Winter is the perfect time for curling up with a good book and the writer I want to talk about is not only a prolific author, she’s witty and funny!
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Sexy Deep Voiced Announcer: Welcome to….DRUMROLL…The World of the Tiger Princess! Please put your hands together for the lady herself… The Tiger Princess!
AUDIENCE CHEER AND APPLAUD
Tiger Princess: Hello everyone! I’ve been busy reading recently. There are so many good books appearing now. It seems that everyone and their aunts are self-publishing via eBook and while that’s wonderful because it means the genuine talented writers can get a foot up the ladder, it also means there is an awful lot of dross out there.
Tiger Princess: Having said that, I have found a lot of books that I want to read! I’m having trouble keeping up with my reading list now.
Tiger Princess: My latest find has actually been out on the market for a while now. “Blood Tears” was first published in 2005 and was re-released as an eBook in December 2010. I snapped it up – I love Vampire books – and devoured it. Now I’m hooked and eagerly awaiting the next one! Our Guest today is the Author of “Blood Tears” and another of my favourite books, “The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire”, please welcome Raven Dane!
‘PRINCE OF SHADOWS’ BY INCUBUS SUKKUBUS STARTS PLAYING ON THE VIDEO SCREEN.
RAVEN DANE APPEARS AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS FLANKED BY A PAIR OF HANDSOME MEN IN TUXES. THEY WALK DOWN TO THE DAIS AND ONE HANDS HER UP ONTO THE DAIS, WHILE THE OTHER BOWS DEEPLY.
Tiger Princess: Welcome to the Show, Raven.
Raven Dane: Thank you for having me.
Tiger Princess: Let’s talk about you. When & why did you start writing?
Raven Dane: At secondary school, I used to suffer regular bouts of cringeworthy embarrassment as my English teacher Miss Currie read out my short stories in almost reverential tones to the class. But I fell in love with story telling then which has never left me. I messed about trying to write a vast sci fi saga during the 1990’s, which was dreadful, utter pants. I changed genre to dark fantasy and haven’t stopped writing since.
Tiger Princess: How much writing do you do on a daily basis?
Raven Dane: In the past, I could rattle off up to 3000 words a day when on a creative roll, but recently I have been frustrated with health problems that have hampered my work rate. At the moment, I would be pleased to manage 1000 words a day.
Tiger Princess: If you could meet any writer (living or dead), who would it be and why?
Raven Dane: Gosh…so many. I guess it would have to be Robert MacCammon who wrote so many amazing books like Wolf’s Hour and Swan Song but then packed it in. I’d love to know why.
Tiger Princess: What is your favourite music to write to and why?
Raven Dane: Silence! I used to need music to write to. “Blood Tears” was fuelled by Annie Lennox and U2, “Blood Lament” by Muse and Editors. My concentration level has fallen so much I can only work to normal background sounds…my dog barking, the cat purring, phone ringing, my OH wanting coffee….
Tiger Princess: Did you choose that theme song for anyone in particular?
Raven Dane: I see ‘Prince of Shadows’ by Incubus Sukkubus as a love song to Prince Azrar, my favourite character.
Tiger Princess: Which do you prefer – Paper / Ink or Computer / Keyboard and Why?
Raven Dane: I used to write with biro and paper on the train while travelling to work. That would be impossible now; I have to use a PC and keyboard. My handwriting is beyond appalling and my wrists and finger joints are occasionally painful with arthritis so a keyboard is essential. It can also keep up with my creative flow too which handwritten cannot.
Tiger Princess: What’s your favourite way to relax when not writing?
Raven Dane: The very best way for me to relax is enjoying the company of friends, walking our dogs together, coffee with the girls or an evening meal out. I need to be able to laugh! I also enjoy vegging out on the sofa with a good, scary film, a glass of wine and some non-dairy chocolate. With all the doors locked!
Tiger Princess: Is there anything that really distracts you from your work?
Raven Dane: Having a husband now working from home! He hasn’t a clue that authors get into a zone and a creative flow and do not want interrupting with such gems as ‘have you seen how much the hedge has grown since last week and could you make me a coffee.’ Grrrrrrrrrrr ! It is like having the ‘man from Porlock’ on permanent standby.
Tiger Princess: Finally – if you won the Booker Prize, how would you celebrate?
Raven Dane: First, you would have to pick me up from the floor! I would probably need oxygen too. The ‘literary’ crowd have made it clear so called genre fiction is a lesser art form, so the chances of one of my funny fantasy; vampire or steampunk novels winning a Booker is less than a whole flotilla of snowballs flying out of Hell. I would be delighted to win a British Fantasy Society book award though, that would mean so much to me. Voted for by people in the fantasy book world whose opinions I respect.
Tiger Princess: Thank you for being here, Raven.
Raven Dane: It’s been fun.
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When a foreign child is abandoned by her family in Isolann’s wolf-ridden forests, she is taken to live under Azrar’s protection as his ward. The strange ability that the girl possesses, a power that so terrified her own people, could be the only hope for Prince Azrar’s survival.
The Dark Kind is an ancient species, the top of the Primate food chain, slowly dying out as ever-present Humanity expands.
A powerful Dark Kind Warlord brings up a Human Girl, Khari, for she holds special powers. When the Human world inevitably intrudes upon her peaceful world, her Guardian sends her out to learn about her own kind, while he fights the menace that threatens the health and well-being of every living thing.
This is a Vampire story. That much is certain, but despite the obligatory vampiric introduction of Jendar Azrar in the first chapter, full of the joys of the hunt and his feeding, “Blood Tears” is certainly not your usual type of Vampire story.
“Blood Tears” is a Dark Fantasy and Raven Dane knows how to construct a realistic tale, drawing the reader into the world without them noticing. She has woven the fantastic elements of the story through the backdrop of the Second World War in such a way that it is a seriously plausible accounting of the war.
This is not a story for those who want the emotional “I’ve lived for a hundred years and I’m sooo lonely” type of Vampire; there is no teenage angst here. The horror doesn’t come from the Dark Kind, but the various human monsters both in military uniform and civilian guise… and I don’t just mean the Nazis. All the usual Vampire clichés are here, however, Raven’s writing style makes the whole book original and new, with reasonable explanations for them.
I’ve read many different ways of presenting Vampires (except Twilight – don’t ask) and this is very much my favourite one. I feel that “Blood Tears” is on par with “Interview with a Vampire” and in many ways surpasses it.
The characters are created in such a way that it is a real wrench to leave them at the end of the book and you are left wondering what happens next. I fell in love with Jazriel from the moment he was introduced and hated Prof. Parrish with a similar passion and this is why I love the book!
If you like the Vampire / Gothic Romance Genre then this is one book you are going to love!
Praise for Blood Tears
‘Vampirism at a deliciously literary level, dark fantasy at its best!’ Gary Power, Author
Taut, pacey and beautifully written, a refreshingly different vampire novel. I cannot praise Blood Tears enough
Karen Stevens for The British Fantasy Society
“The story is compelling and intriguing – a must to read.”
Helen Hollick, author of Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, Harold the King and A Hollow Crown
“Sexy, subversive and beautifully written”
Rachel Cropper, TFC
“Raven continually manages to use clichés of this romantic gothic genre and
twist them into something new. Incredibly refreshing”
Alix Ali, Bucks Free Press
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Not only is the Gothmother a writer of wonderful, unique Vampires, she has created the best Fantasy Spoof since Sir Terry Pratchett created the Discworld.
Poking a gentle stick in the eye of traditional fantasy, “The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire” by Raven Dane, is a hilarious romp around the stereotypes.
Morven, the Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire, is the on duty seer. She’s been on duty since Angharad, the Extremely Knowledgeable Unless it was Questions about the Weather, retired from the trade to go and live with her sister. Then the feast of St. Epiligia, patron saint of pointless journeys and voles dawns and Morven finds herself inundated with pilgrims. Demonica, daughter of the ruler of distant Darkness and Despair, is bored and looking to cause some hellish Havoc. Can Morven assemble a team to stop her?
“The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire” is one of the funniest books I have read recently. Its gentle satiric humour and stunning writing remind me of Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett. Suitable for adults and older teenagers, this is one book that I highly recommend you buy!