The Exiled Otherkin
by D. Lieber Genre: Fantasy Romance Adventure Steampunk
Exiled from Faerie when her father dies, half-Fae Ember is surprised by how much the human realm has changed since she was there last. She takes a dangerous job on a merchant airship, hoping a life on the move will keep her well-hidden. Sure, she misses her brother, but years of apathy have numbed her emotions.
When the optimistic and naïve Reilley follows her, it’s annoying to say the least. But when she starts feeling responsible for him, long-stifled emotions crack the ice around her heart.
Faeries, pirates, and traveling players meet in this steampunk fantasy adventure as Ember tries to cope with feelings long forgotten and a past that pursues her while balancing new friends and lovers.
Clutching my new tambourine, I walked to a clearing to have more room to dance. Reilley grabbed the drum and started a beat. Like before, I moved to the rhythm. This time, my red skirt danced with me, and I shook my tambourine appropriately. We discovered that as long as I let Reilley choose the pace, we could improvise an entertaining performance.
We fed on each other’s energy and ended at a natural breaking point, exchanging smiles as the last beat echoed off the trees.
“You’re enchanting,” Reilley complimented smoothly.
“I’m only expressing your music and following your lead.”
He flushed with pleasure at the high praise.
“Could you do me a favor?” I asked him.
“Would you unplait my hair? It should be dry by now.”
His eyes gleamed like I’d given him a gift, and I turned my back to him. With long, deft fingers, he gently unbraided my hair. Undone, he ran his hands through the soft waves to separate them. I shivered.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
As his hands gently stroked the dark locks, I became aware that we were very alone. We’d been alone before, but this time was different. An air of anticipation settled between us. His hands stilled. Neither of us knew what should happen next, and the pressure quickly became uncomfortable.
D. writes stories she wants to read. Her love of the worlds of fiction led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.
When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, crafting, watching anime, Korean television, Bollywood, or old movies. She may also be getting her geek on while planning her next steampunk cosplay with friends.
She lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John), retired guide dog (Samwise), and cat (Yin).
What are some of your pet peeves?
I can’t stand when people chew with their mouths open. Uh, the smacking of lips drives me crazy. Also, like many writers/editors, I have language/grammar pet peeves, such as when people mix up good and well.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio.
Who is your hero and why?
I, and many others, will never know the name of my hero. He or she is someone who gives and is never recognized. He or she stands up for those who cannot stand up for themselves and asks for nothing in return but the good feeling it brings to his or her heart.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I would like to think I would be an empathetic and charismatic ruler, but that probably isn’t the case. In actuality, I am very logical and organized, and I have little patience for those who aren’t. I think I’d be an effective and just ruler who would make many lives better, but the people I rule would not like me.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I go for a walk in the woods, or I sing and dance to my favorite songs.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Free spirit in cautious shell.
What can we expect from you in the future?
The novel that readers can expect to see next is a fantasy/paranormal romance called Intended Bondmates:
Vampires may feed on humans, but nothing is as irresistible to them as fae blood.
Runa has long given up on being content with her life. Her only goal is to protect Mikhail until he awakens and gains his full magic. For the last thirteen years, ever since tragedy struck when they were children, she has protected him as was expected of his werewolf guardian. Though she has started looking for a mate, she can’t imagine what will happen once she’s free of Mikhail. But when he requests to be unbound from her before his awakening, she’s given the chance to return to her intended bondmate.
She expects a warm welcome from Konner, not foreseeing his bitterness at having been abandoned. Konner isn’t the only one who is bitter. His brother’s guardian, Rowan, has had to protect both faelings while she was with Mikhail.
It’s up to Runa to find a way to soothe these two demanding males if she hopes to make up for her past betrayals.
Who designed your book covers?
Dave King, the graphic artist at my publisher, Black Rose Writing.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned a lot about physics and what sort of steampunk devices are possible, and which ones aren’t, while writing The Exiled Otherkin. I had to do quite a bit of math to calculate how long it would take the airship to travel to certain destinations, and I had to look of European train schedules. I also learned about fighting and self-defense in order to make Ember’s action scenes accurate and believable.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I love it when my characters hijack the story! It happens way more often than not.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, but they will be available eventually. I like to let them sit for a good six months, so I can reread them with fresh eyes before submitting them.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I have to have a solid grasp on the protagonist, and sometimes the love interest, before I can start writing. Everyone else just sort of shows up right when I need them.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
It depends on the story. For some stories, I don’t have to do tons of research before I start, and I can just research when I need the information. But when I worked on a fantasy romance set in the 1920s, I had to do historical research beforehand. Now, I am researching First Nations and Romanian folklore, the history of Alberta and western expansion in Canada, and the formation of the Mounties. I am doing all of this before I even write a word.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
In silence. I have ADHD, and I can’t concentrate with noise. Sometimes, I feel bad for my husband when he enters the computer room while I’m writing because of the fierce death stare I give him. But not bad enough to stop doing it.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I actively write one book at a time with others on the backburner. I feel overwhelmed when I am writing one book, editing another, and promoting yet another. But, alas, there is no avoiding that.
Pen or typewriter or computer?
Writing with pen and paper is the only way I can get my ideas flowing. I know many people feel it’s the long way, but the bright side is that I get an extra round of editing while I’m transcribing the story into the computer.
What makes a good story?
A good story is not just entertaining but moves, challenges, and makes a reader think. It opens a reader to new ideas, and leads him or her to ask questions about the world we all inhabit. The best stories do all this without the reader realizing it.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Great Adventure: How the Mounties Conquered the West by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths. So far, it’s pretty good. If you want to learn about western expansion and Mounties, I wouldn’t suggest it unless you already have a basic knowledge of that history. However, I like that it includes more personal Mountie experiences through their journals and letters.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
It depends on the type of story. Generally, I like to just start writing with only a vague idea of where I’m going and maybe an ending in mind. But that won’t work for certain stories. When I wrote a 1920s detective story, I had to write an outline first. I had to know exactly what clues were left behind, when the detective would find them, who she would talk to and when. Otherwise, the story would have been a huge mess. It would have been more work for me, and readers would never have a chance of figuring out the end.
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