Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Soapbox Spotlight: Mia Darien

It's Launch Week!!  We're finally here!  I'm so excited to celebrate this achievement with all of you!  As I began putting this launch party together, I received correspondence from some of my author friends, both old and new, that wanted to partake in this venture with me.  And how could I possibly say no?  What emerged is my new series, Soapbox Spotlight, where I will introduce you to an author and their work, every Wednesday, as interest pours in.

Today's honored guest and my first ever Soapbox Spotlight is Mia Darien.  Paranormal suspense and also both erotic and historical romance author, Mia has written nine novels!  She is here today to talk to us about her newest work, Deeper than Skin, a historical romance novel.  Careful; this ain't your grandma's Harlequin!

Tell us about yourself, Mia.

In addition to being a writer, I am a stay-at-home wife and mother with a two year old boy. He keeps me pretty busy during the day, so I try to write as much as I can in the evenings and at night. Otherwise, I am a home body and geek who enjoys recreational writing, reading and the occasional evening of World of Warcraft. I was born and raised in New England and have, in fact, lived in the same farm town my whole life and think I may have grown literal roots here by now!

How, if at all, has your upbringing influenced your writing?

I was brought up primarily by my mother, who got degrees in English and Environmental science while I was a kid. Our house was always filled with books and learning and thinking. I think that couldn't help but influence me. She home schooled me from fifth through twelfth grade, and gave me a more rigorous education than I would have gotten in public school. She taught me how to think, to think outside the box, to figure things out, to learn when I need to learn and keep learning. It also gave me the chance to pursue things that I was drawn to, so when I wanted to try writing, I had a really good opportunity to do so.

What inspired you to write your first book, and what was it?

Oh, dear! My first book was a forty page "novel" called... I can't remember the first title, but I renamed it "Once Great", and it was a high fantasy: have to go on an epic quest to beat the bad guy in some fantasy world with romance on the way. Girls had flower names and when they met the man they were meant to be with, you'd be able to smell the scent of that flower. It was just awful! I read a lot of Piers Anthony, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey and Robert Jordan at that age, which is what drove me to try to write fantasy.

What made you want to be a writer?

I read a lot as a kid. I started reading adult fantasy novels at eleven. By the time I was fourteen, I just wanted to tell my own stories. I don't recall any one event doing it. I just had stories in my mind and had to put them down.

Tell us about your latest work.

My newest release is Deeper than Skin, and it's a historical romance set in provincial France, 1767, in Gévaudan. During this time, the province was being terrorized by a creature called the Beast. It attacked and killed for three years before finally being shot in 1767. My story follows Constance, a young noblewoman at a terrible point in her life, and Tristan, a Marquis from a neighboring province who has come to hunt the Beast. They are both wounded in some way, but come together during a difficult time, both externally and internally.

Wow!  That sounds really interesting!  How did you come up with the title?

It's to say that beauty is only skin deep. A handsome face can hide pain, or a scarred face can hide beauty.

How much of the book is based on real events?

Quite a bit, in some ways. The setting is historical, and my information about the Beast is what was taken from stories and reports at that time. Certain events were also taken from the records of that time, although I made up a lot, too. There is a section at the end of the story called Fact & Fiction that discusses which is which. I don't want to give too much away, so I can't say any more here!

You've written a lot of books.  Does the writing get easier with each one?

Ha, only sort of. You get better at knowing what you need to do and how things should go, but it never really gets "easy", and it shouldn't be. It should be work, because that makes the end result really worth it.

What do you love about independent publishing?

Control over my own writing destiny, so to speak. I can write what and how I want, and all successes and failures are my own. There's comfort in knowing that. Even if I fail, I have no one to blame but me and I know what has to be fixed. If I succeed, it's because I worked hard and did my best.

This Beast in your novel sounds scary!  How important do you think villains are in a story?

I think an "anti-force" is very important. Having a central villain isn't necessarily as important as just having that dark impact that gives the story its outside conflict. Stories need both internal and external conflict, and a villain or villainous "force" are important to the outside/external conflict.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I read or play World of Warcraft. I also watch Dancing with the Stars when each season comes around and have a lot of movies that I greatly enjoy. I'm pretty simple about these things, really!

I'm a big movie person, too.  It really is the simple things in life that make it all worth it.  Well, thank you, Mia, for being a part of our Spotlight series and joining us in the celebration.


My pleasure, Raynetta, and thanks for having me!

Mia is giving away an e-book copy of her new release, Deeper than Skin!  Winner will be chosen from the giveaway entries received before midnight today, May 1.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond to correspondence and claim their prize.  Good luck!

You can find Mia at http://www.miadarien.com/.  Her full selection of books are on Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

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