Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Author Interview: Lorrieann Russell

Today we have an interview with Lorrieann Russell, author of By Right of Blood. Enjoy!

Jennifer: Where can we find out more about you and buy your book?

Lorrieann: By Right of Blood is available for in all eBook formats (Kindle, Nook et al.) now through online book sellers, and   On May 29, 2012, a paperback version will be released, also available through Amazon.

Jennifer: Tell us about your book.

Lorrieann: William Fylbrigge arrives at Drumoak in Stonehaven, a frightened, starving, abused child believing he’s been sent to foster with the demon earl Lord Edward, who eats children and sleeps under a quilt made of the skin of his victims — a lie he’s been told his entire young life. 

Denied the love and protection prescribed for him in his father’s will by his scheming older brother Thomas, William is ill prepared to claim his place among the powerful clan he has been born into. But,  under Lord Edward's guidance and with new friends he meets at Drumoak beside him, young Will (as he prefers to be called by his friends) blossoms and thrives, even catching the eye of Lord Edward's youngest daughter. But Thomas, doesn't want to share what he thinks is rightfully his and Will soon finds himself in the crosshairs of a paid assassin. And he could lose what is his By Right of Blood.

By Right of Blood is the first in a trilogy following the life of William Fylbrigge.  This story continues in My Brother’s Keeper, and In The Wake of Ashes.  

Jennifer: Where did you get the idea for the story?

Lorrieann: The story originated when I was studying my own genealogy about twelve years ago.  I had been following my paternal grandmother’s line and was able to a man called Thomas Philbrick,  who came to the New World a few years ahead of the pilgrims. In searching back further, I was able to trace his line back to England and the family name of “Felbreg” with many different spellings including “Fylbrigge”.   Thomas proved to be a fairly interesting character in his own right, but what intrigued me more was the single listing of a sibling named William about 20 years his junior.  All there was recorded for this young brother was his name, date of birth, his wedding day, bride’s name (Mehlyndia), and date of his death, which came only one month after his wedding when he was just 20 years old.   The year was 1597, and his place of death was listed as Aberdeen, Scotland.  

In doing more research into that year and that place, I found it to be a particularly violent year with many, many poor souls tortured and burned alive for witchcraft. 

This left me wondering if young William could have been one of these unfortunate souls.  Certainly, there was nothing in the evidence of his life that proved he was (or was not) one of the condemned,  but the seed was planted in my mind, and from this, my story grew. I decided that William deserved a little bit more ‘life ‘.

I would like to be perfectly clear that my account of William is complete fiction.

Jennifer: What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?

Lorrieann: I enjoy the discovery aspect. That is, watching the story unfold in my head as I write it. I do start with a vague idea of what the story is about, and the characters involved, but as I write, I love to allow the story to do the driving.  Many times I am surprised by the turns it takes.  I’ve had characters pop into my head fully formed, out of the blue and just introduce themselves and say “I’m supposed to be here now”.  I enjoy the escape to the alternate world I have created and the process of bringing it out into the light to share with my readers.

Of course, the ultimate reward is when a reader tells me they enjoyed the story. When someone tells me that I made them angry by taking the plot in a certain direction, I like that as well because I caused them to react.  If I can elicit emotion of any kind; a giggle, a gasp, a tear. . . then I have connected, and I have done my job as a story teller.

Jennifer: Tell us about your previous work.

Lorrieann: By Right of Blood was actually the last of the three books that I have published.  The story originally started with My Brother’s Keeper, which begins on William’s wedding day to Mehlyndia and follows him through his trials and near demise.  I thought that was going to be the entire story, and was surprised (and pleased) to discover that William was not quite done with me, and he lead me through In The Wake of Ashes, which took William to the New World. 

Between the time I wrote those first two books, and By Right of Blood, I published several short stories, and some poetry.  My style is rather eclectic, though I always tend to have an element of metaphysics. I’ve been told my short stories would have felt right at home as episodes of the Twilight Zone; some being humorously quirky, other just a half bubble left of sane.

Jennifer: What other projects do you have coming up?

Lorrieann: Right now I have several different irons in the fire.  There is one final book in William’s story, working title “Passages” which I hope will complete his arc, and tie up some unresolved loose ends for several of the other characters.  

I have a completely different story going that takes place in Manchester, NH around 1960 which is more in that Twilight Zone area and features the story of twin brothers, separated by mysterious circumstance, as one disappears into a mysterious yellow light while exploring the basement of an abandoned theatre, leaving the other to take the blame for his disappearance. 

A third story in the work is a fantasy romp set in the fictional ethereal plane of “Arcana” where the archangel Gabriel happens to be the Keeper, though he’d rather be elsewhere. Gabriel cannot leave until he finds a suitable replacement, so he goes to Earth and plucks six seemingly random souls from the same odd little town of Ravencroft and brings them to Arcana where they unwittingly play a game where the ‘winner’ (or loser as it were) becomes the new Keeper of Arcana.  

Jennifer: What is your writing process like--do you outline first or just start writing, etc.?

Lorrieann: I let the story do the driving.  I start writing what I enjoy reading.  Once the story gets into full swing, with several characters and different plots, then I will sit and outline each subplot and how they will come together in the end.    If I am having trouble with a certain plot, I will put it aside and move to another and write episodically rather than linearly.  When I have several good episodes, I will put them in logical order, and fill in the connections.

Jennifer: Tell us a little about your non-writing life. Family? Pets? Hobbies?

Lorrieann: I am digital artist.  I enjoy creating photorealistic illustrations using a variety of digital media.  I’ve put this to great use in creating my own book covers, and the covers for several other authors.   I enjoy using my design skills to create embroider patters as well.   I’m an avid knitter as well.  Aside from that,  my husband and I enjoy hiking in the mountains and traveling.  I am owned by Avalon, the five year old tabby who runs our household.

Jennifer: When and why did you decide to become a writer?

Lorrieann: I have always been a writer for as long as I can remember.  I would write stories and poems for my own amusement, never intending to share them with a wider audience.  I wrote stories for a very select audience: me.   It was after writing a few humorous holiday letters to friends that someone suggested I should consider being a writer.  I was going on forty at the time, and found myself between jobs with a lot of time on my hands, so I sat down and began to write. 

Jennifer: What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

Lorrieann: I don’t have a favorite genre. If the story is gripping, I’ll read it no matter if it’s fantasy, historic fiction, romantic farce, mystery or even erotic. When I write, I’m not thinking about which genre the story fits, or will fit. I’m only thinking about where this one story leads to.  Though I must admit that I do enjoy writing gallows humor.

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