Q. Please tell us about your book.
A. The Queen of Swords tells the story of a bookish white witch who returns every century to reunite with her earthbound soul mate. He’s a Scottish earl turned vampire by a dark wizard’s curse back in the Regency era on the eve of their wedding. She came back once before in the Edwardian era only to be killed by his maker in the same manner as before. He believes he has no soul, so can’t understand why she keeps coming back. She believes he does have a soul and that she comes back to free him from the curse. The story follows their journey as they try to work out who’s right and how they can stop history from repeating.
Q. After this, what's your next project?
A. My current work-in-progress is book two in The Knights of Avalon series. After that, I haven’t decided. Probably another paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I’ve got a stalled manuscript about an oil company spokeswoman who gets involved with a merman during an oil spill in the Hebrides. Might get back to that one, or write one featuring Benedict and Avery, the secondary couple in The Queen of Swords. I’d also like to maybe write a sequel to The Tin Man, my political thriller releasing in August. It tells of two journalists thrown together to solve a series of murders tied to a global conspiracy to take over the media.
Q. What inspires you to write what you do?
A. All of my paranormal stories are inspired by my love of the history and mythology of Scotland, my interest in the unknowable, and my belief in the redemptive power of love.
Q. When did you start writing?
A. About as soon as I could write the alphabet. When I was a kid, I won an essay contest sponsored by the local library (I was an avid reader and always did the summer reading challenge). Back in the days of typewriters, I wrote a romance novel about a couple of ballet dancers, but never did anything with it. Didn’t try my hand at fiction again until five or six years ago, when I started what is now The Queen of Swords.
Q. What inspired you to write the book?
A. I started the first draft after reading Twilight. While I liked the saga, I also found myself frustrated by the lack of sex and Edward’s lack of history. In literature, vampires originally personified uncaged sexuality, so a chaste vampire seemed counter-intuitive to me. Plus, I felt writing an immortal creature provided fantastic opportunities to build an interesting backstory. What had he/she seen and experienced over the centuries? How was he/she affected by it? My immortal characters all have a history tied to the world and what they’ve seen and experienced has colored them in some way.
Q. Are you a careful planner or do you let the story guide you?
A. I do a bit of both. I work out the characters and their motivations, setting, and where I want the story to go. I also tend to do index cards for each scene or major plot point from start to finish. Once I begin to write, it can go completely off the rails, depending on where the characters want to take it. As long as they’re reaching the touchstones, I let them do what they want. If they go too far off track, I either re-plot the novel or rein them in, depending on which direction seems better at the time.
Q. Who is your favorite among your characters?
A. I love them all, of course. Graham, the hero in The Queen of Swords, is both noble and funny. Callum, the hero in The Knight of Wands, is a good-hearted romantic. Leith, the hero of my WIP, is a bit on the dark side, but still well-intentioned. If pressed to pick just one, I’d have to go with Alex Buchanan, the journalist hero in The Tin Man. He’s very complex and has lots of demons to overcome, but also is a really good guy.
When Graham Logan draws the Queen of Swords, he knows he’s about to meet the love of his life. For the third time. But surrendering his heart will mean risking her life…or making her what he is--two things his beliefs won’t allow him to do. Graham rages at God: Why give her back only to take her again?
Cat Fingal, the third incarnation of Graham’s other half, won’t let him slip away so easily. A white witch, she casts a spell to summon him—for answers, among other things.
Graham has other problems, too. Like the seductress who wants him for herself and the dark wizard who cursed him and killed Cat the first two times.
Will she find a way to save him this time around?
**For Mature Readers Only**
12th May. Visited Caitriona tonight for the first time since becoming a monster. She slept, unaware of my presence, & for a time, I was content simply to observe. As the hours passed, I began to wonder what might happen if she awoke to find me in her room. Would she think me a wraith? Would she think it a dream? Desiring to know, & to get closer, I sat down on the corner of the bed, alert for any stirrings. Seeing none, I crawled up the bed until I reached her side. Still she did not stir. Ever so carefully, I set my head upon the pillow next to hers. She slept on. Drinking in her scent, I felt contentment for the first time since fate & Fitzgerald tore us apart. I closed my eyes & must have drifted off, because next I knew, her arm fell across my chest. Startled awake, I found her blinking at me in disbelief.
I lay there, still as death, waiting for her to react. Her hand moved up my chest to my face. She dragged her fingers across my jaw, pressed them against my lips, touched the end of my nose, my eyebrows, my forehead. As she combed back my hair, she whispered: “This must be a dream. But you feel so real, so alive. I don’t ken how such a thing is possible; nor do I care. I only pray I shall never awaken.”
I kept still. I could hear her heartbeat, smell her blood, but her blood was not what I craved. She set her head on my chest & started to sob.
“Am I dreaming?” she asked, soft & low.
She raised herself up, came over me & pressed her mouth against mine.
“Can we make love in my dream?”
When it was over, I collapsed beside her, feeling so elated, so profoundly moved, I very nearly wept.
She set her head against my chest. “Will you promise me something?”
“Always come to me like this in my dreams.”
About Nina Mason:
Nina Mason is a hopeful romantic with strong affinities for history, mythology, and the metaphysical. She strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. Three of her books will be published in 2014: The Queen of Swords, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance; The Knight of Wands, book one in the Knights of Avalon Series; and The Tin Man, a political thriller about the dangers posed by media monopolies. She is currently at work on Book Two of the Knights of Avalon series and is itching to get back to a book she started a while back about a merman who falls for an oil company spokeswoman after a phantom tanker capsizes on the coast of the Hebrides islands. When not writing, Nina works as a communications consultant, doll maker, and home stager. Born and raised in Southern California, she now lives in Woodstock, Georgia, with her husband, teenage daughter, two rescue cats, and a Westie named Robert.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ninamasonauthor (@ninamasonauthor)