Chat With an Author

Chat With an Author: C. L. Wilson

About three months ago, following KatieBabs recommendation, I picked up Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadows by CL Wilson and found myself falling in love with her books. These are the first two books in her Tairen Soul series and they have become not only two of the few books ever rated 10 by me but also one of my favorite series of all time, by combining perfectly Romance and Fantasy.

I contacted CL Wilson as soon as I posted our reviews and asked for an interview – and even though quite busy finishing up book three in the series, King of Sword and Sky, she was kind enough to find some time for us. And folks, let me tell you right now, I squeed like a mad woman when I read her answer to my question about what comes after book 4!

So, ladies and gentlemen, grab a seat, a glass of wine and enjoy a chat with C.L. Wilson:

Book smugglers: First and foremost, thank you for coming over to “chat” with us! Can you tell us a bit more on how you started your writing career?

CL Wilson: Well, actually, I’ve written stories since I was six years old. My first story was an episode of Hogan’s Heroes (the old 1960’s TV sitcom), and I wrote Seussian rhyming tales and little tear-jerker short stories to make my sister Lisette cry *g*. I started writing novels as a teen…finished my first book at 20…then took a long and winding road through college, career, marriage, kids (all interspersed with more books being written and a several more finished) before I finally bit the bullet and made myself dig in and write – and finish! – books until I got published. Tairen Soul (which became LORD and LADY) was my 5th complete novel.

Book smugglers: Your books have received rave reviews all around the net and Lord of the Fading Lands was a USA Today Bestseller and Lady of Light and Shadows a New York Times bestseller as well! Were you very surprised?

CL Wilson: Flabbergasted. Okay…well, I had hopes. What writer doesn’t? But I didn’t really believe they would come true. And they did. I’m still reeling with astonishment.

Book smugglers: As a Fantasy and Romance fan I was very pleased to see that your books are just a perfect example on how to join both worlds. Was that something you aimed for? Or do you have a preference for one or the other genre? Did you make the decision to market this series as more of a romance series than a fantasy one?

CL Wilson: Absolutely. I adore fantasy and romance. 99% of all books I read (except non-fiction) are fantasy or romance – and preferably some combination of the two. I really did want, with Tairen Soul, to merge what I loved most about my two favorite genres into one series. I originally thought the books would be more romance-y – I tend to read more in romance than fantasy, even now – but they surprised me by being as close to a true 50-50 blend as they are.
Book Smugglers: I was stunned at the world that you created and it reminded me quite a lot of Lord of the Rings, one of my favorite books of all time! Was that a source of inspiration to you?

CL Wilson: I read the Lord of the Rings series when I was 13. It made a huge impression. As I got older and began to read more about writing and about worldbuilding, the detail of Tolkien’s worldbuilding made as big an impression as the books themselves – perhaps even more so. I loved that he wrote Lord of the Rings because he’d created a language (Elvish) and wanted to create a world where it would be used. I loved his poetry, his legends of great heroes of the past. And, of course, I love all the fairy tales I grew up reading as a child. All that combined. The language creation and the poetry I definitely owe to a Tolkien influence (and a Star Trek influence – I’ve always wanted to learn Klingon! *gg*).
Book smugglers: The books have a huge amount of detailed description of the Fey, the Celierians, of the lands and of the languages they speak – what sort of research did you conduct for the series?

CL Wilson: Well, some things I just make up. *g* Some things I do have to research (travel speeds, flying speeds, etc.) to try and come up with details that don’t stretch suspension of disbelief too far. On the language front, I’ve studied a number of languages (French, german, a tiny bit of Japanese) and I tried to employ a few of the syntax rules (and verb conjugation rules) I learned during those studies. As for the cultures themselves, those are purely my imagination. The weaponry I use is fairly standard medieval stuff (pre gunpowder). I did do a bit of military research and weapons research and research on the smelting and forging of steel.
Book smugglers: Speaking of the language of the Fey – one of my favorite aspects is how the words you created resonate really well. Take the word shei’tani for example (which means wife / truemate / beloved); every time Rain says that to Ellie, I can feel the emotion that such a word would carry – How did you come up with it?

CL Wilson: I’ve always played with sounds and I’ve always made up nonsense words. (Influence of Dr. Seuss, I believe.) So basically, I put together what sounds phonetically pleasing to me, come up with a meaning for that sound, then built words from “roots” (root phonemes) of other words. It’s lots of fun, in a really nerdy geeky way *g*.
Same thing with names – many are made up – though I do also “collect” interesting names whenever I come across them. Murialisa, for instance, is a name you’ll see in Book 4, Queen of Song and Souls, which I’m using with permission of the real Murialisa I met several years ago on an email loop. Tealah (a name you’ll see in KING) is the name of a person who wrote to me about LORD and LADY.

Book smugglers: The next books in the series – King of Sword and Sky and Lady of Song and Souls – are due to come out later in the year: is there anything you can tell us about them? Anything at all?

CL Wilson: Well, KING OF SWORD AND SKY is scheduled for release Sept 30,2008. It’s set primarily in the Fading Lands, where Ellie and Rain return after their marriage. The focus of the book is about their continued quest to save the tairen (you’ll meet the tairen pride of Fey’Bahren in this book), about Rain becoming the true King of the Fey he was meant to be, and about Ellysetta coming more fully into her true powers. Of course, evil plots of the Eld abound, and all things are not as rosy as Rain would like in the Fading Lands.

QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS is scheduled for release on February 24, 2009, and it is the “climax” of the Tairen Soul series. Everything that has been building comes to a head in this book. Open war has come to Celieria and the Fading Lands, and Ellysetta – who truly is a lady of Light and Shadows – will face her ultimate test.

Book smugglers: On your website, under “The Road to Publication” you give us a detailed account of how you first got published after many years of polishing up your writing and after several contests. You say that the Tairen Soul is “the true book of your heart”. Did you plan for it to be a 4 books series all along? Or after you finish with Rain and Ellie story do you plan to continue writing about their world and about the other characters?

CL Wilson: Actually, I first thought it would be a single book, but then the darned thing kept growing, getting more complex and more interesting to me. I discovered things I hadn’t realized – things I loved. So then, the plan was a trilogy. My original titles were Tairen Soul: The Woodcarver’s Daughter, Tairen Soul: The Fey King’s Bride, and Tairen Soul: Queen of the Fading Lands. (I got voted down on those). So when book one got split into two, the trilogy became a quadrilogy.
After Rain and Ellysetta’s story concludes, I do hope readers will want to continue on, as I am already percolating plot ideas for a certain cobalt-eyed Fey warrior and cranky former dahl’reisen. *gg*

Book smugglers: You are a full–time author writing and promoting your books, as well as being a mom and wife. Is it hard to find and maintain a balance? What do you do in your down time for fun?

CL Wilson: Is it ever! And what is down time? Oh, yes, those few hours of restless sleep I get each night, right? LOL. Thank heavens my parents are so supportive and helpful. They’ve been helping shuttle my three kids around so I can concentrate on writing. Without them, KING would probably still not be finished.
Okay, but in the event I actually do get some real down time…I love to read (yes, lots and lots). I love to travel (lots and lots!). I love to watch Discovery Channel, Bones, CSI (all of them), The Closer, House, and American Idol (once we get past the distressingly cruel initial audition shows – I cannot abide watching the humiliation of other people. It makes me feel ill inside). And if they come up with another Star Trek TV series, I will be there! Oh, and I love bowling, golf, going to movies (romantic comedy, sci-fi/fantasy, action and family movies primarily) and I love to cross stitch but it just takes too much time.
And last, but never least, I love to spend time with my writer friends, especially the wonderful ladies and gents of Tampa Area Romance Authors, my local RWA chapter.

Book smugglers: a naughty question – which piece of writing, of any genre, of any era are you most envious about and would like to have written yourself…

CL Wilson: You mean besides the entire Harry Potter series so I could spend the rest of my life trying to hide money from the tax man? LOL. Tanith Lee, Tales of the Flat Earth (technically quite a few books). The woman is an absolute poet, and the emotional grip of those books sneaks up so quietly you don’t even feel it until you’re sobbing your eyes out. She could write a grocery list and I think she’d make me swoon. After that, I have to say, it’s probably one of three books I completely adore: Loretta Chase’s incredible romance novel masterpiece, Lord of Scoundrels; Laura Kinsale’s poignant and beautiful, Flowers from the Storm, or Lisa Kleypas’s brilliant, Dreaming of You. Oh, heck, and Wizard’s First Rule, by Terry Goodkind.
Do I have to pick only one? Really? Ce n’est pas possible! Or, as the Fey would say, De sha nei avales.

To everyone who has enjoyed reading about Rain and Ellie and the Fading Lands, I say, Beylah vo. You have made all my dreams come true.

C.L. Wilson is a full time writer who has crafted the amazing world of the Fey just for us. She lives in Florida with her husband, three children and her cat Oreo.
The next book in the Tairen Soul series, King of Sword and Sky, will be published on September 30th. She posted a very juicy
excerpt a few days ago. To know more about the series and about CL Wilson go check her cool website: CL Wilson

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  • kmont
    May 3, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Great interview! I am so excited for these next two books, but then you knew that, lol! And I DO hope she will be continuing the series after them, with an off shoot of some sort. Bel would be the perfect palce to start.

    Wilson, if your reading this, YES, we will want more after Tairen Soul!

  • Ana
    May 3, 2008 at 4:55 am

    Hey! Glad you stopped by! She does say that her next endeavour will still be in the Tairen Soul world with Gaelen as the hero! I am so happy about it!!!

  • Kristie (J)
    May 3, 2008 at 5:14 am

    I have the first two in this series and although I didn’t finish the first one yet, I plan on going back to it and finishing it. I loved Lord of the Rings – both the book and the movie – so this time when I give it a read, I’ll focus on the fantasy aspect of it. I used to love reading fantasy and I’m not sure why I kind of stopped. I think it was because I became more focused on romance – so one that combines both has GOT to be a winner!!

  • Carolyn Jean
    May 3, 2008 at 5:53 am

    What a fabulous interview. I’ve only read the first book, but there is a really rich vocabulary here, so I loved that question about the how CL puts together words, and such an interesting answer. Best wishes to you, C.L.!

  • Katie(babs)
    May 3, 2008 at 8:12 am

    When I went to Comic Con in NYC a few weeks ago, there were representatives from Dorchester there with their own booth. The first book I noticed on the table was Lord of the Fading Lands. I chatted with the Dorchester rep and she said Wilson will change to romance genre as we know it and is a very welcome author under their publishing house. And I totally agree! 😀

  • Brie
    May 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Awesome Interview! I love this series, it is so captivating. I’m glad that the series will be continuing after Rain and Ellie get their resolution. Gaelen is a character that really stood out to me, and the prospect of his story makes me giddy. Thanks for sharing C.L.

  • Christine
    May 4, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Great interview Ana & Cheryl!
    I am a huge fan of the Tairen Soul series. You know that rare feeling you get when you finish a book, and you hold it to your heart and think WOW on a great big sigh? That’s how I felt when I finished LORD and LADY. I’m really looking forward to the next two books in the Tairen Soul series. AND a book or two for Gaelen sounds awesome. I love him. And Kel. *sigh* And poor Adrial. … he’s going to make me cry.

  • Mina Wolf
    May 5, 2008 at 3:37 am

    This was great. I read the exercept and I’m all pysched for the next books. The series is wonderful.

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