Please welcome author Renee Wildes today at the Reading Nook.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in central WI with my husband, three teenagers, and a whole bunch of critters—dog, 3 cats, hamster, & horse. I have a day job working as a professional dog groomer. I’m a total Josh Gates groupie!
What is your book(s) about?
A Guardian’s Heart is the completely remodeled reincarnation of Duality. A new twist on Cinderella, my human peasant heroine Dara thinks she’s just a healer with a temper. When she rescues an elven warrior on the battlefield, he takes her back to the elven kingdom of Cymry so she can get assistance ousting the demon who usurped her king’s throne. She finds out there’s a lot more to learn about who she is and where she comes from. Here there be dragons!
If you could be any paranormal creature what would you be?
I would love to be a dragon—long life, wisdom of the ages, almost indestructible, and the ability to breathe fire and fly? Count me in!
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read a lot, also am involved in 4-H with my youngest daughter (and the above-mentioned horse!), and watch non-fiction TV—Expedition Unknown, Forged in Fire, and Mysteries at the Museum.
What genres do you write in?
Romance—fantasy, paranormal, and sci fi.
If you write a series do you reread your previous books before you begin the new one?
Yes, to make sure my characters and world-building stay consistent. I have occasionally moved entire cities around from book to manuscript, so I’ve learned to keep notes but always double-check!
Is there anything you wish to say to your readers?
Always believe in and stay true to yourself. Don’t worry so much about pleasing others—strive for your own dreams.
Do you prefer to extensively plot your stories, or do you write them as they come to you?
I am a total plotter, as all my fantasy books are interconnected and I’m working on their children’s stories now (Daughters of the Guardians). I have to plot to keep it all straight!
Have there been any characters that started off as supporting characters, but then developed into a more prominent character?
That’s how I roll—in A Guardian’s Heart you meet Loren’s best friend Cianan (the hero in Book 2, A Guardian’s Hope), Dara’s ladies’ maid Verdeen (the heroine of Book 5, A Guardian’s Destiny), the elven Minister of Healing Benilo (the hero in Book 4, A Guardian’s Dreams), and Queen Moira’s werewolf brother Trystan (the hero of Book 3, A Guardian’s Storm). In a Guardian’s Dreams, you meet heroine Pryseis’ nephew Dax (hero in Book 6, A Guardian Betrayed). In A Guardian’s Destiny, you meet hero Aryk’s best friend Valkyn (hero in Book 7, A Guardian Redeemed—his heroine Mari is the best friend of Trystan’s heroine Finora).
Whew! Now you see why I HAVE to be a hard-core plotter!
If a movie or TV production company chose to produce your books into a series of shows or movies, who would your ideal cast be?
Someone else just asked me this recently. In my original version of Duality, I had Dinah Meyer (Cara from Dragonheart) and Craig Parker (Haldir from LOTR) as Dara and Loren.
Nowadays, I would wholeheartedly embrace Rose Leslie as Dara—I adored her spirited portrayal of Chloe in The Last Witch Hunter. Loren is a bit more difficult, but I’m leaning toward Alexander Skarsgard. I would totally have Judy Dench reading for the voice of Loren’s opinionated war mare, Hani`ena! Miranda Otto would play Verdeen. Santiago Cabrera as Cianan, because I love his roguish portrayal of Aramis in the BBC version of the Musketeers.
A Guardian's Heart
Genre of Book - Fantasy Romance
Series Name - Guardians of Light (Book One)
Publisher - Champagne Book Group
Book blurb -
Dara Khan Androcles was trained from childhood to be a healer. But as a demon-possessed invader threatens Safehold, and she defends a wounded warrior on the battlefield, her hidden inner dragon thirsts for blood.
When she lifts the warrior’s blond, blood-encrusted hair away from his ear, she discovers he is more than King Hengist’s outlander ally. He is an immortal. The elven heir to the throne of Cymry.
Loren ta Cedric senses something different about flame-haired, falcon-eyed woman who saves him. A healer, wreathed in raw, dark power, who wields knives with deadly skill. A mortal who prays to the Lady, not the human gods. Now he owes this thoroughly distracting female a Life-Debt. Which, in the heat of their flight to Loren’s homeland to raise an army, somehow becomes Life-Mate.
Dragon-human and elf, peasant and prince, logic says they have no future. Yet the power of their unlikely bond could be the only thing that saves their world from a demon poised to tear it apart.
: This new twist on Cinderella contains a grouchy dragon, a sentient war mare with the dry wit of a certain English Dame, and a fiery heroine who strikes serious sparks with a mercenary elf.
The sun just kissed the horizon outside Dara’s windows when a knock sounded at the adjoining door. “Dara? Are you ready?” Loren called.
“’Course I’m not ready. Wait ’til you see what she stuffed me into this time.”
Verdeen opened the door and curtsied. “Highness.”
Loren entered. “Keeping Lady Dara out of trouble, Verdeen?”
“With great difficulty, Milord.” Verdeen shut the door.
He froze as he focused on Dara. Heat flared in his eyes. “Verdeen, await us downstairs.”
Verdeen curtsied again and showed herself out, shutting the door behind her.
Loren locked it.
Dara sucked in a startled breath. His gaze traveled down, then up again. Slowly. Possessively. Her body tingled at the frank desire on his face, and she rubbed her bare arms. “You’re staring. Don’t blame me for this.” His long silence unnerved her. “Say something.”
“I would, could I find words.” His hoarse voice sent a shiver down her spine. “Where is the rest of it?”
She rolled her eyes. “They carted it off to the stables for insect netting. ’Tis all they left me. I resemble a heathen idol, don’t I?”
“If you were, a thousand men would change their religion.” Catching the blasphemy, Loren made a sign of supplication to the Lady. “If you wanted our cause to be visible, you succeeded. Everyone shall wish to meet you. None shall even notice me.”
Dara snorted. “Doubtful. The wanderer returns heroic, covered in glory and still unwed. All noble mothers shall throw their daughters at your feet.”
“You are the only one I want, sassy, irreverent wench.” Loren stroked her glistening arm.
Want. Dara trembled and slid closer. She loved how his eyes darkened. How she tingled at the open appreciation and desire on his face. Other men had admired her, but not quite this way—with a knowing that saw her, not just the pretty packaging. Her pulse pounded in her throat as she traced his lips with her fingertips. He captured her wrist to place a burning kiss against her sensitive skin. Dara gasped in reaction, and his eyes blazed.
The blood shimmered in her veins. She’d give aught to have Loren look at her that way forever. “We should go—”
“In a moment.” He pulled her flush against him. “I would have you to myself…for a bit.”
The hard planes of his chest thrilled, and she softened against him. Here was where she wanted to be. He stroked a calloused hand down her bare back. She whimpered. “Careful, you’ll squash my flower.”
“I shall get you another one.” Loren nuzzled her hair aside to lip her ear, flicking his tongue against her neck, nipping her shoulder. “So beautiful and brave. I need to hold you…touch you…taste you.” His mouth captured hers, his tongue surging in to duel with hers.
Dara’s head spun at the sensuous strokes of his tongue, tasting rich male and hot, heady desire. Her skin prickled with awareness. She clung to him, overwhelmed by a storm of sensation. Her body awoke, alive with yearning. Everywhere he touched caught fire. She arched against him with a gasp as his hands lowered to cup her backside and haul her into a burning erection. Half shocked, half intrigued, she rubbed against the rigid shaft straining within his breeches. A deep inner ache that had naught to do with the iron poisoning tightened her womb. A disconcerting dampness slicked her inner thighs, and she whimpered and shook in his arms.
Loren caressed her backside and his wet, carnal kisses devoured her with a voracious hunger nigh approaching desperation.
Trembling, aflame, she clung to him as he crowded her against the hard door.
She tore her mouth from his. “Loren, wait.”
“One moment.” He slid a hand under the material of her bodice and found her breast, tweaking her nipple into a point of hot need. “So soft, so strong…”
A flash of heat zinged down between her thighs, and her womb clenched. Between her quivering thighs, she felt herself soften and swell. A strange fluttering began, an overwhelming instinctive need to cradle him, move on him. Dara struggled to focus. “Loren, they await us.”
He groaned and drew back. Her body ached at the loss. Frustration glittered in his leaf-green eyes. “Forget the party. Stay here. Let me show you the stars. It shall be amazing between us.”
She should be outraged at the proposition, but, oh, how tempting that was. She bit her lip and squirmed, then frowned. “Your kin would notice. I’d not offend your grandparents. Asides, I’ve never seen fireworks afore.”
“We can be late. We shall make our own fireworks.” He cupped her breast again, swiped his thumb across her straining, sensitized nipple. “Deny you want this…want me… Please want me…”
She yelped at the shock and covered his mouth. “Don’t say another word. You could tempt a nun. Enough. Let’s go. If Sirona had to fetch us two nights in a row, we’d never hear the end of it.”
Grinning, he peeled her hand away and replaced the crushed flower from her bodice with a fresh one from the nearby vase. “A nun?”
Dara’s cheeks warmed anew as the cool water from the stem trickled down the heated skin of her belly.
WI author Renee Wildes grew up reading fantasy authors Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey and is a huge Joseph Campbell fan, so the minute she discovered romance novels it became inevitable that she would combine it all and write fantasy romance. Renee is a history buff and research junkie, from ancient to medieval times, esp. the Dark Ages. As a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, she gravitated to protector/guardian heroes and heroines. She’s had horses her whole life, so became the only vet tech in a family of nurses. It all comes together in her Guardians of Light series – fantasy, action, romance, heroics, and lots of critters!