What was the inspiration behind this series?
I’ve been working with these characters since 2008. Originally, they were vampires, but I could never seem to make it work with them. I’m a HUGE Anne Rice fan, and I think I wanted my vampires to be her vampires. Of course, that just wouldn’t do, so I had to take a step back. After a writing hiatus, I started researching all kinds of mythology and found myself fascinated by the many different creatures and beings of different cultures. When I came across the legend of the Tuatha Dé Danann, I knew I’d found the right fit for Mara, Corbin and Malcolm. When I started writing the new draft, for some reason it flowed so naturally.How many books do you anticipate there being? When is the next installment projected to be ready?
I titled this series as The Dia Chronicles and not “The Dia Trilogy” or “Series” because I want to leave a lot of room to expand. I know that Mara, Malcolm and Corbin’s story will stretch across 3, maybe 4 novels. But I also have outlines for books that feature the secondary characters. I know Drake will have his own novel, Rowan and Ethnea’s story will be told and perhaps the descendants of Mara, Corbin or Malcolm will have a story to tell.How much do you have in common with Mara, the main character?
The next installment in The Dia Chronicles is called The Shadows of Light and will be available later in 2014. This book will follow the same structure as the last novel, but the focus will be more on Malcolm’s journey.
Ah! I knew someone would ask me that. To be honest, I have a lot in common with Mara (minus the magic, of course). I gave a lot of my own experiences to Mara and hid them within the framework of a fantasy world. I lost my mother 4 years ago, so when Mara was dealing with her own mother’s death, I walked through it with her. I had an editor tell me that Mara’s emotions about her mother weren’t clear, that she wanted to understand how Mara felt. Well, I can say from experience that emotions are not so clear-cut in the wake of an event like that. Mara moves forward, while harboring some resentment, some sadness and some confusion. THOSE are real emotions, and Mara’s doubt, fear and courage throughout her journey are very real.What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I loved doing the research! I think it’s one of my favorite parts of writing. First, I started on Google. I read anything and EVERYTHING I could find on the Tuatha Dé Danann and life in the 6th century. Then I went deeper. I still have access to my university’s library and the online catalog of educational articles. I searched out everything I could and put together a world and a legend that I loved.What is one of your favorite things about this book?
Of course, google earth is a great resource for writers who don’t live in the area they are writing about. I spent a lot of time mapping the landscape of south-western England, but I also knew things would have looked very different in the 6th century. I was lucky enough to stumble across some old maps that documented 10th, 11th, and 14th century royal forests. Those were very helpful in figuring out the landscape of the time period.
That’s a tough one. I love every part of this book, but I think the part that I reread the most is the relationship between Mara and Corbin. I just love them. I also love the time period. I find myself drawn to anything medieval. It was such a chaotic, yet fascinating time in history.How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have been a writer my entire life. As a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist, but without realizing it, I would spend all my time writing stories about myself being an archaeologist.What was one of the first things you ever wrote?
Oddly enough, I actually remember the first thing I ever wrote. It was a book made of folded white paper, stapled together with a cover. It told a story of me in Egypt, digging up the tomb of King Tut.What is some of the best writing advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever received came to me directly from Anne Rice. Back in the days before facebook and twitter, I emailed Anne asking her what I should do about those who were less than encouraging about my writing ambitions. Here is what she said:You grew up in Ontario, Canada. Would you ever want to return?
“I wish you every conceivable blessing with your writing. You know, I'm sure that this life is worth the courage and the nerve it takes, the sheer nerve it takes to be a writer. I hope all goes well with you. We have to forgive those who try to discourage us. They are mostly talking about themselves and their own fears and limitations when they tell us we can't do what we want to do. Take care, and thank you again, Anne Rice.”
I’m a Canadian through and through, and I do go home to visit often, but I really enjoy my life in South Carolina. If I can help it, I don’t think I’d go back to live there, but you never know.What are some of your recommended destinations for those who wish to travel there?
Toronto, of course. I was born there and raised there for the first half of my life. It is such a wonderful, multicultural city with so much to do and see. I would also recommend Montreal. It’s like another world, and despite the rumors, Montrealers are very friendly.You cite Edgar Allen Poe as one of your great loves. What draws you to him and his work?
When I was a kid I was obsessed with the Beetlejuice cartoon, and on that show there was a talking Edgar Allan Poe bust. I found a copy of the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe at the school book fair when I was 7. It was my first introduction to real literature and I loved it right away. I loved his style of writing and how twisted his stories were—the darker the better.What did you think of the movie about him, that starred John Cusack?
Now, when I teach my pre-GED English classes, I always use Poe stories and poetry. For some reason, even the most reluctant readers find his stories engaging.
I hated it. I didn’t even finish watching it. I thought they portrayed Poe as a bumbling idiot. The characterization wasn’t right, and while I love John Cusack, I don’t think he was the right fit for the part.What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I used to write erotica under the pen name Dahlia Knight. I did it for quite a while and even wrote a recurring story series for a Canadian sex therapist’s online magazine. I gave that up a few years ago, though. Dahlia has been put to rest.Is there anything else you wish to share?
I would like to tell new and aspiring authors to trust their instincts. There are a lot of rules out there when it comes to writing. Don’t buy into it. Write what you love; write how you like to write. Don’t worry about getting published or agents or sales. An idea is like a feather on the wind. If you don’t capture it, someone else will. Just write until you have a finished manuscript. Worry about the rest later.Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you for the great questions.
The Darkness of Light
The Dia Chronicles
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Number of pages: 375
Word Count: 90,000
Cover Artist: Nathalia Suellen
The world has long forgotten them, but their descendants live on, not wholly mortal or god, but something in between…
At the dawn of the sixth century, in the aftermath of her mother’s brutal execution, Mara Black is forced to flee the only life she has ever known.
Mara can tell she’s different, but isn't sure why. After she encounters two mysterious strangers, she discovers her secret is but a drop in an ocean of many. She is a Dia, a descendant of ancient gods, and her mother sacrificed herself to protect Mara from their past.
Summoned by an uncle she didn't know existed, Mara thinks she’s found the family she’s always wanted, and Corbin, a love she never thought possible. But not everything is as it seems. Her uncle has other motives for protecting her, and her mentor, Malcolm, becomes so jealous, he’ll do anything to get what he wants.
When tragedy strikes, and the true darkness among them comes to light, Mara discovers that sometimes love can give you everything, and obsession can take it all away. With her powers gone, and destiny calling, she has to look deep within to find the courage to save herself. Mara, along with Corbin and her newfound family, must fight to get back what was taken, or die trying.
About the Author:
Tammy Farrell grew up in Orangeville, Ontario Canada where she discovered her love of writing, and all things related to Edgar Allan Poe. She now lives with her husband and four fur babies in Greenville, South Carolina, where she teaches pre-GED English and attempts to learn French when she isn’t busy writing.
5 paperback copies
a Rafflecopter giveaway