Sunday, February 5, 2012

Welcome: Kylie Griffin

Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.

Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit her website at

Hi Kylie, Welcome to my blog!

Mel, it’s wonderful to be here – I’ve been anticipating this visit for so long!

Tell us a little about THE Kylie Griffin. 
For a crust, I’m a primary school teacher in a 2-teacher school, and in my spare time (snort!) I volunteer in a number of volunteer community organizations – the State Emergency Service & Community First Responder, the Rural Fire Service, Community Transport & Meals on Wheel, Progress Association and the village library.
I live in a very small, outback rural village (pop.200). Geographical isolation plays a huge part in the lack of basic services in the area, so the area relies on the volunteer services of individuals. Originally I joined many of the organizations as they were a way of getting to know people in the area and the skills involved were so different to teaching. Now I get a huge amount of personal satisfaction of helping others.
What else? Oh, addicted SF/F/paranormal/romance reader, goal-orientated, quirky, stubborn, a risk-taker, a dreamer, a cat-slave and unashamed chocoholic.

Do you have a writing routine?

Most days I get up at 5am and write solidly until lunch. After that I edit what I’ve written (in afternoons I tend to tire, unless I’m on deadline and then I write on through the day and night!), or I work on other writing related tasks like my copy edits, interviews like this one or blog posts, .
When I do start writing for the day I put up my “DO NOT DISTURB” sign that says “Turn around, walk away quietly and no one will get hurt”, put on the answering machine, unplug the internet, light up some incense and implement BISFOK – bum in seat, fingers on keyboard.
This routine helps on the days I find it hard to get going or I’m having a “my work is crap” day. On days like that it boils down to sheer bloody mindedness and relying on an established habit. Usually once I get into it, I’m right.

 What ultimately made you decide on writing as a career?

The wonderful Debbie Macomber was definitely a catalyst for my wanting to make writing a career. I heard her speak at a Romance Writers of Australia conference and she talked about goal setting – it was a huge “a-ha”moment for me.
Up until then I’d been serious but not career orientated about my writing. I was drifting and not actually setting tangible goals. I was waiting for “something to happen”, not “making it happen” myself. There’s a huge difference between the two.
But I also need to acknowledge two wonderful high school English teachers – Mrs Jackson & Miss Simmington. They encouraged and supported my fledgling attempts all the way through high school.

Do you have a writing mascot for your desk or perhaps a pet to warm your lap, rest your feet on? 
I have three writing mascots of the feline persuasion – Splat,  Pandamonium, and Furball. All take turns at keeping me company as I write during the day.
They even like to ‘help out’ by tromping across the keyboard – I strongly suspect though that they’re trying to tell me the food dish is empty or that it’s time to let them go outside! They also try to lap sit but three cats on one lap doesn’t always work.
Oh, and I recently added a gryphon statue to my desk – the official author mascot and overseer of my work space (and a convenient place for the cats to get a cheek rub from his beak, although I don’t think Gryph appreciates them doing that!).

I have to ask about your gorgeous dragon tattoo. Is it related to your writing in some way? And are you planning on more?

Ahh, the dragon tattoo! He is cool, eh? (nicknamed Bob by a friend because I haven’t thought of an appropriate one yet)  Is it related to my writing? You betcha!
Bob is my reward for achieving my goal of getting published – and milestones should be celebrated in style. Some people like to pop the cork on a fine bottle of wine, others go out for a meal at a fancy restaurant. I decided to get a tattoo.
People ask why I put Bob in such a prominent place (he’s takes up my whole right forearm) – I just can’t see the point of getting a tattoo only to cover it up or put it on a place on my body where I’d need a mirror to see it.
Will I get more? I think so, but it would have to be for something really special – like publishing 10 books, hitting the NYTimes best-seller list or winning a RITA or R*BY. Time will tell whether I achieve these milestones. J

Vengeance Born (released Feb 7th) is the first book of your Light Blade series. Can you tell us about it and the series in general?

VENGEANCE BORN is very much Annika’s story as you can see when you read the blurb.
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy.

With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons—and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council—and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war… 

When I first started playing with ideas for this series, I knew I wanted to make it (at a minimum) a trilogy. The scope of the external plot wasn’t going to fit in just one book.
While the series isn’t epic fantasy in its purest form, it does have similar elements. The world is entirely fictional, there are different races (not just humans), the plots employ typical themes such as a quest, a guiding deity, struggles against an opposing force, the threat of world domination, revenge and redemption, but readers also get to focus on a romance between main characters.
Without giving away any spoilers, in VENGEANCE BORN readers quickly learn the Na’Reish outnumber the humans, and that the human race is under threat of enslavement. Annika and the other Na’Chi prove to be the key to humanity’s survival, although no one realises it at the time, and it takes Kalan to engineer a change.
This change and some of the broader themes continue throughout ALLIANCE FORGED and Book #3 in the series, although we see them unfolding through other characters and their personal stories and romances. Readers will also get to learn more about each of the races in these stories.
So if readers like this sort of epic-style story with a good romance, some mystery and intrigue, and lots of action then the Light Blade series is one to try. J Each can be read as stand-alone romances but I’d recommend reading them in sequence for the full impact.

You’ve been blessed with gorgeous covers, did you have a say in any/all of them?

Thanks, Mel, I’m also thrilled with the book covers I’ve received. For so long I’d heard authors say ‘don’t expect too much input, if any, into the cover of your book’, so when my editor asked for my ideas to take to the first cover conference, I was ecstatic.
I put together a mini-portfolio of pivotal scenes, character descriptions, diagrams, photos of models, clothing, jewellery, weapons, scenery, and buildings. From theme my editor and the Berkley art department came up with a brief for the cover designer (btw, his name is Gene Mollica).
I was gob-smacked and awed when I saw the cover of VENGEANCE BORN. Her physical look, the expression/emotion on her face, the healers’ satchel - Gene had chosen a cover model who epitomised Annika (the heroine) and he’d nailed the landscape from a scene in the book.
This process was repeated with ALLIANCE FORGED, Book #2 in the series.

Any new books/series planned, or perhaps more Light Blade books in the works? (
With the Light Blade series, ALLIANCE FORGED, the second book is out in early July, so I’m at the tail end of the publishing process with it as I type.
And, all going  well, Book #3 (untitled) is scheduled for an early 2013 release. Both feature characters introduced in VENGEANCE BORN.
This trilogy will tie up some over-arching plot threads along with three romance stories, but there’s plenty of scope to incorporate other threads and extend the series beyond these books. Some more secondary characters are already demanding that their stories be told, so I hope I get the chance to tell them.
On the new manuscript/writing front I’m thinking of finishing off a sci-fi/space opera romance that I started just before I received ‘the call’ from Berkley back in late 2010…unless, of course, I’m contracted for more in the Light Blade series!

Advice to writers out there who are just starting out? (Aside from joining RWA, of course!)

Definitely join RWAustralia (or NZ or America) or barring that, find a great support group of other writers. A group you can meet face to face or online with regularly is vital.
As writers we spend enough time alone involved following our goals and dreams, and sometimes we do it without the understanding or support of those closest to us.
Getting a story written and your work published, in whatever form, is hard, hard work – it can take years to achieve, and there will be times when you need to celebrate the successes, vent, cry or scream with those who truly understand everything you’re going through.
A good writers group will be there for you. They’ll toast your successes, big and small; laugh with you when you make mistakes; they’ll let you wallow and sulk when those rejections or contest scoresheets come in; but they’ll also encourage you to keep going (sometimes with a smack upside the head J if you need it).

And finally, if you were to host a dinner for any five authors today, who would you invite?

Only 5???
Hmm, OK – Anne McCaffrey (she was such an inspiration to me as a young teen reader), Shakespeare (his tragedies are among my keeper collection), Nalini Singh (when I grow up I want to be just like her!), Debbie Macomber (she gave me one of my real first a-ha moments about getting serious with my writing) and Valerie Parv (my wonderful Jedi-mentor who helped me take that final step just before being published).
I’d definitely have a backyard BBQ – snags, fish, steak, salad with our drinks of choice. A great meal, great conversation and great company!

You can find Kylie at:

Pre-order her books:

Kylie is giving away a copy of Vengeance Born to one lucky commentator. Just answer this question: how do you celebrate personal milestones?
"Peopled with intriguing characters, the world of Vengeance Born is unique and filled with compelling mystery. I'm looking forward to seeing where Kylie Griffin takes that world next." – Nalini Singh, NYTimes best-selling author


C.T. Green said...

I'm lucky in that I've had a lot of fantastic milestones to celebrate. But the best have to be the birth of my children. I loved that quiet moment with just me and them - when everyone else had gone and I was able to reflect on the fact I've created two everyday miracles.

Great post Mel, Kylie and may there be many more milestones for you both!

Peta said...

Other than running and dancing around my house laughing or going "wooo-hoooo", I tend to celebrate by going out for a nice meal or sitting on the verandah with a nice glass of wine and a good book.

Congratulations Kylie.

Book Chatter Cath said...

I married into a large family who do everything including celebrate with food.

There always seems to be an event that requires EVERYONE to turn up at the MIL's house for a huge family meal. Whether its a roast or a bbq or just a special afternon tea, there's always family, funtimes, and food.

In fact all 3 of my girls are having birthdays (5,10 & 14)in the next month and so WE are hosting about 30 'close' family members for a weekend of fun and food!!!!

Thanks for the interview and another chance to snag a copy of VB :)

Eleni Konstantine said...

Kylie and Mel - great interview.

I just love the name, Bob, Kylie. I can hear Blackadder's voice saying it. LOL.

As for celebrating milestones - coming from a Greek family, well there's gotta be good food and drink and merriment around. Oh, that's every day? Well, it's gotta be on a grander scale then. :))


Christina Phillips said...

Great interview Kylie and Mel! LOL Eleni, I always think of Blackadder saying Bob, too!

My most recent milestone was sending off major revisions I'd been working on for 6 weeks. I celebrated by having two glasses of wine that night - yes I am one mad party girl that's for sure!!!

Mel Teshco said...

C.T - what a beautiful milestone - and I think one of the most precious ones that we sometimes don't even think to acknowledge (after all, being a parent is THE hardest accomplishment in the world)

Mel Teshco said...

Peta - a good book along with a fav glass of something bubbly - sounds wonderful!

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Cath! I have 3 girls too of even greater age spans apart lol!! (4,13 and 21) your family sounds wonderful.

Mel Teshco said...


sounds like your family should get together with Cath's family =)))

Mel Teshco said...

Christina - HUGE congrats!! This publishing gig sure isn't easy some days =)

Kylie Griffin said...

Ahh, Mel, I finally made it here - my apologies for being tardy but an unexpected medical emergency took me away from home - best laid plans and all that - LOL (for those who don't know I'm a volunteer ambo and we had a call out that took me away for 5hrs). All's well and now here I am!

Kylie Griffin said...

CTGreen - having children is indeed a momentous milestone - I take my hat off to all the mothers and parents out there. Thank you for the good wishes! :-)

Peta - A quiet glass of a favourite beverage and sit down with a book is something I would do. But this time around to celebrate VB coming out, I'm having a BBQ with a few friends!

Cath - meals are a great way to celebrate milestones. And nothing beats doing it with family and friends.
Also, kudos to you for following me around on tour, you're name has popped up time and again - thank you! :-) Good luck in the draw!

Eleni - I am now going to hear Blackadder's voice every time Bob's name comes up! LOL
I have a friend who's Loatian and it sounds like your Greek family gatherings are much like theirs - big and bigger!

Christina - woohoo on sending off those revisions! And there's nothing wrong with only a couple of glasses to celebrate - I don't drink a lot either. My fun comes from friends, family and the event we get together for, not the alcohol! :-)

Pippa Jay said...

I celebrate milestones with a special event or a treat. For instance, when I hit forty I went and fed lemurs at a zoo.

Kylie Griffin said...

Lemurs - how excellent is that! Now that's a special way to celebrate. Thanks for sharing Pippa!

Nicky Strickland said...

Of course Bob is said with the Blackadder in mind *touches nose* why else do you think it happened :-D

Celebrating milestones...hmmm. Like Eleni my background (Sicilian) tends to veer us towards food events. Pavlova, cake, cannoli...

I also have been known to a)be pierced & b)go on a silent retreat or retreat in silence at home as I absorb whatever the milestone was. I still oscillate over having a tattoo done (it is on the list & like you, must be a major one to have it happen).

So love VB's cover :)

Mel Teshco said...

Thanks for calling in Pippa and Nicky - some great milestones there though I think I'll forgo the tatt's for someone braver than me *g*

Kaye Manro said...

Hi Mel and Kylie! Great interview! What a wonderful time this is! Honestly I feel so excited for you, Kylie. And oh I so love the Vengeance cover! It just draws you in. Your tat is lovely. What a gift to yourself.

About me and milestones -- I dream of exploring other planets, does that count? LOL. Really, I usually celebrate by giving myself a gift, whatever I've been wanting at the time.

Congrats, Kylie. So much good luck with Vengeance and also Alliance too!!

Kylie Griffin said...

Nicky - I seem to remember you visiting over at another blog - thanks for tripping along with me! LOL

I'm in on the Sicilian food thing - love my food!

And thanks Nicky & Kaye, Vb's cover still catches me and I find myself staring at it on occasion.

Kaye, glad you liked the interview - Mel's questions were heaps of fun to answer. And yes you can dream of exploring planets - absolutely!!! Now wouldn't that be cool and a way to celebrate a milestone?!?!

Thanks for being so excited as well!

Kelly Ethan said...

My most important milestones are my boys. I had twins not so long ago and they were the result of a long battle with IVF. SO my celebrating was crying alot lol but for other milestones I love to take some time out. I treat myself to a quiet lunch and a trip to gold class to see my fav movie surrounded by comfy chair and yummy food. AND LOTS OF QUIET!!!

Can you tell I don't get that much time to myself ;p

Congrats on your release!!!

Kelly Ethan

Mel Teshco said...

Kaye exploring other planets would be AMAZING! love that idea =)

Kelly, that's beautiful - I'm so glad you got not only one beautiful baby - but two!!

Tyree Connor said...

Gosh - I'm chiming in a little bit late

Congrats Kylie - the day has finally arrived - giving birth to your first wasn't THAT HARD was it? ;0) I'm glad your sharing her with us.

I always celebrate but jumping up and down for a long time (no kidding - I don't seem to be able to stop once I get started and my girls jump with me)

Great blog, Mel - I'm now a follower - thanks for showcasing the new book for us!

Mel Teshco said...

Hey thanks for the follow Tyree - and I want what you have if you've got all that energy to jump around! LOL

And now I'm waiting patiently for the mailman to deliver Kylie's book... =))

Christina Phillips said...

lol, Kylie - 2 glasses of wine is huge for me. Another sip and I'd pass out in the corner!!!

Kylie Griffin said...

What a wonderful miracle your 2 boys are then, Kelly - but I get your need for some time out and quiet :-)

Hi Tyree, thanks for dropping by and woohoo now Mel has another follower!

Mel, there are a lot of wonderful people emailing me with the same comment - LOL. I'm blessed to have you all interested in reading VB.

I wish I could share those couple of glasses and a corner with you Christina, but tonight is a school night and I have a full day of teaching ahead tomorrow - one Bailey's will have to suffice. :-) Until Saturday, then I'm having a BBQ with friends & family here & I'm not driving so I can have a few!

Mel Teshco said...

Have three Christina tee hee!!

Jodie Riverina Romantics said...

Great interview Mel and Kylie. Loved it.

Kylie definitely has been blessed by the cover Gods! They are beautiful.

Congratulations on your release day Kylie, I hope it was everything you dreamed it would be.

Lexi said...

Oh I run home and tell my husband. Then he will usually cook (aka grill) supper for me in celebration. A great way to celebrate in my opinion =)

Congrats on the release! I hope it is successful, I know I am very excited to read your books.

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Jodi and Lexi =)

I must teach my husband how to grill...

Kylie Griffin said...

Hi, Jodi, the day was splendid, exhausting but incredible.

Hey, Lexi. Ahh, to have someone else cook is a great way to celebrate. I've been trying to teach my cats for nearly 7 years and they still can't quite get the hang of it. :-) I hope you enjoy reading VENGEANCE BORN.

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