Hello readers, it is that time again! I recently got the chance to read the novel Duel of Souls: Unworldly Sexual Encounters 1, and the new review can be seen here. So please grab some coffee, sit back and relax as I chat with author Cherie Amour about love, life, and good versus evil.
Hello Cherie! Thank you for taking the time to let me ask you some questions about your stories and life in general. Why don't you start off by telling the readers a little about Duel of Souls?
Dante’s Divine Comedy was the inspiration for this story. I’m a huge fan. I wanted to create a fantasy Hell and Heaven completely different from what we’ve been conditioned to believe. So I decided to dispense with what we call good and evil and create a world where there is no defined line between the two, only degrees of variance. Thus making my characters and their worlds more complex and more interesting.
Belinda is this strong demon but I sensed a softer side to her. Something that I am sure you would not see in Hell. Were you expecting her to have a gentler nature than other beings from Hell?
Yes, I wanted her to have a tough persona she showed the rest of Hell, but I also wanted her to have a gentler, vulnerable side that she showed only Sebastian and of course the reader.
Avgar is what I would expect from Hell. He is a manipulative greedy back-stabber who will climb over anyone and anything to get to the top. When you write up your characters, do you know exactly who and what they will be or do they take on a mind of their own?
Avgar was pretty much summed up in my mind right from the beginning. The perfect bubbling antagonist who would get under the reader’s skin.
Most of the time characters are pre-defined before I even start on the outline. I don’t think I have ever changed them drastically after that. I may just fine tune them depending on where the plot leads.
Sebastian is sneaky and secretive; I love him! He is the kind of guy who I could see having his own story. I don’t want to give too much away, but from a certain standpoint in the novel it sounds like he will get his own tale. Will you be writing Sebastian into his own story?
He’s my favorite, too. He was the first character that fermented in my mind and then I created the other characters to complement him.
Oh, most definitely he is getting his own story in Book 2 of the series. The reader has been fed tidbits on the complex character in Book 1. But in Book 2, the reader will get to see more about his past, his powers, his vulnerabilities (especially where a beautiful & enchanting heroine is involved), and his enemies.
Then we have Amato, the guardian angel. I loved how you put a conflict of interest into him. He is supposed to be this angel, pure of heart but he is into peaking into Belinda’s life. At any point within this story, did you question some of his “less than pure” actions or think of changing them?
No, he was written as I envisioned him. The Heaven & Hell I created aren’t pure Good and Evil as I mentioned earlier. Each has its own complicated characters some of which have degrees of goodness and evil in them. In Amato’s case, he doesn’t have an ounce of evil in him. He just became infatuated with and then fell in love with a demon. He couldn’t help himself even if he tried. And he tried so many times.
The storyline of good versus evil is something we see a lot of in books we read. However, I don’t think I have read a story quite as unique as this one. Did you always plan on using Christopher Columbus as one of the focal points of the story?
Yeah, he is one of the historical figures I had in mind in the series. There will be more along the way, some of which I’ll delve deeper into their lives and characters as the stories unfold.
I have to say the ending of Duel of Souls left me hanging. Can you tell us what is in the works next?
Well, Sebastian will be sent on one of his most challenging assignments yet. He will have to try to steal a sexy, cunning queen’s soul. The problem is his sexual attraction to her leaves him vulnerable to her seduction and he begins to have feelings for her that will muddle his plans and distract him from his mission.
One of Sebastian’s formidable enemies will be coming for him on this mission seeking revenge. While he’s distracted and enchanted by his queen, he won’t see what this powerful demon has in store for him until it’s too late.
Duel of Souls is the beginning of a new series entitled Unworldly Sexual Encounters. According to your website, your other novels are connected to each other through related characters. Have you thought about writing any standalone novels? Why or why not?
I’m sure if I set my mind to it, I could write a standalone story. But with the stories I’ve written so far, I liked these secondary characters so much, that I felt I owed it to myself to develop them further. You could say I was compelled to do it.
Speaking of websites, do you have any other websites that your readers can view?
No other websites right now. But I do have a page at MySpace which I post updates on often. Here is the URL: http://www.myspace.com/cherieamour23.
You have been married for several years to your ideal hero. How long have you been married? Can you describe your ideal hero?
We’ve been married for seventeen years.
My ideal hero would be someone who understands his mate, who isn’t superficial. Someone you can talk to about your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, ideas, vulnerabilities, everything. Someone you can enjoy life’s beauty with and who commits to the relationship completely with his mind, heart, body and soul, who will work at the relationship continually to make it a strong and unbreakable bond. The same goes with the perfect heroine.
Your bio mentions your passion for writing led you to be a romance writer. Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child. I wrote my first romantic suspense novel when I was 15. But I figured I couldn’t make a living writing and decided to follow a practical profession in business. A few years ago, I decided to get back to my roots and started taking writing courses and writing again.
Now I am going to ask you a couple of just for fun questions.
You wrote Duel of Souls as a fantasy genre. If you were to be any character in a fantasy genre, who would it be and why? And your husband, what character would he be?
Sebastian. I was born a tomboy and I find it easier to create my heroes than my heroines. I’ve given some of my minor traits to my heroes. To Leo in Let’s Get Physical, I gave my klutziness and my ideals of family, of sacrifice and commitment.
James in Hard At Work & Let’s Get Physical, I gave my easy going character and my passion for the written word and cooking.
And Sebastian in Duel of Souls and The Queen’s Enchantment, I gave my obsession with solving problems. My mind is always churning trying to figure things out just like Sebastian does. Only he is far better at solving problems and dilemmas than I am.
I can’t say there is a character that would best describe my hubby in Duel of Souls. But I am writing a novella now Lust and the Muse where he would be the hero, Giard. The hero is a French Canadian just like my husband and just as cute.
Duel of Souls is based in Hell and then later on the sea. If you were to write a world that became reality, anything you wanted to, what would it be like and what would you call it?
Oh, a fantasy world that would become reality. Hmmm, let’s see. I like the idea of parallel universes and Greek mythology. I’d love to create a world where Greek gods and titans still ruled another universe and every once and a while would slip into our universe to wreak havoc or stop a disaster from happening. Maybe seducing a mortal here and there along the way. I’d call it Thelema, which means desire or will in ancient and Modern Greek.
And one last question I like to ask all of my interviewees. In keeping with the Coffee Time Romance theme, if you were to be described as a flavor of coffee, what would it be and why?
A complete mix—a cappuccino, mocha, French vanilla mix.
Thank you Cherie for taking the time to answer my questions. I had a great time asking them. Readers, Duel of Souls is available through Siren Publishing.
Thank you, Danielle, for interviewing me. I loved answering your questions. It was so much fun.