Andrea Cooper: “The Garnet Dagger” and “Viking Fire”
Since The Garnet Dagger is written from Brock’s point of view, we have Celeste here today to answer a few questions that readers might not know.
Andrea: What did you think of Brock when you first saw him?
Celeste: Magical. He took my breath away. I felt compassion for him, which is why I healed him as soon as Father Morgan left. I could not leave him in pain and in such a weakened state. His dark hair hid his face, but I knew he wasn’t human—I healed him anyway even though at the time I didn’t know what darkness clouded his green eyes. I could have taken the dagger and left him there, but I felt such kindness for him that I couldn’t leave him to the whims of Father Morgan. His sarcasm, even while being tortured, made me feel proud even though I didn’t know him. I’d seen too many cower and whimper over the years that his words were refreshing.
Celeste: Well, he gave it to me. First, he didn’t say I couldn’t keep it. (She dusts off imaginary lint from her shirt, then looks up), Besides it belonged to me. Sort of. It’s hard to explain, but it was as if someone broke off a piece of my soul and fused it into the dagger. I also knew in anyone else’s hands, it would bring ruin. In Brock’s it would either cause him to leave me or if he used it against me it would destroy him. If the Warloc took it, he would bring his reign of evil. Later, I offered to give it back, but Brock said I could keep it.
Andrea: Some say you have Brock wrapped around your finger.
Celeste: What? That’s insane. If that were true, he would have listened when I told him not to kill the Bergone. That would have saved us a lot of trouble. I also told him to leave once he confessed about what he thought the garnet dagger was for, yet he hung around and then followed me.
Andrea: When did you know Brock was the one?
Celeste: I knew before he did—or rather before he could admit it to himself.
Andrea: What did you do after you left Brock in the woods?
Celeste: Despite what happened to my aunt, I needed to see for myself if she was still alive or not. No doubt my aunt’s magic had blasted not only the Bergone, but herself and home as well. I had to be sure. I was careful in case the Warloc had laid a trap back there, but it was as I feared, she was dead.
I journeyed to a nearby village of my aunt’s friend and fellow witch. She wasn’t as experienced as my aunt, but I had no one left. The Warloc had killed everyone I was close to. For weeks I mourned my aunt and tried to forget about Brock. Then I studied her magic and practiced for the battle to come. I journeyed to the Warloc’s lands two days before Nivel and Brock arrived.
Andrea: What is your greatest regret?
Celeste: Sigh, there are too many. I guess it would be not telling Brock what I felt when I touched the dagger. Maybe he would have listened and still come up with the same conclusion that he did, maybe not. But I was too new at trusting others to take that chance at the time.
Andrea: What is a misconception readers may have of you?
Celeste: That I know all the answers. I don’t. Sometimes I just wing it and hope for the best. My instinct usually leads me on the right path. It’s only when I second guess that soft voice inside me that things go wrong.
Celeste: That I’m not kind. I am. It’s just whenever you’ve gone through years watching your kindness used as a weapon against so many innocent people for years, you learn to guard your feelings from others. I hope that by my actions; even if they are not understood at the time, show my intentions. I have only done what I have done to save mankind and Brock—even from themselves.
Andrea: What would be a romantic evening with you and Brock?
Celeste: That we would be able to make love all night, he doesn’t need sleep you know, and cuddle as we watched the sunrise. We wouldn’t have to go anywhere or have anyone, like Nivel, with us. We would be alone for an entire day. I get so tired of traveling and fighting the villain. I just want a night off with my love. To smell his musky pine scent and feel his hands on my body and kiss his full lips. To explore every inch of him with my hands and my lips. Taste him with my tongue and mouth.
Which reminds me…are we done here?
Andrea nods and Celeste leaves the room. Closing the door, she leaps into Brock’s arms and gives him a big kiss.
Interview With Andrea Cooper
I wrote poems when I was fourteen until my senior year of high school. For novels, ironically, it was reading a historical romance that wasn’t logical in my opinion. The hero, a Viking, for no reason I could fathom just gave up his beliefs for the heroine. I thought I could write a better story, so I tried. However, I’ve always been a story-teller. Earliest memory I have was in first grade, I was the kid my friends came to at recess and asked what we were going to play – or rather what plot and characters we were going to act out.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing novels since my late twenties. Of course this was when I had a full-time job and a child so condensed down, it probably equals five years total writing time. But I’ve been making up stories and characters longer than I can remember.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Read. Read the authors you love, read authors you hate – but understand why. Read writing manuals, take classes, join a critique group. Most importantly, if you have passion for writing do not let anyone discourage you—just keep trying. If you are a real writer, then you’ll write regardless if you are published are not because you can do nothing else.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last three years, I don’t suffer from writer’s block; I suffer from lack of time and sleep. The only time I’ve writer’s block is when I have to write nonfiction then I’d rather do anything else
What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Depends on the story. For Viking Fire, my historical romance, it was the plot. What would happen if a feisty highborn Irish lass was forced to marry her enemy—a Viking? For The Garnet Dagger it was the character. Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Mostly a pantser. First I come up with an idea, character, or a situation. Then I brainstorm and start thinking ‘What If’ questions. I do not plot per se, I have a general idea of where the story is going to go, and sometimes the ending will change slightly. I enjoy it when characters take over and guide me. However, if they get us lost, I pull out the dreaded outline and map out where we’ve been and where we’re going. Hopefully since there are surprises for me that come up when I write, it will be a surprise for the reader as well.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Elva in Viking Fire starts off as only the handmaid in the story, or she was when I first started writing this novel. As her character unfolded as she tries to help Kaireen and Bram, so too did it unfold when I was writing. I had no idea of her secret (despite hints she gave me) until she let lose her hair – literally.
Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?
I am working on revisions of the second book in The Garnet Dagger trilogy. Another historical romance set during 16th Century Japan, and two Viking romances one which I need to finish and the other edit.
What are you reading now?
Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward. I’ve never heard of her until recently on Goodreads so I wanted to see what everyone’s excitement was about. It took forever to get this book from the library.
What author or authors have most influenced your writing?
There are many, but I’ll name just a few: Terry Goodkind, Anne Bishop, Julie Garwood, Yasmine Galenorn, Kim Harrison, PC Cast, and Christine Feehan.
What is your work schedule like when writing?
I have a four year old and a nine month old, so my writing schedule is when the baby is sleeping and the other one is engrossed in playing—or after they’ve both gone to sleep.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Despite always making up stories and characters, I wanted to be a teacher. However, I think my belief was it would be a perfect class of kids who would love to learn and listen…and that’s not reality. I’m happy with my life now and am ecstatic about being a published author.
What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?
Mexican is my favorite food—or rather TexMex. I love spicy foods and cheese. And chocolate, got have that in there too. Least favorite? Catfish or Tilapia—I like any other fish out there except those two.
What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
That I am one of those writers who had a drawer full of novels before I published my first one. I have eight completed novels, two have been published, and five others in various stages.
Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?
There are many, but if I had to pick one, it would be Terry Goodkind. I fell in love with his Sword of Truth series and it inspired me to try my hand at writing a fantasy story, which became a paranormal romance, The Garnet Dagger and my first published novel.
What would we find under your bed?
Hopefully nothing. I banished the boogie man to the closet years ago, that’s why I always sleep with it closed It’s also good feng shui to have nothing under your bed, so it doesn’t hurt to follow that advice J
If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming project, where would you mostly likely want to go? Why?
Scotland. My ancestry on my mother’s side is Scottish. I would love to touch the old stones that make up the McLaughlin castle ruins and know my ancestors once lived there. It’s also a quick ride from there to England, Wales, Ireland, and France—so it would be like several trips at one time
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Yes, I love Robert Frost’s quote: “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader; no tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.” To me it means letting the characters come to life rather than playing dictator.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, would you consider straying outside your genre?
Currently, I write in paranormal (with a historical setting) and historical romance. I’ve tried to write a contemporary novel, but I don’t enjoy reading those much. It’s difficult to do, in my opinion, because things can become dated very quickly. I’ve thought about writing YA as that is one of the genre’s I do enjoy reading besides historical, paranormal, and fantasy.
What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
I would like to write more and have three books published next year. Thankfully I already have them written, but am chipping away at edits.
When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
After I read a historical novel, that wasn’t logical to me, I thought I could write a better story. However, it wasn’t until after I wrote my second historical novel that I knew I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always been a storyteller and have made up characters and plot since early childhood and have never stopped.
Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?
I was at home with my three year old and one month old when I got “the call.” I was so excited that I didn’t believe it at first. My husband was the first one I told.
Who gave you the writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
The best writing advice I received was from an Elementary teacher. She said to read the last sentence on the last page of your writing first. Then read the sentence before that and so on. It’s hard to do, but excellent for editing.
Describe the “perfect hero.” What about the “perfect hero” for you?
The perfect hero is compassionate without being wimpy, intelligent without being cruel, brave without being reckless, and passionate without being compromising. It’s hard to find that balance.
The perfect hero for me is my husband. Especially when he watches the kids and cooks breakfast while letting me snooze on the weekend.
What are favorite pastimes?
Besides writing? I love to read. I don’t have nearly as much time as I would like. I also used to play video games (hack & slash, dungeon crawlers)…in fact I have the latest Diablo on my computer but with two kids under the age of four, I haven’t played in months.
What has been your biggest adventure to date?
Having my daughter. Even though I had two boys before her, she has been completely different from them.
What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?
Though I love my dishwasher and microwave, I’d have to say my laptop. If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t be able to write or check all the social media out there and would lose my mind much sooner than anything else.
Describe the ideal romantic evening.
Both kids in bed by 8pm and a babysitter at the house while my husband and I go have dinner and watch a movie. I know it’s not romantic to some, but if you have kids, you know it’s amazing to be able to chew your food and have a conversation and then just to snuggle with your honey while watching a good movie without someone calling “mom is the sun awake or asleep?”
About The Garnet Dagger
Everyone knows what happens when a vampire bites a human…but what if the victim is Elvin?
Forbidden to cross the Elvin barrier into human lands, Brock cannot sate his curiosity. Cursed by a vampyre bite that forces him to feed on the life-essence of others, he is unable to touch another without taking their life. Chained by prophesy, he must find a witch, pierce her heart, and draw her blood for his cure.
Celeste must escape the monks who have held her prisoner for years. Her magic has been kept dormant by her captors. An ancient powerful Warloc craves her powers. If he succeeds in devouring her magic, she and his world will die.
When Brock falls in love with Celeste before realizing her demise is his cure, will love triumph over his desire to be healed? Will he risk everything to save her from a Warloc, an oath breaker, who also wants her dead?
The Garnet Dagger Excerpt
I’ve known death. For over half a millennia, I escorted many to death at the end of my sword. In the eyes of the dying, I watched it shroud them. Foolishly, I thought many more eras would pass before death came for me. It came so swiftly that I could not run; I could not escape. At a village, dressed in human clothes, I took in everything. By observing for eons, I understood and spoke their language. The world of mankind fascinated me. Their hobbled homes burrowed into the ground.
Rocks crunched on top one another with thatched roofs woven from straw. Never had I seen a home or inn that was higher than three levels, as if they were afraid of the sky. I delayed my return to my people as I watched human jugglers bounce torches and knifes. It was autumn equinox and the festivities would continue well into the night. Children laughed as they chased each other. A trail of leaves from their costumes twirled after them. It was dark when I reached the forest. Since I was already late, I hiked uphill to a shortcut rather than take the long path back home. I didn’t need to alert any of my kind near the barrier at this hour. Liana would wonder why I was late.
Tonight was the two month anniversary of our hand twining ceremony. One more month as was custom, and then we’d be wed. A gasp rustled through the trees. The roots shot a warning through to me with stifled caution. Adjusting my pack, I continued on instead of changing back into my Elvin clothes. After I passed the border which kept humans from entering our land, then I’d change. In the distance, I heard a groan. Curious, I spun in the direction of the sound. The autumn wind breezed through my worn human clothes, chilling me. But someone needed help. I turned in the direction of the sounds. Whatever made the noise should be a few yards ahead.
I hiked slower than my normal speed, so as not to startle whatever human called out. My leather boots crunched upon dried, diseased leaves and bark. Horrified, I glanced up. Branches twisted around each other to suffocating. Lifeless limbs cracked in the wind. Flesh of the trees sloughed off in layers, exposing its bones. Gashes hollowed out chunks of warmth. Fragments of leaves clung to finger tips, marking sepulchers of the dying trees. Trees mourned with wails like splitting wood, and I brought my hands over my ears. I must flee before I became infected, they told me. Flee before the stain of this defilement creeps into you, they warned. Trees spoke to my kind, always had. Yet these trees were in such agony of death that I could not breathe. Felt as though my lungs had folded in on themselves, like a moth unable to break loose from its cocoon.
Nothing I could do for them, and if I lingered too long, whatever disease gnawed upon them may choke me. Where would I go if I carried something so foul as to devour trees from the inside out? I’d never return to Tamlon if I brought this infection with me. I drew away, but a movement at the base of a decaying tree to my right caught me. My night vision picked up the sight of a human. His sallow face seemed to glow in the moonlight. Poking out from rags lay his arms and legs, which resembled skin stretched over sticks. So cadaverous was his face, I’d have thought him dead if he hadn’t moved.
“Please,” he said and his voice sounded like cicada’s vibrations, “help me.”
“What ails you in this troubled place?” I wondered if my voice, foreign to my ears in speaking the human’s language, revealed my nature.
“I am lost.” His dark eyes crinkled around the corners. “Without strength to rise. If you would but assist me up, I’ll be on my way.”
I’d never touched a human on purpose before. Was it that that gave me pause, or dread that stilled my heart? My feet itched to flee. As soon as I helped him, then I’d leave. I gritted my teeth and reached a hand down.
His gnarled fingers snapped on my arm, making me wince. Jerking me forward, his face contorted. Surprised by his strength, I fell beside him. Blackness curled around me. Teeth, fangs, broke through the skin on my neck. Then I knew him for what he was, a vampyre.
The Garnet Dagger Book Trailer http://youtu.be/ISi0u9LoseM
About Viking Fire
In 856 CE, Ireland is a land of myth, magic, and blood. Viking raiders have fought the Irish for over half a century. Rival Irish clans promise only betrayal and carnage.
Kaireen, daughter of Laird Liannon, is suddenly forced into an arranged marriage with her sworn enemy, a Viking. She refuses to submit. With no mention of love, only land and the protection of her clan, she endeavors to get her betrothed banished from her country. Will love find its way around her stubborn heart?
Bram, the Viking, finds himself without future or inheritance as a younger son in his family. A marriage to the Laird’s daughter would grant him land if he swears fidelity and if his men will fight along with the Liannons against any foe—Irish or Viking. However, the Laird’s feisty daughter only holds animosity for him and his kind. Is marriage worth the battle scars of such a relentless opponent?
With the blame for a rival laird’s death treacherously set against the Liannons, Kaireen and Bram must find a way to lay aside their differences as an unforeseen darkness sends death snapping at their heels.
Viking Fire Excerpt
“I renounce Father for this.” Kaireen threw the elderberry gown. Dressed only in her leine, she glared at the new gown on the stone floor.
“Shame on you and your children for speaking such.” Her handmaid, Elva, gathered the damask and then dusted off the rushes. “It’s a wonder one of the clim has not scolded you from your hearth for such talk.” She wore her white hair twisted in a chignon, underneath a linen head cloth. Strands of white hair poked out the sides of her covering.
“No, curse Father for a fool.” She plopped on her bed and a goose feather floated away. With a huff, she leaned against the oak headboard. Red curtains puffed like a robin’s chest around oak poles supporting her wooden canopy.
Her bare feet brushed against the stone floor. Why was she not born plain like her two older sisters? Already they had married and expected their second bairns by spring. Well, at least so far she had enjoyed twenty years of freedom. Neither of her sisters had had matrimonial dreams of love matches. Both were arranged marriages.
“You know your da arranged a marriage within a season.” Elva smirked.
Kaireen shook her head. “To another land holder,” and waved a hand in disgust, “not t-this heathen. Twice they raided our land in the last month alone. Many a raid has come from them. Now father wants me as wife to one of them?” She clenched her fists. “No, I will not marry this Viking.”
Elva smiled, reminding Kaireen of the rumors of her handmaid’s uncanny foresight.
Whispers of Elva making strange things happen and often blamed as the cause of Kaireen’s stubborn refusal to behave as a laird’s daughter should.
“You’ve not seen him yet.” Elva wiggled her brows.
“So?” Kaireen shrugged. “I would like to never see him.”
“Well then, would you not like to know if you have a handsome husband or not?” She waited for her response, but Kaireen scowled at her. Elva chuckled. “I would rather get a good look at him now than the morning after.
Kaireen’s ears heated. “I am not marrying.” She shook her head for emphasis. “So there will be no morning, nor night, nor wedding.”
“If he is handsome, I may fight you for him.” Elva smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes.
“Welcome to him either way.” Kaireen laughed.
Viking Fire Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/bpk2ZMGwJik
About the Author
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Andrea has always created characters and stories. But it wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she started writing novels.
What happened that ignited the writing flame in her fingers? Divorced, and disillusioned by love songs and stories. They exaggerate. She thought. Love and Romance are not like that in the real world. Then she met her husband and realized, yes love and romance are exactly like the songs and stories say. She is now a happy wife, and a mom to three kids (two boys and a girl).
Andrea writes paranormal and historical romance. When not writing or reading, one may find Andrea dancing in Zumba.
She believes in the power of change and counting each moment as a blessing. But most importantly, she believes in love.