The Literary Vixen presents…
Joining us today is D.L. Boyles! Author of the Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses.
What inspired you to start writing?
Honestly, I have always enjoyed writing, and anyone who knows me will agree that I’ve always liked to tell stories or even just retell events with a bit of extra-ness. I have had a lot of friends over the years tell me I should write a book, but I blew them off. Then, when our daughter, kid number three of four, started having bad nightmares, her counselor told me we should turn them into stories and change the ending. Suddenly, I found myself creating these elaborate retellings of her nightmares which could have absolutely been fairytales of their own. When I had a whole collection of stories, I wrote them down and used pictures of our kids as “illustrations” for a homemade storybook. My oldest daughter said I should turn some of the stories into an actual story for other people to read. It was a good idea, but I had no idea how to go about that. The idea kept rolling around in my head, though. Finally, my grandma was sick and we knew she didn’t have much time left. For most of my life, my grandma sang her praises of my ability to write, and I thought, “I need to do it while she’s around to know.” Thus, I reached out to an author I admire greatly for some advice, researched more on my own, and I sat down one day and started writing. I had my first book published in time for my grandma to at least know and tell me how “tickled” she was that I’d done it. Sadly, she didn’t get a chance to read it, but I will never forget the little squeal she had when I told her it was a tangible thing. Now, my husband inspires me to keep going, so I am continuing to write.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t start with an outline. Instead, I just start telling my story to my kids during van rides, and I decide that it is either way too ridiculous to be any good, or I come home and write it out on a legal notepad, scribbling and crossing out things as I go. Most of it is me writing down questions like, “Why would he do that?” “This is not smart.” “Confusing.” “Ugh.” Then, I sit on my exercise bike and really hash it out. By the time I’ve ‘ridden’ fifteen miles, my thighs are a little tight, but I’ve got the basics for a decent scene in a story. Just one scene. Then…Yes, then, I make an outline. It is a bit backwards, and I’m sure it may not work for everyone, but in my mind, it’s the only way to begin. Also…I must have coconut water or water—or both—and a glass of hot tea in order to sit at my computer and feel ready to be productive.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
Well, in my Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses series, I was dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, and I really took it out on my characters. I figured if real life wasn’t going to give me that final saving grace which made everything turn out perfectly fine, my fantasy characters needed to have a bit of turmoil even they couldn’t get out of. I put Eira through the emotional ringer, for sure, and she lived out as much of my emotions as I did hers. Some of my readers have cried over the series while others said they saw it coming. My editor, Lisa, refused to speak to me for about a day because I made her ‘ugly cry.’ To let out my emotions, I listened to music while I was doing my final edits, and I found myself feeling. To this day, “A Little Bit Yours” by J.P. Saxe makes me think of Phillip and Eira. They have a whole playlist, to be honest. So, I poured my emotions into my book, its characters, and had a bit of an outlet through music which went along with it. Sometimes I tell the cat just how ridiculous things are, to which she replies with lots of purring, or I have to take my mutt for a walk to get any residual emotional moments out.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have four books published so far. One trilogy is complete and the second is in the works. Honestly, my favorite is the second book of the series, Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses, titled “Broken Curse.” It is my favorite because of The Wilds, Balthoron, and Lord Colden. Balthoron and Lord Colden are two of my favorite characters in the series, but Balthoron is my fave just because he is a drow and that’s a fantasy race which doesn’t get a lot of attention in romantic fantasy. His personality is so different from mine, I am still shocked by how he evolved from my own brain. When I reread the book, I couldn’t help be impressed with him…and, by default, me, which is something I have posted on my website…lol
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Oh, I definitely have to give some credit to a few authors, honestly, and they’re a surprising list. First, I delved into the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon long before Sam Heughan brought Jamie Fraser to life. While I would never put myself on par with the literary genius of Diana Gabaldon, her dedication to perfecting the story has always inspired me. I’m also a serious fan of Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins) and Jack London (Call of the Wild) who took realistic events and turned them into fiction. During college, I was studying mythology, and the book World Mythology by Donna Rosenberg introduced me to a world of myths and legends I hadn’t experienced before. Those works have inspired me to look at the reality of life and consider how those realities could translate into a story or to even consider how people with limited technology could seek to form answers within the confines of their own understanding. Blows my mind. Then, one day, I found a book by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison with a map—which I’m a sucker for—and they drew me more firmly into Romantic Fantasy, and I’ve been a fan ever since. While I’m more in line with fae and magic wielders than they are, they were still a huge influence on me, and Robin was the author I reached out to when I started considering my options for writing. Sylvia Mercedes rocks my world. I don’t know how that woman cranks books out the way she does, but man, I’d like to drink from whatever well she’s drawing from.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I love when the readers post things on my Facebook page like pictures of their copy of my book with comments about how much they’re liking it. The fact they took the time to not only comment but to take an artsy, pretty picture makes me feel amazing. Some readers send me private messages and want to talk about specifics of the characters which is super fun for me. Those characters took up residency in my brain for a long time and still live on in my head, so I am all in when it comes to talking about them with readers. I also have a few local fans who I see periodically, and when I do, I get really amped up by their excitement to tell people about me and my books. Literally, my face gets stuck in a permanent grin that actually starts to hurt. Some of my favorite comments, though, are from people who say they didn’t consider my genre as something they wanted to read, but that they really enjoyed my book and couldn’t stop reading the series. To know that I impacted them in such a way that they were able to enjoy something they had reservations about, makes me feel like I did it right in the storytelling arena. I love interacting with my readers, and I ask my readers questions and for their input on my Facebook author page. In the series I am currently writing, I had a lot of readers who gave me ideas for a character name. I was only looking for one name, but I got so much feedback, I felt I had to utilize it all. Thus, in the Twisted Tales: Kingdom of Stones series, I am putting every single one of those name suggestions into the books. Whether it be the name of a trusty steed, a main character, or a simple soldier, it went into the series somewhere. I want my readers to know that I appreciate them and their interaction with me, so I felt it was important to utilize all of their name suggestions. I even gave them a shout-out in the first book of the series’ dedication page. Some of them really thought that was cool.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
Literal book? There isn’t just one. Diana Gabladon’s Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone is sitting there next to the bed along with Joy: A Study of Philippians by Deb Burma and A House with Four Rooms by Rumer Godden. However, I’m on my Kindle app so much that I don’t get very many hardcopy books anymore. I am addicted to huffing books, though, like a deranged junkie, so don’t think I’ve gone too tech and won’t go back to the good stuff. My current read via Kindle is Lisette Marshall’s Velvet, and I just finished up reading an ARC for Meredith Hart’s Heart’s Rescue. Meredith Hart is another one of my faves who inspires me to try a little bit harder.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
Oh, wow. That would be so fun. Beyond fun, really, and I honestly picture the story in my head as a movie, so…here goes. Eira, the lead female in the Crown of Roses series is spunky, powerful, humble, and a bit sad. I’d cast the role with Sophia Bush who could definitely put some power behind it with that extra touch of emotionally detached feminism. Audora is a very young, pampered princess who discovers life in a harsh way, and I’d peg Halston Sage as someone who could pull it off rather well. The three male leads are a bit more challenging. I’d pick Chris Wood (Vampire Diaries) as Prince Phillip just because he has that overall look of a polished royal with a potential dark side. Patrick Flueger could definitely pull of the cocky but reserved Lord Colden. Balthoron would be a hard one for me because I’d be really picky about who portrayed him. If I had to narrow it down, though, Henry Cavill or Christian Bale could pull the look off rather well. To be honest, however, I’m certain there’s a not-so-well-known male actor out there who could bring Balthoron to life better. Maybe more people will have to read the books and let me know what they think.
What advice would you give to other authors?
To other authors? Wow. I feel like so many authors are out there doing better than me, so I have very little advice for them, and I’d be afraid to sound full of myself if I tried. For those new authors, though, or the aspiring ones, I would say…write it down. That scene, that moment, that interaction between characters that you’ve been picturing for days, weeks, months, years…write it down. And don’t just outline it, but actually write it and give life to the characters who live it. Then, build your story around that moment, because when you realize that your characters are ‘real,’ you can much more easily picture who they are, how they got to that moment you wrote about, and how they’re going to move past it.
What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?
I have no qualms telling people things outright, but I don’t usually tell them my honest, deep-down feelings unless they very specifically ask. I’m a broken, emotionally withdrawn person, so when I write, it is my way of expressing my softer, more vulnerable emotions. In real life, I don’t share that side of me easily. So, the thing I want people to know about my books is that when I write, I put self-expression into characters or into the overall story, because it is something I’ve never told someone before but wish they knew. When readers open one of my books, they’re getting some secret part of me that I’ve never spoken outright, but each person will be left to discover something different than the next. Thus, I enjoy writing and get personal satisfaction out of being ‘understood’ when someone notices little nuances here or there or when they look deeper at a character and what that character didn’t do or say. Readers will find me in each book, a new something about me even in the tropes and common threads.
Thank you D.L. Boyles for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her series, Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses today!
A sleeping princess, the Crown of Roses upon her head, will rise up and unite the faerie courts against a common foe, and by her side, the warrior of renown…And in her wake…a child of fire and of ice will rise, spelling the end of all others. All of Shadoria will bow to the child of fire and of ice, living peaceably for ten thousand years.
That’s what the legends say.
But what happens when no one remembers the legend?
Outcast and cursed from even uttering her own name, Snow flees her kingdom and The Hunter sent to kill her, to find refuge amongst the mountain dwarfs. She spends years forming a plan to save her kingdom from the curse the evil queen, Isadora, has plagued them with–one which makes them forget the truth. Yet, The Hunter who once pursued her finds her again and thwarts all of her well-laid plans…until she develops a new plan which involves kidnapping the prince of the Summer Court. What Snow didn’t expect, however, was that the prince she intended to kidnap is The Hunter she was trying to avoid…or was she?
Oblivious to the danger she lives with, Audora believes her human life as the princess of Wessix to be idyllic if not for that ridiculous curse the fae prince, Malecinth of the Autumn Court, placed upon her when she was a baby. Thankfully, Merriweather had enough power to at least give her some hope – true love’s kiss could break the spell. Except that means that her mother continually throws parties and thrusts every eligible bachelor within the Human Kingdoms in her direction. When that fails to reveal Audora’s true love, Queen Isadora schemes with the fae, but Isadora has her own plans for finding true love. Thwarted by her mother’s plans to secure true love’s kiss in an ‘acceptable’ match, Audora loses her chance at love and faces a betrayal she never saw coming…and the reality of her curse in endless sleep.Snow White wasn’t helpless against The Hunter and Sleeping Beauty was never meant to be a sleeping princess waiting for the handsome prince in shining armor to come along.
You’ve heard the stories of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, destined to fall asleep and never wake until they received true love’s kiss.
What you didn’t know was that their stories were intertwined and their fates bound together – and their princes were not so shiny, their kisses not so sweet.
D.L. Boyles lives in the Cranberry Capital of the Midwest with her husband, three of their four children (their oldest being a wife and mom, herself), six fish, two fully aquatic frogs, the fastest aquatic snail there ever was, and a cat-dog duo. She spent twelve years in the military where she met a lot of exciting people and visited a lot of interesting places. D. L. holds a degree in Religious Studies with a minor in History. In addition to writing, some of her favorite things are hot tea, coconut water, gardening, taking long walks in nature, planting trees, entertaining friends in her back yard when it isn’t buried in snow or ice, creating fun projects for her husband and son to build (they love that), learning about different cultures, and going on endless reading adventures.
She loves romantic fantasy which is why she writes it, but she also has an ongoing relationship with historical fiction, Westerns, regency romance, medieval fiction, and some contemporary romance. One of her most rewarding things about writing is hearing from readers, so never hesitate to reach out.
Check out the D.L. Boyles Author Website www.dlboylesauthor.com where you can sign up for the monthly newsletter.
Readers can hang out with D. L. Boyles on Facebook on the D.L. Boyles – Author Page www.facebook.com/groups/1404384686572534