I would like everyone to give a big warm welcome to Diana Francis, author of the Horngate Witches series! The first three books in the series are currently available wherever books are sold, and the fourth book, BLOOD WINTER will be hitting stores and online December 26, 2012.
Hi Diana! Thank you for joining us today, can you give a short description of the Horngate Witches series for those who haven’t read the series yet?
Short, eh? I’m lousy at short. But let’s see . . . In general, the Horngate books take places during and after the magical apocalypse, when magic returns to the world in a flood and all the magical creatures from fairy tales and legend wake up/return/are revitalized. These stories surround Horngate, a covenstead in Montana run by a ruthless witch named Giselle who has created a number of warriors called Sunspears and Shadowblade—the Spears can only come out in the day and the Blades can only come out at night, as their superhuman powers are tied to the light and the dark. Max is the central character. She was forced into becoming a Shadowblade and is angry and bitter. Giselle was her friend and she feel betrayed. But at the same time, she is desperate to protect her friends and the covenstead as the world falls apart. Alexander enters the picture as a prisoner and then as an ally, and he asks things of Max that she has no answers for. But she starts to find them, and then things really start to fall apart.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for this series?
You know, I love books like Robin Mckinley’s Sunshine and Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels books, and Wen Spencer’s Tinker books. But they always start after the magical apocalypse. I wondered how the apocalypse came about and I wondered how people would survive. And then I had had this image of Max, trapped by her best friend and struggling with becoming someone/something new and liking her strength and abilities, but hating how she came to get them and how she is still enslaved. Those two things came together and the Horngate series was born.
Max is a bad-ass and one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines. Who are some of your favorite urban fantasy heroines?
Kate Daniels, for one. Love her. Jennifer Estep’s Spider is another. Both are tough and yet snarky yet flawed and vulnerable too. And I like a good ensemble cast.
I see many adult authors branching into the Young Adult genre; do you see yourself writing a YA series in the future?
You know, I’m not sure I can capture the voice. I’ve read a lot of YA and some are written with a younger voice and others an older voice. If I could do the latter, I might. I have some ideas I’d love to explore. I just read Robin LeFeveres’ Grave Mercy and was blown away by how good it was.
What actors would you choose to play Max, Alexander and Giselle?
Alexander is easy. I had Cliff Simon in my head when I was writing him. For Giselle, I think Tricia Helfers would rock her. Or, weirdly enough, Mary-Kate Olson (one of the Olson Twins). I saw her in Beastly and she was amazing. As for Max, I think Katie Sackoff would do great. Though she’s stopped aging at 21 (she’s 50 years old) and so a younger actress with a really tough and spiny exterior might work better. I don’t know—anybody got any ideas for that sort of actrees?
How many books are planned for the Horngate Witches series?
At this point, four. The next one is probably the last for awhile.
Tell us three interesting things about yourself that can’t be found in your biography section.
Wow. You know I think I’m the least interesting person on the planet, don’t you? I have a morbid sense of humor. Really. I have three large dragon tattoos—large meaning they took about six or more hours each to do. I know how to castrate sheep, pigs, and calves. I have personal experience.
If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what 3 books would you want with you?
That’s a terrible question. I can’t imagine only three books. I’m going to cheat a little. The collected works of Jane Austen (yeah, you can get it in one volume, trust me). The Riverside Shakespeare (all his plays). And for the last one, not a book, but piles of paper and plenty of pencils/pens to write my own.
What are you currently reading right now or what are some books in your TBR pile?
I am reading Ironskin at the moment. But I have a ton of books in my TBR pile that are demanding attention, including a couple of ARCs by some great writers that I need to read quickly.
What other projects can we look forward to reading from you in the future?
I’m working on a couple of things that I'm hoping will see the light of day. One is a southern backwoods sort of urban fantasy that I absolutely love. And the other is an epic fantasy that is hugely complex and I love it a lot too. I’m hoping I can do both of them justice and make the stories work the way I’ve planned.
Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. Learn all you can about writing and keep working your craft. Don’t give up.
Finish this statement: You’ll enjoy the Horngate Witches series if you like…
Adventure, tough women, romance, fun snarky dialog, and violence.
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter.
Favorite comfort food? Hawaiian pizza.
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Favorite Paranormal Creature? Dragons.
Comedy or Horror? Comedy.
E-reader or physical book? Yes. Both.
Favorite season? Spring
Thanks for being here Diana!
Diana Pharaoh Francis has written several fantasy series, including The Horngate Witches series, The Crosspointe Chronicles, and The Path trilogy. Bitter Night has been nomintated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice for Best Urban Fantasy of 2009, and Crimson Wind was nominated in 2011 for the best urban fantasy Heroine. Diana teaches in the English Department at the University of Montana Western, and is a lover of chocolate, Victoriana and sparkly things. For a lot more information about her and her books, visit www.dianapfrancis.com. She can also be found on twitter as @dianapfrancis.