Dianne, welcome to Lavender Lass Books, and thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!
D.L. Gardner – Author, screenwriter, story teller.
She writes fantasy fiction for young and young at heart folks who like a tall tale and a fast moving adventure. She’s written ever since she was a youngster and has led an unusual life after that, having grown up in the sixties, lived in the desert for nearly 30 years in a mud hut, raised horses, sheep, goats, chickens, and seven children.
Much of her life experience has morphed into her stories in the form of other worlds accessed through portal travel. She’s released twelve novels spanning all sub genres of fantasy and one historical fiction based on a relative’s WWII letters.
Winner of two Book Excellence Award for my series, Best Urban fantasy at Imaginarium Convention, and a host of screenings, trophies for her historical fiction screenplay Cassandra’s Castle, and six Screenplay awards for her story Dylan.
Storytelling is her passion and she especially loves to collaborate with other artists. She believes a story should endure time and be good enough to hand down from one generation to the next.
Rise of the Tobian Princess is the first book in the Sword of Cho Nisi trilogy.
Erika, the youngest daughter of a legendary king, aspires to be a warrior and follows her brother to war against an evil wizard’s minions but makes a fatal mistake during her first battle. When she attempts to right her wrongs, her misdeeds bring turmoil on her and her father’s kingdom.
“A masterful painter of words, D.L. Gardner’s brushstrokes of prose bring to life a compelling fantasy tale that demonstrates the power of forgiveness and redemption in the aftermath of tragedy.” – award-winning author Stephen Zimmer.
“There’s never a dull moment in here; it’s jam-packed with monumental events and action to look forward to. Princess Erika is one hero that readers are going to be thrilled to discover.” – Independent Book Review.
And the blurb to Fall of the Kings, the recently released second book in the trilogy:
Erika continues a rocky relationship with Arell as they travel over the Nisi Sea, still haunted by her mistakes. Arell, determined to secure Cho Nisi’s allegiance with Erika’s father, oversees the elders in their healing of Erika’s brother. But crisis strikes the kingdom when Barte son of Moshere’s army invades Prasa Potama, orchestrated by the demon Skotádi. One by one, the men she loves fall into peril, and Erika alone must make crucial decisions for the good of her people.
“The Sword of Cho Nisi: Fall of the Kings is the sequel we deserve after the stellar first book. If you’ve been following the series since the beginning, you won’t be disappointed, especially with an alluring dark element absent from book one.” – IndieBook Review
And now to the interview:
1. What do you want to share with us about this story? What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
The ethnic diversity in the story, though subtly written, speaks about issues that are common today. Not only racial differences (Arell is an islander looked down upon by some of the elite leaders of the mainland nations) but also that there are good loving people no matter a person’s status. We see that in Erika, a princess with access to everything she could ever want and Arell both. I love building the worlds that surround them, and the people that live in each nation, the religion of the islanders, the legends of Fairmistle, and the gods of King Tobias. These creations come from life experiences, and I was thrilled to incorporate them into this series.
2. Why do you write in this genre? What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
I have an imagination that won’t quit. I would have no outlet for it if I didn’t tell tales and paint pictures! I have always loved fantasy ever since I was a child. I grew up in southern CA where we went to Disneyland at least 3 times a year. My dream was to be an artist for the theme park but unfortunately that dream was never realized. Still, I can do just as much world building by writing novels and so I do.
3. What made you decide to become an author? Can you tell us a little about that journey?
I have always loved to write, even as a child because it was therapeutic for me when I was depressed, as many teenagers are. Poetry was my outlet, and I loved reading the classics like Shakespeare, Poe and Lewis. After my seven children grew up (there was a lump of time I did very little creative work) I painted and joined some prestigious art groups but when I realized I had too many paintings, I started to write again. My ambition for years had been to write a novel, as well as to paint a dragon, so that’s how my first series began. I have a 4ft X 9 ft dragon I painted and as I did the story of Ian’s Realm developed. So, I wrote and painted at the same time. My love for writing grew and so here I am a slew of books later still enjoying the journey.
4. Why did you choose to self-publish? Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
I began my publishing journey with a small press. But I’m an inpatient person and drove my publisher crazy. Not only do I do artwork but I also took desktop publishing in college and have worked to format magazines, and so I’m just capable of doing pretty much everything by myself – book covers, formatting, web design, social media. I like to do that work and I’m pretty good at it. So, I think I fit into the role of being self-published pretty naturally.
5. Where do you get ideas for your stories? Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
I’m not always sure where these ideas come from. Ian’s Realm came from the dragon I painted, but Sword of Cho Nisi I think came from my desire to write about people I knew living next to the Navajo reservation. Whereas the Cho Nisi people in my book are islanders, their personalities, their rites, their way of seeing the world are very much like the people I came to know on the reservation.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I have a few sweet romance stories, one is a ghost story (Hoarfrost to Roses) and one is a Christmas novella. I also wrote a historical fiction novel that is taken from letters my in-laws wrote during WWII, Where the Yellow Violets Grow.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in your genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
I’m a character lover. I have to connect to someone. Huge world conflicts are okay as long as there is someone in that world I care about. Of course plot and worldbuilding are important, and I don’t think fantasy should be written without research be it war tactics, costumes, geography, anything there should be some research to it.
8. What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
I wish I had started sooner!!!
9. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
Right now, I’ve been writing some short stories. I did a Kickstarter for Cho Nisi and have been launching and marketing that series (book 3 is released August 30) so that’s kept me distracted from writing again. That being said, I have been outlining a spin off series to Cho Nisi.
10. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
Find your target audience! Not everyone likes the massive worldbuilding and character development of a good epic fantasy tale. The folks are out there, but finding them is a challenge.
You can find D.L. Gardner’s first two books in this trilogy at Amazon and many other retailers! https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Tobian-Princess-Sword-Nisi-ebook/dp/B096KTJBPW/
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us today, Dianne! We look forward to your third and final book in the Sword of Cho Nisi trilogy, which is available for pre-order and releases on August 30th. https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Mount-Ream-Sword-Nisi-ebook/dp/B096D2NC94
Discover more about D.L. Gardner and her books, including the award-winning Ian’s Realm series:
Website – https://gardnersart.com
Books2Read Author Page – https://books2read.com/ap/nBvawn/DL-Gardner#about-the-author