I am a big paranormal romance fan, especially the ones that grab you from the start and don’t let go. The person I’m interviewing today, Zoe Forward, writes paranormals like that. I had fun getting to know more about her and I hope you have fun getting to know her better.
Hi, Zoe! Welcome to Coffee Time Romance. Sit back and tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you for having me drop by! I’m a veterinarian by day and a writer by night. My special love of archaeology, especially anything Egyptian, shines through in the Scimitar Magi series. A deep part of me wishes I had pursued a career that would have me at a dig site in a hot, sandy country, but I’m a small animal veterinarian, caring for everything from chinchillas to dogs...and there was even one hermit crab in there.
Your day jobs sounds just as interesting as your dream job. I couldn’t imagine taking care of a hermit crab! I’m guessing your dream job spills into your writing. Tell me about Dawn of a Dark Knight?
In Dawn of a Dark Knight Dr. Kira Hardy jeopardizes her brilliant medical career to save Ashor Vlahos, Scimitar Magi commander, after a brutal daemon attack. Their attraction is instant and, for Ashor, forbidden. As an ancient nemesis resurfaces and targets Kira, they face a crucial decision – follow the gods’ rules or follow their hearts.
This is an urban fantasy paranormal that’s got lots of action, adventure and romance.
There is a lot of action that starts right from the beginning. I made me want to see more. Is Dawn of a Dark Knight the first in a series? If so, who/waht’s next?
Dawn of a Dark Knight is the first in the Magi series. In the second novel, Forgotten in Darkness, there is a new magus who just got released from an unjustified stint in purgatory. Long ago, a dark-magik sorcerer cursed him and the woman he loves to murder each other within days of meeting in each new lifetime. Being back means this cycle will start again. He’s attempted countless curse-reversal rituals over the centuries, and all failed. Now, he may have discovered a way to break their vicious cycle. But it requires he kill her before she strikes her deathblow, something he’s never done in the past.
That sounds just as action packed as the first. Now you mention earlier, and I saw on your website that you’re a fan of archaeology (me too!), especially anything Egyptian (me too!). How did that inspire your story?
I have always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, but had yet to find a romance that made the mythology accessible and modern. There are so many intricacies to Egypt mythology and so much discrepancy that, honestly, it’s not possible to get all of that into a modern story. My take on the mythology is that it would get somewhat lost over time with a group of pseudo-immortals that get reincarnated every couple hundred years, although the basics would remain. In future installments of the Scimitar Magi series story arc the mythology will take a more central role.
I loved your fast paced writing. I was quickly drawn into Ashor’s story and immediately wanted to learn more about him. What was your inspiration behind his character?
Ashor…my tormented alpha male struggles to obey the rules laid down by the gods he works for, but stresses when he can’t. He desperately desires the woman destined to be the sacred healer for the Scimitar magi (Kira), but the gods’ rules dictate he cannot be involved with her. On top of this he keeps blacking out and going on hunts to take out the guys that do most of the daemon summoning, the Hashishins. Killing these guys, even though they are clearly hostiles, violates the no-killing-humans-unless-attacked rule. These conflicts create a rift in his core that he must come to terms with or risk it tearing him apart.
I love a tortured, conflicted hero. But your heroine is an interesting character as well. Tell me about Kira, is she based off of anyone you know or inspired by something specific?
The heroine, Dr. Kira Hardy…who wouldn’t want to be her? She’s an adrenaline junkie good at handling weapons with a cousin that drags her on black market art deals. And she’s got a magical ability to heal by touch, which propels her towards a mind-blowing relationship with the world’s hottest, yet tormented hero. She is not based on anyone that I know, but is a wonderfully powerful, smart and self-sufficient woman.
Now let’s get into the love story. Ashor and Kira were destined to be together. She was his senariai. What do you think is the appeal of knowing a man and woman are destined to be together?
I’ve always loved paranormals that bind souls. There’s something very romantic about knowing there is a perfect someone out there that is the character’s other half. This one being completes that character. In the case of the Scimitar magi, the senariai plays a much more vital role than just being the magus’ other half. She is the key to allowing him to liver longer, by healing his soul when damaged by the corrosive evil of the daemons he must fight.
Her loves saves him both literally and figuratively, which makes their chemistry intense. What components do you think are necessary to create sexual tension in romance that makes a reader care about the characters and not just the sex?
This question made me recall a speaker at one of my romance writers meetings who spoke on exactly this issue. She said there had to be a scene when the hero has no shirt in the early phases of the book to create sexual tension. That makes me laugh, and reminds me of Brad Pitt in Troy (come on, the guy lost his shirt about every other scene in that movie…he is yummy but when overused it loses its zing). I suppose it doesn’t hurt to have the smoking hot guy get half-naked early on, but it’s a bit of a crutch.
Bottom line for me is sexual tension is all about desire and anticipation. Opposing forces help. Desire pushes them forward and conflict makes them retreat. Dialog, setting and pace can all be used to achieve this back-and-forth dynamic.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing Brad Pitt shirtless in that movie, though I do agree with you on building that tension between the characters. Do you have a favorite scene from your book? Which one and why?
I love the scene when Ashor and Kira first kiss. It’s unexpected and inevitable. And we have been waiting sooo long for it to finally happen.
“Who’s Vance?” he asked in a neutral tone. His eyes stayed fixed on the road ahead.
The tension in the car spiked. His features were so tight that a needle would bounce off the taut muscles. Was he jealous?
“It’s this guy I’ve been seeing for a while. He wants to get married.” She noticed his knuckles lost their color where they gripped the wheel. He cares. Her chest clenched.
“You accept his offer?”
“A woman’s got needs, you know.”
The SUV swerved to a halt on the side of the road so abruptly Kira’s head smacked the seat back.
He faced her and grated out, “Needs? And you think he can do it for you?”
His irises swirled furiously with black sludge. She sensed he barely contained a spiraling violence. His gaze scanned her face, but locked on her lips. Without warning, his lips attacked hers.
The intrinsic power of his body, the viciousness she knew him capable of, and his wildness—they should scare her, but, wow, this guy knew how to use his mouth. And tasted amazing.
His ferocity took a sharp left turn into sensual. His dominating tongue slowed the pace. A large hand cradled her neck just behind her ears and stroked, sending chills down her spine. His other hand started a slow southward descent. Desire for what this kiss promised ignited every neuron in her body, building sensation until nothing mattered, except that he not stop.
Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, it registered: He was doing it! Finally kissing her. The wait had been worth it.
Ashor hadn’t meant to do this. But the primal male in him needed her to know that no one else could come close to this. To the elemental, gods-fated mind-blowing chemistry. She was his, and she dared consider another?
The rational part of his mind screamed: Stop! According to the gods’ mandate this was wrong.
I LOVE first kiss scenes! I did anticipate Ashor and Kira’s first kiss and was not disappointed. I understand why it’s your favorite scene. Is there anything you had to cut from the book that you wished could stay?
There were two scenes with Markus who is an absolutely hilarious character. He is Kira’s cousin, the black market art dealer whose deals never go smoothly. He is the master of getting out of dangerous situations, but what makes every scene with him fun to write is that he absolutely thinks he’s doing a kick ass job of resolving the situation when it’s really blind luck that gets him through it.
It’s hard to cut scenes, especially when they involve fun secondary characters. So tell me and the folks at home why they should consider reading Dawn of a Dark Knight?
For the Scimitar Magi series I created a new type of hero. As a passionate reader of paranormals I’ve read my fair share of vampires, weres, face, shape shifters, and demons. And loved them all. But I wanted something fresh. The Scimitar Magi are ten pseudo-immortals that live within our modern world, but struggle to remain incognito. The guys are not exactly thrilled to discover they vowed their eternal soul eons ago to serve the Egyptian gods, and now must execute daemons for the rest of their lives. With no past-life memory, they’ve got no clue how to wield the powers gifted to them by the gods. Man to super warrior in a five-minute induction ceremony with no instruction manual. So, it takes each Scimitar a long time to work it out. At first losing control at random is the norm, and irritates the bejesus out of the more experienced guys. Incidents happen like blowing up a gas station, which is misinterpreted as an international terrorist act. And then there are the women. Each Scimitar gets matched to one woman for all time, and she is also reincarnated. But when…and if this woman shows up is entirely up to the gods, who love to muck things up for entertainment.
As a lover of Egyptian mythology and paranormal romance, I must agree that you started a sexy and unique new series. Outside of paranormal romance, do you enjoy reading other genres?
I don’t have a lot of time for reading these days, and most of the time I choose to read a good paranormal. Recently, I’ve been trying out a lot of new authors, which is very exciting. Aside from this genre I love comedy horror like Bill the Vampire by Rick Gualtieri, thrillers, and some mysteries.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Finish the first draft. That’s always the toughest step. Once you’ve got that done, then you can start having other people read it. This second step is not any easier than finishing the first draft. I felt like someone had speared me through the chest to have my first draft criticized. But since that time I’ve learned that there is no better way to improve the writing. If I feel an aspect of the story that was blown apart by a critic is crucial, then I’ll try rewriting it. Often the rewrite brings out all kinds of quirks, and makes the story so much more interesting.
Great advice, Zoe! Last fun question, if money were no object what hobby would you pick up?
I’d love to learn how to hot air balloon. It’s so beautiful from both the gentleness of the ride to the breathtaking views.
Interesting! I’m afraid of heights, so I’ll have to watch you from the ground :) Any parting words?
I’d like to thank my readers for picking up my book and taking that chance. There are so many options out there. I’m honored when you put my book on your shelf. I love to hear from readers whether it is via email, facebook or twitter. So, don’t be shy.
Great, thanks for the fun interview, and good luck with your new series.
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Buy links: Wild Rose Press | NOOK | Amazon