Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Promo/Author Interview/Giveaway: Tori L. Ridgewood (Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy)

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.


Tori has joined us for an interview:
Welcome Tori:

 When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

It’s always just been there. I have journals from my childhood in which I was writing stories, and I remember being determined, at age twelve, to get my first book published. It just took longer than I realized . . . Twenty-four years longer!

 How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?

I’ve been a teacher for twelve years, and it’s still my primary occupation. Prior to getting my teaching certification, while I was in university, I worked at a variety of part-time jobs: I was a server with a catering company, demonstrated perfume at a department store, dressed in full-body animal costumes and delivered singing telegrams, stocked shelves at another department store, attempted a brief stint as a barista, and (my favourites), divided my time between coordinating volunteers and a summer day camp at a community museum, and logging their artifacts on their new computer system. The last job I had before becoming a teacher was coordinating children’s summer programming at a series of satellite libraries in rural southeastern Ontario.

 How long does it take you to write a book?

I have discovered that I can write a novel in eight weeks, but up to the present, that time has been divided up over a series of months, or even years. Wind and Shadow took me seven years to develop, from the time that my daughter was an infant until she was well into school, but its sequel, Blood and Fire, only took two months: November 2011 and November 2012. I have to give partial credit to National Novel Writing Month for giving me the impetus to finish the second book quickly, as well as my writer friends for their encouragement. My goal this winter is to write the third book in the trilogy, Crystal and Wand, within six to eight weeks.

 What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I am a night owl! It’s a curse, really. I do my best writing in the dark of night, when the house is still and the family is abed, when there is nothing to distract me on TV, the phone doesn’t ring, and not even cars passing to attract my attention. Unfortunately, writing until two or three in the morning does not leave me rested for the classroom the next day, let alone getting my children out the door, so I have to work in short bursts and then catch up on my sleep when the weeks of writing are done.

 Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?

I start with someone I admire, either in real life or from fiction (film or written text), and I think about different ways to look at them. What if I changed her background? How would he act if he were in a different job? Or, I look at decisions an individual has made, and consider whether they’d made a different choice, and why. I love playing “what-if”, and writing responses on characters others have created.

 How do you decide what you want to write about?

I usually start by looking at the purpose of the piece, and the target audience. I also look at settings with which I’m familiar, so I can write about them knowledgeably. For example, when a call went out for a Hallowe’en-themed anthology of short romances, I was able to come up with a plot fairly easily by drawing on local legends about our town’s museum, and my own love for the romance genre and its elements. The end result, “Telltale Signs”, was a satisfyingly chilling ghost story with a very romantic theme.

I also like to pay homage to my favourite fiction, and write alternative stories to those I’ve enjoyed and/or critiqued. Some of the Talbot Trilogy is a response to The Twilight Saga, and parts are love letters to vampire creators like Stephen King, Anne Rice, and John Carpenter.

 What books have most influenced your life?

It’s a long list. The first chapter novel I read by myself was The Blue Sword, the fantasy by Robin McKinley. I still love the strong female lead, Harry, and I recently had to retire my paperback as it was so worn out the cover fell off and I lost several pages. Both Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables series were favourites when I was growing up, as well -- I learned a lot from the way that Wilder and Montgomery write descriptions, dialogue, and plot. After discovering Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, I devoured Firestarter, Christine, the Tommyknockers, and The Shining. I loved how he broke the rules, it absolutely captivated me.

So many books have made an impression on me in some way, whether by presenting questions about human nature, demonstrating literary technique, alternative philosophies about life . . . That Scatterbrained Booky, Ramona, Calico Captive, Gone with the Wind, the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Outlander, Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera, Cloud Atlas, Harry Potter, The Road, the works of Robert Heinlein, Tolkien, The Dark is Rising, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and my collections of fairy / wonder tales. And I have found that re-reading books from my childhood, like Green Gables, opens me to whole new worlds of meaning.

 What are you reading right now?

I’m currently enjoying a graphic novel, I am GooGol, by Bobby Nash and Rodrigo de Castro. My list of TBR has more than fifty books on it! Up next is going to be Hearts in Exile, by Mysti Parker, and then The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo: And the Newly Discovered Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Holy Ghost Writer.

 What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I am a movie buff, and I like doing handicrafts like cross-stitch, small quilting projects, embroidery, and appliqué. In summer, I like trying to garden (sadly, the flowers and veggies are often better off without my well-intended interference), and mowing my lawn while listening to an eclectic mix of rock, alternative, and pop music. I don’t mind shoveling snow in the winter, at least until February, again with my tunes turned up. I enjoy walking my dog, making rolled beeswax candles, and talking to far-away friends and family online. I enjoy board games and puzzles (both real and virtual), and occasionally, picking out songs on the piano.

 What is your favorite comfort food?

Chocolate. With pastry, definitely. Pastry drizzled with chocolate, stuffed with whipped cream.

 What do you think makes a good story?

Characters that are well-rounded and identifiable -- when you can tell that there is a back story just itching to be told from the little clues dropped here and there. That’s a must. I also like a plot with at least one twist. While a predictable plot can be comforting, it’s attractive and impressive when the author presents something I didn’t see coming. Accuracy of detail in setting and other descriptions is also important. Unless the story is set in an alternate universe, anachronisms drive me nuts because I just want to correct them.

 Fun random questions: 
·      dogs or cats? 

I am allergic to cats, though I think they’re wonderful. I can’t seem to bring myself to get regular shots to allow me to have one, though. I also seem to be allergic to many dogs, but my body is happy around my mixed breed Skittles.

·      Coffee or tea?

Tea, preferably Tetley Tea’s orange pekoe or a tasty loose-leaf blend. Technically I’m not supposed to have coffee, as the caffeine content makes me anxious, but I occasionally enjoy a small French Vanilla from Tim Horton’s.

·      Dark or milk chocolate?

Milk chocolate, always. Unless the dark has almonds or mint in it.

·      Rocks or flowers?

I think I actually like rocks better. I like flowers, and admire lush gardens, but I’m not very good at planting, weeding, or caring for vegetation. But rocks look beautiful in sun or snow, glistening under rain or meltwater and outlined in lichens and moss. Of course, I live on the Canadian Shield, and spent three of my formative years hiking along rock faces, driving along highways cut through limestone, granite, and others that I can’t remember the names of right now, surrounded by their ancient, immovable grandeur. I guess that settles it -- I like rocks!

·      Night or day?

Night. Ah, the stars, the moon, the shadows . . . “Music of the Night” from Phantom is one of my favourite lullabies.

·      Favorite color?

Right now, it’s purple, but I also enjoy red. They’re the colours of energy, life, passion, and inspiration.

·      Crayons or markers?

I like crayons better, in spite of their tendency to break. Markers run dry, leak, lose their caps, cause stains, and are generally untrustworthy even though their shades are initially bright and solid. Crayons can be melted between sheets of wax for beautiful artwork, or fused with other broken bits to make new colouring sticks. You can rub them sideways to get impressions from raised surfaces, like grave markers or fashion plates. They smell good. And, in a pinch, you can eat them!

·      Pens or pencils?

Pens, definitely. No worries about sharpening, finding an eraser, or dealing with a broken lead. I’d love to get a really nice feather pen, with a real quill and an ink well. A few years ago, I taught my grade 9 Academic English classes how to carve quill nibs using small knives, so they could produce their original sonnets as calligraphy. Pens are wonderful things.

Thank you so much for having me on the Wormhole!

More about Tori:
After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.

At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.

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. For more information, visit

Giveaway:  1 ebook - kindle version of Wind and Shadow Book 1 - - - randomly chosen commenter (please include email).