Can you please share with us a little about yourself?
My name is Dora Machado and I’m one of the few Latinas writing epic romance fantasy and dark fantasy these days. I was born in Michigan but I grew up in the Dominican Republic, an island that has a special place in my heart. I’m a graduate of Georgetown University, where I majored in history and got my first taste of the medieval history that inspires many of my worlds. I live in Florida with my wonderful husband and three cats, one of which spends most of the writing day—and night—with me. I have two incredible kids who are out braving and exploring the world. I’m the author of the award-winning Stonewiser series and my newest release, The Curse Giver, my first standalone novel.
Can you tell us what your latest book, The Curse Giver, is all about?
Of course! I’m very excited about my new fantasy romance, The Curse Giver, published by Twilight Times Books. The Curse Giver is about an innocent healer named Lusielle, who is betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. When she’s about to be executed, Lusielle is rescued from the pyre by an angry, embittered lord doomed by a mysterious curse. You might think that Bren, Lord of Laonia, is Lusielle’s savior, but, no, he isn’t. On the contrary, Bren is pledged to kill Lusielle because her murder is his people’s only salvation.
What ensues is a dangerous journey, where Lusielle and Bren have to escape their ruthless enemies and unravel the mystery of the terrible curse that ails the Lord of Laonia. They also have to overcome the distrust they have for each other, struggle with the forbidden attraction between them, and defy the boundaries between love and hate and good and evil to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Yes! Since as far back as I can remember.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
To me, one of writing’s greatest challenges is finding the time, space and patience to tell a grand story the way it should be told, fully, with passion, complexity and honesty. It’s a challenge I take on every day and one that gratifies every aspect of my writing self.
Why did you choose the fantasy genre?
I love the creative freedom that the fantasy genre offers, the opportunity to explore our attitudes, prejudices and preferences against the background of new and diverse worlds. I particularly enjoy exploring relationships and beliefs in the fantasy genre, testing humanity’s enduring questions and building up my worlds and adventures with history’s rich offerings. Add a meaningful, blazing romance to all of the above and you have a novel that is as fun to write as it is to read.
When or where do you get your best writing ideas?
The shower, definitively the shower. Maybe it’s because I can’t sing, so instead, I think. Seriously, I think that after a long night writing, a hot shower relaxes the body, clears the mind and allows the stories to flow. I also get a lot of ideas in my dreams when I’m asleep. Driving is good too. In fact, I have a pen and pad always ready in my car. The scribbles are really hard to read, and so that you know, I only update my notes during long red lights.
Have you ever used anyone from your real life encounters in any of your books?
I’ve never consciously set out to model one of my characters after anyone in particular. On the other hand, I’m sure I’ve used all of my life experiences and observations to construct my worlds and conceive my characters. In that sense, everything I do, every place I go and everyone I’ve met has somehow contributed to my stories.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
I do. I write in a small studio that opens up to my house’s terrace on a spring-fed river. It’s a small space but I’m all set up for comfort, surrounded by my favorite books and pictures and mementos from the people I love and the places I’ve visited.
Who is your publisher?
I’m a very lucky gal. The Curse Giver was published by Twilight Times Books, an independent publisher based out of Kingsport, Tennessee, that specializes in publishing critically acclaimed literary, mystery and SF/F books. A dynamic, top-of-the-line, quality-oriented publisher, TTB has more than 140 titles in the 2013 Spring Catalogue and is the home of a talented and friendly bunch of authors who have enriched my life and publishing experience. Check out TTB at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
I think that word of mouth continues to be the best and most reliable way of promoting a book and therefore any and all situations where people are blogging, tweeting, posting, reviewing, and talking about your book to their friends, readers and colleagues are very helpful to a book’s promotion.
What is your favorite quote? Why?
It’s funny you asked. My newsletter always has a quote at the top, something meaningful to me. For example, the spring edition’s quote was from Lloyd Alexander. It said: “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” It perfectly described my own views on fantasy.
The quote for the summer newsletter came from The Curse Giver. “The difference between fear and courage is not the absence of danger, but the will to tackle the risk.” I’m not in the habit of quoting myself. I promise! But I shared this quote because I realized that all of us—readers, writers, friends—we all need a little bit of courage each day to fully tackle our lives.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
I’m always a little leery of giving anyone advice because writing is a highly individual process and people write for all kinds of different reasons. Writing for me is a craft but also an indulgence and an adventure. But I think questions are the aspiring writer’s best friend. Why do you want to write? What do you want to accomplish when you write? What are you willing to give up in order to write? If you can answer some of these questions, then you can begin to set a path for yourself. If you are a true writer—whether you publish your stories or not—you will always write.
What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
You can expect more stories from me in the future, more fantasy, a dark contemporary fantasy with a Latin twist, and more about the world of The Curse Giver in its companion novel, The Soul Chaser.
Thank you for this interview, Dora. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
To learn more about me and my novels, you can visit my website at www.doramachado.com or contact me at Dora@doramachado.com. You can also read my blog at http://www.doramachado.com/blog/, sign up for my newsletter at http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, go to http://twilighttimesbooks.com/TheCurseGiver_ch1.html or you can catch the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv8WFYpdqQo&feature=youtu.be
Thanks again for introducing me to your wonderful readers.
Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn’t commit. She’s on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames. Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark. Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.
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Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Rating – PG-18