Monday, January 20, 2014

Meet the #Author Monday - Frances Pauli

Please tell us a bit about yourself:
I'm a long time brigade member who writes in too many genres. However, my first love is SFR and I try to get back to her as often as possible. I've been writing for too many years to count and a fan of science fiction since infancy. The Princes of the Shroud series is my first scifi series in awhile and I am thrilled to be playing in space again.
In my mundane life, I home school my two children, raise hairless dogs and tarantulas, crochet and watch a great deal of Star Trek. 

Tell us about Shrouded:
Shrouded is the first book in the Princes of the Shroud series. The stories are not traditional romances, but have a central theme that is definitely romantic in nature. Shroud introduces the Princes, who live on a world with a thick, protective atmosphere and rarely interact with the rest of the galaxy. They are descended from seven original colonists and their genetic makeup is such that only sons are born. Thus, they have to import bride candidates in order to perpetuate the species. My heroine, as you might guess, is one of these Brides. Unfortunately her appearance is orchestrated by outside forces trying to worm their way into Shroud.

What inspired you to write this particular story?:
 My novels usually begin with characters, but in this case it was the world and the culture that first inspired me. I was doing some studying about planetary science and became fascinated by the idea of a culture evolving underneath a heavy atmosphere. The seclusion and the nature of the Shrouded people then spawned the original two characters Vashia and Dolfan. Their story came naturally after that.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:
My favorite bits in Shrouded are the sparring between Dolfan and his rival, Mofitan. (who gets his own story in book three) In this part, they are both convinced that Vashia is their heartmate.

Dolfan watched her slip back into the crowd. The girl behind her, the redhead, squealed again and pretended to faint. Maybe she was Mofitan’s mate. Maybe their little pissing match had been only a misunderstanding. He peered at Mof and shook his head. No. It had been Vashia that held both of their attention. Impossible, but undeniable.
“Murrel, dear, calm down please.” Madame Nerala tossed a pleading look in his direction.
“Oh!” The girl teetered. She wobbled in his direction and then swerved toward Mofitan. Her knees gave out a little too quickly and she fell backwards. He had to admire her commitment. If Mofitan hadn’t caught her, she would have cracked her head.
“Girls!” Nerala almost shrieked. “Back to your rooms, please.”
The women scattered into the plants. Mofitan held the still whimpering imposter. He cleared his throat and looked to Nerala for direction. The panic on his face earned him a speck of pity, but it didn’t last.
“Set her down,” Nerala ordered. “What just happened here, gentlemen?” Without warning, she turned her pursed lips toward him. She cast a suspicious glance at each of them in turn.
“The Kingmaker,” Mofitan released the girl, who turned her wide-eyed face up at him in worship. “I can feel her.”
“Good.” Dolfan nodded to Nerala. He pointed a finger at the woman on the ground. “She’s his Kingmaker then.”
“Not her.” Mof stood tall and faced him again. “You know which one it is.”
“I haven’t a clue which one is yours.” Dolfan felt his lip cure. He couldn’t help it. Mofitan had damn sure been eyeing Vashia, and he was having none of that. He growled and balled his fists at his side. “Do you?”
“You son of a—”
“Gentlemen!” Nerala clapped her hands together. The smack echoed to the glass walls. “Highnesses, please. I believe we can discuss this later.” She dropped her eyes pointedly to the woman in their midst. “After I have a little talk with Murrel.”
He stared at the girl. Her huge eyes dropped away immediately, but he caught the glimmer of tears there, and a wave of shame shook him. They’d been brutal in their rush to out snarl one another. He shook his head, even though she wasn’t looking at either of them now.
“I’m sorry. Of course.” He backed away, hoping Mofitan could pick up on the not so subtle cue from Nerala. They could hash this particular dispute out later in private.
All their little display had done was cue Nerala in to the problem and possibly hurt someone innocent. Foolish, perhaps, but innocent enough. Now they’d have to answer for it, both to the trainer, and to the women who would, no doubt, hear about the scuffle. She would hear about it, and he’d look like some kind of possessive brute. 
Not the best foot to put forward, was it? He scowled and turned for the exit. The Heart would sort it out, of course. He’d only been riled by Mofitan’s reaction to his mate, a reaction that should not be possible. He frowned. Only the Heart would be able to fix the mess. They were just too far away.
He nodded and left the courtyard. Let Mofitan posture all he wanted, as soon as they took the Brides under the Shroud, the truth would out. The Heart would sort out the mess, and it would sort it out in his favor. He felt the pull. He recognized his Heart mate, and that booked no argument. The Heart was never wrong.
As he stalked the corridor back toward the atrium, he forced down the thought that Mofitan was no doubt counting on exactly the same fact.

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:
I almost always begin with a character's personality. I think looks and name depend a great deal on who I want the character to be and both can be used to symbolically reinforce the character inside. In Shrouded's case the cultures came first, then the characters and then descriptions and names.

Any tips for aspiring authors?:
Keep going. That's so cliché, and yet it's so important. So, I'll add  study, learn every bit of information you can about craft and industry and be educated before you leap into anything. But really, what it comes down to is keep going. Keep writing, keep submitting or publishing, keep believing in yourself, because that is what will make or break you in the end.
Write on!

Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?: No. (though it might be fun to go back and observe) I believe we don't have a big enough picture to know what the right changes would be. Everything that happens feeds into a giant puzzle of events, and I wouldn't want to be the one who averted a past disaster only to cause a larger one in the future!

What super-power would you choose?:
I just want to fly.  Really. It might not be the most useful, but give me wings!

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:
I would wish that my children were always safe, healthy and happy. If that could count as one wish, then I'd add world peace and prosperity for myself.

Coffee, tea or wine?:
Coffee, then wine. Wine is lovely, but the coffee must flow! I love tea as a decadent treat from time to time (usually herbal) but Coffee is not optional.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!): The Year of the Unicorn by Andre Norton and very closely after that, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip.

Favourite genre and why?:
I don't do this. Never could choose between fantasy and science fiction, not even as a reader. I love humor a great deal, and that can cross genre borders. Favorite genre.....hmm I'll take the cop-out. Speculative Fiction.

Favourite colour?:
Copper. I love oranges and Burnt Sienna, but mostly because they remind me of copper.

Upcoming news and plans for the future?:
Book two of Princes of the Shroud is finished and sent off to the publisher. I'm very excited about that one. I have other series running as well, some indie and some with publishers. My next SFR should be the sequel to Shrouded though. I have an amphibious humanoid series in the back of my mind as well as a time travel foray, but I guiltily squeeze some fantasy in there between scifi, so they might be awhile coming. Of course, there are at least four (okay, maybe five) Princes of the Shroud books planned too.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!
Thank you for having me and for all that the Brigade does for the genre! 

Author Website:

Vashia’s father is the planetary governor. Unfortunately, he’s also a complete bastard. When he promises her to his lackey, Jarn, she panics. On the run in the nastiest corner of the galaxy, Vashia seizes her one chance at escape and signs on as a bride candidate for the elusive race of aliens known as the Shrouded, unaware that she very well may be chosen as the next Queen of Shroud

Of the seven, volatile Shrouded princes, Dolfan may be the only one that doesn't covet the throne. So the last thing he expects to find in the future queen is the woman of his dreams. If he wants Vashia, he must accept the throne as well. Unfortunately, his long-time rival has the same idea. Now, only the planet’s sacred crystal can decide their fates, but what happens when the right woman is paired with the wrong man? And when Jarn comes after what was promised to him?


1 comment:

  1. Great excerpt! I was totally absorbed. I can see why you love this world so much.


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