What books have influenced your life the most?
I’m one of those people who think that the human mind is influenced by every contact and every read, no matter how casual or light. As a young woman growing up in the Dominican Republic, I was exposed to many different influences. I thrived on young adult novels from Louisa May Alcott. I loved Enid Blyton and blazed through The Famous Five, The Seven Secrets and The Malory Towers series. I think I wanted to be a student at Malory Towers as much as my kids wanted to go to school at Hogwarts!
But, talk about being a hybrid of many worlds! At the same time I was reading Louisa May Alcott and Enid Blyton, I was also reading the Latin American classics. Books such as A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosas, and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende left lasting impressions. I also tapped into my parents’ wonderful library, enjoying the Russians (I favored Tolstoy), the French (Victor Hugo), the Germans (Eric Maria Remarque), the Spanish (Jose Maria Gironella), and the Americans (Hemingway, always Hemingway).
Later, when I came to the States, I discovered fantasy and was dazzled by J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, Frank Herbert, Robert Jordan, and George R.R. Martin, way before he became popular, I should add. I also fell in love with commercial fiction. Diana Gabaldon, Bernard Cornwell and Anne Rice are some of my all-time favorites.
Does your book have an underlying message that readers should know about?
We don’t have to be magical to be strong. We just have to believe in ourselves.
Do you do another job except for writing?
Not anymore! These days I’m lucky enough to write full time and I’m enjoying every minute of it.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Writing for me is a natural fit. Yes, the hours are long and the obsession can take a toll, but I love all of it, and therefore I thrive on it. I think the most challenging aspect of writing a novel has to do with the time and dedication required and the tough choices you have to make in order to get it done. To be honest, sometimes I think that my biggest challenge is the part that comes after writing the books. I love my readers. There’s nothing that I enjoy more than meeting them and hearing from them. I can talk about my books until after the cows come home. But self-promotion? Yikes. It just doesn’t come naturally to me.
What genre would you place your books into?
Like the Stonewiser series, The Curse Giver falls into the fantasy genre and fits well in the subcategories of epic fantasy, dark fantasy and fantasy romance.
When or where do you get your best writing ideas?
The shower, definitively the shower. Maybe it’s because I can’t sing, so instead, I think. Seriously, I think that after a long night writing, a hot shower relaxes the body, clears the mind and allows the stories to flow. I also get a lot of ideas in my dreams when I’m asleep. Driving is good too. In fact, I have a pen and pad always ready in my car. The scribbles are really hard to read, and so that you know, I only update my notes during long red lights.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people, or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters belong to my imagination, and yet my imaginary worlds feel very real to me.
Besides books, what else do you write? Do you write for publications?
I keep up with my newsletter http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php. and my blog http://www.doramachado.com/blog/and, occasionally, I guest post on other sites. I have a regular gig on Wednesdays at http://murderby4.blogspot.com/, a wonderful community that has been selected by Writer’s Digest Magazine as one of the best top 100 websites for writers several years in a row. Come by and check us out. I have also written short stories for anthologies. But whenever possible, I spend my time writing novels.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It was an awesome feeling and I celebrated with more writing, by finishing my second book.
How do you think book publishing has changed over the years?
I think the book publishing industry has been through some cataclysmic changes in the last few years. Just look at how the rise of Amazon has completely changed the field. The advent of the e-book, the decline of the bookstore, the growth explosion of the self-publishing industry, these are only a few of the elements that have contributed to reshape the industry. From the technical innovations that have reshaped the industry, to our attitudes about reading, writing and publishing, to the shifts in how we read, buy and promote books, I’m blown away every day by how fast and thoroughly the industry is channeling change.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Hmm. I think I’m really hard-working.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
I’m always a little leery of giving anyone advice because writing is a highly individual process and people write for all kinds of different reasons. Writing for me is a craft but also an indulgence and an adventure. But I think questions are the aspiring writer’s best friend. Why do you want to write? What do you want to accomplish when you write? What are you willing to give up in order to write? If you can answer some of these questions, then you can begin to set a path for yourself. If you are a true writer—whether you publish your stories or not—you will always write.
Can you share with us your current work in progress?
I’m currently working on several different projects, including a contemporary dark fantasy with a Latin twist and another standalone fantasy romance that takes place in the world of The Curse Giver. It’s not a sequel, not exactly, but rather a related novel. It’s currently called The Soul Chaser. Also, the Stonewiser series is coming out in audiobook. The first book of the trilogy, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, is already available at http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-Audiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1. Take a listen. It’s good, old-fashioned storytelling at its very best.
Thank you for this interview, Dora. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
To learn more about me and my novels, you can visit my website at www.doramachado.com or contact me at Dora@doramachado.com. You can also read my blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for my newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, go to http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html or you can catch the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv8WFYpdqQo&feature=youtu.be
Thanks again for introducing me to your wonderful readers.
Lusielle's bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn't commit. She's on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames. Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark. Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.
Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
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Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Rating – PG-18
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