Thursday, October 1, 2009

Special Guest: Anida Adler

To kick off the month of October, today The Cozy Page is hosting a very special guest, erotic romance author Anida Adler! Her paranormal erotic romance debut The Ancient is available now from Loose Id:

What would you do if you fell in love with the goddess of death?

June 1945 - Tadhg Daniels sees a woman clad in strange clothes and a feathered cloak, but she’s invisible to everyone else. He’s convinced his mind has been unhinged by the horrors of the D-day landings four days before, but when she appears to him again, the woman proves she is real. She is Morrigan, goddess of death, come to warn him his life is about to end.

Morrigan is disturbed by the man she meets. He looks in her eyes unflinching, while all others avoid her gaze. She’s never found such a strong will to survive in any of her charges before. He refuses to accept he’s going to die. There is a way for Tadhg to cheat death, a secret Morrigan has guarded for millennia. Morrigan can save him if she takes him as her lover, but sex with the goddess of death will change him. He needs time to decide if he’s prepared to give up his humanity in order to be with her forever.But Tadhg is not the only one who knows Morrigan’s secret. Someone else wants to take by force the gift she can bestow. And he’ll stop at nothing to get it.

Many congrats on the debut, Anida, and welcome to The Cozy Page!

Thanks, it's lovely to be here. And I've been really enjoying all my hosts' virtual sweet white wine, it's delicious. In honour of my Ireland connection, though, we'll have to move on to beer in while.

A complimentary pint of Guinness for our guest! First of all, I’m so intrigued by what I’ve seen of The Ancient so far. It combines Celtic mythology, shape-shifting, and erotic romance! Where did you come up with this interesting brew and how did the story of The Ancient grow out of it?

When we moved to Ireland, I stared devouring all the books on mythology in the library. This country's heritage of tales and beliefs is incredibly rich, but it's a bit different from other countries' mythology. Here, the old druids believed there was some sort of magical power in writing that was not a good idea, and none of the traditional stories were written down until well into the first century. When it was at last committed to writing, this task was done by monks, who had their own agenda and who, I once read (don't ask me where), changed the stories to fit better with their religious views.

This gave me the idea that the real supernatural world in Ireland (and this is in my stories now, whether I might accidentally have hit upon reality we'll probably never know, hehehe) had been misrepresented and misunderstood over the years. I took elements from different tales, added some things (such as that Fey are immortal, though they can be killed - but then can likewise be resurrected), took a few others away. I also found that there is not always consistency in the versions of the old tales that are told in books today, so I felt it gave me freedom to legitimately create a race based on the Tuatha De Dannan from mythology, but uniquely my creation.

The Morrigan from folk tales is reputed to be able to shape-shift to a crow. It followed naturally for me that shape-shifting is part and parcel of her race, but I decided... learned... um... this is where the muse comes in. I can't really say I planned any of this, it was revealed in bits and pieces. The form Ancients take is influenced by what's in their hearts.

The story is an erotic romance because it fit Morrigan's personality and way of doing things. I didn't set out to write erotica. Really, I didn't. The story simply flowed from my first book, The Pebble.

Some of us have seen the goddess Morrigan in stories before, but not as an actual heroine. How much of her character did you take from mythology and how much did you add from own imagination?

Most of Morrigan's character comes from my imagination, but that imagination was always inspired by the hundreds of Irish folk tales and mythological stories I've read. I knew some stories list her as the goddess of war, desctruction and death, and wondered what effect it would have on a person if they had to deal with that every day of their endless lives. What kind of personality would you have to have to do the job of goddess of death adequately? How would you feel seeing people come to the end of their lives every single day? So the foundation was actual mythology, but a lot of it was conjecture from there.

Tadhg Daniels is as compelling a hero as Morrigan is a heroine, from the sounds of it. He is given a chance to cheat death, but though he does not want to die, he hesitates to take this chance. Can you tell us more about Tadhg and what makes him a good match for the goddess of death?

I believe in the adage that opposites attract, to a degree. Therefore, when in The Pebble I wanted to introduce Morrigan and her lover, and an outrageous impulse made me choose a mild-mannered, polite Englishman to be her other side. But then I became utterly fascinated by how it would have happened that these two remarkable people ended up together. I felt my impulse had been right: this cynical, sneering woman needed a gentle optimist with a core of steel to match her strength but offset her tendency to depression.

You don’t see too many romances and even fewer erotic romances that take place during World War II. What compelled you to place The Ancient in this period?

I wanted to choose a situation in which good men, and sensitive men, rose to the challenge of doing a dirty job because they knew it was the right thing to do. Also, I wanted a period when you still found old-fashioned gentlemen but when modernity would not be completely alien to the main character. Tadhg is even more old-fashioned than perhaps his contemporaries would have been, as he was raised by his grandparents. My husband is a little like this, though he wasn't raised by his grandparents, they had a huge influence on his childhood, and it shows.

The paranormal genre is larger than life. Authors and readers alike can’t seem to collectively decide why. What are your thoughts on the success of this genre? What makes yours stand out from all other paranormals?

Romance is escape reading. It's a relief from the reality around us, which can sometimes be harsh. Within that genre, paranormal is an even bigger escape, as it leaves the real world altogether, or makes it into something special. Furthermore, without implying any insult to readers of contemporaries (I'm a big fan of them myself), I think reading fantasy requires a bit more input from your brain. They can be hellishly complex, and you sometimes really need to keep an eye on small details to understand the bigger picture. So on one hand they're that extra step away from reality, on the other hand they're that bit more of a challenge to the intellect, and for the most part, romance readers are intelligent women who love reading something they can get their teeth into without sacrificing the escape factor.

Does that make any sense at all?

Of course, it does! Thank you for the eloquent opinion! You also write under the name Nadia Williams. What are the differences between The Ancient and your Nadia Williams titles and what drove you to make that change in your work?

The Ancient is much, much hotter than The Pebble. This was not intentional, I write stories without intentionally setting out for a certain heat level, or lack of it, for that matter. It just so happened that the central conflict driving The Ancient was the effect sex has on Tadhg when he and Morrigan indulge in each other. I initially wanted to publish it under the name Nadia Williams as well, but after taking advice from a few knowledgeable sources and also giving it some thought myself, I decided to choose a different name for works that can be classified as erotica.

Professionally, readers associate a certain type of work with a certain name. Someone reading The Pebble might be bemused by the level of sexual content in The Ancient, even thought there's a good dose of how's your father in the former. Someone reading The Ancient might be happy with the story in The Pebble, but a tad disappointed that there wasn't enough sex in it.

Personally, the decision was much more complicated. I am not ashamed of what I write, in fact, I'm happy and proud to have developed a liberated view of sex and I think fantasising about all kinds of kinky stuff can be very healthy. While I'm not close to my family (physically, I live on the other side of earth from them, in other ways we see life from completely different perspectives and have diametrically opposed opinions on many issues), I did consider how they would feel if I was open about being an erotica writer. In some ways, they live sheltered lives in a very conservative environment, and it is very doubtful they would feel as comfortable with my career as I do. While I don't make any effort at all to hide the fact that Anida is Nadia, I don't flaunt the fact that Nadia is Anida. Should one of our more conservative acquaintances, family or friends, make the connection, it really is their problem to get over it, as far as I'm concerned. Even so, consideration and respect for their sensibilities, however little I agree with them, did add weight to the scale of the pseudonym side when I made the decision.

According to your website, you have lived in a number of interesting places around the world: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Bloemfontein and the east coast of Ireland. Have any of these places inspired you?

Ireland has been a huge inspiration for me, in particular the north and east. Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I regularly go on long cycling trips through this area. There is such a rich heritage of history and myth in this land, and I believe that as an outsider I can perhaps see that more clearly than people who grew up with this and tend to take it for granted.

South Africa also inspired me, but to a lesser degree. I did not identify with Afrikaner culture (I didn't grow up speaking English, rather, I spoke Afrikaans, which is a dialect of Dutch) as a child and as teenager, and always felt like a square peg in a round hole. When we came to Ireland, we were only in the country for about two hours when an overwhelming sense of relief overcame me, and I thought: "Finally, I'm home." I admire and appreciate the qualities instilled in me by my upbringing and herigate, but I was simply not a child of Africa. My writing really took off when we moved here.

Since The Ancient is your debut, what did you do to celebrate? Any special events readers can find on the web?

Readers commenting or hosting on my virtual book tour are all in line to win a gorgeous little Shannon O'Shamrock bear. The tour ends on 5 October. I'll take a week and a bit's breather after that, then there'll be a Celtic Mythology blog series starting on 15 October, with an associated prize again. Readers can find out more on my website and blog from 10 October.

Okay – now for the fun part! What’s your zodiac and what is it telling you today?

I'm a Cancer, and today the stars create possibility for me, but I have to act on it.

If you could set a romance where you live, what would it be? An erotic fantasy romance like The Ancient? Or something more contemporary?

Ha ha ha, I'm working on an erotic fantasy right now which is set right here in the town where I live, Dundalk. It's about a man who is a split soul - one soul in three bodies - and the woman he tries to win, who has no idea she is a soul binder. And neither of them suspect her best friend is a witch, who has her own plans for the hero.

If you were a mixed drink, what would you be?

I would be Baileys Irish Cream, a sweet, smooth drink that is fun served on ice cream, romantic when sipped beside a crackling fire, sexy when poured over a naked body and has to be had in small doses, as it hides a bite beneath that smooth appearance.

Who is your favorite romance/erotic romance hero to date? Heroine?

I'm quite smitten with Hugh Jackman, so Leopold from Kate & Leopold makes my knees weak. I think the young hero in Stardust is delectable. I'm in love with every hero in every book I write. Heroines, I like Cat Crawfield from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost.

What recent read would you highly recommend?

I highly recommend the 'Guardians of Light' series from author Renee Wildes, published by Samhain. I devoured all three books in the series so far, and especially enjoyed Lycan Tides.

What’s your favorite smell and what makes it significant?

I love the smell of damp forest. Where I grew up, drought was a constant threat, and we lived with water restrictions a few times during my childhood. The Transvaal, as it was then called, turns brown and beige in winter: not a drop of rain falls for three or four months out of the year. So to me, the lush green of a forest is always special. I am in heaven when I cycle along a narrow road, trees surrounding me on both sides and forming a canopy over my head, that wonderful smell of rich soil dampened by soft rain in my nose.

And last but not least, if you found the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, what would you see in it? (Note: For those you aren’t HP junkies like me, the Mirror of Erised is a magical object that is inscribed “I show not your face, but your heart’s desire.” Orphaned Harry sees his parents, his friend Ron sees himself distinguished as Head Boy and Quidditch Captain, and Albus Dumbledore supposedly sees himself with a pair of socks.)

Well, I knew what the Mirror of Erised was, so that tells you something about me. I would see myself a popular author, delighting scores of people with my tales.

Thanks again for kicking back with us here at The Cozy Page, Anida! I most definitely look forward to reading The Ancient and wish you many sales! To close, would you mind giving us a short taste of the story?

***Warning: The following excerpt is explicit. Read at your own discretion***

“So,” he said when he'd swallowed, casting about in his mind for some subject to break the uncomfortable silence. “What do I have to do to change into someone like you?” He sank his teeth into the sandwich again.

“Your essence has to be altered.” Morrigán smiled. “So we have to have sex three times.”

Tadhg drew in a sharp breath that stopped short in his throat. He tried to breathe in or breathe out, but he could do neither. The piece of bread had gotten stuck in his airway. He lifted pleading eyes to Morrigán, and she sighed, rolled her eyes. A moment later Tadhg felt the obstruction wiggle from his throat and plop into his mouth. He spat it out and coughed until tears streamed down his cheeks.

At last he managed to get the coughing down to just deep breaths. Sweet, wonderful midnight-rose air. God, not being able to breathe was an awful feeling.

“You see what I mean, Tadhg? Death will not leave you alone until you are no longer a living, breathing human being. We will have to fuck soon, or something might happen while I'm not around to save you.”

He stared at her, feeling as if he'd rubbed a lamp and had a genie pop up right in front of his face. Somehow he had to try and recover from his body's enthusiastic reaction to the suggestion, the casual statement that he would have to have sex with Morrigán if he were to survive. The harsh profanity she had so carelessly tossed into the arena also rang in his ears. On one hand, he was horrified. He'd never heard such language from a lady's lips. But again, his body didn't share his mind's gasp of shock. Instead it stood to attention and wished for more. His balls were starting to hurt from the constant tightness of his scrotum.

“We can't just—make love like that! Don't misunderstand me, it will—” Oh God, he was blushing. He could feel the heat rising in his cheeks. Real men didn't blush. “It will be no hardship, but a gentleman should surely—Don't you want—We should…”

Morrigán sneered. “What? You want to bring me flowers?”

Tadhg had been about to splutter some other protest, take offence at her tone, but then he closed his mouth and thought about the sound he'd heard hidden in her voice. Something like…longing? He watched her lift her wine and down another gulp. For a moment, she wasn't the goddess of war from mythology, or the goddess of death who had come for him. She was Morrigán, the woman who had saved his life and brought him to her home. The woman he wanted more than anything else right now. “Yes,” he answered quietly.

She threw her head back and laughed. “Flowers?”

He nodded. “Going to bed with a woman you scarcely know is an act that seldom speaks of deep care for the lady involved. I should indeed bring you flowers. Take you out to dinner. We should have long conversations over bottles of wine. That is the right way.” No matter how badly he wanted to toss caution to the wind, get up then and there, and push her back onto the table. He'd yank her trousers down, tease her clit with his tongue until she raged with need for him. Then he'd slide the head of his cock over her slick flesh, up and down along the slit of her pussy until she begged him to fuck her. He'd enter her hard and deep, give her no time to think, teasing one moment and fully sheathed the next.

Morrigán snorted. “I hardly think this has anything to do with care. As you rightly said, we hardly know each other.”

Tadhg blinked at the sound of her voice, dragged from his vivid fantasy.

“That is easy to rectify. Flowers, dinner, wine, and conversation. Have you never been wooed?”

She shook her head, and Tadhg saw regret in the gesture. “You cannot go and pick me flowers. You're not likely to survive the experience.”

He lifted the bottle and refilled her glass. “That leaves dinner and conversation over a bottle of wine, then.” If he could restrain himself long enough to finish even a glass of wine before he caved in to his need.

Morrigán laughed again, and this time, she was truly amused. The thought brought Tadhg a deep-seated satisfaction mingled with excited joy. He was no fool; he knew what was happening to him. He was falling in love.

Readers, don’t forget to stop by Loose Id. to get your copy of The Ancient today! You can find out more about Anida at her website!


Anida Adler said...

Hey, Amber, thanks for the pint! *sips and nods in appreciation* Lovely to be here. (c:

Amber Leigh Williams said...

LOL, Anida - thank you for the amazing interview! Come back anytime!

Anida Adler said...

Yeehaa! I just assigned a number to each and every commenter on my virtual book tour, including hosts, then went to my research assistant and asked him to pick a number. He saw no names!

The winner of the Shannon O'Shamrock bear is Patricia Esposito, who commented on Sheri Lewis Wohl's blog. Congratulations, Patricia, I'll email you to get your snail mail address to send your prize.

Thanks to all who commented, I really appreciated the warm welcomes all over the blogosphere!