Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Guest Author Aileen Harkwood

I’m excited to have Aileen Harkwood on my blog today. (I had baby brain when I posted on Friday who was going to be here. Sandra Sookoo will be here later in the month, and I’m over at Catherine Bybee’s blog this week. Sorry about the mix-up. BTW-Baby is home and doing awesome!)

As a special treat, Aileen is giving away an e-book copy of Wolf’s Den to a lucky reader of this blog! Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. (If for some reason, it won’t let you leave a comment—I know that happens more often than not—just email me at Lauri(AT)izoom.net and I’ll make sure your name gets in the drawing.)

Aileen Harkwood, author of Wolf's Den: Legacy of the White Wolf Book 1 from The Wild Rose Press, lives in the Southern Rockies with her family, their passive-aggressive cat and fetch-addicted chocolate Labrador. She writes paranormal romance and romantic suspense and is always on the lookout for an unexpected twist or touch to add to her stories. Alpha males are her favorite heroes to write, though in real life she loves a hero who doesn't always realize he's an alpha until his heroine is threatened.

Lauri: Hi Aileen, and thanks for being here today.

Aileen: Thanks so much for having me. I look forward to choosing a winner for the ebook of Wolf’s Den from your visitors.

Lauri: When you think ‘romance’ what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Aileen:Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. When I first read it, I knew it was the epitome, the foundation of all other romance novels that have come afterward. What I love about Austen is that she used everything around her to craft her stories, the time in which she lived, society as she saw it, the dialogue she must have heard each day, and her dreams of the perfect, destined mate. Sadly, Austen never married, and I can visualize her expressing her own unfulfilled desire for love through her novels.

Lauri: Oh, Pride and Prejudice. I love that one, too. My favorite quote from that book is in Chapter 17,"Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion". So, in your opinion, what would be the best piece of writing advice you could give someone writing their first novel?

Aileen: My advice would be to keep reminding yourself that this is your first novel.

When I first started writing, I found myself frustrated by a number of things. I thought I wasn’t writing fast enough (and in reality, I wasn’t, at least not for this genre). I had trouble with different parts of story telling, actually a whole lot of the parts of writing a story. I worried that the rejections I received said I wasn’t meant to be a writer. I mentally kicked myself for not being able to make the words do what I wanted them to do.

Wolf’s Den isn’t my first book, in fact, it isn’t even my second. I ended up throwing the first one away, as well as the next one. At the time, it felt demoralizing. Looking back, I can see that these early efforts were not a waste of time. They were hard earned lessons and I’m proud to have written them.

While I’ll always ride myself hard, I know that if I keep dwelling on what I haven’t yet achieved, it stops me from moving forward. That’s what I would share, be good to yourself as a writer both in terms of success and nourishing your inner writer.

Lauri: I so agree. Success comes in many forms. Thank you for those words of wisdom. Tell us, Aileen, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Aileen: If I were well off financially and could afford my dream, it would be to buy not one spectacular house in one place, by three or four modest homes in a variety of areas. Nothing too big, cozy places. I would design each one differently to match the area, but also to provide a different inspiration for my creativity.

I would choose a house near the water in northwestern Washington State for its wild natural drama and afternoons where I could sit in a chair in front of a huge picture window, watching the rain and fog and a crashing ocean. I’d buy a funky, old adobe in Santa Fe because nothing inspires my photographic muse—photography is a big hobby of mine—as much as New Mexico does. I love walking Canyon Road and winding my way through the tiny alleyway shopping areas of the Plaza downtown. The Gulf Coast of Florida would get my vote, as well. Driving through Florida, experiencing the coastal towns on the small, barrier islands is both relaxing and exhilarating. Imagining a romantic scene on the beach with one of my heroes is not hard at all. Finally, I would buy a small place in the foothills near Angeles Crest in Los Angeles, even with the fire danger there, because that’s where I grew up and I miss it terribly.

I know a lot of writers would love to live in exotic foreign locales, yet I love the U.S. It may be going through tough times right now, but it still has so much to offer.

Lauri: Oh, please let me know when you are settled in each of these homes, I want to vacation at your houses! I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments on the good old U.S.A. It’s time for you to tell us about your book.

Aileen: Wolf’s Den is set in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, and inspires us to wonder, is love more powerful than death? The hero, Griffin, is a member of the Kith, clans of werewolf shapeshifters who live in the high, seldom traveled wildernesses of the northern Cascades and Rockies. He’s the alpha for his pack, and has just lost his destined mate to a jealous wannabe she-alpha. Pack law dictates that he not only bring his mate’s killer to justice, but having lost his mate, must submit to a killing blow by the next alpha in line, so that he can follow her into the afterlife. The heroine, Luka, is an amnesia victim, who wakes in a body she doesn’t recognize and is accused by Griffin of having murdered his beloved mate.
The Book was released in July, 2010. It’s a breathless, fast-paced book that grabs hold from page one and doesn’t let go.

Lauri: It sounds wonderful, and intriguing. Please give us an excerpt.

I’d love to:


“Where did you hear that name?” he asked.

“I didn’t. It’s mine.”

“I don’t believe you.” A growl replaced the hurt sound that had come from deep in his chest. “Who told you? Are you a voyeur, as well? Did you spy on us while we made love?”

Spy on him and Anya? Would she do that?

“It’s my name,” she insisted, and then was overcome by a violent fit of coughing. She couldn’t breathe. The smoke was poisoning her lungs and starving her blood of oxygen. She grew dizzy.

She watched him, the supreme effort it took to regain control, but he clamped down and put away his darker half.

“Wait here until you hear the shots, then go,” Griff told her. “Head for the trees, and when you reach them, keep running. Don’t stop.”

He turned, looked back once, and then vanished into the smoke and flames devouring the cabin.

Lauri: Wow! Thanks for that snippet! And congrats! I know there is a great review for it on Amazon! So, what’s next for you?

Aileen: Yes, there is. It’s also available at The Wild Rose Press.
What’s next? Well, I’m working on three different books at the same time, Book 2 in the Kith Series, a romantic suspense set in Santa Fe, and a fun, erotic paranormal that takes place in a small town on the Oregon coast. Visitors can keep up with my writings by visiting my blog.

Lauri: Thanks so much for being here today, Aileen, and thanks for giving away a copy of your book as a prize to a lucky reader!


LaVerne Clark said...

Hi Aileen and Lauri

I've got to be in the running to win Wolf's Den - it sounds wonderful! The cities you mentioned sound perfect to have 'homes' in Aileen. I wouldn't mind myself - USA is very exotic to people like me in far-off Kiwi-Land : )
Lauri - your precious Karlee Jo is a darling! I got a wee tear in my eye looking at her and remembering my own girl at that age (now coming up 2!) Where did the time go? Hold tight and enjoy : )
Thanks for sharing guys.

Aileen Harkwood said...

Thank you for entering LaVerne. Talk about exotic. New Zealand, what I've seen of it in photos, is amazing! I think that's why so many American films are shot there. It's like no place else on earth. :-)

Lauri said...

Thanks for stopping by, LaVerne!

Thanks, again for being here Aileen!

Mary Ricksen said...

I can't wait to read your book. I love wolf stories!
If I had four homes one would be in North Carolina in the mountains, the mountains just call to me. One would be off the tip of Long Island way out there, on a place called Block Island. It reminds me of an earlier New England town, with that caring, homey, feeling. Small so cars are few. The next would be in Wales as I've heard how beautiful it is from a friend and the history, wow! The last in Vermont on Lake Champlain where I grew up. Vermont is the most beautiful place and a Christmas in a cozy cabin, with a blazing fire, sounds wonderful.
Now that's not to say I wouldn't visit other places. Scotland, Ireland, Italy, the list goes on.
For now I'll be there in my dreams.
Good luck, great post, and Australia, yes, yes, yes!

Marie Beau said...

Great interview! Ooh, I love shifters. This sounds wonderful! I'd love to win a copy! (but I'll just have to get one if I don't win!)

I also have a shifter romance coming out - October 1st (my first release) and I'd love to have you all take a peek. http://authormariebeau.blogspot.com

Marie Beau said...

Great interview! Ooh, I love shifters. This sounds wonderful! I'd love to win a copy! (but I'll just have to get one if I don't win!)

I also have a shifter romance coming out - October 1st (my first release) and I'd love to have you all take a peek. http://authormariebeau.blogspot.com

Aileen Harkwood said...

Thank you for the comments! What wonderful choices for your four houses, Mary. Wales and Vermont sound especially fantastic. I should have chosen something in the U.K.!

Congrats on your upcoming release, Marie! I'm adding it to my future TBR list.

Lilly Gayle said...

Congrats on the new baby Lauri. And congrats Aileen on the release of Wolf's Den. I know what you mean about feeling as if you're not writing fast enough. But I guess I could write faster if I didn't stray from writing to read all these great blogs. lol! Oh well. Break over. Back to writing.

Romy said...

Aileen - that's a great piece of advice for new writers. I only wish someone had told me that when I was starting out. I wouldn't have felt so silly when I realised how awful it was!

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Adding my congratulations for Laurie's baby, and Aileen's release! The book sounds very intriguing and what an awesome cover.

I envy you living in the Rockies. I'd love to live in the mountains.

Aileen said...

Thank you, Romy, Lilly, and Stacey!

I'm a new author, but definitely not new to being a pre-pubbed author. :-) I discovered the hard way to strike a balance between self-motivation and beating yourself up over things you simply have to experience to learn!

paul smith said...

nice post