An interview by
Author C.L. Talmadge gave an interview to Wild on Books own Sheila, and they discuss her Stones of Healing series.
C.L. Talmadge's Sites:
Posted December 13, 2008
C.L. Talmadge: Thanks for this opportunity to discuss my series with visitors to Wild on Books. My belief is that this series tells the story of two of my past lives, along with the past lives of loved ones and friends.
Since 1967, when I was 13, I have wanted to write novels. I kept day-dreaming about a woman who saves the life of a tall, dark, handsome and mysterious stranger. He turns out to be a prince whose father, the king, is trying to have him killed because they have very opposite views on politics and how they should run their country, a mythical island nation called Azgard. After some years I realized that this was not the storyís beginning. Following the tale backward, I realized that their story has its roots in the tale of the womanís maternal grandmother, who is the seriesí first-generation heroine, Lt. Helen Andros.
More years passed; I really struggled to get my story out of my head and down on paper. I also encountered an alternative method of emotional and spiritual healing that put me in touch with some of my past lives. Finally in 1998 I woke up one morning and knew I could write it. I started writing and am now almost finished with the fourth book in what has become a four-generation series.
Telling this story turned out to be part of my path of deep personal healing and
self-growth. It is my mission and purpose for this lifetime.
SheilaMonique: Thereís a deadline coming up. Are you on time or behind schedule?
Completed and already looking toward my next deadline. This comes from decades
of reporting/freelancing for newspapers, magazines, and a wire service. Today I
continue the habit of staying ahead of deadlines as a political columnist
syndicated by North Star Writers Group (www.northstarwriters.com).
SheilaMonique: Can you tell us about The Vision?
This book launches the multi-generational tale with first-generation heroine Lt.
Helen Andros. When we meet Helen, she is the physician for the 163rd
Regiment, secretly in love with her commanding officer, Col. Jackson Orlando.
Although tough-minded and outspoken, Helen is also vulnerable as an illegitimate
half-breed in Azgard, an island nation sharply divided by race, rank, and
disparity of wealth. A diplomatic crisis threatens when a state hostage becomes
critically ill over a holiday. After Helen agrees to treat him, she is thrust
into the spotlight, almost loses her life, and her unknown father is revealed to
be one of Azgardís highest-ranked Toltec lords. Her Turanian motherís vision of
hope and destruction comes to light thanks to the Mist-Weavers, a race of
otherworldly beings who know about the hidden potentials of the green jewel that
Helen received from her mother and always keeps close to her heart.
SheilaMonique: What is the one thing that you'd love to do, but will probably never have the nerve? What is the one thing you've already done that still amazes you to this day?
C.L. Talmadge: Iíll never have the nerve to jump out of a plane with a parachute strapped to my back. What amazes me to this day is the fact that I actually have written novels. It took me a long time and a lot of letting go and growing to get to the point of being able to do it.
C.L. Talmadge: I like writing the most and least about being an author. I wake up wanting and needing to write, yet I struggle because words are so limited in their ability to convey my charactersí deep feelings.
Fallout does just what the title says. It explores the political and personal
consequences of the revelation about the identity of Helenís father. When this
knowledge becomes public, it sparks a scandal and crisis at the highest levels
of power. Helen also struggles over coming to terms with her newfound parent.
There is a lot of hurt and distrust on both sides that hampers their abilities
to reach out to one another. Helenís inclination to mouth off before engaging
her brain gets her into a heap of trouble more than once. But she proves to be
your basic Timexóshe takes a lickiní (or two) and keeps on tickiní. By the
bookís end, some things are resolved but other issues remain.
SheilaMonique: Are there any works in progress that you can tell us about?
The seriesí fourth book, Outcast, is three chapters from completion and
will be published in 2009. Then itís on to Book Five, which does not yet have a
SheilaMonique: Do you edit as you write, or finish the first draft and then begin editing?
Edit as a write, and re-edit after I complete a first draft. I try to be as
careful as possible, but still those typos evade me.
SheilaMonique: Is there anything special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?
When The VisionóBook One was published, we broke out the champagne. Weíll
probably do that again when Outcast is published because, due to the
event at the end, this book was very painful and difficult for me to complete.
SheilaMonique: What do you enjoy doing when you arenít writing?
When Iím not writing fiction, Iím either blogging or putting together a
political column. When I do stop writing, I read, follow politics, and watch a
lot of movies. Oh yes, I sleep/eat on occasion and love to listen to all manner
SheilaMonique: Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
Two women. I learned to love story-telling from my motherís mother, who
entertained me for hours when I was very young with her stories about growing up
in rural Arkansas during the late 19th/early 20th
centuries. The mother of my best friend from the sixth grade put a Taylor
Caldwell novel in my hand one day and told me, ďYou can write one of these,
too.Ē Sheís the woman to whom I dedicated the first book in my series.
SheilaMonique: What was the most exciting moment in your writing career?
Saturday, July 25, 1998. I sat up from a sound sleep and knew at long last
(after 31 years of struggle and frustration) that I could start writing my
novel(s). The story was finally there in my mind and all the blanks and unknowns
were filled in and known. It was a Eureka moment and the excitement carries on a
SheilaMonique: Can you tell us about The Scorpions Strike, the third book in the series?
Helenís father faces his day of reckoning over his proscribed relationship with
Helenís mother. The Temple takes advantage of the situation to make a major move
against Helen, putting a death mark on her. Maguari the Mist-Weaver begins
teaching Helen about using energy and intuition to remain in touch with her
father even while they are separated. Helenís father remarries and his wife
gives birth to his long-awaited heir. The Temple uses the sonís birth to attempt
to force Helenís father to choose between his two children. A friend of Helenís
mother, who has acted as an advisor to her father in his efforts to resolve his
relationship with his daughter, suggests an alternative that he accepts, but it
means sending Helen far away, just as her mother did many years earlier.
SheilaMonique: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Lois McMaster Bujold, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, Connie
Willis. I have been a major fan of science fiction/fantasy since I learned to
SheilaMonique: Do you prefer sunsets or sunrises? Why?
I love both because they are times of transition, full of possibilities and
SheilaMonique: Can you give us any information about Outcast, the fourth book in the series?
Helen moves covertly to the mountainous region of Southern Alta Province, where
she at first dwells among the hill-folk with the family of the man she loves in
secret. Then she must move again to a lodge owned by her father. She takes in a
homeless boy and girl who are the children of the Sin-Eater, who dwells in a
cave nearby. Maguari teaches Helen and the Sin-Eater much more about using
energy for self-protection and personal insight. The Mist-Weaver also gives
Helen more details about how to use her green stone and its unique chain for
more powerful and quicker healing. Meanwhile, the Templeís second in command
plots to kidnap Helen as part of a nascent scheme to breed an army of
half-breeds to be used for political purposes. A major tragedy ends Helenís time
in exile while exposing her to even more danger.
SheilaMonique: Who would you love to meet? What would your conversation be about?
Thomas Jefferson. I would ask him how he managed to reconcile his arguments for
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with being a slave-owner.
SheilaMonique: What is the one piece of advice you received from another writer that you still heed today?
C.L. Talmadge: The best piece of advice I ever received about writing came from my brotheróa writer, musician, painter, and all-around outstanding creative. He told me to write about what I know. I simply had to remember what I know from my past lives before I was able to follow this sage counsel.
C.L. Talmadge: First, an epic celebration. Details to be determined later. Then I will begin the story of the founding of Azgard. A Mist-Weaver named Menadri saves from death in the frozen north a Toltec baby that he names Kronos. Menadri takes this infant to an island inhabited by a gentle people known as the Turanians....
C.L. Talmadge: My series does not fit neatly into pre-determined genre categories like fantasy. Itís part fantasy, part paranormal period romance, and Iím sure other labels might be at least somewhat accurate as well. Keep an open mind and expect the unexpected when you read about Azgard.
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