April 1, 2013

Guest Post and GIVEAWAY with author Kylie Griffin

It is with immense pleasure - and much fangirl squeeing - that I welcome author Kylie Griffin to My Book Chatter with an insight into her characters and storyline for Allegiance Sworn (Light Blade #3) which releases today - Happy Release Day Kylie!!

When Characters Take Over…
One of the most exiting things about writing is creating true to life characters that readers can relate to or barrack for.
As an author, discovering who the hero and heroine are, what makes them tick, their individual histories, the people who influence them, the events that shape them – it’s all a fascinating part of the process.
Once all this information is sorted, we live with them in our heads 24/7 for as long as it takes us to write the book. We worry about them, we share the lows and highs and shocking experiences and we go through the same emotions as them when something happens to them. In essence, they’re just like real people to us.
On the flip side though (cue evil laugh and much hand rubbing), it’s a well-known fact authors like to torture their characters, so it probably comes as no surprise to hear that we like to devise obstacles and hurdles for them to deal with – setbacks, challenges, events that rock their world and force them to take action they normally would avoid or never contemplate. We love pushing them down dark, mysterious pathways and throwing them into unusual or awkward situations just to see how they’ll react under pressure.
But what happens when characters won’t cooperate? When they protest or utterly refuse to cooperate and take the twists and turns you envisage for them?
Well, that happened to me in Allegiance Sworn. (Did you know characters also like to torture their authors – a little known fact!)
Imhara and Arek, my heroine and hero in Allegiance Sworn, put up a hullabaloo over the plot I’d semi-planned (I’m not a strict plotter, more like a scener – I know where to start, where to finish and some of the points in between but no idea which scenes will come in what order).
Without giving away any details or spoilers, in Allegiance Sworn I saw certain events happening with and to the characters. I imagined particular conflicts – good, bad and ugly. There were fight scenes and even the death of a major character scheduled. I thought I had it all worked out and diligently set to writing those scenes.
But as I wove various plot threads together, and the story of Arek and Imhara progressed, I discovered BOTH of them becoming harder to write, certain scenes started to stall.
When this happens the first thing I suspected was that I’m wrote it from the wrong character’s perspective.
So, thinking I had a point of view issue, I switched to the other character in the hope the writing would flow again.
The writing ground to a halt.
Next, I tried reordering certain scenes.
Nope, that didn’t work.
Perhaps it was a decision, an action I had them making too soon. I came at the scene from another angle.
Failure. Again.
No matter how much I wanted Arek and Imhara to go where I wanted them to, the scenes, their dialogue, their actions, the revelations I wanted to hint at, or uncover or confront, the action I saw taking place fell flat.
Arek & Imhara point blank refused to walk the path I wanted them to take.
With this particular story thread (which I can’t reveal because it’s a major spoiler – let’s just say it has HUGE ramifications to not only Arek & Imhara’s story but the external plot that drives the over arching conflict of the series), writing stopped for almost two weeks as I tried to figure out the reason why.
Two weeks!
A lot of time wasted when I could have been writing and finishing off the story. It frustrated and worried me but when the “ah-ha” moment came I couldn’t believe how logical and true the reason ended up being.
Turns out I was trying to force a scenario that would have given the story a too easy solution, too convenient an ending to the thread I was trying to tell. To tie it up the way I wanted it would cheat Arek and Imhara of a more appropriate resolution, one more satisfying for them personally and of greater significance to them as a couple than as two people bent on revenge (*hint, hint, wink, wink as to the particular story thread for those who know the series*).
Robbing the characters of conflict also meant swindling readers out of the emotional roller coaster ride that comes with conflict.
Did I resolve the problem? Yes, but not in the way I imagined. Arek and Imhara were right to put up a protest and even though inside my head I was screaming, “Nooooooooooo! I want X to happen in the story – you’ve got to make that happen!” I ignored that voice, listened to my characters, and wrote the thread they suggested.
Did the story thread have a “happily ever after”?
Depends on your point of view. Happily ever after’s do occur but sometimes not in the way we anticipate or expect and this was definitely the case for Arek, Imhara and me.
Amazing things happen when you let characters take over the story…I just hope when you read Allegiance Sworn that you’ll understand why certain things did or didn’t occur. And I’ll be anxiously biting my fingernails, and curious to know if their story met your expectations.
I’ll be wondering whether you were able to predict the twists and turns or if you were led down that dark, mysterious pathway along with Arek and Imhara and just as surprised by what happened as they were.

As a reader I’ve sometimes started reading a book with certain expectations of how I think the plot is going to go or what the characters are going to do, and then been totally surprised by the story the author has written. Had this ever happened to you? Perhaps you have an opinion on reader expectations?

If you share your thoughts on either of these questions (and leave an email address so we can contact you!) I’ll put your name into a hat to win a signed copy of either my new release ALLEGIANCE SWORN (#3 Light Blade) or VENGEANCE BORN (#1 Light Blade).

Thank you for sharing some of your Allegiance Sworn secrets with us Kylie, and a HUGE thank you for the awesome GIVEAWAY too!
So what are you waiting for?
Leave a comment with your answer and email address at the bottom of this post, answering Kylie's question and you're in the draw - simple!

Giveaway is international and will run until April 13th :)

Author Bio:
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 www.kyliegriffin.com     


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 a 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 a civil war...

You can read my review of Vengeance Born here

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…
Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.

Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.

When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart the war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human—is an alliance. However when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves...

You can read my review of Alliance Forged here

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a demon leader seeks to unify the races…

With the alliance of the humans and the half-blood Na’Chi forged, the demon Na’Reish prepare for war by seizing human blood-slaves. Captured during a rescue mission-gone-wrong, Light Blade warrior Arek Barial finds himself claimed by a Na’Reishi female who offers him an unexpected choice.

Raised in the elite ranks of a society she abhors, Imhara Kaal lives a dangerous double life as a Na’Reish Clan-leader and an advocate for a caste-free life that honors the Old Ways. Openly rebelling against the Na’Reish would mean her death, unless she can find an emissary willing to present her petition to the human Blade council.

But Arek isn’t about to blindly follow a demon—despite the intense attraction growing between them. And while hatred for the Na’Reish is all he has ever known, Arek must learn to trust Imhara, or risk the destruction of all three races…

You can read my review of Allegiance Sworn here

Author Links


  1. Happy Release Day Kylie <3

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog today, and sharing with the readers the struggles you faced, dealing with strong-willed characters!

    You totally surprised me with Allegiance Sworn, that's for sure - what a ride!!

    Thanks again and I hope you have a fantabulous Release Day <3

  2. Thank you for sharing this treat of a tidbit with us today, it will make the reading of Allegiance Sworn all the sweeter. I love it when I am so sure that I know what is going to happen and I am totally surprised. Even those times when a turn is taken that I really would never want (i.e. favorite character dies,etc) it always adds to the story and future for the world I am visiting. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this treat.

  3. Whoo Hoo I am so excited about this release can't wait to read the book.

    I often read books where I have an idea on how things are going to turn out and then it doesen't and I love it. I love falling into a book and being taken away I am happy to go with the author because the stories are so good.

    Congrats Kylie

    Have Fun

  4. I just thought (before my alter ego heads off to work) I'd pop in and say hi to everyone! Great to see you all here!!!

    I'll be back this evening to comment or answer any questions you might have.

  5. I loved this little insight, Kylie! I thought I would be mad with the way the story ended up, but now that I've read it again (yes, I couldn't help myself) I'm am so totally satisfied with it that I would have been mad if it had gone the other way. What Arek and Imhara wanted was certainly the best choice.

    Amanda of Mrs. Clare's Books

  6. Congrats Kylie on the release of Allegiance Sworn. Can't wait to read it! The only time I'm upset/surprised the way a story turns out is when either the hero/heroine is killed! I must have my HEA. Been majorly upset reading some really good books where the hero died at the end. *anguished* I cried buckets!


  7. Cath - it's great to know I took you on a roller coaster of a ride with Allegiance Sworn. Now that's what I love to hear! :-)

    Denise Z - Here's hoping I can surprise you with some twists and turns in AS. As to whether either H/H die in AS...well, I hope your nails are long, 'cause I think you might be biting them sometime when reading the story! :-D

    Helen - there's something magical about being transported away by a story, isn't there? And I LOVE ones that I'm not able to predict where they're going! Thanks for dropping in.

    Amanda - Wow, you've already read Allegiance Sworn twice? *wiping brow* So good to hear you understood the decisions Arek & Imhara made and liked the way the story turned out. (trying not to give away any spoilers here) Like I said, certain characters had their say on how they saw the events panning out and it makes for a great excuse to write the next book!

    Linda - Thanks! It's been an exciting day (even if I've had to be at work). Allegiance Sworn has a HEA - it's a romance so it HAS to have one - but it may not be the one you're expecting! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!!!

  8. Congratulations on the new release, Kylie! I love it when a book's plotline surprises me even more than I expect... so particularly looking forward to reading Allegiance Sworn now!!!

  9. Hi Cheryse, fingers crossed you like the twist I threw in then! LOL Thanks for dropping by and helping me celebrate the release of AS!

  10. Hi. I will admit I have not read any books that you have written--YET :-)

    as for the question on topic today--I have tried to not set expectations with books but lately I find that I want the heroine to be in love/fall in love with one character but the writer had the character fall in love with someone I didnt think lived up to the expectations that I had. OR the writer has written a story to be such a way when I know I saw the characters going another way. Case in Point. Lora Leigh "Breed Series"--several characters that I felt should have ended up mated together ended up with different mates. yes I was alittle disappointed but I know there is a method to the madness going on :-)


  11. My gosh! I love the covers/book descriptions! The books sound fabulous!

    That has definitely happened to me before. The last book I read for review featured a love triangle. Come to find out that one of the guys turns out to be a bad guy that turns good at the last second. You totally expect her to end up with the first guy, good guy all around, but she winds up choosing the second guy! Wow! I don't ever remember that happening! I don't mind though. I love the suspense and unexpected twists! Keeps reading interesting!


  12. I expect an HEA in one book, so this only happens when the author decides to end the book on a cliffhanger.

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  13. aprilrenee76 - Yes, I know what you mean by our expectations as readers and about mismatched couples.
    I experienced that with Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series with a couple of characters.
    Yes, sometimes there can be a method to the madness - an overarching storyline that dictates why the characters went in one direction and not another.
    But are the good pairing just gold? It's awesome when you connect with both the hero and heroine and live the story with them!

  14. Kristina - the heroine falling for the good ol'bad boy! Ahh, redemption for him! I like that sort of story.
    And there's nothing like not seeing it coming!

  15. bn100 - How do you feel if the H/H have a HEA but the external plot ends with a bit of cliffhanger?

  16. I have yet to read Kylies books but must. I have to say as a reader I like Unpredictable .. I like to think something may happen and it doesnt. I dont like to read a book that is way to predictable. Happy release day Kylie.


  17. Hi Katrina! Way too predictable is boring, for sure. Takes all the impact and excitement out of a story. Thanks for dropping by and contributing to the discussion. :-)

  18. I love being surprised by where the book and characters lead me. And although books can be good even if we know where the plot is taking us (I just finished one like that), there is a bit more satisfaction when reading a book that turns out differently. It's kind of like the punchline of a joke .. it just works better when it is unexpected.
    I think writers often get surprised when their characters take over. Michele Poague said she had to kill off a character because she just wouldn't do what Michele needed her to do!

  19. Oh, forgot to leave my email:

  20. You're right, Sunday, a good read is a good read but it's even better when something unexpected twists the story. LOL

  21. I prefer to be surprised by authors. I consider myself an astute and perceptive reader, so usually, I'm not too surprised by much. I love it when authors throw a curveball - it keeps me on my toes as a reader.

    Thank you for the post and giveaway! Best wishes, Kyle! I lour Light Blade books, and would love to add Book 3 to my signed collection :)

    lilleetleet AT verizon DOT net

  22. Hi Alyssa, here's luck for the giveaway! When you read AS I hope it has enough intrigue to surprise you - :-)

  23. I often read books where something totally unexpected and out of left field is thrown at me, it really makes it more exciting to see how the characters handle this new dilemma/problem and what their reactions are. It's also refreshing in a sense so that the story isn't predictable. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  24. What a great interview! I really enjoyed - well done to both of you! The covers of the books are great too. I enjoy when the plot is not what I expected (most of the time) and especially with the twists and turns.

    Good luck with your book release.

    Alon Shalev

  25. Well, occasionally, I find myself thinking "this and this are going to happen". If the author succesfully pulls off something completely different than what I imagined, I know that I'm reading a great book. After all, I don't read to discover what I already know, I read to discover something new :)

  26. love all your books
    i love to think i know what will happen in a book and then when something completly unexpected happens, thatr even better and makes me love the book even more
    congrats on your release kylie

  27. I can't believe I haven't seen these before, they sound amazing!
    Thanks for the giveaway :) I'm now dying to read them.

  28. The unexpected, and something out of left field seems to be the consensus. LOL

    Amanda, it's my pleasure to offer a giveaway to one of My Book Chatter's readers.

    Alon, the cover artist for the series so far is a man by the name of Gene Mollica. He took the Berkley art dept. ideas and mine and created awesome covers. There's so much subtle detail in them, things from the suggestions or ideas we sent him. I'm in awe of his talent.

  29. "After all, I don't read to discover what I already know, I read to discover something new :)"

    True, Koll, so very true! I love a story that sucks you right in and you forget where and when you are. When you look up it takes you a few minutes to realise what is reality. Damn good book if it can do that.

  30. Thanks, Alice! :-) For enjoying the series and following the blog tour - good luck in the draw!

  31. Hi Erin, it's great o discover a new author isn't it? There are excerpts of each book on my website if you're interested (www.kyliegriffin.com/Books.html)

  32. Great question! In general, I like it for the journey to be a bit surprising, but I like to be certain of the destination. That's why I love reading romance--I want my HEA, but how we get there? I'm open! And I love it when authors surprise me a little. Sometimes it's pretty obvious how things are going to work out, but it's fun to see some forks in the road.

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  33. Hi cath and Kylie ! Yes as a reader I often has much expectations of a book. In my experience I would be totally delighted by the surprises inside the book or totally thwarted by it , Aretha z, arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

  34. Hi Fedora & Aretha, it seems we all like a few twists and turns in our stories. But I do like Fedora's preference for a HEA. :-)

  35. I love it when an author writes a book that takes me by suprise. We readers although we don't want to know the ending always think we can guess it. Then when the books goes in a different direction we are startled and dig in harder to the words. The twists and turns are what keep me interested.


  36. Petula, I totally agree with you - as a reader I like to think I can anticipate the ending of a story but I love the fact that most times it's not quite what I was expecting. The tension and anticipation drag me along, page by page, to the end. :-)

    Thanks for dropping by and participating.

  37. Happy Release Day, Kylie!!
    Well, it happen to me about 1-2 times, i read one book for fun or killing time, and then i can't stop reading. Totally surprise i read that book just one day, if not busy with my work, when i just wanna read that book for killing time. I love if i find books with plotline surprise me more than i expect, if that book was series, then i go to hunting another books from that series.

    Thanks for chance to win :)


  38. Thank you, Filia, it's been a great couple of weeks tripping around the internet celebrating the release of ALLEGIANCE SWORN.

    There's nothing like finding a book that you've just picked up is a riveting read, and then to find it's part of a series. I've found new authors doing just that. And I usually go out and buy the entire backlist! LOL

  39. To Cath and all her readers, thank you so much for having me here on your blog and for making me feel so welcome. I loved visiting and reading your answers.

    Good luck in the giveaway draw, everyone! :-)


I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please don't hesitate to leave a comment :)

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