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Interview with Paranormal Historical Romance Author Lisa Hendrix

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Lisa Hendrix is represented by the interviewer's Pump Up Your Book Promotion, a public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.

After years of daydreaming complex stories for familiar characters from film, TV, and books — nearly always involving a romance that hadn’t been included by the original writer — Lisa Hendrix borrowed a page from motivational speaker and author Marsha Sinetar and decided that it was time to start doing what she loved and hope that the money really would follow. She began writing the medieval romance from hell, a manuscript that taught her a lot, but which is now safely locked away where it can do no harm.

In April 1992, she carried a dot-matrix printed synopsis into an appointment with a Genuine New York City Editor at a local conference and pitched an idea for a historical romance set in the American West. The editor was interested and requested a partial manuscript, along with assurances that Lisa would buy a better printer. Credit card in hand, Lisa set out to comply. She mailed the proposal a month later, and five months after that, received The Call. Hostage Heart and Drifter’s Moon were soon on the shelves, followed by contemporary romantic comedies Razzle Dazzle, To Marry an Irish Rogue, and her first single-title lead, Runaway Bay.

Now she’s gone back to her medieval roots with Immortal Warrior, Book I of The Immortal Brotherhood, a new series featuring a crew of Viking warriors cursed to be immortal were-creatures. Book II, Immortal Outlaw, will follow in 2009.

We interviewed Lisa to find out about her writing life and her new paranormal historical romance novel, Immortal Warriors.

Thank you for this interview, Lisa. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Thank you for having me. I never know what to say when people ask me about myself. I don't see myself as that different from most writers, from the tendency toward shyness (e.g., answering questions about myself) to the fight with a spreading butt to the overactive imagination. I've been writing for nearly twenty years and published for about fifteen. There were a couple of breaks in there due to family issues, so Immortal Warrior is my sixth published book, and the first in my new series, The Immortal Brotherhood (more about that later)

Do you write full-time?

Well, as full-time as the mother of two active teenagers can. Unfortunately, I tend to go in fits and starts, with too much fun and research at the beginning of a book and insane, caffeine-laden hours near the end.

At what point in your life did you make up your mind you were going to become a published author?

I told my mom that I wanted to write books when I was 8. I think I saw it as an easy way to make a living. Boy was I wrong.

I toyed with the idea again in about 1986, during one summer when I didn't have work. I got serious about it in 1989/90, when I cranked out 70,000+ words of a really awful medieval romance that taught me much about plotting and character development. An idea for another medieval morphed into a western, which ended up being my first published book, Hostage Heart.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

Immortal Warrior is the first in my new series about a crew of Viking raiders cursed to live for eternity as weres of their fylgjur, their spirit companions. This first hero, Ivar, spends his days as a great eagle. He's managed to make a tentative life for himself by working as a mercenary/spy for the Norman king, but one evening the loneliness becomes too much. Instead of asking King William for payment in gold, he asks for land and a hall where he can enjoy the company of men for a time.

What he does not expect is that with the land comes a wife – a beautiful, intelligent, aggravating wife from whom he must somehow keep his dark secret.

What was the inspiration behind your book? Why did you feel a need to write it?

I had a dream. That's not usually how I come up with characters, but it's what happened this time. I awoke with a crystal-clear image of a tall, blond man in formal evening clothes. I knew nothing except that he was a thousand years old – and that turned into a bear every morning.

I had to figure out all the rest, but it all evolved from there.

What kind of research did you have to conduct to write your book?

A lot. I had to find out about Viking culture and religion; therianthropy (shape-shifter mythology); Norman England; medicinal herbs; castle construction; Anglo-Saxon myths and religion; women's roles in medieval times; forms of address; clothing, right down to belt buckles; how books were constructed; food. In other words, all of it. It was like fantasy world-building as far as the degree of detail goes, except it's all real and someone, somewhere, will feel obliged to tell me if I get it wrong.

What message are you trying to convey with this book?

My books are about how the power of love can help a person find his or her place in the world.

Do you have a website? Do you manage it yourself or do you have someone run it for you?

Yes, I do, at lisahendrix.com. My blog is also located there, as is my Contest page (which you may want to visit for a chance to win some Viking treasure).

So far, I've done it all myself, with some help from my computer-jockey husband. It's a WordPress site hosted on a third-party ISP, using a free theme I found that switches between Day and Night–-perfect for my immortal Vikings. At some point, I'm sure I'll turn over management to a third-party, but I'm not there yet.

Readers can also find me at MySpace (myspace.com/lisa_hendrix), Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-Hendrix/18625590885) and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/profile/LisaHendrix)

What’s next for you?

The next book is Immortal Outlaw, the story of Steinarr the Proud, who is a lion by night. I'm having a lot of fun with this one, which is my take on what really happened in Sherwood Forest. I'm just finishing it up, and it will be out June 2009.

The Immortal Brotherhood consists of nine men, the nine survivors of the crew of raiders caught by the sorceress Cwen. She cursed all of them, so of course they all have to have books. And since that first dream image was of a man who was a thousand years old, each book will be set in a different century, bringing the whole series through that thousand years into the present. It's going to mean a lot of research, a lot of fun, and a lot of work. It's also going to require a fair amount of patience from my readers, since I'm not the world's fastest writer. But in return for that patience, I promise that each of the guys will have his book.

Thank you for this interview, Lisa! Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?

I really enjoyed it, thank you.

My final words are a reminder of what a great thing books are, especially when times are a little unsteady. They're cheaper than going to a movie, they can be re-read as often as you like, and they make great gifts: all in all, one of the best treats you can buy yourself.

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