The Reading Café and Bodice Rippers Femme Fatales are happy to welcome the wonderful Anne Bishop to our sites. Many of you already know some of Anne’s work, as we have posted some reviews of all three of her series. Without further ado, let us begin the interview.
TRC/BR: Our first few questions are probably one that you have been asked many times, but there are new readers to the world of fantasy and the paranormal who do NOT know the world of Anne Bishop.
Can you tell us something about yourself? A little biographical background into the ‘real’ Anne Bishop?
AB: I live in upstate New York and have a small herd of indoor unicorns. In the summer I putter in the garden, and in the winter I listen to music and watch DVDs to catch up on television shows I missed. And I try to read a few pages of something every day. Since I spend a lot of time writing stories, the real me leads a quiet life.
TRC/BR: Many authors start to write as children and teens, getting a feel for the rhythm of story lines and characters. When did you first begin to write? Have you always had a fascination with the world of the paranormal and fantasy?
AB: I probably started getting the feel for stories and characters before I knew how to form letters and write words. My interest then was in Westerns and animal stories. Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone was most likely my first exposure to the strange and eerie side of stories. I do remember writing some eerie Western stories around the time I was in junior high school, as well as teenage witch stories.
TRC/BR: Tell us about Bridge of Dreams, book #3 of the Ephemera series, which is expected to be released this month (March 2012). We do know it is about Lee.
AB: It is about Lee, but it’s also about Danyal, who is a Shaman in the city of Vision, and Zhahar, who comes from a race called the Tryad. There is a saying in Vision: Is the sight that matters most the kind that is seen with the eyes or with the heart? That is a question Lee, Danyal, and Zhahar have to answer as part of their personal journeys. Danger is hidden, and the city of Vision as well as Zhahar’s people may be lost if Lee and the others can’t find a way to see the enemy.
TRC/BR: What made you decide to do a novella “The Voice”, a month prior to the release of Bridge of Dreams?
AB: The first line of the story–“They called her The Voice because she had none”–haunted me for a long time. A few years ago, the story that had been forming around that first line emerged, and I wrote it. I wasn’t sure what to do with an Ephemera story that size, so I put it away, but the idea of going back to the city of Vision stayed with me. When I thought about Lee’s journey and where it might take him, Vision was waiting for me. Because the novella takes place in the same landscape as the novel and has some of the same characters, I showed the story to my editor. I was thrilled that we were able to offer it as a kind of prequel in ebook and audiobook formats.
TRC/BR: Is Bridge of Dreams the end of the Ephemera series?
AB: I don’t have a particular storyline in mind at the moment, but it doesn’t feel like the end. Ephemera has possibilities yet to be explored.
TRC/BR: Belladonna left things open for Glorianna and the Eater of the World. Will we see a happy ending for her?
AB: We see more of her journey, and while I don’t think it would be considered a typical happy ending, I feel good about where the journey is taking her.
TRC/BR: How did you come up with the idea of Ephemera, it’s heroine- Glorianna Belladonna, and it’s world?
AB: Like all of my stories, many ideas and pieces have to come together over months–and sometimes years–to create a place. At the time the first seeds for Ephemera were taking root, I was reading some self-help/psychology books, and I was intrigued by the idea that our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. I pondered what would happen if that idea was literal–that a person lived in landscapes that were a reflection of his or her own heart. Then there was the idea that in the twilight of waking dreams it would be possible to cross over to a kind of dreamscape that was another world. That got me far enough to rough out a short story about an incubus named Sebastian who lived in a place called the Den of Iniquity. And while I was pondering this character named Sebastian and how he came to live in a place like the Den, I found his cousin Glorianna Belladonna and the Landscapers. The idea of dreamscapes became transformed into a world of landscapes called Ephemera, and I slowly learned its broken history. I found Lee and Nadia and Lynnea and Teaser and the Eater of the World. Once I had found that much, the only way to learn more was to tell their story. Since I’m an organic writer, the story grew out of the characters and the choices they made, and the characters grew out of the story, which, in turn, helped shape the world.
Black Jewels Series
TRC/BR: What was your inspiration for The Black Jewels series? Did you have an outline where you knew in what the direction the story would evolve?
AB: Keep in mind that it’s been 25 years since I began playing with the ideas that evolved into the Blood and the Realms. Inspiration? Lots of things. Reading fantasy stories that had a dark wizard and his army led me to wondering how the story might look from his point of view, and that led to wondering what a culture would be like if its roots began in the dark images of fantasy and mythology. Reading about sexual practices throughout history led to playing with gender reversal for some of the sexual mores. Wanting a blend of romance and fantasy combined with an adult kind of grittiness began my shaping of the Blood and their culture. Playing with the idea of animals having the same kind of magic as humans was the first step to the kindred. From there it was creating races and daydreaming scenarios to see how the Blood’s society played out; watching characters develop or, like the High Lord, simply appear. And then one day I looked at this complex, dark society where so much of the Blood’s survival depended on the strongest acting with honor and wondered what would happen if things went wrong. That’s when all those ideas and characters clicked into place. At that point, I had a father and his estranged sons, and I had a three-part story of what happens when a child comes into their lives who has the power to change their world–if she can survive to maturity. So three years after that first idea surfaced, I began writing the story that became the Black Jewels Trilogy. There wasn’t an outline. I’m a very organic writer. I knew the three story arcs. I wrote the story to find out how the characters reached those points in their lives.
TRC/BR: The world of The Black Jewels and its characters tend to ride the spectrum from light to dark, in varying shades of personality. For example, Daemon Sadi. We see him as a man capable of most vial acts, yet he is a gentle, loving son, brother and husband. He will kill to protect the one’s he loves, sadistically torture those who would threaten his family and then breakdown in tears at the feet of his father. How do you develop a character such as Daemon Sadi?
AB: How do you develop such a character? I don’t know. Daemon was a gift from the Muse. That spectrum of emotion he shows is, in large part, a reflection of Daemon being a Warlord Prince. The Blood have a dark, violent culture that demands a strong code of honor in order for the majority of people to survive the strongest among them. In that sense, Daemon Sadi is an example of his society and his caste. But he is also a result of his own brutalization in childhood, which provided him with the examples and the tools to become a sadistic kind of predator.
TRC/BR: In Daughter of the Blood, there is an intimate moment between Saetan and the ‘daughter of his soul’- Jaenelle- an almost ethereal moment, where the reader wonders if Saetan would have pursued a relationship with Jaenelle when she reached adulthood, even though he knew that Jaenelle was fated as Daemon’s mate. Had you ever considered Saetan as Jaenelle’s love interest?
AB: Never. From the moment those characters appeared, Daemon was always the lover and Saetan was always the father. There is a sensuality to Saetan and Jaenelle’s relationship because he is a Warlord Prince and she is a Queen, and also because the Blood are who and what they are. And sometimes he is envious of the relationship Daemon has with her. But Saetan was promised a daughter in Cassandra’s vision and he understood from the beginning that Jaenelle needed a father who would be her protector, so he drew a line that he never crossed.
TRC/BR: The SaDiablo men have all been tortured, yet grew into loving and caring men (although their demons still rode them hard). How difficult is it to write and think about the torture these beautiful men endured..at the hands of such evil women?
AB: I was able to write those scenes by knowing that the Black Jewels was and is, at its core, a love story, so I knew the men would survive the bad stuff and be all right in the end.
TRC/BR: Twilight’s Dawn neatly wrapped up several storylines, but 70 years in the life of Daemon and Jaenelle are missing. We understand you had many readers wanting to know what happened to Daemon and Jaenelle, and Twilight’s Dawn was the book you wrote to let the fans know about their life. If and when will you consider writing more about these wonderful characters? Have you any plans at the moment to continue this series?
AB: Right now all of my creative energy is going into the new series, and the Black Jewels characters are resting, as they have at other times. I don’t know what will come from that fallow time. When other stories are ready to be told, they tend to rise to the surface of my awareness.
TRC/BR: Luciver’s storyline and background was only a short story in Dreams Made Flesh , although he has been included in most of the other books. And now that Daemon and Surreal have a daughter, have you considered writing a new series, based on the next generation of the SaDiablo family?
AB: Daemonar has expressed some interest in being in a story, but not until he’s older.
TRC/BR: How did you come up with the haunted house theme in “Tangled Webs”. It was a fun story, yet so different from the other books.
AB: Having read a lot of mysteries, I thought it would be fun to write a locked room mystery. That idea drifted around for quite a while. And the idea of doing a story that spotlighted Surreal was also drifting in the part of my mind that holds the stories. And then one autumn, while looking at Halloween decorations and signs for haunted house amusements, I wondered what the Blood would do as an equivalent. Then I wondered what Jaenelle would do as an equivalent and how everyone else would respond. That’s when all those different ideas began to come together as a potential Black Jewels story.
TRC/BR: The Shadow Queen and Shalador’s Lady was a wonderful continuation in the Black Jewels series. What made you decide to create a new storyline with Cassie and Gray as the leads.?
AB: I have a scribbled story idea about Theran that dates back to the time I was writing The Invisible Ring. But that’s all I had for a long time: Theran bringing a Queen from Kaeleer to Dena Nehele after the purge. So we’re talking about a gestation period that lasted for years before a story began to emerge. I thought Cassidy and Theran would be together, but when I started working on the story and the personalities emerged, I realized they didn’t like each other. And then Gray showed up, and he was so right for Cassie. And then Vae showed up. And Ranon. From there the story grew from what those characters wanted or needed, especially when those wants and needs were in conflict. I also wanted to do a story about Blood who weren’t the high-powered aristos like the SaDiablo family. I had originally thought Daemon, Jaenelle, and the rest of their family would be secondary players. I should have known better, but I thought that. Instead their story was interwoven into Cassie and Gray’s story. So the initial thought for the story occurred years before the first line was written, and by then, as typically happens, it wasn’t really the same story at all. It was so much more.
TRC/BR: How did you come up with the wonderful Kindreds? They were great in the trilogy, but also added so much humor in Shalador’s Lady.
AB: Ladvarian was one of the first characters to emerge when the Realms and the Blood were taking shape. He’s a Sceltie. I got herded into bringing in more races of kindred. What else can I say?
TRC/BR: Who are your favorite characters for The Black Jewels series and why?
AB: Saetan, Daemon, and Lucivar. The Black Jewels Trilogy was a love story about the price a person is willing to pay for a dream. Different kinds of love, but the story was shaped around the relationship those three men had with Jaenelle.
TRC/BR: Which character holds a ‘special’ place in your heart and why?
AB: Daemon Sadi. Why? Because he’s Daemon.
TRC/BR: How did you come up with the story of Tir Alainn and the Fae’s.
AB: Again, a long gestation. When I started thinking about what I wanted to write after the Black Jewels Trilogy and The Invisible Ring, I knew I wanted a different kind of magic, and using earth magic as the basis for it appealed to me. That led me to thinking in terms of a more traditional kind of witch, and that led to thoughts about the persecution of those who are different, and that led to bringing in the shadow of the Inquisition. A cloud formation on the horizon was the inspiration for the world where the Fae lived. And that began the process of considering the details of the world and the limitations of the magic, and how the Fae traveled from Tir Alainn to the mortal world, and who the characters were. And when Morag the Gatherer appeared, the relationship between witches, humans, Fae, and Inquisitors began to fall into place.
TRC/BR: Tir Alainn had one of the most vile characters in Adolpho–the Witch’s Hammer. How hard was it to write some of the horrific things he did in this trilogy?
AB: When I’m writing a story and am in a character’s point of view, I have to see with his eyes and believe what he believes while I’m working on that scene. So from Aldopho’s point of view, nothing he did was horrific. That said, after the Tir Alainn trilogy was published, I’ve never been able to go back and read one of the scenes that was from Adolpho’s point of view. I skip over them when I pick up any of the books to visit the characters.
TRC/BR: Will you ever go back to Tir Alainn? Will we ever get to see what happens to Ari & Neall, and their daughter? Selena and Liam? Breanna and Falco?
AB: I hope so. I circle back to them to see if anything resonates in a way that tells me there is a story close to the surface. So far, the world of the Fae has been quiet.
TRC/BR: Our hearts broke when Morag was killed, is there any chance of her coming back, if you did another story?
AB: Again, I hope so, but I won’t know until the story chooses to be written.
TRC/BR: We hear you are doing a new series, with a change in genres for you….Urban Fantasy. Can you tell us a bit about this new series, and how did you come up with doing Urban Fantasy.
AB: I’ve enjoyed reading Urban Fantasy for a number of years and thought I would like to try a story about shape-shifters and vampires someday. I carried that thought around for several years, gathering pictures and making notes about things that resonated with that forming world. When I pondered what I wanted to write after finishing Twilight’s Dawn, the ideas for place and story came together, and the characters said “Our turn.” As for the series, it’s a contemporary urban setting, but it’s not Earth, so that world and the story have shaped themselves around each other. There are two books planned for these characters right now, which is great because I’m having a lot of fun with them.
TRC/BR: Who were your favorite characters in each series?
AB: Saetan, Daemon, and Lucivar from the Black Jewels, Sebastian and Glorianna from Ephemera, Ashk and Morag from Tir Alainn, and Simon and Meg from the new series.
TRC/BR: What are you working on today?
AB: I’m working on the first book in the new series, which is due in March.
TRC/BR: Do you have any plans to publish a book of short stories, involving all your different series?
AB: I haven’t yet written short stories in all the series. I may do a collection of my short fiction someday, but that’s still in the future.
Thank you Anne, for taking the time to talk with us. This has been a wonderful interview. We all wish you the best with your release of Bridge of Dreams, and look forward to your new series.
To learn more about Anne, you can visit her at the following sites:
The Reading Cafe and Anne Bishop are offering a GIVEAWAY to two (2) of our eligible members. 2 eligible members will each receive ONE signed copy of one of Anne’s books.
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1. You MUST be a member of The Reading Cafe. If you are not a member, register today.
2. The giveaway is open to registered members in Canada and US only.
3. Giveaway dates March 14 to March 17, 2012-Winners to be announced on March 18, 2012