What inspired you to become an author?
What inspired me to become an author was my desire to provide suitable (female) role models for young women and men, and to inform them about history whilst entertaining them. I hate passive female protagonists, especially in fantasy or dystopian fiction – if I can’t see them as interesting people, why would anyone like them? Why would the hero fall in love with them? There has to be something more to a character that makes them real to the reader. Ordinary is fine. Boring and insipid is not.
And I also really wanted to tell the story of a war in the heavens between the angels. This has always fascinated me. I liked the idea of including real history with theology and myth, so that the novel would be didactic and readers could also learn some interesting facts along the way.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Not that I know of – though another author friend of mine suggests that I love using figurative language. My genre, at the moment, is paranormal romance but I have many ideas I’d like to explore (and other genres) after I’ve finished this series.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
The title of the books in my KEEPERS OF GENESIS series are SEED, SCROLL, SWORD, and STONE. The title of the first novel which is out now was inspired by the plot – it’s the artefact that is found which triggers a quest to find the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and, in turn, the Garden of Eden. The second novel (out early next year) is linked to the other artefact needed to complete the quest. The third is about the need to find a powerful seraph blade to defeat the villain. And, lastly, the title of the last novel in the series highlights the return to the Garden of Eden.
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
I titled all the novels first so that there was a consistency (the sibilance of ‘s’ sounds). I wanted them to be snappy and short, something that popped (but worried that SEED sounded like a gardening book, so I added the KEEPERS OF GENESIS part).
What books/authors have influenced your life?
Some of the books and authors that have influenced my life (in no particular order): Pride and Prejudice by Austen (Austen’s satiric bildungsroman combines a harsh criticism of society and a really unforgettable love story – every girl wants a Darcy); The Alchemist by Coehlo (such a truly moving book; so spiritually enlightening); In the Skin of a Lion by Ondaatje (his style of writing and his themes of class and racial conflict are emotionally stirring); The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien (for so many reasons!); The Time Traveler’s Wife by Hiffenegger (it made me cry – such love and loss); To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (life lessons everyone should learn); Life of Pi by Martel (a beautiful allegory of hope and survival and human nature); and Shakespeare’s plays (especially the tragedies as they are quite philosophical) … and so many more…
What books are in your to read pile?
Actually, a lot of books that readers have recommended for me. Rachel Caine’s The Morganville Vampires series and Jennifer Armentrout’s novels are some that I’ve been looking into (I’m up to book 5 in The Morganville Vampires series). I’d also like to read Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize winning novel. And I’m still waiting for the last book of Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn series to be published (can’t wait for that one!).
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
My current “work in progress” is book three, SWORD, in the KEEPERS OF GENESIS series. Book two, SCROLL, will be published early next year, and then I’d like to eventually try writing a futuristic dystopian novel (maybe).
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m writing book three of the KEEPERS OF GENESIS series at the moment. SWORD takes up Sage’s story again (the books alternate narratives between the twin sisters, Sage and Saffron) and she’s caught between her family and the man she loves (who is an immortal). It’s complicated by the need to return the SEED to the Garden of Eden, as well as Sage’s jealousy over St. John’s new work colleague, the beautiful Isabella Donnatelli. Add to this the need to find a seraph blade to kill the villain and Sage finds her life more exciting than she wants it to be. Here’s a little (draft version extract):
St. John was silent for a long moment, his emerald eyes intensely assessing me across the inches that separated us. I could sense when his eyes touched upon my injuries, making the heat creep up my throat and face. Ducking my head slightly to mask my anxiety and shame, I knew that such a flimsy barrier as the chestnut curtain of my hair was not going to shield me from his knowing observation. That green gaze missed nothing – not the red mark upon my cheek, nor the sharp, deep cut where the blade had sliced the smooth skin at my throat, or even the tender bruises on my upper arm beneath my uniform – narrowing at the sight of my blotchy, tear-stained face and puffy, red-rimmed eyes. He exhaled sharply, his nostrils flaring in repressed emotion.
‘I’m fine.’ This time I spoke with an assertive tone, hoping to reassure him.
‘You are not fine. They harmed you,’ he contradicted me. St. John’s normally mellifluous voice was dead with rage.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
This is my absolute dream – I hope one day to be able to do research through my travels. At the moment, I rely on places I’ve been and that I’m quite familiar with such as London and Paris, and use Google maps and printed tour guides for everywhere else!
Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?
Absolutely! Taylor Swift’s Love Story; Beyoncé’s Halo; Ed Sheerhan’s Lego House; Ellie Goulding’s Burn; Adele’s Turning Tables; Il Divo’s Hero; Michael Penn’s No Myth (Romeo in Black Jeans); Bic Runga’s Sway; 5SOS’s Amnesia; U2’s With or Without You; Deadmaus’s Strobe; and lots of classical pieces too.
Keepers of Genesis Series
Genre: YA PNR/ Urban Fantasy
Publisher: LBLA Digital
Number of pages: 432
Word Count: 160,000
Cover Artist: XLintellect PTY LTD
A powerful, hidden artefact is unearthed and, with its discovery, an ancient conflict is reignited. Seventeen-year-old Sage Woods, the daughter of an eminent archaeologist, uncovers the artefact’s disturbing secret and is placed in terrible danger.
Unwittingly, she has stumbled into an invisible war between two primordial dynasties of a supernatural order – a war in which she has a fateful role to play in a race to control the power of the SEED.
Embroiled in a quest that takes her from the British Museum to the Louvre to the Vatican Secret Archives, Sage realises that her blossoming romance with the mysterious, alluring St. John Rivers is inextricably tied to the artefact.
Up until now, St. John has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Sage is determined to delve deeper to uncover his dark secret and his connection to the SEED.
It is a decision that will have a devastating effect on humankind…
Available at Amazon
I had no idea where to begin in my quest, so I decided to simply follow the path of least resistance, working my way around the exhibition. It was like a jigsaw puzzle; reconstructing pieces of the past and trying to find the bigger picture. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, I only hoped that there would be something, some tablet or bas relief, that would be able to shed some light on the artefact and, more importantly, on what I’d seen. I would have sworn that I saw it transform before my eyes in Dad’s office but I didn’t know whether I should doubt myself now. I’d only seen the artefact for a few moments and yet it had felt like it was speaking to me, imparting some ancient knowledge. Of course, I didn’t understand any of it, but I hoped to.
Because I was in a reverie, I almost missed the piece altogether. It was a tablet not much more than ten centimetres in length, containing a cuneiform inscription and a unique map of the Mesopotamian world. The symbols on the tablet were an exact copy of some of the symbols I’d seen on the artefact though a little more crudely formed.
The cuneiform inscription composed the top section of the tablet whilst, underneath it, was a diagram featuring two concentric circles. The outer circle was surrounded by triangles at what seemed to be random distances. The inner circle held more geometric symbols and cuneiforms. A rectangle in the top half of the inner circle in the centre of the tablet represented Babylon. Assyria, Elam and other cities were also depicted. The tablet and its inscription were by no means complete as it had been reassembled from the broken pieces found by archaeologists. Information was obviously missing but I was elated at finding anything that could tell me more about the artefact.
It was because I was so transfixed with my find that I initially failed to notice that I was being scrutinized from across the room. The first I became aware of it was a prickling sensation down my back, the hairs on my neck and arms raised giving me goose bumps. I turned my head round nervously, looking back over my shoulder.
He stood at a distance, a young man in his mid-twenties perhaps, taller than average. No mere accident of lighting, his slightly curly locks, the colour of polished brass, formed a halo around a face that was much too beautiful to be called handsome. The only way to describe him was golden. His skin was golden, his hair, which he wore slightly longer than was fashionable, curling into the nape of his neck, was golden and I suspected his eye colour was, if not golden, amber like mine.
When I caught him staring at me intently, he neither looked away in embarrassment nor did he pretend to know me. Instead, he continued to assess me with an unblinking, hypnotic gaze. It was I who broke contact first; flushing with embarrassment, I dropped my eyes at once.
This can’t be happening! I thought, feeling panicky. Dragging in a deep breath, my eyes skittered back to his. He was still staring at me, his indescribably beautiful face unmoved.
My heart fluttered in my chest. I didn’t know what to think – was this some random stalker or had he seen me before around the museum and couldn’t place my face, seeming familiar to him? No serial killer looked the way he did. He was dressed immaculately all in black; a pair of black trousers was topped by a fine woollen black turtleneck. He wore the sleeves rolled up, exposing his sun-kissed skin. And the black only accentuated the perfection of his face. Of course, I had no idea what a serial killer looked like, but I was fairly certain it wasn’t this golden god.
As curious as I was, I did the only thing that made sense; I ignored him – or pretended to. Deliberately turning my back on him, I tried to refocus on the tablet in front of me. But I was merely staring blankly, nothing was registering. It was all so unreal.
‘It’s not real.’ A low, attractive voice remarked by my side.
I almost jumped out of my skin, whirling to face the owner of that voice.
‘Sorry if I startled you.’ He smiled, apologetically. ‘I saw you looking at the map of ancient Mesopotamia.’ He nodded in the direction of the display case.
I blinked. He was even more stunningly golden up close. He belonged in a museum – he had the kind of face and figure that artists used as a model. Statues should have been made of this man, posing as Apollo, Phaenon or David. I almost envied him his looks; such beauty on a guy wasn’t fair.
I had been wrong about the eyes though; they were an impossible jade green flecked with gold and framed by the longest eyelashes on any guy I’d seen. He was also taller than I imagined; a good few inches above six feet. All in all, he was quite a package and way out of my league.
I somehow regained my scattered wits to stutter, ‘S-s-sorry?’
Great! Now he was going to think I was an idiot! An idiot with a stutter!
I almost groaned aloud.
About the Author:
db nielsen was born in British Hong Kong and immigrated to Australia in childhood. db likes to travel the world with family; dividing time between residing in Sydney and visits to the cathedrals, crypts and museums the world over, doing research for new projects. The author is a university lecturer in Linguistics and Semiotics, and continues to teach English Literature and Language whilst writing fiction.