Kasper Interviews Author Lori J. Fitzgerald

Love Lies Bleeding: The Lady of the Forest, Book One of the Wood & Stone Series Book Cover Love Lies Bleeding: The Lady of the Forest, Book One of the Wood & Stone Series
Wood & Stone Series
Lori J. Fitzgerald
Fantasy Fiction
White Raven Writing LLC
May 1, 2015

Synopsis:

Aislin's life wasn't always a wasteland of brittle grass and empty survival on her family's medieval farm. As a child, Aislin's wild heart was nourished with dreams of forest adventure, tales of a terrible creature within its depths, and a special game played with a willow tree. Now, years later, Aislin is sent to the forest's edge on her father’s errand and discovers an old message, carved into the willow…

Aislin, find the door in the oak. 

These words set her on an enchanted path towards an ancient grove and its powerful Forest Lord, whose love and gift of a bloodstone necklace unleash the wildness in her own heart, sending her underground to the earth's wellspring of magic. But soon her father makes a desperate deal with their landlord to keep the farm. It will take both the Forest Lord and a Unicorn's dangerous magic to change her fate...but what price must Aislin pay to keep her lover and her wild heart?

Excerpt:

Aislin’s throat tightened. She hugged the satchel to her chest again. Behind her the path had disappeared. She was lost, encircled by a grove of giant trees.

She could feel the forest watching her.

The raven cawed. It had perched in an impossibly wide oak, its massive roots buckling the ground and its gnarled branches spreading out and upwards further than she could see. An arched door was carved into its trunk.

Aislin stepped closer, enchanted, forgetting her fright. The door was twice her height, and she marveled at the intricate designs springing forth from its surface: flowers, fox, deer, birds. A man’s face, with wild hair spreading into leafy vines and stag’s antlers, was etched above her head. Aislin stood on tiptoe to trace a prong with her fingertip.

The carved eyelids opened. Bright green eyes with golden pupils focused on her face. The mouth creaked. “Aislin,” it breathed.

Aislin dragged in air for a scream that never left her throat. The sound of wood cracking filled the air instead. She stumbled backwards as the figure ripped itself from the door and advanced towards her. The girl turned to run, but a tree root rose up and caught her foot. Aislin fell, apples scattering from the bag, and stared at the man who now loomed over her.

            A man, not a creature. The thought came to her unbidden, along with unreasonable relief. But the man that stood before her was taller and stranger than anyone she had ever encountered. His unkempt hair was a long dark brown, partially braided and twisted around twigs, the tips of his pointed ears poking between strands. His bare chest made her flush, but it was completely covered in green inked tattoos. Leather breeches creaked when he shifted. He held his hand out to her, uncurling fingers with long nails. “Aislin,” he repeated, his voice gruff and purring, “do not be frightened. I have been waiting so long for you.”

Aislin stared uncertainly at him, her heart swelling with each beat, faster and faster, wings against a cage. He radiated animal power from his muscular body, strong and unfathomable. It summoned the wildness in her own heart that was struggling to break free. Aislin began to panic, her heart and breath pushing painfully against her chest. She met his gaze.

There was a gentleness there, in his strange eyes, as he waited, his hand outstretched. It startled her into an unnatural calm. She knew him, like the wind in her hair as she spun, like the smell of crushed grass, like the willow tree. She knew him as much as the knowing of her own heart's secret: she was destined for the forest. Her hand drew up inexorably towards his, pulled by an ancient, binding force. His hand was rough and warm, smudged with soil.

Aislin's heart broke free and soared into the lofty oaks above her. Resistance and doubt melted away in the flood of warmth spilling through her veins. “Who are you?” she whispered as he helped her stand, although she already knew the answer. He towered above her.

“I am the Forest Lord, the Hunter. I have many names, but you may call me Kern.” His antlers stretched up against the green canopy, and the sun which lanced through the branches dappled them with light and shadow.

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Lori J. Fitzgerald

Lori J. Fitzgerald, the author of  The Dragon’s Message and the Wood & Stone series, lives in New York with her fellow English Major husband and their two little bookworms.  Medieval literature is her passion, and she wishes she could spend more time cosplaying at the Renaissance Faire and shouting “Huzzah” at jousts. She was a middle school English teacher for many years and was well-known for her dramatic readings of The Princess Bride. Lori is currently a Staff Writer for the website Once Upon A Fan, the popular fansite for ABC’s hit show Once Upon A Time. She is also attempting to make her little black rescue dog her familiar, but so far it’s not working. You can find her masquerading on Twitter as @MedievalLit, on Facebook as White Raven Writing, and on Goodreads as herself.

 

*****Author Interview*****

Hi Lori, welcome to our Fantasy Sci-Fi Network castle in the stars.  We’re keen to discover all about you and your novels.

What was the defining event that made you start writing?

I read Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown when I was in 8th grade and it struck such a chord in my imagination that I wrote fan fiction based on it (not that I knew what fan fiction was back then – I just wanted to live in the world that Aerin did). I went on to fill two binders with various stories, character sketches, maps, poems, potion recipes, unicorn and dragon drawings, etc. for the next decade of my life. I still have those binders – they are my antidote for writer’s block! But when I went to college I became an English major and focused more on my teaching career, so writing took the back seat to teaching and then to children of my own.

Fast forward 20 – er, several – years later. The ABC TV show Once Upon a Time inspired me to create my own worlds again. The website Once Upon a Time Fans and all the writers, artists, and crafters I met in the extremely creative Oncer fandom encouraged me that my lifelong dream of publishing could become a reality. In particular, indie author Diane J. Reed (Twixt and the Robbin’ Hearts series) wrote to me words that are forever etched on my heart: “I truly believe that if such yearning is within you, then that’s your soul’s way of telling you the dream is within reach. Artistic hunger is sacred fire. And if you honor it, then the universe will open up a way for you.” Synchronicity definitely happens!

I love the fact that you switched careers to be a writer for the fan website Once Upon A Fan after watching and enjoying the show yourself.  It sounds like a dream job.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing the novel-length third book in the Wood & Stone series, but in between I’m also working on blog posts and short stories. This is the first time I’m writing a novel, and I find that breaks to work on (and finish) smaller pieces really helps my creativity and focus (not to mention my fragile sense of accomplishment). I’m also compiling a paperback that will combine the first two novelettes of the Wood & Stone series (Love Lies Bleeding and Songs Within Stone, currently only available in e-book) with some exclusive short works.

What’s the story behind your book title?

So, here’s a secret: Love Lies Bleeding is actually a reference to a flower that plays a big part in the story, the amaranthus, which is a summer-blooming plant with cascades of red flowers. But – without giving away too much- it can also refer to something with the main character, Aislin.  I love hidden meanings!

Intriguing!

Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?

Most of my writing has Celtic and/or medieval flavor to it. Medieval literature is both my passion and my degree, so I am very comfortable in this type of setting (and I would gladly spend my entire summer at the Renaissance Faire, but alas, my children want to go the pool instead). One of my best trips ever was to England with my husband. We visited Glastonbury, Stonehenge, and Avebury, and those places, especially the Tor and Chalice Well, had a truly magical impact on me that fueled my penchant for sacred groves and standing stones in my writing.

Sounds amazing.

Who are your five favorite authors?

Oh boy. Only 5? Robin McKinley (obviously), Ursula K. LeGuin, Charles DeLint (I went to Barnes and Nobles once a week in college just to get another book of his for I can’t tell you how long – or maybe I could if I counted my paperbacks…hold on…16. WOW! Four months!), Emily Bronte (surprise – I was an English teacher after all), Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (I count them together as one author).  Oh, and Neil Gaiman of course. Although I have to say Naomi Novik’s Uprooted completely blew me away. It is the only book I have ever said that I wished I had written, and I can’t tell you how I have analyzed her writing craft piece by piece. I hope it wins the Hugo.

What is your favorite quote?

Once Upon a Time, Episode 1×17, Hat Trick

Jefferson/Mad Hatter: What’s a story? When you were in high school did you learn about the Civil War? How? Did you read about it, perchance in a book? How is that any less real than any other book?

Emma Swan: History books are based on history.

Jefferson: And story books are based on what? Imagination. Where does that come from? It has to come from somewhere. You know what the issue is with this world? Everyone wants some magical solution for their problem and everyone refuses to believe in magic…

Emma:…This is it. This is the real world.

Jefferson: A real world. How arrogant are you to think yours is the only one? There are infinite more. You have to open your mind. They touch one another, pressing up in a long line of lands, each just as real as the last. All have their own rules. Some have magic. Some don’t. And some need magic, like this one.

This quote echoes my belief in the magic of imagination and stories. I remember when I first saw this episode; I thought, “Yes, that’s exactly it. It has to come from somewhere – somewhere just as real as here.”

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Reading and yoga. I grow herbs to use in cooking and to dry for sachets. I taught English for over a decade but stopped when my first child was born. I’m pretty busy with being a stay-at-home mom right now, so getting to bed at a decent time is also top on my list of enjoyment.

What’s your favorite pet?

Our daughter, who wants to be a vet, wore us down a few years ago and we adopted our first little black rescue dog, Soda Pop. He was a senior shih tzu with kidney disease (we found that out after we adopted him), and we only had him for a year before his kidneys failed but he stole our hearts. A few months ago we were lucky that the shelter who had Soda contacted us about a little puppy that was rescued from a puppy mill. So now we have our second black dog (so strange how that happened…maybe I should be writing spellbooks instead). Cocoa, a Yorkie mix, is my writing buddy; she is curled up on my lap as I type this. I want  to train her as my familiar but we really need to get the potty training down pat first! My family and I are big supporters of rescuing animals from shelters.  And don’t discount senior pets – they deserve loving, safe homes to retire in as well.

What’s your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network?

I’m so thrilled to be a part of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network! It is such a positive, supportive group made up of authors whose enthusiasm for reading and writing in the speculative fiction genre knows no bounds. Thank you so much for the opportunity for an interview.

You are most welcome.

 

Quiz! (This is fun!!!)

Favorite Food: Pizza

Silliest Saying: Inconceivable!

Best Holiday Spot: It’s a toss-up between Disney World and Aruba.

Favorite Song at the Moment: Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

Star Wars or Lord of the Rings: Star Wars, of course. I find your lack of faith disturbing. (How many times have you heard that one, Kasper?)

Best Superpower: My patience level. Especially in the morning before school.

Number One Thing to Do on My Bucket List: See one of my books on a shelf at a brick and mortar bookstore. I’m working on it. Thank goodness for my superpower.

Profile with Cocoa

Author Lori with her pet, Cocoa

I do love your superpower, Lori.  Hang in there and we can’t wait to see your books in print too.  Thanks a bunch to you and Cocoa for stopping by, you have been fun to talk to.

Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com

 

Lori’s Links:
Amazon Author Page where you can find links to my books, videos, and more info: http://www.amazon.com/Lori-Fitzgerald/e/B00JO1M64Y

Check out my Sacred Groves and Writing series of blog posts about the Celtic Ogham Alphabet here: http://www.whiteravenwriting.blogspot.com/

 

Connect with me on Social Media here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whiteravenwriting/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MedievalLit

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8093600.Lori_J_Fitzgerald

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