13 July 2014

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Kelley Heckart on DAUGHTER OF NIGHT

This week, we're pleased to welcome author Kelley Heckart with her latest novel, DAUGHTER OF NIGHT. The author will offer a free copy of Daughter of Night to a lucky blog visitor.  Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's author interview for a chance to win. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb.

Their destiny began in the ancient land of Anatolia.

In 1326 BC, Crete is the last remaining sacred place for the Great Goddess, but changes began to threaten the old gods, the Titans. Forced to become an ally to the power hungry Olympian gods, Rhea hangs on to the secret of the star metal, the one key that would make Zeus and the other young gods invincible. When this secret is stolen, Rhea must find the Dactyl and the goddess who betrayed Her before Zeus does.

Becuille is a daughter of Night, a servant of the Great Goddess created to impart Her vengeance on mortal and immortal wrongdoers. Made mortal by Rhea, she is sent to find the ones who betrayed the Great Goddess. In the land of Hatti, she meets a proud and handsome prince. When love binds her to him, her loyalties are torn.

Callileon, a prince of the Hatti, has closed off his heart to love only to rediscover it in the arms of the mysterious and fiery slave girl he has purchased. He is caught up in a dangerous world of power hungry gods, jealous goddesses and potent magic, which even the Fates cannot steer him away from.

Can two mortals fight the will of the gods?

**Q&A with Kelley Heckart**

How do you pick your time periods for your books?

I like to write in time periods that interest me, ones that are steeped in myth and mystery. I look for time periods that have few, if any, records, like Dark Age Scotland or Bronze Age Greece because then I can fill in the blanks to create my stories. This doesn’t mean I slack off on research. I do a lot of research to gather whatever information I can find about the setting, the people, and customs. I rely on myths and early writings for my research. For Daughter of Night I relied on the Iliad, Greek and pre-Hellenic myths and writings by ancient Greeks.

What made you pick one of the Erinyes (similar to Roman Furies) as your heroine in Daughter of Night?

I think I like to punish myself. I’m kidding. Sort of. I picked a vengeance goddess because my heroine had to be able to have some control over the gods and goddesses under Rhea’s rule. She had to be close to the Great Goddess, so I made her a special vengeance goddess that enacted Rhea’s vengeance upon any Titan that angered the Great Goddess. She also acted as the goddess’ bodyguard. But I had a challenge because I had to make her likeable and had to find a way to give her feelings since a vengeance goddess has no remorse. Rhea needed her vengeance goddess to find the Titan that betrayed her and stole the secret of the star metal—and to do this, Becuille (the heroine) had to be made human. Now she had human feelings.

Daughter of Night is rich in historical detail. How much research did you have to do to make that possible?

Tons of research. Not only did I have to do extensive research on the older gods known as the Titans, and on the history of iron smelting, but I also had to research Crete and the Hittites that ruled Anatolia (modern Turkey) from 1600 BC to 1200 BC. While researching the Hittites, I found some fascinating information that worked with my story. Most of what is in Daughter of Night is recorded history. Here is what I discovered about the Hittites:
Very little is said about the Hittites (Hatti) of ancient Anatolia, but they rivaled the Egyptians and Babylonians in power and sophistication. They thrived from about 1600 BC to around 1200 BC and were the first people to smelt superior iron.

The Hittites (Hatti) also built large advanced cities with clay water pipe systems and grand temples for their gods. They worshipped a Storm god and a Sun goddess. Before someone could go before the king, they had to bathe. The same rules applied to the deities, and the people that had direct contact with the deities had to shave the hair from their bodies.

The Hittites (Hatti) came to a mysterious end, the once thriving civilization gone. There are accounts of a battle with the Egyptians where some Egyptians were taken prisoner—these prisoners carried a plague that wiped out the Hittite/Hatti people. I used this theory in my story. I also drew on their ability to smelt superior iron and how this knowledge was stolen from the Great Goddess (Rhea). In my story the iron was cursed and that contributed to the rise and fall of the Hittites.

What would you say is your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite part?

My favorite part of writing is definitely the creation part—deciding on my main characters and putting their backgrounds together. I also enjoy doing research. I’m a bit of a history geek. There are so many unknown gems out there, and I love uncovering things I didn’t know before—like about the Hittites and how sophisticated they were. I had no idea until I started doing the research on them. My least favorite part is self-editing. Yuck. For one thing, I’m terrible at seeing my own mistakes. It’s really frustrating for me. I would never publish without an editor, that’s for sure.

How about a fun question? Describe your ideal date.

Date? I haven’t dated in years. I don’t even remember how to date. But if I went on a date, my dream date would be to go horseback riding in Sedona, AZ in a remote spot—a sunset ride during a full moon—so we can stop, watch the sunset paint the rocks a fiery red, then build a fire and snuggle on a blanket in the moonlight. And feed each other smores.


Learn more about Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
Website: http://www.kelleyheckart.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/kheckart

Buy links:
Mundania Press (in ebook formats and trade paperback):

Buy links on author website: http://kelleyheckart.com/daughter_of_night.