Interview and Giveaway: Storm Crossed by Dani Harper (@Dani_Harper, @RoxanneRhoads)

Posted February 1, 2018 by Carmel in Giveaways, Interview / 12 Comments

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Hi Carmel! It’s so awesome to be on your site again – especially since I’m a transplanted Canadian! Thank you for picking up coffee and donuts from Timmie’s!


1. Why did you decide to make every installment in your GRIM series a stand-alone novel?

It wasn’t pre-planned – this is the way the series evolved. Maybe it’s because of my own reading habits, because I’ll often read a series out of order (okay, I can feel some readers cringing!)

I remember the first time I ran across a Black Dagger Brotherhood story by JR Ward. It was Book 5, Lover Unbound, the story of Vishous and Jane. OMG, I ADORED it! And it impressed me hugely that this couple’s story had been resolved – yet the amazing world that had been created was still intact, ready for me to explore it further!

So the readers of the Grim Series get to read it in whatever order they want. While it’s true that many characters recur, I’ve tried to set things up in such a way that no one gets lost if they don’t happen to begin with Book 1. And the feedback on this has been very positive.



2. There are so many variations on the Wild Hunt; tell us a bit about your spin on it:

The Wild Hunt appears in many legends from a variety of countries, especially in the UK and Europe. Sometimes the hunt is comprised of faeries, sometimes gods, and sometimes lost or damned souls. The identity of the hunt’s leader varies with every legend – Odin, king of the Norse gods; King Arthur and his knights; Gwyn App Nudd, the Welsh god of the underworld; the Devil and his hounds; even historical figures such as Sir Francis Drake and Theodoric the Great were said to lead a spectral hunt.

In my Grim Series, the Lord of the Wild Hunt is Lurien, a bold figure who commands a great deal of magic – and respect. As with so many of my characters, he wasn’t planned – he simply showed up in Storm Bound and refused to leave! Fortunately, he’s turned out to be a favorite with my readers, and my biggest challenge is preventing him from taking over the story.

Lurien is an enigmatic figure who seems to be one of the Tylwyth Teg, but his long black hair, dark eyes, and somber clothing set him apart from the ethereally beautiful Fair Ones. His powers include summoning the dead to ride with the Hunt at times, and his preferred weapon is a light whip, which calls down lightning. He has a pack of relentless white hounds, the famed Cwn Annwn (coon uh-noon) from Welsh legend.

The Wild Hunt patrols the mortal world at night, meting out a rough justice to fae and human alike. Betrayers and oath-breakers are considered the lawful prey of the Hunt, and the guilty are often condemned to follow after the Hunt forever.



3. I love that Lissy isn’t your typical cookie-cutter heroine! Why did you decide to go the single working mom route?

There’s actually very little decision on my part. The characters show up pretty much fully formed – I can see them, I know their names, and I know their background. (I wish the storyline appeared that easily! I have to flounder around and discover that on my own!)

The same with Lissy being a single parent – she simply came with that particular package. I will say, however, that it’s not a hard thing for me to relate to. I raised four daughters on my own for many years, and it’s a tough balancing act at the best of times.



4. Does Asperger syndrome hold a special place in your heart on a personal level, or was your goal to shed some light on this disorder as a whole?

I didn’t have a goal in mind. But my family and I have very personal experience with Asperger’s, ADD, and other things associated with the autism spectrum, so maybe it’s not all that surprising that a character turned up with this challenge in one of my stories.


5. What are some of the challenges in combining the new with the old while world-building (ancient fae vs. modern humans)?

One challenge is to convey a human character’s realistic reactions to beings who aren’t supposed to exist. No two people respond the same to the impossible when it’s suddenly standing in front of them. (It’s also one of the things I love most about fantasy and paranormal stories) Some people will deny what they’ve seen to the bitter end, while others are more open to the experience. And there’s an entire range of mixed emotions in-between.

Another challenge is deciding “who knows what”, especially what the Fae know about the mortal world. Some – like the Wild Hunt, and the Grims – visit it frequently, and therefore have seen the march of human technology so it’s not quite as strange to them. For instance, they may not know how cars work, but they’ve certainly seen them. Other Fae, largely because humans are thought to be a lesser species, have never condescended to set foot in the mortal world, and they know next to nothing about it.



6. Does any of your lore stem from some of the stories that you heard growing up?

Definitely. My gramma was Welsh, and the rest of my family has Irish and British roots. Faeries weren’t cute and sweet, they were something to be avoided or appeased! My beloved local library featured an extensive collection of very old books on myth and legend, including faeries, and I devoured everything available. I still collect stories and books to this day on folklore and mythology from many cultures.


7. What would your reaction be if you saw a “Black Dog” in real life? Would you take that trip you’ve been putting off? Never leave your house?

The Black Dog, or Grim, is most commonly a herald of impending death, or of some dreadful misfortune. However, the dog can be benevolent to travelers, and protective of women and children. The Grim is also known to stand guard over liminal places, meaning it protects unseen boundaries where the veil between worlds is particularly thin.

I honestly don’t know what my reaction would be if I saw a Grim – being a dog person, I might be curious at first, or concerned that it was lost. But its massive size and sometimes glowing eyes would soon clue me in to the fact that I wasn’t dealing with an ordinary canine … I guess I’d hope like crazy that it was either guarding a faery portal or looking out for me!



About Dani Harper

Legend, lore, love, and magic. These are the hallmarks of Dani Harper’s transformational tales of faeries, shapeshifters, ghosts, and more, for a mature audience.

A former newspaper editor, Dani’s passion for all things supernatural led her to a second career writing fiction. There isn't anything she likes better than exploring myths and legends from many cultures, which serve to inspire her sizzling and suspenseful stories.

A longtime resident of the Canadian north and southeastern Alaska, she now lives in rural Washington with her retired mountain-man husband. Together they do battle with runaway garden gnomes, rampant fruit trees, and a roving herd of predatory chickens.

Dani Harper is the author of Storm Crossed, Storm Warned, Storm Bound, Storm Warrior (the Grim Series), as well as First Bite (Dark Wolf), for Montlake Romance. She is also the author of a Yuletide ghost story, The Holiday Spirit, plus a popular shapeshifter series, which includes Changeling Moon, Changeling Dream, and Changeling Dawn.


About the Book

Storm Crossed Cover

Storm Crossed by Dani Harper
Series: Grim #4
Published by: Montlake Romance
Published on: January 9, 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 375
Amazon | GoodReads

The latest stand-alone novel in Dani Harper’s Grim Series will delight old and new fans alike, transporting them to the ancient fae realm beneath the modern human world, where magic rules and menace abounds . . .

Heir to a noble fae house, Trahern is forced to watch helplessly as his twin brother is cruelly changed into a grim—a death dog—as punishment for falling in love with the wrong person. Trahern doesn’t believe love exists, but he will do anything to keep his brother alive—even join the Wild Hunt and ride the night skies of the human world.


Lissy Santiago-Callahan believes in love but has no time for it. She’s busy juggling her career as an academic and her home life as a single mom to a young son with Asperger’s. Her hectic life in sleepy Eastern Washington is made even more chaotic with the sudden arrival of a demanding fae and his unusual “dog.”

Mortal and immortal have nothing in common, and the attraction between Lissy and Trahern surprises them both. But when their desire places Lissy and her child in the path of a deadly faery feud, will the connection last, or will their separate worlds prove too great a divide?


Excerpt

               “I explained to Fox that you’d like to be his magic teacher,” said Lissy. “And he didn’t quite understand, so I used a movie he knows to help make the point. I don’t suppose you’ve seen Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?”

               Trahern frowned. “Who is Harry Potter? Is another sorcerer seeking to interfere with the child?”

               “No, no, no. Harry Potter is a character from a famous series of books written by J.K. Rowling. He’s a little boy who finds out that he’s really a wizard and gets invited to attend a wizarding school. They made the whole series into eight wonderful movies—those are stories you watch instead of read, kind of like a play.”

               “A form of entertainment,” he supplied.

               “Yes! The problem is, I could never get Fox to watch more than one of them.”

               Her words brought up a wealth of questions, but Trahern forced himself to focus on the issue. “Why would that be a problem?”

               “Fox just wasn’t very interested in Harry and his exciting magical adventures. The only character he really liked was Hagrid, the man who talked to animals.” She sat on the edge of the couch with her hands folded on her knees. “You know, a little of it might be because Hagrid lives by himself in a house near the forest. Fox would be very attracted to that—he does better with peace and quiet, and the fewer people around, the better. But most of all, my son definitely has a thing about animals.”

               “A thing?”

               “An affinity. It’s more than just liking animals, he’s comfortable with them. Fox would really rather be with animals than people.”

               “So he has said to me.”

               “Well, he’s also mentioned more than once that they talk to him. I made the mistake of chalking that up to a child’s imagination. Now I think that he really can communicate with them, all of them, just like he seems to do with your brother.”

               Trahern committed Lissy’s words to memory. “Knowing such details may prove helpful as I instruct him.”

               “I just don’t want you to be disappointed if he isn’t interested in your instruction.”

               “Any disappointment I might experience will be the least of our concerns. I must find a way to encourage Fox to learn. And I must make a beginning.” They stood, and he took a step toward the staircase. Stopped. “Do you require your son to remain in his room?”

               “Of course not! He ate supper, and then he said he wanted to play with some of his toys. That’s pretty normal for a nine-year-old.” She shrugged. “And his room is kind of a sanctuary for him—he likes it a lot.”

               “This night, with such an auspicious moon, I would like to work with him outside. If he is willing, of course,” he added quickly. “We would remain close to your home, and—” Trahern thought for a long moment. “It is possible that I may be more successful in gaining Fox’s attention if you are not present. Will that
cause you concern?”

               She shook her head. “Not at all. I trust you. How about our backyard? It’s not very big, but it’s completely private, and there’s even a fire pit if that’s something you need. Although it’s pretty small, too.”

               I trust you. He heard little else. Words possessed power, and these were words Lissy had not spoken before. The truth in them shook his senses. Trust was no light thing between mortal and fae, but he hadn’t been expecting the relief that washed through him like a cool mountain stream, and a kind of giddiness took hold. Before he formed the thought, he’d already pulled Lissy to him and pressed his lips to hers.

               Sight and sound fell away, leaving a world composed solely of subtle sensations. They were no less powerful for their simplicity. Lissy’s delicate breath against his cheek and the spicy-sweetness of her mouth. The warmth of her skin and the softness of her hair. He nuzzled her face and throat, kissing, licking, indulging in her scent that had so captivated him. Her arms slid around his neck and pulled him close, even as he molded her gently rounded body to his angular one as tightly as he dared. By all the stars, he wanted more, all, everything—

               Something hit the side of his head. He barely gave it any heed before several more somethings pelted him in quick succession—and stung like fire-bees! Trahern pulled back mid-kiss, instinctively placing his body between the mysterious attack and Lissy, just in time to be hit squarely in the center of the forehead. He threw up a spell, and a dozen small objects struck an invisible wall and clattered to the floor.

               Acorns?

               “It’s about time ya came up fer air, ya lecherous son of Oak!”

               Ranyon stood on the back of the living room couch, twiggy hands planted on his hips, his strange blue cap on backward and his gnarled face screwed up into a frown of epic proportions. “You’d best be steppin’ away from her!”

               Self-control and discipline were the greatest powers a master sorcerer possessed, and Trahern found himself exerting a great deal of both to keep from tossing the little ellyll out the nearest window. “I see no reason for your concern,” he began as soon as he got reliable control of his voice. Too late. Lissy had already marched around him and confronted her friend practically nose to nose.

               “What on earth do you think you’re doing, and why are you in my house?”

               “Well, no one answered the door, now did they? I looked in the window fer fear that ya might be in danger, and here ya are snoggin’ with a fae!” he sputtered. “He’s Tylwyth Teg—yer lucky he didn’t steal yer breath like a shadowcat!”

               “Ranyon! I can’t believe you’d say such a thing!” She thrust her palm out, displaying the blue symbol. “I trust my child with this man, and you yourself said Trahern could not break his oath.”

               “Well, I didn’t say he couldn’t break yer heart, now did I?” The ellyll folded his arms in front of his bright-blue shirt and harrumphed loudly.

               Her voice rose. “Listen, mister, I’ll damn well snog with whomever I want to, and it’s none of your business!”

               “None o’ my business? None o’ my business?” he shouted, and threw his hat to the floor. “Lissy, darlin’, ya said yerself we’re family.”

               “Then you should be happy for me! For the love of little fishes, my own mother’s been giving me a bad time about not trying harder to meet men. Now you’re upset because I’m actually enjoying a little male companionship?”

               “No, I’m givin’ ya the fifth degree because he’s not a man, he’s a fae!”

               “It’s third degree, buddy. And you don’t have the right to—”

               “Dude! How come everybody’s yelling?”

The three of them froze. Lissy turned slowly to see a wide-eyed Fox standing on the staircase above them.




Follow the Tour

January 10
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

January 11
A Writer’s Mind

January 12
Urban Fantasy Investigations

January 15
Fang-tastic Books

January 16
CBY Book Club

January 17
A Mama’s Corner of the World

January 18
Lisa’s World of Books

January 19
Roxanne’s Realm

January 22
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

January 23
SImply Kelina

January 24
INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS
January 25
Supernatural Central

January 26
T’s Stuff

January 29
Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

January 30
JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder

January 31
Saph’s Books

February 1
Rabid Reads

February 2
Other Worlds of Romance Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romances

February 5
Viviana MacKade

February 6
The Book Junkie Reads . . .

February 7
BTH Reviews



Carmel Signature

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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12 responses to “Interview and Giveaway: Storm Crossed by Dani Harper (@Dani_Harper, @RoxanneRhoads)

  1. Good morning everyone –
    I’ll be checking throughout the day for comments so I can answer your questions! (Okay, and I also have to come back for more of the Tim Horton’s coffee that Carmel brought…) So ask away!
    🙂 Dani Harper
    Dani Harper recently posted…Spotlight at Sapphyria’s Books

    • The answer is, it depends on which publisher you’re working with. I’ve certainly been in the same boat as many other authors, where you’re squeezing your eyes up tight and scrunching up your face and clenching your hands like a little kid wishing hard: “Please, please, PLEASE, let the cover be good!” I’ve been very fortunate with Montlake. I feel like I’m part of the team, and they have some terrific artists that really pay attention to the storyline, and listen to my input too. Jason Blackburn did the cover for Storm Crossed, and he also did Storm Warned — in both cases, I feel like he captured the characters very well!

    • I have two favorites — I love the spring, when my garden and my trees are coming back to life. It’s full of surprises, like “did the tulips I plant last fall survive the winter?” And I also love the fall, where things are settling slowly and colorfully into slumber. During both those seasons it’s comfortable to sit outside and enjoy nature — I love that! In the winter, it rains a lot here (better than snow, I know, but you still can’t hang out in the yard much), and in the summer here, it’s SCORCHING hot so you don’t dare go out unless it’s very early in the morning or after the sun has set.

    • Hi Melissa! You’re right, I adore animals and they turn up in my stories regularly. My favorite charities tend to be local. When I lived in Alaska, it was Polar Pug Rescue, where I adopted two of my pugs, Fiona and Toby. Since we moved to Washington State, it’s been the Blue Mountain Humane Society — it’s an amazing shelter, and we adopted a senior pug, Queenie, from them, as well as our boxer-pitbull mix, Tux (who thinks he’s a pug too).