drink a lot of coffee together. It turns out that we talk just as much in person…
Twitter, Facebook, and the like serve as the water cooler or break room that writers and others who work at home lack. They’re all about the social. The fact that they let us connect with readers and reviewers is a wonderful bonus, but I have no doubt that we’d do it even without that.
The Geeky Lover: Why did decide to create your heroes as Vikings? Did you read the Edda as part of your research? What is the appeal of this Nordic legend for you?
Lisa: The first one (Brand) came to me full blown in a dream: huge, handsome, blond, and a thousand years old…and a were-bear. I knew he was a Viking from the outset. I just had to figure out who’d turned him into a bear and why, and whether or not there were any others similarly cursed. (Thank goodness there were.
I didn’t read the Edda because it was actually written in Iceland in the 13th c, whereas my guys are from Norway in the 9th c. and thus never had any exposure to it. But I did (and still do) a lot of research on Viking religion and legend, and incorporate quite a bit into the books.
The Geeky Lover: I read on your blog that you have a name obsession concerning your characters. They need to have the right name before you can really start to write their story. How did you research the names for your characters?
Lisa: To the best of my ability, I pick names that are historically accurate. Fortunately, there are great resources on the ‘Net—it’s amazing how many folks take the time to go through old tax rolls and other primary sources to compile lists of names by period. Once I have a selection, I pick through, trying them on for size until I find the right name.
With my Vikings, I anglicized the names to make them more reader-friendly (Brandr to Brand, Ketill to the slightly more modern—and sexier—Kjell, etc.), but they all have their origin within the Viking period.
Lisa: I’m having problems naming folks for my current WIP (next year’s Immortal Defender) because it’s set in the Elizabethan period, a time when the preponderance of folks drew from an extremely narrow pool of names, perhaps 30 to 40 for each gender. It’s hard to get creative when 70% of women were named Elizabeth, Joan, Margaret, Anne, Alice, Agnes, Mary, Jane or Katherine. The virtue names like Chastity, Purity, and Constance, weren’t in use yet, so I’m having to dig deep to come up with enough names, much less any unique ones! (The situation is even worse for the men, btw: 70% of all men during Elizabethan times were named John, Thomas, William, Richard, or Robert, with fully 29% of them named John. That’s nearly 1 in three!)
The Geeky Lover: What can we expect of Immortal Champion?
Lisa: A cracking good love story with a hero to die for.
The Geeky Lover: Gunnar like the other Vikings in his crew has been cursed by an evil sorceress to live for eternity as a were-creature. During the day he is a Bull and at night a simple man. What is Gunnar like? Is he bull-like as a human too?
Lisa: The Vikings believed that every person was accompanied through life by their fylgja, a spirit companion who took the form of an animal whose traits matched the personality of the person. A timid man might have a fylgja who was a wren. A sly man might be accompanied by a fox-spirit. Ari’s fylgja is a raven because he’s quick, clever, talkative…and because he’s connected to the gods (Odin had two ravens who went out into the world each day to gather the news of the world and came back every evening to whisper it into his ears).
Gunnar is physically large—tall, barrel chested, broad-shouldered—but his personality is even more bull-like. Emotionally, he’s a bull in a china shop, blundering about, never quite sure of himself. He charges in without thinking things through. He is beyond obstinate. He’s slow to anger, but when he finally does, he explodes.
He’s not the smoothest of the crew…And yet he manages to be so lovable. Truly, I fell for him as hard as Eleanor did.
The Geeky Lover: Lady Eleanor de Neville is rescued by Gunnar and from this moment she is enthralled by him. Even though she is betrothed to another man she still yearns for him. How would you describe Eleanor? How will she cope with Gunnar’s special circumstances?
Lisa: Hey! Telling you how she copes would give away the whole story!
Despite a certain amount of naiveté, Eleanor is one tough cookie, more than strong enough to deal with Gunnar’s situation…if only given a chance. And as it turns out, she’s as much his champion as he is hers.
The Geeky Lover: Will there be more books in this series?
Lisa: Definitely. I plan nine books in all, one for each of the nine cursed warriors. (Immortal Champion is #3.) Each book is set in a different time period, and the series will continue forward in time until the present day when Brand will finally have his story.
The Geeky Lover: What is next on your schedule? Anything we should keep our eyes open for? Do you plan to write in other genres again?
Lisa: I’m working on Torvald’s story, Immortal Defender (2012), and will continue with the rest of the books until the series is done. I’m trying to learn to write faster, because I’d love to do other books in between. (I have some great contemporary ideas right now, as well as ideas for both paranormal- and straight historicals). But being realistic, the Immortal Brotherhood will keep me busy for the next 4-5 years. After that, we’ll see what idea grabs me by the throat. All I know is, I’ll keep writing.
The Geeky Lover: Now the ‘mean’ questions:
Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
Lisa: Oh, that’s easy…
Hot. Hunky. Vikings.
The Geeky Lover: Which 4 characteristics should a perfect hero have in your opinion? And do you think Gunnar fits this description?
Lisa: Honor, deep inner courage, strength combined with innate gentleness, and a sense of humor. And yes, Gunnar has those traits…and so does Eleanor.
The Geeky Lover: Could you give us a short summary of your novel twitter style (140 characters or less)?
Cursed, Gunnar toils thru eternity as half-man, half-beast, yearning for the simple comforts of man—and the chance to redeem a tragic past. (139 characters!)
OR (and in vaguely limerick form…)
Gunnar’s a were-bull (no bull!). Eleanor’s the noblest of misses. He rescues her. She rescues him. There’s magic and mayhem, then kisses.
If you want a bigger taste of Gunnar, you’ll find an excerpt and some fun freebies on my website, http://lisahendrix.com/. My thanks to Susi for the chance to visit Book Lovers Inc. If you have any questions, ask in the Comments. I’ll pop in on and off to answer.