To get us started can you please start by telling us a little about what yourself and what you have coming out.
Well, fingers crossed, Samhain will pick up my second book, a sequel to Ilfayne's Bane. I'm currently working on a pirate erotica story, which is turning out to be great fun.
I live in the UK ( so my spelling's funny lol). I'm married, couple of children and an avid reader. I only started writing a few years ago - I was housebound with ME so I couldn't do much physically. I kept myself busy by trying my hand at this writing lark, and got addicted!
If you could be one of the characters from this book - Who would you be? And why?
It would have to be Hilde really. Because she's the only woman who has more than a bit part - and she gets to kiss sexy men!
Who or what influenced you when you wrote this book? Did you have a CD, Songs, environment, etc?
I did have some songs - Wicked Game by Chris Isaak and Nothing Else Matters by Metallica ( yes, my shameful secret lol) And Johnny Depp and Karl Urban played rather a large part in it too - any excuse to stare at their pictures!
Can you please give us a sneak peek into the book?
Julia Knight: An excerpt? Or Blurb?
Excerpt: Here's where Hilde meets the dreaded Ilfayne for the first time
Hilde pushed the door open a crack. It took a moment before her eyes adjusted to the brighter light, and then she saw a windowless octagonal room with abundant flickering torches and a spiral rune in the centre of the floor. On the rune was a heap of grubby red. She opened the door wider and stared at the ceiling, which flickered with colour and half-seen images.
The heap moaned. It was a man. She put her back to the wall and drew her knife.
He sat up and dislodged the large, stained yet still crimson cloak. With an almighty groan, he patted himself all over as if to check he was all there. Jet black hair fell over his face and shoulders. The man with the strange accent? Maybe. A small seed of suspicion wormed its way to her notice. The flaming face of the beast. No, it could not be. She was not about to start believing in tales.
Apparently satisfied all was in order, he got to his feet with a groan. He was flamboyantly dressed, with a red waistcoat over a voluminous white shirt, stained leather breeches, and a belt slung at a rakish angle across his hips. Various ornaments, tassels and bangles quivered and clinked as he moved. Trinkets hung from his waistcoat on coloured threads. They sparkled and glittered in the torchlight, with all manner of gemstones caught in wire mesh and filigree. The bangles were of even finer work. The one that caught her eye, a glimmering gold ivy, curled and climbed his arm, the leaves the deep green of jade. He picked up a battered hat with a round crown, checked the jaunty red feather on it and put it on.
She would not have called him handsome, exactly. He looked nothing like any other man she had seen. Striking in a dishevelled kind of way, with tanned skin and eyes so dark as to be black, now rather unfocussed as he tried to peer around him like a ten-pint drunk. A gash across his forehead dripped blood down one cheek. His face had few lines, and his hair and neatly trimmed little beard held no grey, so she could not tell his age. It could be anywhere between thirty and fifty. He spotted Hilde, grinned a wolfish sort of grin and held out his hand. "Hello, I seem a bit lost. Do you know where we are?" A soft voice, with a syrupy accent she had not heard before. She took another step back, but he was the first man she had ever met who did not make the sign of Kyr's Ward when he saw her eyes, and that decided her.
"No," she said. He squinted at her and swayed so hard he nearly fell. Anyone that concussed should be no threat. She lowered the knife. "Ten minutes ago I was on the plains of the nomads. So were you, I think. Er, you're bleeding quite badly."
He held his hand to his head and raised his eyebrows at the blood on his fingers. "How did that happen?" He fished in a pocket, drew out a grubby cloth and mopped up the blood. "Are you all right? Is any of that blood yours?"
She looked down. The bruises on her arms had faded to a deep bluish-yellow and her face still felt swollen. Her dress was ripped and covered in blood, though at least her shoulder was no longer bleeding. "Only about half."
She slid down a wall, her legs unable to hold her. Wherever she was, this man was no threat, at least at the moment. Besides, he and his friend had saved her from the beast. The beast that knew her name.
"I don't know where I came from." He frowned, and more blood dripped into his eye. He wiped it away absently. "I appeared about ten feet up in the air. The fall seems to have made me a little groggy. Have you any idea where here is?"
A good question, one she had been about to ask him. She stood up and held out the pendant at arms length. "You used this, there was a big flash, and then we were here. Where's your friend?" She was quite glad the soldier was not here, the way he had loomed over her in the dark. The man took the pendant and ran his thumb over it. "Friend?"
"The big soldier. He was with you."
He steadied the moonstone with his left arm, before now hidden under his cloak. The arm was there but the hand was missing. A one-handed wizard. Foul-tempered and given to melting eyeballs.
He did not look anything like she had imagined a wizard to be. She had expected him to look older, for a start-he was said to be older than the Kingdom of Ganheim. This befuddled man looked more like a peacock. One of the rich merchant's sons or idle nobles who occasionally passed through her village and did little other than preen themselves, drink, gamble and try to talk the girls into bed.
Yet he had only one hand, and there had been that flash of fire on the beast's face. He did not seem too foul-tempered-the soldier had sounded far angrier-but then again he was addled from the blow to his head. With luck, he had forgotten how to melt eyeballs along with everything else.
He destroyed a continent. Dethroned a god. Now love will destroy him.
Hilde is shunned for her strange looks and ability to dream the future, both unwelcome gifts of the half-kyrbodan blood that flows in her veins. One of those dreams summons the legendary mage, Ilfayne. Beneath his cynicism and penchant for melting eyeballs, she discovers a tortured man driven by demons as cruel as her own. And the only man who doesn't recoil from her.
Condemned to four thousand years of loneliness and regret, Ilfayne finds a rare thing in Hilde: a friend. For that, he will do anything to keep her safe. Just as he gathers the courage to reveal the tender feelings he thought he'd lost, her kyrbodan blood forces her to bond with a man of her own race. To deny the bond means she could die. Either way, she is lost to him.
Now llfayne's oldest enemy has resurfaced, a sorcerer who will stop at nothing to destroy him. Including targeting their greatest vulnerabilities-Ilfayne's hidden love for Hilde, and Hilde's guilt-wracked conscience.
When the sorcerer makes his move, Hilde holds the lives of two men in her hands-and faces a terrible and deadly choice. Loyalty.or love.
Please tell us what you have planned next?
Well Samhain are currently considering the follow-up book to Ilfayne's Bane, and I've got plans for a third book in the series. I'm also working with some saucy pirates!
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I belong to the T-Party writers' group in London. They've helped enormously, as well as being a nicer bunch of nutters as you could wish to meet.
When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
January 2008 - My husband kept badgering me to send it somewhere.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
Ilfayne's Bane is my first, and it was released as an ebook in January 2009. The print version is due for reelase 1st November
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
Worst advice - write like the authors you see on the bookshelves. It's a very silly thing to say really. I like to think I keep any readers in mind, but I write the sort of stories that I want to read, not what I think might sell. And I can only write like me, I can't write like someone else! If I tried it would probably come out as complete garbage.
Best advice - Probably everything my editor at Samhain has said to me!
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I don't outline. Characters have a tendency to appear in my head. The plot comes from them really - their hopes and fears. So I get them set in my head, sit down and think 'What's the worst thing that could happen....'
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
Depends what mood I'm in! But mostly I like them mysterious. Oh yeah. *swoons*
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?
I always wondered what writing an erotica would be like - so I'm giving it a go! Other than that, I'd love to write a mystery or thriller.
Thank you for this opportunity!