Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Sure! Thanks for having me. My name is Dora Machado, and I've been writing romantic fantasy for about six years now. My first novel, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone won the Benjamin Franklin Award for best debut novel in 2009. Stonewiser: The Call of the Stone and Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone followed suit and won their own set of awards. I'm very excited about my latest novel, The Curse Giver, a stand-alone fantasy romance that has just been released by Twilight Times Books.
Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
On page 69 of The Curse Giver, we find Lord Hato—Bren's right-hand man and spy master—sneaking into the Lady of Tolone's library to steal an ancient manuscript that may help defeat the curse ailing Bren and threatening to destroy Laonia. Hato is an old man, but age is not a barrier to this shrewd player of politics. While stealing the valuable manuscript, he also discovers that the Lady of Tolone, who is one of Bren's key allies—and something else, but that's a twist—has betrayed Bren by conspiring against him with Bren's dangerous enemy, King Riva.
Alarmed by his finding, Hato manages a bold escape. By the time the Lady of Tolone's guards catch up with him, he is sitting in a warm tub, pretending he's been soaking his swollen knee all afternoon. They never notice that under the water, Hato is still wearing his breeches.
But Hato's problems have just gotten worse, because the Lord of Laonia and his captive, Lusielle, have both disappeared overnight, and Hato's men return to report that they've found evidence of a fight deep in the woods. Hato wonders: Was the woman a trap from Bren's enemies? Did she too betray the cursed Lord of Laonia? Has Bren fallen captive or is he perhaps dead?
Hato jumps out of the tub, sodden breeches and all, and orders his men to prepare to leave. Dead or alive, Hato is determined to find his lord.
What are your current projects?
I'm really excited about my newest fantasy novel, The Curse Giver from Twilight Times Books, which just came out in print this October. The Curse Giver is about an innocent healer, Lusielle, who is betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn't commit. When she's about to be executed, Lusielle is rescued from the pyre by an angry, embittered lord doomed by a mysterious curse. You might think that Bren, Lord of Laonia, is Lusielle's savior, but no, he isn't. On the contrary, Bren is pledged to kill Lusielle himself, because her murder is his people's only salvation.
What ensues is a dangerous journey, where Lusielle and Bren have to escape their ruthless enemies and unravel the mystery of the terrible curse that ails the Lord of Laonia. They also have to overcome the distrust they have for each other, struggle with the forbidden attraction between them, and defy the boundaries between love and hate and good and evil to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.
I'm really proud of The Curse Giver. It's gotten some wonderful reviews, which you can check out at http://www.doramachado.com/cursegiver.php.
I'm also excited because all of the books of the Stonewiser series are coming out in audiobook this year. In fact, the first book of the trilogy, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, is already out. I have to tell you, listening to the story was one of the most powerful and joyful experiences I have ever had as an author.
The narrator, Melissa Reizian, is an incredibly talented voice actress. She did an amazing job, applying a broad spectrum of accents and sounds, enriching and enlivening the story. Even if you have already read Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, I encourage you to listen to the audiobook. And if you're an audiobook lover, this is one you have to hear. You can listen to a chapter sample at: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-Audiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1
It's good old-fashioned storytelling at its very best!
There is a lot more going on at www.doramachado.com, including my blog, newsletter and a giveaway that your readers might enjoy.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favorite/worst book-to-movie transfer?
I think that books and movies are two different and distinct media. I usually approach them with different expectations. What makes a book great is not the same thing that will work for a movie. The translation is particularly challenging for science fiction and fantasy. There are an awful lot of great SF/F books that have been made into terrible movies. I used to say that I never wanted to see my books made into movies. That is, until I watched George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones on HBO. It might be time to rethink the old prejudices. . . .
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Hmm. I think I'm really hard-working.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Skepticism. I loathe it and yet I value it. It keeps the mind sharp and the heart pumping.
Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
My cats are fortunate because my husband feeds them and I'm only the backup plan. Otherwise… yikes.
What do you love most about the writer’s life?
Oh, gosh, there are so many things I love about my writer's life. After so many years working nine to five, I love the freedom of setting my own schedule, the fact that I can work in my pajamas, and the absolute satisfaction that comes from spending hours at the keyboard. I love the process of writing, the intellectual challenge and the luxury of creating without boundaries. I love my writer friends, the feel of a new book in my hands, the excitement of a new idea blooming into a story and the birth of a powerful character. I love typing "The End" at the bottom of the manuscript, even though I know it's never truly the end. But above all, I love my readers—meeting them, talking to them, reading their emails and their comments—because they are the ones riding shotgun in all my adventures.
Your favorite food is?
Cake. I know. Not a good one. I like carrots too. Does that help?
Your favorite singer/group is?
That would be a long list! I'm all over the map.
Your favorite color is?
Dusk's deep indigo blue.
What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one?
I think critique groups can be very helpful, as long as they are a good fit for the writer. In my experience, critique groups come in all different types. Some are exclusively social groups, some offer support, encouragement and commiseration, some are very much into the mechanics of writing, others are very production oriented. There are groups that are very strict about membership and participation requirements and others that are very relaxed. I think the best thing to do is ask yourself: What is it that you are looking for in a critique group? If you have a clear goal in mind, the search will be easier.
Lurking about is a good practice to learn more about a group and get acclimated when you first join. Reading old posts and getting familiar with the members and their work will also help to establish the nature of the group that you are considering joining. Visiting is always a good idea and reciprocating is vital. Notice how members treat each other and how they approach their critiques. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of openness and respect that the group demonstrates. And if you don't like what you see, you can always try another group.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
Lots of stories, fantasy adventures with lots of twists, conflict, meaningful relationships and lots of romance. I have several different projects going, including The Misery Glutton, a romantic fantasy with a Latin twist that has been really fun to write and The Soul Chaser, a companion novel to The Curse Giver. I'm also thrilled because the Stonewiser series is coming out in audiobook. In fact, the first book of the Stonewiser series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, is now available as an audiobook at http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-udiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1. Take a listen at the sample chapters, available for free. If you enjoy a complex, beautifully narrated story, then this one's for you.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
If you haven't given fantasy romance a chance, go ahead, try it now. Whether you pick up The Curse Giver or another one of the epic stories that the genre has to offer, you are bound to be surprised and satisfied by the heart-warming combination of romance, adventure and passion.
Are your books available in audio? If so, give us more details about where we can get them.
The first book of the Stonewiser series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, has just been released as an audiobook. The entire trilogy will be available in audiobook by the end of the year. I have to tell you, listening to Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone was one of the most powerful and joyful experiences I have ever had as an author. The narrator, Melissa Reizian, is an incredibly talented voice actress. She did an amazing job, applying a broad spectrum of accents and sounds, enriching and enlivening the story.
Even if you have already read Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, I encourage you to listen to the audiobook. And if you're an audiobook lover, this is one you have to hear. You can listen to a chapter sample at: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-Audiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1
It's good, old-fashioned storytelling at its very best!
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.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Give a new writer a try today. Try something different that you hadn't considered reading before. Try fantasy, for example, and open your senses to the idea of new and different worlds. Reading is the fastest, most convenient way of traveling, and our minds really need to travel.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
I do and I'd love to welcome your readers to http://www.doramachado.com. I can also be contacted through email at Dora@doramachado.com, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DoraMachado101, my blog, http://www.doramachado.com/blog/ or https://twitter.com/DoraMachado on Twitter.
Thank you so much for this interview, Dora. We wish you much success!
Thank you for chatting with me. Best wishes for you and all your 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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