If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be?
- I would tell myself to avoid info dumps. Sometimes they are unavoidable, but I was guilty of info dumping in my earlier books. I didn’t know any better, and that is most definitely something I would tell my newbie author self. World building is something I love to do, and I have to remind myself to reveal things as the story progresses, instead of all at once.
The Solstice Prince is a departure from your usual contemporary setting. Did you find it easier or harder to write a fantasy-setting?
- At first it was very hard, harder than I was expecting. I am a huge fantasy reader, and surely I could pull it off, but it was difficult going at first. In fact, this book was supposed to come out last year, and it was just going to be a holiday short story around 15k words, but I had to set it aside when my lack of knowledge about the world I was building became detrimental to the process. I spent a lot of time researching between other books, and it wasn’t until after I finished Wolf of the Northern Star that I learned how to get past my block. I wrote the book solely from Jaime’s POV, who is a stranger in this new land, and who is a healing student, who had limited knowledge of the same things I was lacking. So as he learned, I learned. I waited until Jaime got to something in the story he should know, or something he was learning, and then I researched and learned about it with him as I wrote.
The Solstice Prince has been a project under wraps for a long time. What was the hardest part of getting to “The End”?
- Finding the overall tone of the book, and the heart of it. Was this a tale of hurt/comfort? A foundling with a purpose? What was my endgame for this world? It wasn’t until I got past my writing block in general, and then realizing I could make this world bigger, tying in more books I already had sketched out, creating a wider universe, that things flowed. The best way for me to write “The End,” is to add the words “...for now.” I excel at series, and having the world I was making live past the last page of The Solstice Prince took off the pressure. The Solstice Prince became what it is now; a simple story of falling in love, with the fantastical backdrop of a grand palace, and the handsome prince as the main love interest. The next book in the series will not be focused on Jaime and Maxim, but I will come back to them to tie off the series in a few books.
What would you say is the primary characteristic of your main character, Jaime Buchanan?
- Jaime is remarkably selfless. He is a healer, and his wish is to live a simple life, helping others. He just happens to fall in love with a prince, who is just as selfless and caring as he is, and the reawakening of jaime’s true personality through tender care. Jaime has PTSD (which I don’t name in the book, but I give him some symptoms that will hopefully make it apparent to readers) and he isn’t healed miraculously by falling in love. He simply finds the parts of himself that he withdrew from the world in order to survive. Imagine a flower that closes its petals against a storm, and then when the sun shines again afterward, it opens back up. Some damage, some scars, but still a flower. Jaime is a quiet, steady soul, who hates to see others in pain.
The Solstice Prince is Book 1 in the Realms of Love series. Where are you at with Book 2?
- I am about 21k into the second book, which is titled The River Prince. It is a new set of characters, but takes place in countries already introduced through Jaime in Book 1. Eistrea, Jaime’s home country, and The Hellebore Empire, the country where Jaime went to school. The series takes place across five different nations, with three different couples (so far.) Eistrea is a strict place with certains views, and The Hellebore Empire is a bit more like Pyrderi (the country Jaime ends up in in Book #1.) So, book #2 will focus on a new couple, as will Book #3, then with the last book, we’ll swing back to Jaime and Maxim from Book #1. Events in Book #2 will influence Book #3, which in turn will bring the series back to Book #4 and our original couple.
I hope that whets your appetite to read the story, if you haven't already. I really enjoyed it! Looking for a little more information?
About the Book
Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded.
Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical. Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.
One day, when necessity and fate intervene, Jaime meets someone unexpected—Prince Maxim, youngest son of the Pyrderian king, a sword master and a devastatingly kind man. Unaccustomed to powerful people with compassion and heart, Jaime flees. A cascade of events reveals Jaime’s hidden talents of healing, and he finds himself not in chains, but at the beginning of a new life.
This swift change of fortune opens Jaime up to new possibilities, including a smitten prince who cautiously courts Jaime, easing him away from his fears and reminding him that compassion and love can make him strong. The winter solstice is quickly approaching, and Prince Maxim shows Jaime the enjoyment and excitement to be found in a land that embraces the ice and cold, and the mysteries of all things magical. He learns to see the man under the royal mantle, and Maxim is more than even Jaime suspected.
The winter solstice is nigh when tragedy strikes, and Jaime learns that his past of grief and sorrow can be a pillar of strength for his solstice prince. If there is one thing that Jaime believes above all else, it is in the healing power of love.
*Available in Kindle Unlimited*
AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2zQyZtT
AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2intThb
At some prearranged signal, the crowd began to quiet, faces turned towards the canopy where the royals sat. Janis stood and moved to the rail, lifting a hand to the crowd. The people cheered, clapping and shouting the crown prince’s name. Prince Janis was popular with the people if he garnered that kind of reaction— this was not the forced greeting given to a leader that was feared or despised. Jaime still did not know who the king was of Pyrderi, but the future King was well-liked, perhaps even loved.
The people quieted and Janis shouted, his words echoing through the cloud air. “Greetings citizens of Taliesin City! On behalf of the royal family and my father, the king, I welcome you to the first official day of the Solstice Festival! Today is cold and the wind is sharp, so I’ll not waste any time! Would the priests please light the solstice fire, and let the festivities begin!”
The crowd roared in approval and there was a burst of smoke across the square. Two men and a woman dressed in gray robes were standing at the base of a large metal structure about the height of a tall man. The woman was cradling something in her hands that billowed out dark gray smoke and she tossed it into the weird structure. Bright orange flames promptly rose and the crowd cheered again. The royals clapped in approval and Jaime hurriedly copied their example, though he had little idea of what was going on.
Maxim leaned down and spoke in his ear. “The priestess is a Magi and she lit the torch with her magic. The torch represents how life endures even in the depths of winter. The winter solstice is in a few days with the festival ending with the grand ball at the palace. The winter festival here in Taliesin City draws in celebrants from around the country and even from some of the islands in the Straits.”
Jaime blushed when Maxim pulled back and gave him a swift wink and a charming grin. “Janis needs to stay and let the people see him for a while, but the twins are about to escape the cold and we have a tour to finish. The first day of the festival is just the opening ceremony since a lot of people are still arriving. Do you want to stay or would you like to finish the tour?”
“The tour sounds like fun, if you’re sure we won’t be missed.” Any time alone with Maxim was worth the icy chill.
“You two should escape while you can,” Janis said, having overheard Maxim. “I’ll be here until the cold gets too much, talking to courtiers and the like.” The crown prince stood over Jaime who blinked back up at him in surprise. For such a large man, he moved with surprising subtlety. Janis motioned to the lower levels of the stands, and the courtiers below were indeed standing and heading for the stairs that led to the royals’ box. “Unless you want to stay and get fawned over by the masses, Maxim?”
“I’ll save that for you, dear brother. Enjoy your day, and welcome home.” Maxim helped Jaime to his feet. Jaime was at a loss for how to respectfully say goodbye to the crown prince, but Maxim solved this by tugging him away with a casual wave to his brother and the twins, who hardly paid them any heed, tossing back small waves of their own before they went back to talking. Janis grinned at them both and tipped his head towards the stairs.
Maxim took hold of Jaime’s hand and took off for the stairs. They hurried downward until they came back to where the sleigh had dropped them off originally. There was a sleigh waiting for them pulled by the same strange creature Maxim called an oryx. Maxim helped Jaime up into the carriage and jumped in behind him. The driver snapped his whip, and the sleigh jerked into motion.
Their visit to the festival might have been quick, but Jaime didn’t mind. The way Maxim held his hand, tight and firm, like he never wanted to let go, filled Jaime with warmth and a slow burn under his skin, heating his cheeks in the chilly air. The prospect of spending the next few hours in Maxim’s company was incomparable to anything he’d experienced in his short life. Not better than the day he was freed from the slavers, but it was close.
Falling in love felt like learning how to live again.
Falling in love felt like learning how to live again.
About the Author
I'm a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I'm at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that's perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), The Wolfkin Saga, and the epic fantasy romance series Realms of Love. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.
I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on.... I'm a nomad, and I've yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.