Seven stops on this blog tour contain special Scavenger Hunt Clues, presented by #TheodoretheDragon and #PistachioSnek. Look for a photo of either or both of those little guys holding up a note. Each note is part of our secret phrase. When you have all seven pieces of our secret phrase click here and tell us. All correct entries will be put into a random drawing for a signed paperback of Coiled. The winner will be drawn at our Facebook party on June 23rd.
June 5: Liz Delton, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 7: Monsters, Misfits, Mushy Stuff, Guest Blog (scavenger hunt)
June 8: Brianna Merritt, Book Spotlight
June 10: Rebekah Gyger, Greek Gods Guest Blog (scavenger hunt)
June 12: A. R. Silverberry, Guest Blog (scavenger hunt)
June 13: Heather Hayden, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 14: Lea Doue, Author Interview
June 15: Alyson, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 20: Jebraun Clifford, Guest Blog
June 22: Laura Pol, Author Interview (scavenger hunt)
June 23: Olivia Fisher, Book Spotlight
Welcome, H. L. Burke!
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
Follow her personal blog at www.hlburkeblog.com
A Little About
As the ugly twin to a perfect sister, Princess Laidra lives her life in the shadows—until her parents offer her as bait for a giant serpent.
Her escape attempt leaves her shipwrecked on a secluded island with only one inhabitant: Prince Calen, who lives under a curse. If anyone looks upon him, he turns into a giant serpent. Speaking to him in the darkness, Laidra sees past the monster to Calen’s lonely soul, and she determines to free him from the magic’s hold.
But if Laidra can’t break the curse in time, Calen will become a mindless creature of scales and fangs forever.
An Interview with Author
H. L. Burke
I sometimes do make playlists for my books, but mostly I just flit about from various instrumental tracks (I can do tracks with vocals if they don't have clear words, but otherwise the lyrics might end up subconsciously in the book, or I stop to listen to them because “words” and get distracted). If I'm doing well, I might listen to ambient tracks or calming music, or computer game background tracks (I love the Eversong Woods music from World of Warcraft, for instance). If I don't feel particularly motivated, I might throw on something “epic” like a movie soundtrack, just to give me a sense of urgency. I did discover Italian composer Einaudi Ludovico during this time, and I like his music a lot for writing.
2. If you could spend a day with one of the characters, who would you pick and why?
Tied between Ellis from the Nyssa Glass series, because he's hilarious and charming and I think he'd be good company, and any of my dragon characters because … dragons. I have a cat character, too, and spending time with cats is always good, but I have my own cat, Bruce, and he gets jealous.
3. Did you name any of the characters after someone you know? Was there anyone/anything that inspired any of the names?
Laidra is a play on the name of the princess from the French version of this story (Laidronette). The other princess in the story was Bellotte which I sort of used as a spring board for Ellea but even I'm not sure how it got from one to the other. Perys is a play on Paris who valued beauty enough to bring kingdoms to war to pursue it. Zephia is a play on Zephyr, and several of the other names are similar plays on Greek mythology, just twisted around a little. Calen is just Calen because it sounds nice, and a like to say it, though I was told it is Elvish for Green (not sure which Elvish, but that's what someone told me), which fits, though it is purely a coincidence.
4. Did you do any unusual research while writing Coiled or come across any interesting information?
I looked into ancient Greek ships (because that was approximately the technical/cultural level I was aiming for) and cuisine. I did a lot of reading on snakes. Snakes don't have eyelids, most larger ones are actually pretty slow, but they can swim. The most fun I had was for this scene where the heroine, Laidra, is being carried off by a soldier, and she's kicking him in the chest trying to free herself. A beta reader questioned whether her feet would really hit him in the chest. Wouldn't they be lower? So I called to my husband, Matt, who is (for reference) 6'5'' to my 5'4'' … and a Marine, so in pretty decent shape.
Me: Matt could you throw me over your shoulder and attempt to carry me off so I can test out where my kicks fall for this book scene?
Matt: That didn't go where I was hoping it would.
[He slings me over his shoulder, and yeah, my feet are right at his chest level, but he's got his arm so tight around my legs that all I can manage are pathetic flutter kicks.]
Matt: Maybe try punching me in the kidneys instead?
Me: I can't reach. Why are you so dang tall?
I let the scene be.
5. Now that Coiled is done, what project are you working on?
I have a new series called Spellsmith and Carver about two magicians. Auric is university trained, and his estranged father is also a magician. When he graduates and returns home, hoping to make things right with his father, he finds that his father has replaced him by taking the local carpenter's nephew as his apprentice. Jericho, the apprentice, resents Auric returning to take over and Auric resents the fact that Auric's family trusts and respects Jericho more than they do him. The two are immediate rivals, but have to work together when a Fey threat appears, threatening the family. I call it a “Magician Buddy Cop” series because it is the two “opposites forced to work together becoming an unstoppable team” trope.
Book one is already out (because of publishing complications, even though I wrote it after Coiled, I released it before Coiled), and I'm hard to work on book two! I plan to make it a trilogy.
6. Do any of the characters sound/look like famous actors in your head?
Two do, but only two. I don't usually cast my books, but I was having a really hard time deciding anything about how Calen, the male lead and romantic interests, should look. I went over a few different hair/eye/skin color combos in my head, played around with heights and builds, but nothing felt right.
Then one day I was watching Suits, the lawyer drama. The head of the law firm (in that season) is Jessica, played by Gina Torres. And that portrayal was exactly what I wanted for Zephia, Calen's mom, strong, protective, calm and quiet but with force behind it. So Zephia became Gina Torres. With that decided, it helped me direct Calen's appearance a little bit, which in turn led to me sort of casting John Boyega (from Star Wars) in his part. The moment Finn took off his helmet in the Force Awakens, I remember thinking, “I want to use that face in a book” but I wrote Coiled nearly a year after that, so it wasn't at the forefront of my mind.
7. Do you have any sequels or spin-offs planned for Coiled?
Immediately following Coiled, I wrote a short story in the same world called Alancia's Dance. While Coiled is inspired by the myth of Eros and Psyche, Alancia's story is based on the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. It will be featured in the Fellowship of Fantasy: Hall of Heroes short story anthology (information available a www.fellowshipoffantasy.com).
8. Besides the obvious snake on the cover, what other cool creatures can we look forward to meeting in the book?
I went into Greek myths for inspiration and came away with nymphs, naiads, satyrs, and Gorgons. There also may be a dragon, but he's very different from the dragons you'll find in my other books, so I think the details should be a surprise.
9. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your writing?
I write fantastical worlds full of adventures and possibilities and occasionally dragons. Most of my works are relationship forward, meaning the character relationships usually form both the conflict and the resolution, and I tend towards happily ever afters.
10. Are there any myths/fairy tales/legends/stories you would compare Coiled to?
The story is billed as an Eros and Psyche retelling, but I've been surprised at how few people are familiar with that story. However, it is one of those tales that has been told and retold across countless cultures. Some of my favorite versions are East of the Sun, West of the Moon from Scandinavia and The Green Serpent from France. It also has echoes of Beauty and the Beast.