As part of the Riptide Publishing Grand Opening blog tour, I’d like to welcome Rhianon Etzweiler.
Take it away, Rhianon:
Do you have a favorite character out of all the ones you’ve written?
That’s so very difficult. I love them all, it’s like asking a parent if they have a favorite child. They’re no two alike, and they each have qualities I love. If I had to pick a favorite, though, I’d say Black.
Why is he your favorite?
Simply because I had so much fun obscuring the perception of gender. Black also injects humorous self-deprecation into what could otherwise be daunting and tense scenes.
What are your daily must-stop blogs and websites?
I usually pop by Goodreads and poke around, check out Riptide Publishing’s group and the various author thread conversations going on. Amara’s Place (amaras-place.blogspot.com) is a daily stop for me—her hotties go well with coffee.
Where are your favorite online hangouts? Where can your readers find you?
I use Tweetdeck to keep an eye on my author profile social media accounts: http://www.twitter.com/#!/musefodder, http://www.facebook.com/rhianonetzweiler. It makes my interactions more efficient, but I’m always around. I have an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) posted on my website so fans can contact me directly if they wish to. There’s also a contact form on the website as well. I also lurk in the tumblr blogs, hunting for the best stills and video of #soldierporn to toss up on http://soldierporn.tumblr.com. Among other things.
What’s your current book list and where can we buy them?
Currently, my co-written debut release “Dark Edge of Honor” can be bought direct from Carina Press, or through a number of third-party retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. My solo release is due out from Riptide in December of 2011.
First of all where are you from?
Having grown up in the military, I’ve always wondered what people mean by this question. Where I was born? My hometown? Where I live? *laughs* Each translation has a different answer. I was born in Bora Bora. Raised on a number of different bases. Where I am now is home, for now. The air smells, in turn, like cow manure, cut hay, or chocolate, depending on which way the wind blows in Hershey, PA.
What do you like to read?
I’m an eclectic reader. I have a similar outlook to books as I do love. Love is genderless—quality writing is genreless.
What do you love about being an author?
Painting the picture. Writing is, to me, an artistic endeavor. It just uses a different medium than more conventionally recognized art. Words arranged just so. Characters and events, settings and plot arcs, take the place of hues on a painter’s palette, of brushes and strokes. It reminds me of making friendship bracelets when I was a teenager. Different color threads, different numbers, tied together in different ways—the possibilities are endless.
Where do you get your inspiration?
This is such a nebulous question, like asking what I eat for breakfast. Inspiration originates in many places; it depends on the story, the character, the scene. The inspiration for Mike from DEoH was a composite of military personnel, the trigger a photo of a career soldier training his thousand-yard stare on the photojournalist. The inspiration to write DEoH at all came from a completely different area.
For Black, the inspiration originated somewhere else. It grew, rather organically and completely on its own, from a short story to submit to an anthology call, into a full-length novel. (This happens to me a great deal.)
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I’d go so far as to say all characters are an amalgam of the two, in fiction. A combination of shards of people I meet, talk to, or even just read about in the news—twisted into someone wholly different and at times totally unrecognizable. Aspects of character, behavior quirks… I have this penchant for people-watching, and I guess you could say it serves me well when it comes time to paint a character on the page. It’s more genetic manipulation than cloning, you could say. I don’t “cut and paste” real people into my stories. Largely because I write fiction, not nonfiction.
If you could meet a paranormal being or character of your choice with no safeguards, what/who would you choose and why?
I would love to meet a shifter of some kind. Don’t mean werewolf necessarily—the concept of ‘skinwalker’ fascinates me, though. The blend of human and beast coexisting in a single individual is a facet I’ll likely end up exploring in depth in a future story, so I’d jump at the chance to interact with one. Always researching the next book, right? 🙂
What do you like or dislike about eBook publishing?
The only thing I dislike is that I don’t get to hold a copy of the book in my hands. There’s that visceral kind of satisfaction from that—going through the process of creating something from nothing, and holding the end result and having tangible evidence that it exists. Digital eBooks don’t give that aspect of gratification, sadly. And too, there are times when curling up on the couch with a book is preferred to the hard plastic shell of an ereader. Nook makes a very nice case for their devices that reminds me of a leather-bound book, but that tangible interaction is divergent enough that I understand why some shy away from it or resist. The tradeoff is worth it, though. I don’t have to drive to the bookstore to find something to read, and I imagine one day soon a retailer will take the time to design an interactive, three-dimensional book shopping experience to recreate that serendipitous discovery of a shopper’s next piece of reading material. Sort of a marriage between retail book store and IMVU or something.
What are your current projects?
I’ve got my speculative fiction GLBT romance “Blacker Than Black” prepping for release. I also have another military science fiction GLBT romance in the works, and a military fantasy I’m writing that desperately wants to be a series, or at least a trilogy. Then there’s the sequel to “Dark Edge of Honor,” though it’s difficult to say at this juncture whether it’ll be a novella or a full-length novel.
Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
“Dark Edge of Honor” is a military science fiction gay romance about a covert operative assigned the task of seducing an officer of the invading forces in order to gain intel. It was inspired—in part—by the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan during the Soviet Union’s invasion back in the 1980’s. From there, it grew into something wholly different.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Thank you so much for reading! I look forward to hearing your comments about my books and above all hope that you find enjoyment in the stories and characters. Come by my website, http://www.rhianonetzweiler.com and check out the free extras for my stories. I have an archive of vignettes and interviews with the muses that I post on my blog.
What do you like most about writing?
The act of creating. A writer takes nothing more than a spark of an idea, a glimpse of a story, and fashions this artistic masterpiece. That’s what I like about writing. I’m not just slapping words down on the screen to meet a quota, or using a formula-plot to tell my stories. For me, it’s art.
What genre do you write mostly and what appeals to you most about your genre?
The only accurate answer I can give for the label of genre is “speculative fiction”—which covers both science fiction and fantasy, and those stories that blur the lines between the two into something wholly neither. Which is usually where I fall. My stories generally have a sufficient aspect of romantic plot to fall within that genre label also, though I tend to strongly favor M/M over other subgenres.
Where do you get the names for your characters?
Flailing, mostly. Actually they tend to evolve organically when I begin doing rough character studies, exploring who they are and getting them to talk to me. Their cultural background—even if that culture is a devised amalgam of many—usually points me toward something definitive.
Tell us about your latest release (s)?
“Dark Edge of Honor” released from Carina Press in mid-August of this year. I co-wrote my debut novel with Aleksandr Voinov.
What are you working on next?
My upcoming release from Riptide is “Blacker Than Black”—a speculative fiction story about chi-whores and energy vampires. I’m also working on another military science fiction story, a military fantasy, and the sequel to “Dark Edge of Honor.”
What do you enjoy reading the most?
Gritty, realistic soldier stories. The good ones are hard to come by, and tend to be nonfiction. I enjoy sci-fi, though I shy away from the hardcore stuff. Also, fantasy—urban, paranormal, dark, depending largely on my mood. I rarely read contemporary stuff.
What are you reading now?
“On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War & Society” by Dave Grossman. I don’t agree with all he has to say, but I’m enjoying the insight and raw perspective.
Who are your favorite authors?
K.D. Wentworth, for the socio-cultural development of his alien species. Robert Jordan for the mind-boggling depth and scope of his world, and the weave of intertwined plotlines. He takes it to the extreme, but his talent for it is undeniable.
What would you advise an aspiring author?
You can’t sell it until you finish it. Put the ereader down, and write. Network in the genre within which you write. Those unpublished writers won’t stay that way. Connections are everything. So is developing supportive inter-author relationships. Write together—sometimes the result is truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers?
Thanks for jumping down into the trenches and getting grungy with me. My stories aren’t easy reads, and I love it when readers love them. Or argue about them. Or hate them, passionately. So long as I (through my characters) evoke emotion—ultimately, that’s the intent of writing a story.
How can readers connect with you?
I’m visible on most of the social networking sites, including Google Plus, Twitter, and Facebook. I also have an Amazon Author Page, a GoodReads Author Page, and my own website as well.
When did you start the adventure of writing?
In earnest, when I was 14. My love affair with story-telling and the written word started earlier than that, mind, but the real adventure began when I was a teenager. That’s when I slowly began my growth as a writer, and my evolution—one might say—into author.
Have you always loved romance writing?
I think that romance is an inherent part of being human. An organic development of a story in which the characters emotionally engage with one another. I don’t explicitly set out to write a romance—there’s usually a larger overarching plot in my stories. But people have emotions, develop relationships with one another. Avoiding that in a story would create, in my mind, and incomplete story. An unnatural omission, of a sort. I enjoy the exploration of interpersonal relationships within the parameters of a plot and story. The romance develops out of that. To put it simply, I write speculative fiction in which the characters have romantic entanglements.
Where do you find your inspiration?
A rather nebulous question, like asking what I like to eat for breakfast. Some days, oatmeal. Others, omelets. And then there are the “just coffee, please” mornings. I find inspiration in many places, usually where the mundane crosses paths with the odd or eccentric. Sometimes Popular Science, others Jane’s Defense. And then there are the moments when reading the day’s news headlines are enough to inspire. An expression in a photo, a face in a crowd.
What’s the funniest scene you’ve ever written?
It happens in a coffee shop, where two of the main characters, twins, are sharing a slice of coffee cake. The one glares death at the other for taking the virgin bite.
What’s the most romantic scene you’ve ever written?
Oh, the one with the chi whore and a john. I had so much fun with that one…
When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?
Plot to take over the world. And Alpha Centauri.
A quick quiz: Answer as fast as you can.
Favorite Hero: Mystique
Favorite Dessert: Crème brulee
Favorite Villain: Darth Vader
Favorite Song: Thunderstruck, ACDC
Have you ever written to music?
Yes, almost a prerequisite to getting the words flowing.
Trance, mostly. European mixes, like Armin Van Buuren and DJ Tiesto.
Tell us about your work: (include blurbs and/or excerpts.)
“Dark Edge of Honor” is co-written with Aleksandr Voinov. It’s a military science fiction gay romance thriller released from Carina Press in August of 2011.
Sergei Stolkov is a faithful officer, though his deepest desires go against the Doctrine. A captain with the invading Coalition forces, he believes that self-sacrifice is the most heroic act and his own needs are only valid if they serve the state.
Mike, an operative planted within Cirokko’s rebels, has been ordered to seduce Sergei and pry from him the Coalition’s military secrets. His mission is a success, but as he captures Sergei’s heart, Mike is tempted by his own charade and falls in love.
When the hostile natives of the planet Cirokko make their move, all seems lost. Can Mike and Sergei survive when the Coalition’s internal affairs division takes an interest in what happened in the dusty mountains of Zasidka Pass…?
Do you have a writing tip to share with our viewers?
Just write. And write some more. Until it’s finished. Finishing the story is the greatest achievement, and at times the most insurmountable obstacle.
For more information on Rhianon Etzweiler, please visit: http://www.rhianonetzweiler.com
COMMENT TO WIN:
Leave a comment on this post (with your email address in the BODY of the comment. No email address = no entry.) for your chance to win:
– Riptide Publishing’s GRAND PRIZE for their entire launch tour – an iPad! (winner for this will be drawn Jan 5th 2012)
– A Kindle or Nook (winners drawn Jan 5th 2012)
– First Wave Winner’s Choice: Pick any one backlist book from Rachel Haimowitz, Aleksandr Voinov, L.A. Witt, Brita Addams, or Cat Grant (“Frontlist” books, i.e. Riptide releases and newest non-Riptide release, are excluded, as are the Courtland Chronicles). (Winner drawn 10th November)