Interview: Deborah Cooke

NRR: Can you tell us when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I always wanted to be a writer, but my family was sure it wasn't a very practical goal. So, I did a lot of other things instead but kept writing on the side. It was when I was writing software manuals that I decided to try to write and publish a book -  I figured that even if it wasn't very practical, it would be more fun! About a year and a half later, I sold my first book - a medieval romance called THE ROMANCE OF THE ROSE, which was published under the pseudonym Claire Delacroix in March 1993. Harlequin Historicals bought several books from me in rapid succession and soon I had a new job. I was proven right: it was more fun. More than 40 books later, I still love being a writer.

NRR: What is a day in the life of Deborah Cooke like?

I try to write every morning, and to protect that as my creative time. It's my best time for writing. But there are always tons of other things to be done and days never seem to be long enough. So, an ideal day would be one in which I spent the morning writing, went for a walk after lunch, then spent the afternoon doing promotion or production tasks. The other jobs that authors do include the stuff associated with production - reading page proofs, reading copy edits, responding to queries from the publisher with regard to covers, copy, etc., writing synopses and proposals - as well as promotional efforts - like keeping a blog, doing updates on Facebook, planning a blog tour, writing guest blog posts, participating in online chats, teaching workshops, etc. etc. If you have an extra two or three hours on any given day, I'm sure any writer you know would be glad to take them off your hands!

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

Am I only allowed to have one? It would be tough to choose between
a/ losing myself in a really good book
b/ enjoying a glass of sparkling wine with my DH
c/ savoring a nice piece of dark chocolate 
d/ having a scrumptious squishy ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in my pocket

NRR: How were you inspired to write the Dragonfire series?

I've always wanted to write about dragon shape shifter heroes. I think dragons are sexy, and I've always thought that a hero with that kind of secret would be, well, hot - as well as powerful, protective, and a man who could offer serious eye candy. So, I started to think about dragons existing among us, their world hidden within ours, and the idea for the Pyr - along with their mission to defend the earth and its treasures - started to evolve. I still have a wonderful time digging out bits of dragon lore and working them into the individual stories. The Welsh have a lot of dragon lore, for example, and I played with some of that in DARKFIRE KISS because the hero, Rafferty, is Welsh. 

NRR: How long does it take for you to put a novel together?

It takes me about 4 months to write a book, only because I write full time. That, of course, is after the synopsis has been written - a synopsis can take me a couple of weeks, but the synopsis is written months before I begin to write the actual book. One of the interesting challenges about publishing is that authors are always working on a number of books - so I'll be writing a specific book, working on the synopsis for the next book, and doing edits on at least one previously delivered title.

NRR: Can you share with us a little about Darkfire Kiss?

DARKFIRE KISS (http://www.deborahcooke.com/dark.html) is the sixth book in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances. Each of the books focus on the firestorm of one dragon shape shifter hero - that's when he meets his destined mate, or the human woman who can conceive his son. Some of the guys have been less than excited about this opportunity, but Rafferty, the hero of DARKFIRE KISS, is the romantic. He's very popular with readers, maybe because he's always yearned for his firestorm. Of course, I couldn't make it easy for him! So, Rafferty has the misfortune of being the one who experiences the legendary darkfire - this is a firestorm that burns differently and which is a portent of change for the dragon shape shifters. Darkfire turns everything upside down and inside out. It challenges assumptions and adds a measure of unpredictability to everything. We start with Rafferty meeting his mate before the firestorm sparks, which is a new twist for this book, and - at the risk of spoilers - things just get more unpredictable from there. There are big changes to the Dragonfire world in this installment. I do think Melissa is a perfect match for Rafferty, and I like that they both had to reconsider their assumptions to pull their relationship together. I think it's a very romantic story, and I hope that you all agree. I had such fun with the darkfire. 

NRR: What can fans expect to see next from you?

Next up is the launch of my spin-off YA trilogy. This is called The Dragon Diaries (http://www.thedragondiaries.com) and features Zoë's coming of age. She's supposed to be the new Wyvern, but one of the things that happens in DARKFIRE KISS is that she experiences a change as well, one that leaves some of the dragon shape shifters wondering whether she really is the Wyvern. She's a toddler in the Dragonfire series - so the YA series is set in 2024, when Zoë is on the verge of turning 16. The other dragon kids have come into their powers at puberty, so she's desperate for everything to start. When it does, of course, things aren't as simple as she expected. The young dragons have a challenge of their own to face - plus there's also the question of the previous Wyvern, Sophie, and her HEA. The second book in that trilogy, WINGING IT, will be out in December 2011 and the third book - which doesn't have a title yet - in June 2012. 

Dragonfire also continues, with book #7 coming out in January 2012 and #8 in October 2012. You can keep track of that series on my main sitehttp://www.deborahcooke.com

Lots of dragons in my office!

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