Purchase on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Shadow-Talbot-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00DYCH64Y
Tori L. Ridgewood’s new book Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, published by Melange Books, was released on June 20, 2013.
After a series of misadventures including being accused of attempted murder in high school, Rayvin Woods, a photographer and natural witch, left her hometown of Talbot in Northeastern Ontario, hoping to start her life over and never return. Ten years later, circumstances force her back to face her past and her former crush Grant Michaels.
Malcolm de Sade, a cunning vampire, escapes from an underground prison looking for vengeance. His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town. Rayvin’s power is all that stands between de Sade and his domination of Talbot, and beyond.
Grant Michaels, a police officer, thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger… but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?
Rayvin didn’t count on rekindling a lost love or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life when she came home to Talbot. Facing the past can be a nightmare… It’s worse when a vampire is stalking you.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I currently live and work in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada, about eight hours north of Toronto. But when people ask me where I am from, I feel like the answer is complicated, because my father was a police officer and my family moved to a new town every few years, following his promotions.
My day job (which often includes a lot of work at night, after I get home) is teaching at a local high school. I write under a pseudonym to help me separate my mundane life from my writing life. I’m also a mom of two, I’ve been married for seventeen years to a man I met at a Star Trek fan club, and I’m 6’1.5” tall.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I was on parental leave after the birth of my second child, and I saw it as a good opportunity to write my first book. I’d always wanted to publish a novel of my own. Little did I know it would take me seven years to complete and release… But the original idea came from thinking about a street collapse in a former mining town I had lived near when I was an adolescent. The street had fallen because an old mine shaft underneath it had deteriorated. I started to wonder — what if there was more involved than simply rotting pilings? What if there had been a creature trapped underground who’d finally been released? And given my love of all things paranormal, the next logical step was to determine the kind of creature it might be: a vampire. I began exploring how it had been trapped, who was responsible, and the consequences of its release. I think I started four or five different drafts or explanations before I was able to find the combination of ideas that really worked for me.
How do you create your characters?
I start by thinking about the antagonist, what he or she has done, and how the nefarious plan was stopped or put on hold. Or the conflict being established. And then I draw on characteristics within myself that I’m curious about, as well as individuals I know or have known in my life to begin my list of main and supporting characters. I’ve also developed characters based on my favourites from other books and films, either as an homage to those I really enjoy or a response to those I question.
In Wind and Shadow, Rayvin Woods, for example, has turned out to be somewhat similar in personality to the succubus Bo on Lost Girl, though I started writing her well before that series began. But when I began writing about Rayvin, it felt like I was exploring the “tough chick” aspects within myself. Grant Michaels, the hero in W&S, is inspired by my husband. So I try to follow the old advice of writing what I know.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I get inspired by asking myself “what if” at the strangest times. Sometimes, I get to wondering how things might have turned out (in real life and in fiction by others) if different choices had been made by those involved. Much of what I have written in The Talbot Trilogy is my response to Twilight, for example — Rayvin is facing problems that are similar to Bella’s, particularly in Book 2 (still in revisions at the time of this interview), but Rayvin’s decisions are different.
I always wanted to be a professional writer, as well as a teacher, an actress, and at one point, a classical musician. I was always telling stories or, when I was able to print and then write, recording them. My paternal grandmother always read them and encouraged me to save everything, telling me that one day I would be published. But it wasn’t until I completed most of my school’s yearbook a few years ago that I felt confident that I could finish writing my own novel and have it accepted by a publisher.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I prefer writing outside in my backyard, or well after dark in my living room, when it’s quiet (e.g., few or no interruptions to pull me out of the story). I listen to music, picking songs that complement the tone or mood of the scene, which has led me to create playlists for my writing. I enjoy a good cup of tea while I’m working, or a diet pop, and having a snack nearby.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
That “what-if” question is so important — it opens up all kinds of possibilities for exploring. I get ideas by talking to people, by looking at the world through the eyes of different (possible) characters, and considering options. If a character has come to a crossroads in the plot, and I’m not sure what should happen next, I have him or her think about potential choices for me. I find that the character will then make the decision for me.
What do you like to read?
I enjoy many, many genres and authors — everything from period romances and YA fiction, to horror and science fiction / fantasy. L.M. Montgomery has been a favourite of mine since I was a child, but I first fell in love with Stephen King when I was an adolescent and picked up a copy of Salem’s Lot.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Don’t give up. Try to write every day, if you can. Talk to other writers, building a support network — it’s very helpful to talk to others who are experiencing the same highs and lows of the process. And write what you love. Chances are, if you’re enjoying what you’re creating, someone else out there will too. But be prepared to work after the first draft is complete. It’s never perfect the first time.
Anything else you’d like to share?
During a period of writer’s block on Wind and Shadow, I wrote a prequel novella to help myself find answers to questions about how my vampire was trapped, and why he had come to the small town of Talbot in the first place. That novella, titled “Mist and Midnight” was released in 2011 as part of the Midnight Thirsts anthology (Melange Books). It’s a stand-alone piece, but it’s a terrific companion to the Talbot Trilogy.
I also wrote a short story called “A Living Specimen” for the anthology Midnight Thirsts II (Melange Books, 2012), about a vampire hunter who finds herself in a very complicated situation. The society for which she works is part of the Talbot Trilogy universe as well. It’s looking more and more like that imaginary ’verse wants to expand on me into more stories, and I am happy to oblige!
Finally, I’m hoping that the second book of the Talbot Trilogy, Blood and Fire, will be released by the end of the year, or possibly this fall. I encourage readers to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog, Romance and Other Dangers, for updates.
Thanks for having me!
Be sure to comment to win a copy of either the print or ebook!
Thanks so much for having me on my blog!
Whoops — I meant YOUR blog, tee-hee!
All my best!
No problem! You’re welcome! Great to have you!
Really great questions! Loved reading this interview.