I’m very excited to welcome Louise Cusak to my blog today – a fellow Aussie though she lives on the other side of the stateline (I won’t hold that against you, Louise!). I have thoroughly enjoyed 2 of Louise’s Shadow Through Time trilogy and am hankering to get into book 3! Thank you, Louise, for dropping by…
Tea or Coffee? Definitely the latter. I have a Delonghi coffee machine I call Marcello and he keeps me up all night!
Aaah… I sense… a kindred spirit… a potential bosom friend…
Red Wine or White Wine? Not much of a drinker, but I do like a good Sav Blanc.
Vegemite or Nutella? Veg-E-Mite! Nothing nicer than veg on fruit toast.
Errr… couldn’t help making a face (says one who just had stir-fried lettuce for dinner -with rice & steamed fish) but a challenge is a challenge and I DID try it -can’t say that I loved it but it was oh-kay. I’d prefer Nutella any day ♥
Cats or Dogs? Meow! I adore their independence. Dogs are a bit too needy for me.
Oh dear, this might be a deal-breaker, Louise! I love my pug to bits but you are right, he is very needy – each to her own 😉
Blues or Maroons? This is football right? (joking) I’m a cricket tragic myself, but will always support Queensland if I can.
Errr… Boo! I don’t think you’re ever going to get this question right, Louise, LOL. FYI – this is about State of Origin: an annual interstate footy games between NSW (Blues) & QLD (Maroons) only. Not that I’m much of a fan.
On a more serious level…
Tell us how you came to create the worlds in Shadow Through Time. Did the elemental basis of the worlds come first or was it the ‘sepia’ idea of a world?
The sepia world was definitely first. That’s how I’ve always seen Ennae, from when I first dreamed it up as a child. It was only as an adult while I was writing the world that I discovered it was connected to a fire and air world, and of course our ‘water’ world where we see rainbows of colour.
I read that you are a Vegetarian. Could you please share with us how you came to decide on becoming a Vegetarian?
Thirty years ago… (wow, that makes me feel old!) I was on the committee of Animal Liberation and we had a film night. It was about a day in the life of an animal at the abattoir. I fainted half way through, and came home that night and said to my husband of six months, “I can’t cook meat any more.” I was cruelty-free on so many fronts and it just made sense to stop eating animals as well. If I was stranded in the outback and starving I might kill to survive, but I live in the city and forage at the supermarket where there are heaps of vegetarian options, so I choose not to eat animals. I don’t want to die with their lives on my conscience. It’s a very personal choice, however, and I never judge other people on their diet. We all have to do what we think is right for us, and this is right for me.
I think that’s the reason why I’ve avoided watching any sort of butchery work (I can’t even watched the Discovery Channel when a carnivore goes for food!) – I love my meat too much. It’s very admirable, Louise, that you’ve stuck to your guns for 30+ years! An amazing effort!
Does being a Vegetarian have any impact your writing & how?
I hadn’t imagined it would have an impact, but my answer to the next question will dispel that thought!
Also, does the above have to do why Ennae is without animals? Why did you decide to not include animals at all?
When I was writing the first book of the series I was exploring the sepia world of Ennae for the first time as one of the characters, and because I write seat-of-the-pants I was discovering things along the way – like the fact that there were no animals or insects. I thought it was odd, but I just accepted it, and it turned out to be something that publishers liked about the story. A point of difference. It wasn’t until the first novel was published and a close friend said, “I bet you created this world with no animals so the gorgeous champions would all be vegetarian!” I was shocked, but later had to agree. It was completely subconsciously, but I’m sure she’s right.
Ah, don’t you just love the Power of the Subconcious Mind! It worked wonders here – ‘vegetarian gorgeous champions’!
Did you always know that you’d want to write fantasy / romance? Why? Or how did you come to write fantasy / romance?
I actually started my career trying to write Mills & Boon novels and I was terrible at sticking with one romance per book, but I made some great friends in Romance Writers of Australia and they encouraged me to try different things. I had a few erotic short stories published, got an agent, then had a romantic novella about voodoo, “Goddess & the Geek” published by Harper Collins (this has just been re-released as part of my Hapless Heroes series of romances). It went on to win an International award, then my agent asked me what I wanted to do next and I told her about this fairytale I’d had in my mind since I was little, about a princess who goes to another world looking for her missing brother. She said, “Perfect darling, fantasy is so hot right now,” and to be honest that’s the first time I thought of that story as being a fantasy. It had no dragons or dwarves or elves or any of the other elements I’d considered to be fantasy, but there was magic and it was on an otherworld, so it fitted the genre and went on to be selected by the Doubleday Book Club as their Editors Choice.
Which author/s would you say have impacted on your writing to date? In what way?
I love a good love story, no matter the genre, and most of the great books do have some form of love story in them. But my career focus as a writer is the ‘stranger in a strange land’ theme, so that’s also what I like to read – someone going from our world into a fantasy world, like John Carter to Barsoom or Jake Sully to Pandora in the movie Avatar. I grew up reading sci fi, mostly the classics (in fact my first big crush was Capt James T Kirk!), and they were all about man meeting the unknown. My favourite SF novels were Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness, Frank Herbert’s Dune and Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter series. Add to which, my all-time favourite book is Alice in Wonderland which I must have read a hundred times, at least!
I’ve also had a lifelong fascinating with Leonardo da Vinci, whose perception of the world around him was unique. It was almost as if he was a stranger in our world observing things from a fresh perspective. I think there’s something to learn from that, and I try to bring that to my own work, seeing the world I’m writing about through completely fresh eyes, taking nothing for granted.
Thanks for the recommendations, Louise! Dune’s been on my TBR for nearly forever. I’ve read LeGuin & Alice but I’ll have to check out the others 🙂
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve just launched my Hapless Heroes series of quirky romances exclusive to Amazon Kindle. Two of the three were previously print published, so it’s thrilling to see them getting a fresh start as ebooks with a new audience!
Louise has generously offered to giveaway an ebook copy of Destiny of the Light (Shadow Through Time #1) to a random commenter. Please do NOT include your email in your comment but please DO note your email in the comment form. I will ‘randomly’ draw a winner next week (Wednesday, 3 October 2012). Please respond to my email within 48 hours or I will draw another winner.
DESTINY OF THE LIGHT is the first novel of my “Shadow Through Time” fantasy trilogy published by Simon & Schuster Australia. It contains elements of romance, magic and horror, taking a woman from our world into the earthworld of Ennae; a sepia world joined to ours by the Sacred Pool. Talis, her appointed Guardian helps her through the dangerous terrain of Ennae, sacrificing everything to love, ensuring her safety in a land where magic prevails and nothing is as it seems. To fulfill her destiny as The Light – the woman whose child will join the four elemental worlds – Khatrene must overcome her amnesia and regain her childhood memories of Ennae while thwarting the plans of an erotic Shadow Woman, a mysterious tattooed man, a warrior Plainswoman, Ennae’s best swordsman and ultimately her own beloved brother.
Her journey takes her to the royal Volcastle atop an active volcano, through the Forest of Desire where every sexual fantasy is fulfilled, the labyrinth of the Altar Caves, soul-destroying Rue Marsh and the haze enshrouded Plains where danger lies in every shadow. Murder and betrayal follows Khatrene, and as the horrifying secrets of the past are revealed, she must struggle to stay alive and protect the powerful child growing within her from its own father, a man who she discovers has systematically destroyed her whole family.
Destiny of The Light combines heroic courage and sacrifice with believable human frailties, and the purest of love with the most despicable betrayals of trust.
Once more, Thank YOU, Louise! It’s been a blast – as you can see, I was truly curious about your creation of Ennae & Shadow Through Time.
Best of luck for your next endeavours and I’d definitely be on the lookout for more from you 😀