We would like to give a warm welcome to Nadia Lee, author of Carnal Secrets, Destiny Entwined and Happily Ever After of Her Own. Nadia’s new book, The Last Slayer, is the start of a brand new Urban Fantasy trilogy which is being released today by Carina. Welcome Nadia!
Nadia: Thank you!
BookPushers: What can you tell us about about The Last Slayer, the first book in the The Heartstone Trilogy?
Nadia: It’s a full length urban fantasy novel with romantic elements. The blurb is
Ashera del Cid is a talented demon hunter, but when she kills a demigod’s
pet dragon, the hunter becomes the hunted. Her only potential ally is
Ramiel, a sexy-as-hell demon. Now the two must work together to battle
dragons and demigods…and the chemistry crackling between them.
Ramiel has his own reasons for offering Ashera his protection. He knows her
true identity and the real reason the demigods want her dead. What he can’t
predict is how she’ll react when she discovers he knew who she was all
Ashera is shocked to discover that she is the only daughter of the last
slayer. To claim her destiny, she and Ramiel must join forces to face down
danger and outwit their enemies. Only then will she be able to truly accept
The story’s told from Ashera’s point of view (1st person), and she has to deal with new threats in her life with somebody who she can’t trust a.k.a. Ramiel.
Bookpushers: Are you able to give us a little run-down on Ashera del Cid, and Ramiel?
Nadia: Ashera’s an excellent demon hunter who’s managed to carve out a nice life for herself. She’s good at her job, financially comfortable and has a good friend / foster sister Valerie, who she cares for very much. She has an innate distrust of all supernatural beings, given her profession. People don’t hire her when they’re dealing with “good” demons. (Not that such a thing could exist as far as Ashera’s concerned.) Ashera’s appalled she has to get Ramiel’s help when he did all sorts of horrible things to her, like blowing up her home.
Ramiel is a very old supernatural being, and he’s stuck helping Ashera because of a vow he made long ago. It drives him insane that Ashera doesn’t ask, “How high” whenever he tells her to jump. He’s basically like an emperor within his own domain, and hates having to explain himself. He’s also afraid of what Ashera might do if she knows the full truth about herself and everyone around her.
Bookpushers: What made you decide to base your story around demons — will they be the only supernaturals featured, or will there be other scary beings ready to make a surprise?
Nadia: I’ve always found demons fascinating. Vampires, too, of course, but so many authors have done vampires already. I wanted to do something different. Demons such as incubi aren’t the only ones in the story. There are various types of dragons and supernatural diviners, etc. And maybe a few of them will make an appearance in the sequel. 🙂
Bookpushers: Can you give us any sneak peaks in what to expect in the The Heartstone Trilogy? Will it follow the same leading protagonists or new narrators in each book?
Nadia: The trilogy follows the same protagonist — Ashera del Cid — and her coming into her new power and position by pitting herself against those who’d rather see her dead. There are definitely elements of romance as well between Ashera and Ramiel, and they’re probably going to get some kind of happy ending by the time the trilogy winds up.
Bookpushers: The Last Slayer is the first UF you have written. Did you find any difficulties writing in a new genre compared to your previous contemporary books?
Nadia: World-building! I totally didn’t make any notes or create a world bible or anything. And since I always change things as I write, I couldn’t remember what I was going to do with supernatural XYZ when I was going through the story for revision. The hardest thing I had to keep track of when I was writing contemporary was what kind of car my hero drove to work!
Bookpushers: What other genres do you want to explore in the future?
Nadia: Futuristic/SF romance featuring assassins and mob bosses and fantasy romance loosely based on an old Asian historical text, though I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to work the latter in. I’ve been hearing from so many industry people how unpopular Asian settings are. :sigh:
Bookpushers: Can you tell us about any upcoming works you have planned?
Nadia: Currently I’m working on the sequel to The Last Slayer. I also need to take another look at the above-mentioned futuristic romance novel and send it off to my agent.
Bookpushers: You have released self-published books as well as traditional pubbed via e-pubs. What do you think of the ever-changing landscape of publishing and the impact it has on authors?
Nadia: I think it’s fantastic for authors. Authors are no longer limited by the whims of publishing companies. Before ebooks became as popular and dominant as they are now, publishing companies controlled distribution. Print distribution is enormously expensive and difficult for most authors, and many booksellers weren’t interested in carrying self-published titles. Furthermore, print distribution is extremely inefficient and costly with returns. Most authors couldn’t afford to have more than half of their books returned to them.
Ebooks made it possible for authors to reach out to their readers more directly, and it’s much faster to turn your edited manuscript into an ebook than a print book. In addition, authors get to experiment with small niche genres that their publishers aren’t too interested in. (Of course, some authors go through smaller digital presses, but given some of the things we’ve seen, such as Triskelion and other e-presses that either went bankrupt, didn’t edit or pay royalties, etc., authors have to be very careful and choose one that’s professional and honest and can do things that authors can’t do on their own or outsource easily.) This has also benefited readers as well. Speaking as a reader, I love buying self-pubbed novellas or shorts from my favorite authors to tide me over while I’m waiting for their big novel release. The big challenge for authors who are interested in self-pubbing is ensuring that they put out a good story that is well-edited and converted. (And put a good-looking cover too!) Readers demand a professional production, not something that looks like authors put it together while making a sandwich for lunch.
Bookpushers: What is your all-time favourite Happy Ever After scene in a Romance? And why do you think HEA has a strong resonance for so many readers of Romance?
Nadia: Oh this is so tough! I’m extremely fond of old Linda Howard category romance novels and the resolution in which the hero must win the heroine over. I still remember the scene from Cutting Edge in which the hero holds the heroine and says he’d want to take it all back. I haven’t read that book in at least half a decade, and that scene still lingers in my mind with such force. HEA has a strong resonance because we want to believe that good peopledeserve good things, especially after such a difficult struggle. HEA isn’t unique to romance either. Mystery has a HEA-equivalent in that the crime is solved and the bad guys get caught. In general, I don’t want to read romance in which the heroine dies of some horrible disease at the end and the hero is left behind and cries his eyes out. (BTW — the terminal-disease-killing-the-heroine was — or maybe still is? — a very popular trope in Japan…) I want to feel good when I read for entertainment.
Bookpushers: And now for a little fun:
If there was a BATTLE ROYAL of kick-ass heroines, who would you choose as the winner?
Nadia: Oooh, tough! Provided that mine sits out (it wouldn’t be fair since I’m biased), I’d choose Kate Daniels.
Bookpushers: Which fictional hero would you like to kiss, marry or chuck over a cliff?
Nadia: I’d like to kiss Heathcliffe from Wuthering Heights AND chuck him over a cliff.
Bookpushers: And what is your most guilty pleasure in reading a romance?
Nadia: Right now it’s forced seduction. I have no idea why, but I’m just in the mood for it right now. And I’m not talking about the modern twist or whatever. I’m talking about the old-style bodice ripper-type stuff.
Nadia has kindly giving away an ebook copy of The Last Slayer. To Enter just comment below and state what is favourite myth or books that feature dragons. The giveaway will end on the 3rd of January and is open to everyone!