02 January 2011

Guest Author: Alix Rickloff

This week on Unusual Historicals, we're welcoming Pocket author Alix Rickloff as she celebrates the release of her latest historical romance, EARL OF DARKNESS, set in 1815 Ireland. Not only is the Irish setting unusual, but this romance integrates paranormal elements. Here's the blurb:

Born a lady, but reduced to surviving in the slums of Dublin, Catriona O'Connell has been hired to steal a mysterious book from Aidan Douglas, Earl of Kilronan. But Cat is secretly Other, an age-old mixture of Fey and human--something Aidan recognizes immediately when he surprises the lovely young burglar in his library, about to steal a magical diary.

From the moment Aidan sees her, Cat's spirited beauty enchants him, but her uncanny abilities are what he truly needs, for Cat can understand the mystical language in the diary he inherited from his murdered father. So Aidan makes an offer: translate the book or be thrown in prison as a thief. And as Cat slowly deciphers each page, she and Aidan are drawn together by passion...and into the violence of the Other world that is the Kilronan legacy. Can they defeat those who seek the book, or are their lives in even greater danger than their hearts?

Top Pick! "...a tangled tale of good and evil, magic and mystery, passion and desire --one that won't be easily forgotten." ~ RT Book Reviews

Top Pick! "This book is magic personified." ~ Janalee, Night Owl Reviews

"A sexy and intense tale packed with dark passions and even darker magic." ~ USA Today Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro


The unusual aspect of your historical is obvious. What made you decide to blend paranormal into a regency?

I've been an avid reader of historical romance since high school, but my second literary love has always been fantasy. The more high adventure swashbuckling, the better. In 2007, I finaled in the Golden Heart with a manuscript that contained an element of the paranormal. This decided me once and for all to try my hand at blending the two genres. Thus my fabulous alternate universe of magic-wielding men and women who live within the elegance of Regency Society was born.

Tell us a little about the world you've created in EARL OF DARKNESS?

The Other are a race of men and women who bear the blood of the Fey. This magical inheritance can manifest itself in something as subtle as the gardener with the amazing green thumb to the sorcerer who wields great power. But in a superstitious time where magic is seen as evil, the Other must hide what they are. It's into this dangerous world the Earl of Darkness opens as the remnants of a shadowy group of Other unite in one last bid to turn back the clock to the Lost Days and regain their supremacy.

Do you find it more difficult to research the fantasy elements of your story or the historical details?

The historical details, definitely! Readers of historicals know their stuff and they're not afraid to let you know if you get it wrong. I try very hard to research the period I'm writing about. I have a library full of books on the Regency era as well as a fabulous group of scholars and writers of the time period who are there when I need that niggling fact I just can't lay my fingers on.

The fantasy in my stories is my own invention, and while I may call on Celtic elements as a premise, I feel free to branch out everywhere and anywhere my imagination takes me. The trick there is to be consistent. As I continue to write stories set in the universe, I have to be careful I don't make a mistake with my own invention. I've begun a notebook that I reference as I write which has been really helpful.

What's next for you?

LORD OF SHADOWS, the second book in the series, is due to be released in July, with the final book whose title is TBA set for a January 2012 publication. At this point, I'm also hard at work on my next project which will introduce a whole new facet to my paranormal-regency world.


Readers, other than her website, you can visit Alix at her blog, on her Facebook author page, and as part of the collaborative network for Pocket authors and fans, Pocket After Dark.

If you'd like to be entered to win a copy of the delicious EARL OF DARKNESS, leave a comment or question for Alix. Maybe: Does the idea of Celtic-inspired paranormal elements appeal to you? How about this exciting Irish setting? I'll draw a winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!


Margay said...

I am very intrigued by the elements of this story, including the setting. I love Ireland!

chey said...

I like the sound of this book! It sounds like a book I'd enjoy.

Maureen said...

I like the idea of a Celtic paranormal because they go together and remind me of stories I read many years ago. I think they were by Elizabeth Lowell and had Celtic paranormal aspects to them.

Heather Hiestand said...

Personally, it was 1815 Ireland that interested me. Downloaded the sample to my Kindle the second it was available!

Has said...

I love the premise of this book, especially with a thief like heroine.
I also love the fact about the paranormal elements set in a historical setting which I am always a sucker for.

Hi Alix! Do you find that writing paranormal elements in a historical setting can be different from a contemporary one?

Alix Rickloff said...

Thanks to everyone who took time away from their New Year's weekend to come chat.

Margay and Heather,
I loved writing about Regency Ireland. My library is now full of research books as well as old maps and travelogues--anything I could find on Dublin or the countryside of the period. I'd love to set more stories there and already have some ideas simmering.

I haven't read the books you mention, but I'll be on the lookout from now on. If you like Celtic paranormals, you might like Patricia Kennealy Morrison's Keltiad series. It's sort of sci-fi/paranormal, but a lot of fun.

Alix Rickloff said...

Thank you for your kind words. I really hope you like the book and come away loving these characters and this world as much as I do.

The trick with an historical-paranormal is the tightrope an author walks between attracting readers who love historicals but may never have thought of picking up a paranormal and the devotees of paranormals who shy away from the historical aspect of the story.

SandyH said...

I love Celtic myths and Ireland would be a great setting. Looking forward to reading the book.

JenM said...

Hi Alix - In paranormal historicals it always seems to me that it's hard to find the right balance between the paranormal elements and the history. To me, there's always a danger of it veering off too much towards straight fantasy. Were you shooting for any particular % of the paranormal element in the story?

Looking forward to reading this. It sounds intriguing and I love the thought of the Irish setting.

Barbara E. said...

I love the the idea of Celtic-inspired paranormal elements, especially in a historical setting. The Irish setting is definitely a plus as well. It's wonderful to have two of my favorite genres - history and paranormal - in one fabulous story.

Soft Fuzzy Sweater said...

I am not too fond of paranormal romance (too unreal) but when it comes to a Celtic setting it seems real enough. There is something about Ireland and its lore that makes the unusual all too usual. I'd like to read this book. Thank you.


Alix Rickloff said...

I've always been intrigued by Celtic mythology as well and found it the perfect platform to launch my own universe.

There's always the threat of losing that balance and falling too far one way or another.

I don't start a project saying I need so much history, so much fantasy, and so much romance. It grows out of the characters and the storyline.

But during the editing process, I strengthen and tighten my world-building--either the Regency bits or the paranormal bits, hopefully blending both sub-genres into one seamless story.

Alix Rickloff said...

I've always loved both historical fiction and sci-fi/fantasy so finding a way to combine the two has been a joy.

I wonder what it is about a Celtic setting that gives us permission to suspend our disbelief. Whatever it is, I hope I've been able to harness that "magic" so the reader loses herself in the story and never once questions the reality of the world I've created with these characters.

kmannrn said...

I really look forward to reading this book. I love books set in Ireland.

Danielle Gorman said...

I have had this series on my wishlist for sometime now. I can't wait to read it. It looks so good.


donnas said...

Congrats on the release! Looking forward to getting to read it. I think the Celtic setting will work great with the paranormal story.

librarypat said...

I have seen several reviews of this book and all have had very nice things to say about it. I like books to have complex, suspenseful plots with well drawn characters. All indications are this book will deliver.
I am glad to see you have set it in Ireland. This setting has so much to offer for historical romance and is the perfect locale if you are going to throw in a touch of magic.
Best of luck with this release and with the rest of the series.

M. said...

I've read very few stories with Irish settings - 'Stormfire' by Christine Monson and some Maeve Binchy books are the only ones that spring to mind - so this would be an intriguing setting for me. I'm reading a retelling of the Guinevere legend right now, including the way people either converted to the new religion of Christianity or stayed with druid beliefs that seem to have more than a bit of 'Celtic paranormal' elements built in.

Sheree said...

Doesn't "Ireland" and "paranormal" go hand in hand?


CrystalGB said...

Hi Alix. Your book sounds amazing. I am very intrigued. :)

Chelsea B. said...

I am so, so SO looking forward to reading this series! Thanks for the great interview!

Marlene said...

I love paranormal and I am always looking for new books to read. This book sounds really good I can't wait to read it. I haven't read any with a Celtic element to it so it should be interesting.

Kristin said...

How did you get started writing paranormal romances?

Carrie Lofty said...

Danielle Gorman is our winner. Congratulations! Here's the details:


Thanks to everyone, including Alix, for stopping by!