Tell us a bit about Truth in the Dark
Okay—bear with me here, I’m going to answer this one in a roundabout way:
I’m a big girl—fairly overweight, extremely weird, and, just for masochistic kicks; I teach high school English in an urban environment. Every year I have to do the same thing: put on my bitch armor and get ready to go face the masses. Now, I actually like kids—I LOVE them. But for the first couple of weeks I have to be a raging bitch, absolutely determined to take no crap, take no prisoners, and to draw first blood whenever possible. It’s a necessary ritual—if I let the students in too quickly, the rest of my year is a disaster, it never fails. And, sure enough, by the end of the first month, there are always the kids who get your jokes, know you’ll help them if they ask, and stop between classes to tell you something funny. By the end of the year, there are kids who will say “Hi!” to you when you’re walking down the halls, just to hear you do the same.
But that vicious period at the beginning, when you have to have your defenses up—that’s brutal. That’s when the nice person you are has to be ruthlessly squashed down, because if you let her show, she’s going to be destroyed. It’s that experience that I tried to channel with Naef, the first person hero in Truth in the Dark. He’s been deformed since birth, and he’s a sensitive soul. The people in his village got wind of this and savaged him. When he’s finally presented with someone who can see past his defenses, it’s going to take a while before he can ever really trust that it is true. Aerie-Smith, the man cursed with the lion’s body, is smart enough to see Naef for who he really is—and strong enough to hold fast against the man’s quick tongue and bitter sense of humor. I love that dynamic—and readers seem to as well.
What’s your favorite part of writing this book? Why?
I wrote this poem a gazunga years ago (that’s a real number you know!) about ‘the writing dragon’—and how it gets a hold of you and doesn’t let go. When the dragon has you, you can be writing along a pathway you’ve been planning for months, and the dialog and the characterization and even the plot just take over on their own. Suddenly, you’re not writing, you’re flying, and the story is riding you, and you just keep writing as fast as you can to see where it’s going to take you. It’s wondrous. Hell—it’s almost divine. The last two chapters of “Truth” were like that—I was flying, and crying, and I just had this ball in the pit of my stomach like the night before Christmas, but better. I felt like I was doing it right—just all the way down to vitals and spine. It was awesome—doesn’t always happen like that.
What can we look forward in the future from you?
Oh gods... that question always gets me to the never-ending writing queue, but I think right now I must tell you about stuff that’s already been accepted! I have three novellas coming up at Dreamspinner Press—Talker, Guarding the Vampire’s Ghost, and Hammer and Air. Vampire’s Ghost is a novella from my self-published work, The Little Goddess series, and it features a much lamented hero from Vulnerable. I can’t wait to see Adrian make his big debut—I think people are really going to fall in love with him! Hammer and Air is another one of the fairy tale covers that Dreamspinner put out, and the fairy tale it’s based on—“Snow White and Rose Red” is not well known—but it was always one of my favorites when I was a kid. This is one those stories that surprised me and took over, and by the end, I was sobbing over my keyboard like Kathleen Turner at the beginning of Romancing the Stone. (I love it when that happens. That usually mean it will move other people too.) Talker is different—it’s sort of a haunting short novella about two college kids taking care of each other, and how we all try to hide our most obvious scars in plain sight.
If you could change one thing about your publishing career, what would it be? Why?
I’d re-edit Vulnerable, Wounded, and Bound (my first three self-published novels) within an inch of their lives. I think they’re all sound work, and I am SO tired of having my story-telling ability confused with my craptacular editing. I got better—MUCH better, with a LOT of help from my friends on-line, and my next three books were damned near professional quality—but those first three books are really dear to my heart, and I’m not sure if they’ll ever get a real shot until they get re-done.
Where can we find your website?
My un-updated, boring website with the hella old photo? That would be at http://www.greenshill.com./ (And I need to have my husband update it this weekend—this is the second time I’ve been asked that question!) My boring, pictureless blog where I talk about knitting, motherhood, and teaching and (sometimes) writing, is at http://www.writerslane.blogspot.com/
The Little Goddess series, The Bitter Moon duet, the Promise Rock series, and other Dreamspinner Press titles.
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