I’m hosting an interview with Willow Rose, author of the Daughters of the Jaguar series today.
1) When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I think I always wanted to be a writer. I have always told stories. I remember telling stories to my friends as a child in school and making them forget that they had to go out and play for recess. Even my teacher would listen in and he told me to keep it up and to write them down. I wrote several notebooks filled with stories that he read. He encouraged me a lot. I went on to become a journalist and wrote my first novel when I was 28. It was published by one of the big Danish publishing houses.
2) What inspired ‘Savage’ and the Daughters of the Jaguar series in general?
I get that question a lot and it is so hard to answer in just a few sentences. Because where do inspiration come from? I for one have no idea. I get it from everything and everyone around me. From people I meet, from articles I read and movies I watch. For me a book starts with the characters. The characters and their story come to me. I like to say that they “pop up” in my head. That is the best way I can describe it. The characters are just there all of a sudden with their backgrounds and problems and then they start to do stuff and talk to other people and soon there is a whole story that I simply have to tell or else I will burst. The main character Christian in Savage is somewhat inspired by my husband. Back in ’83 when he was 19 years old he was sent to Florida by his parents to live with a very wealthy family just like Christian in Savage. My husband’s experiences coming from a small country Denmark to the big USA in the 80’ies are very similar to those of Christian, yet they do not share backgrounds. Christian has lost his mother in a young age and that has had a huge impact on who he is and why he acts the way he does. He matures a lot throughout the book and love changes him from being a selfish self-centered boy into a young man.
3) What is your writing process like, from draft to finishing stages?
A long time can go by from I get the idea till I start writing. I first had the idea for Aiyana – the female main character in Savage – more than a year ago. I saw her and her family for me in their big old house. I was in the middle of writing another series back then so I never thought more about it. But they wouldn’t go away and after a few months I knew I had to start writing down my ideas. So I did. A year after I had started thinking about them for the first time I had the entire story for at least three books ready and then I began writing it. When I write I create a draft in like five-six weeks. Then I go through it several times correcting and editing it. Then I mail it to my editor and she goes through it again. Lastly I read it all through again before I publish it.
4) Who is your favorite character to write about in ‘Savage’ and why?
The female characters that Christian meets in the haunting house next door are my favorites in this book. They are so innocent and childlike yet very wise and magical. I like to say that they are inspired by my daughters and I have also dedicated the book to them. I have two young girls of four and six years and then I have a wonderful step-daughter who is twenty-three. Those three combined makes this world a magical place. As does the female characters in Savage. I simply adore them and I know everybody else will too. They are so lovable. I have a hard time letting go of them and think I will write many books about them. First of all I will write three books about the main character Christian and his great love Aiyana. It is sort of a family-saga really. In the first book he is in his twenties and so is she. In the second book they have kids of their own and are in their thirties with all the problems and seriousness that comes with being that age. In the last book they will have young teenagers and face completely new challenges. I am also planning on doing a book about Aiyana, the magic spirit-filled Native American girl that he falls hopelessly in love with. About her and when she first discovers who and what she really is. I might also do a book about her sister who does telekinesis and their grand-mother who predicts natural disasters. I love those characters so much that they each deserve their own book.
5) Why did you decide to write in the paranormal romance genre?
Because it has everything. I used to write mystery novels in Danish so when I started writing in English I wrote another mystery novel. But I wanted to use my imagination and you can’t do that as much when you’re writing mystery-novels since they have to be so realistic. So I wrote a fantasy novel but still something was missing. I needed some romance. So I wrote a paranormal romance series called Afterlife and now I felt like I was getting somewhere. The combination of fantasy and romance is wonderful and absolutely perfect for me.
6) If you could bring three books with you to a deserted island, which ones would you pick?
The Neverending story by Michael Ende, House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende and The Witching Hour by Anne Rice. That should keep me occupied until help arrives.
7) What writing advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write, write and write. Never stop. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. And don’t take reviews personally. Not everybody is going to like what you write.
The year is 1983. Christian is 22 years old when he leaves his home in Denmark to spend a year in Florida with a very wealthy family and go to med-school. A joyful night out with friends is shattered by an encounter with a savage predator that changes his life forever. Soon he faces challenges he had never expected. A supernatural gift he has no idea how to embrace. A haunting family in the house next door. A spirit-filled girl who seems to carry all the answers. An ancient secret hidden in the swamps of Florida. One life never the same. One love that becomes an obsession. Two destinies that will be forever entangled.
Savage is a paranormal romance with some language, violence, and sexual situations recommended for ages sixteen and up. It is the first in a family saga that covers three decades of the character’s lives. The sequel is expected to be published in September 2012.
Willow Rose writes Paranormal Romance, fantasy and mystery. Originally from Denmark she now lives on Florida’s Space Coast with her husband and two daughters. She is a huge fan of Anne Rice and Isabel Allende. When she is not writing or reading she enjoys to watch the dolphins play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.