Kylie Griffin is the author of the Light Blade series which includes the books Vengeance Born and Alliance Forged. The 3rd book, Allegiance Sworn, just came out and Kylie was kind enough to answer a few of my questions (she also scores some of the most gorgeous covers), so please welcome her back to the blog!
It’s been a year since the first book in your Light Blade series, Vengeance Born, was published, and Book 3, Allegiance Sworn, was out early this month! When you started the series, did you already have an idea of how many books you’d like to write, or did you just decide to see where it took you?
G’day, Kristin, thanks for inviting me back to My Bookish Ways! And how time has flown. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since VENGEANCE BORN came out. So much has happened since then!
Initially, I thought the Light Blade series would be a trilogy, all neatly wrapped up and done by Book #3, but as I’ve written each book the overarching story line developed more and more and the world grew. There were places I wanted to explore and portray, and there were characters appearing all over the place.
I had definite ideas for ALLIANCE FORGED and ALLEGIANCE SWORN as far as plot threads went but what actually ended up happening wasn’t quite what I planned…some were tied up, new ones began, secrets were revealed, people died…let’s just say that the over arching story line isn’t quite resolved.
And to complicate things, some of the secondary characters have taken on lives of their own and now I have another four more demanding their stories be told! LOL
Will you tell us a little about the world of the Light Blade and the characters featured in Allegiance Sworn, Arek Barial and Imhara Kaal?
ALLEGIANCE SWORN features Arek, a rather deliciously tormented secondary character, and one of my Light Blade warriors, who appeared in both VENGEANCE BORN (#1) and ALLIANCE FORGED (#2). (Yes, I do like torturing my heroes!)
At the end of ALLIANCE FORGED, as the war between the humans and demons escalates, Arek was wounded and captured by demon-slavers. In ALLEGIANCE SWORN he’s confronted by the truth that his whole life and every decision and action he’s made has been based on a lie, one foster by his grandfather’s deception. And, having been captured by demon-slavers, anyone who’s already read the series will know Arek prefers death over serving as a slave, so you can imagine the conflict this is going to create!
On top of that he’s also forced to face one of his greatest fears – being the blood-slave of Imhara Kaal, a demon Clan leader and his new owner. He’s sworn to die fighting before allowing her to drink his blood, but then he discovers she’s been living a double-life; that her Clan don’t enslave humans and accept half-bloods. And more significantly, they have one goal in common – to kill Na’Reish leader Savyr, the demon who murdered their families and destroyed their lives. So he has some heavy duty issues to sort out before he achieves that!
As for Imhara, unlike other demons, she and her people have create a utopia of sorts where human, demon, and half breeds live peacefully and equally in the Old Ways but they’ve had to sacrifice a lot to remain undiscovered. Living a double-life and adopting two separate lifestyles was essential for their survival.
But it puts her and Arek at odds right from the get go because she had to portray her alter-ego in order to claim him as her slave. You can image how well that went down with Arek, and trying to convince him of her other persona is nigh impossible. I loved being able to throw these two opposing personalities together and watching the sparks fly!
What kind of research do you do for your novels?
Other than looking through some books on weapons and armor/clothing much of the world-building, mythology, political and cultural aspects of my books comes from my imagination. Vivid, it is (as Yoda would say).
My characters names sometimes come from Baby Name books, more often than not they’re a combination of two names I like and I take one part of each and combined them. Same goes for place names – I pour over maps of countries and jot down names I like then either change a letter or syllable until something “sounds right” and I go with that. I’m a visual person so they also have to look right on the page.
You’ve created a rich fantasy world in your novels. What are some of your favorite fantasy worlds or series?
My favorite world/series come from Anne McCaffrey. I love everything about of Pern, her dragon and dragon-riders, and her Ship Who Sang series. The characters are so relatable as are the issue and problems they face. Anne McCaffrey wrote strong female characters as well, something that really appealed to me.
Another series I love are the Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey and the spin-off series from it. Again, the depth of the characters in this series, and the world-building (particularly the gifts the heralds possessed) were incredibly engaging.
If we’re talking paranormal romance, then I’ve recently been sucked in by the London Steampunk world of Bec McMaster. It’s a little bit historical, has some steampunk thrown in, and a heap of paranormal characters. There’s an unusual twist on the vampire-trope that just intrigues me and the romances between the hero and heroines are hot, hot, hot!
Are there certain things you like to see in a good book?
I’ve go to be able to connect with one of the characters in a book and empathize with the struggles they face. If an author can do that, then provide a solid plot then I’ll invest my time in reading a book. It’s as simple as that.
A character who acts out of character or helpless heroine (that’s a pet peeve). I don’t like the “damsel in distress-I can’t save myself” female. Nor do I like a story without a solid plot or one that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Both these things will make me put down a book and never go back to it.
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
I’ve already mentioned my love for the dragons of Pern series, so the book would be DRAGONFLIGHT. I read it for the first time as a 13y.o. and was blown away by concept of dragonriders, Weyrs, thread and between. Lessa, F’lar, F’nor, Robinton, Jaxom, Mnementh, Ruth, Ramoth and Canth – I loved the complexity of the world and its characters and how every book after just kept growing the series.
What’s next for you and the Light Blade Series?
Well, I have Bks #4 & #5 plotted and I intend writing them but at the moment, I’m toying with a post-apocalyptic romance, one set in the near future after the world has degenerated into a less civilized society (think Mad Max meets the much, much darker elements of Waterworld and Salute of the Jugger). I’m still working on the world-building details of how and why civilization ended up this way but the heroine and two heroes have already crystallized in my mind, so now it’s just a matter of getting to know them and their story. 🙂
About ALLEGIANCE SWORN:
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a demon leader seeks to unify the races…
With the alliance of the humans and the half-blood Na’Chi forged, the demon Na’Reish prepare for war by seizing human blood-slaves. Captured during a rescue mission-gone-wrong, Light Blade warrior Arek Barial finds himself claimed by a Na’Reishi female who offers him an unexpected choice.
Raised in the elite ranks of a society she abhors, Imhara Kaal lives a dangerous double life as a Na’Reish Clan-leader and an advocate for a caste-free life that honors the Old Ways. Openly rebelling against the Na’Reish would mean her death, unless she can find an emissary willing to present her petition to the human Blade council.
But Arek isn’t about to blindly follow a demon—despite the intense attraction growing between them. And while hatred for the Na’Reish is all he has ever known, Arek must learn to trust Imhara, or risk the destruction of all three races…
About Kylie Griffin:
Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit her website at www.kyliegriffin.com