About the Author:
Rinda Elliott loves unusual stories and she credits growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and horror kept them amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, Rinda tried to separate her darker side with her humorous and romantic one. She published short fiction, but things really started happening when she gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, she loves making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with her husband and two children. Rinda is represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
MF: I’ve been privileged to watch your career blossom and I’m very happy for you. You say things really started happening when you gave in and mixed your dark, humorous and romantic sides. What made you take that leap?
RE: I was trying to hard to conform to one or the other. I’d written mostly romances and most of them were pretty dark, but some were kind of funny. I wrote Dweller on the Threshold years ago and didn’t really know where it was going to fit. I’d already been told by one editor that my heroines were just too strong. Dweller was dark, yet some of the characters were lively and mouthy. I’d set it aside. It wasn’t until I picked up Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison that I knew there was a genre that might actually work with my style. The vampire sprite in Blood of an Ancient, Beri O’Dell book 2, was originally supposed to be in book one, but I worried others would think I got the idea from Harrison’s book, so I wrote him out. But I missed him and decided to chunk him back in where he belonged. Because I tend to write darker stories, I really enjoy having funny secondary characters like him. And Dooby…and Blythe. I also tend to write stories about wounded people who build families. Blood of an Ancient really delves into the group dynamic of Beri’s growing family.
MF: You are represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency. Tell us how you landed an agent. Did you ever consider self-publishing?
RE: I’ve been with Miriam since 2008 and I met her at a local conference. I actually had a couple of other agents showing interest at the time and I ended up going with Miriam when she gave me her uncensored first response to Dweller. It made me laugh. Plus, I was a huge fan of some of her authors. As for self-publishing, at that time, it wasn’t the big business it is now. I do consider it occasionally but I truly prefer working with a team. I adore my editor at Samhain and feel her enthusiasm and sharp eyes make my books better. Plus there is someone else to design my book covers, do copy edits, etc. I truly feel I need editing and the works.
MF: Tell us a bit about the Beri O’Dell series. What or who inspired the character of Beri O’Dell?
RE: I have no idea where Beri came from–she just arrived in my imagination and stomped around until I took notice. The more I wrote about her, the more I loved her and wanted her to learn to love herself and trust that others could love her too. This series is basically about a woman who doesn’t fit in, knows she’s different, but doesn’t know why and the answers will be revealed in pieces throughout the series. Though she’s standoffish at first, she tends to form strong bonds once someone has earned her trust and there isn’t much she won’t do for those she loves. The series is urban fantasy-set in our world but one in which myth and legend are based on reality. The first book combines Greek and Norse myth along with theosophy, demonology and even serial killer history. The second book follows, but it’s also a bridge book to cement the characters and their relationships. But no worries, there’s still a lot of action and both dark and light parts. And romance…;)
MF: You’ve recently joined the Harlequin team and will be publishing a Norse YA trilogy through them. Tell us about the series.
RE: There will be three books, each one told from the point of view of a triplet who carries the soul of a norn. Norns are similar to Greek fates. Three sisters with the power of past, present and future divination. The Lockwood triplets have been brought up by a mother who was told too much about their fates and in her efforts to protect them, gave them difficult lives. So they’ve only had each other to rely on. When their mother disappears and her horrific plans are revealed to them, each sister has to go off on her own to try and save future warriors who carry the souls of Norse gods. The stories are told simultaneously as Ragnarok–the Norse end of the world–is happening. They are young adult paranormal romances.
MF: It seems like your career has snowballed this year. Lots going on in your writing life. Tell us about your support system. Who talks you down when the pressure is on?
RE: I don’t know about snowballed, but I am starting to see movement and after many years, it’s so welcome. As for who talks me down? Rachel Vincent is indispensable. She’s my soundboard, my brainstorming partner, my critique partner and we are always there for the other when an ear is needed. She’s also a close friend. I also have the Deadline Dames. (http://www.deadlinedames.com) We came together as authors who shared an agent and wanted to do a fun group blog. It turned into the most supportive and awesome group of smart women I’ve ever been privileged to know. I was friends with author, Karen Mahoney, before we both joined the Dames, so she’s another indispensable friend-even with the six hour time difference. Also, I have Jocelynn Drake–we struck up a friendship online after she made my year with a random email. I’m pretty lucky.
MF: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What has been the best compliment?
RE: There have been a few reviews that have ripped me up a bit, but I made it a personal rule not to respond to bad reviews. I do however, respond to the nice ones when I do see them. I like letting the reader know I’m glad they had a good time with my book. Nice reviews from readers who take the time to share their joy with a story make the best compliments. But recently, the best compliment I received was a random tweet by The Vampire Book Club. It said Rinda Elliott brings the urban fantasy awesome. Can’t even begin to describe the silly grin I carried for hours.
MF: Aside from polished and engaging writing, what three things do you think every new writer must do in order to succeed in this highly competitive and ever-changing industry?
RE: First and foremost-Finish The Books. I know so many talented writers who don’t carry out stories to the end. I was one of them for a long time which brings me to two. Self-discipline. This one goes with the first and it’s the only way authors finish books. I’m so easily distracted, this is one of my biggest failings. I could have so, so much more written if I didn’t find it so easy to pick up a book, check on book stats… or watch shows on Netflix. And three? Be nice but stay true to what you feel is the right way for you. As I said, I don’t respond to negative reviews but I will respond to the positive ones. Some might find this hypocritical, but I honestly do believe everyone has a right to their opinion and there is no way to write a book everyone will love. We are all diverse and that’s a good thing–otherwise this world would be boring and all the stories would be the same. But I will respond to a positive review and thank the reviewer. It’s always good to see that your work gave someone some happy reading time.
MF: What do you read? What do you re-read?
RE: I read all over the place. I like urban fantasy and romance the most and will read both adult and YA. I tend to reread romances that have those emotionally satisfying scenes that really touched me.
MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
RE: There have been quite a few, but most were futuristic books. I think it would be nice to live in a world with a little less prejudice and a LOT more medical knowledge. LOL.
Beri O’Dell is on a mission. She has to rip back into a hell dimension fast, but needs two things first—the blood of an ancient and a fix for her friend Blythe’s magic, which careened out of control after the battle with the Dweller.
Finding ancient blood isn’t easy when the old ones are rare and unwilling to donate. She needs to find Blythe’s former mentor…except the woman has lost her mind and joined a traveling band of singing witches.
That’s not the only magical monkey on her back. Nikolos is imprisoned, and after a screwed-up spell lets her witness the horror that has become his life, her fear for him grows by the day. Now there’s another problem—a powerful being unleashed during the battle with the Dweller likes her gluttonous new existence, and will kill anyone who threatens it.
But Beri has a few tricks up her costumed sleeve, even if it means mining the darkness of her soul to set everything right…and get Nikolos back in her arms.
Warning: Sleazy ancients. Random fires. Nosy teenage hackers. Hints of off-screen torture. Battles with…Beri doesn’t know what. And one scary boyfriend who keeps inching toward insanity.