October 5, 2016
Thianna Durston is a ambitous, diverse writer who was kind enough to let me interview her. We talked about the Order of the Black Knights, an interconnected series we both are writing for Dreamspinner Press. The first book, Gideon by Ashe Barker, comes out today. Here’s how it went.
Amberly: Hi Thianna, welcome to Everybody Needs a Little Romance.
Thianna: Thanks, Amberly, it’s great to be here 🙂
Amberly: You came up with the idea of the Order of the Black Knights. Here’s the series blurb: Every century has seen its knights. But there are those that are never seen. They do what must be done, what has to be done – the jobs where nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s, these men seem cold and hard, and of some, it is said they have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man that waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it all out.
How did you come up with the idea of the Black Knights and what do you think draws readers to stories of anti-heroes?
Thianna: First off, let me say that I love multi-author series. They take one idea and each author gives it their own take and creates something completely and utterly new. For months I’d had these glimpses in my head of a man who was kicked down by life. Every life he basically lived the same one, killing and being a complete monster. And it was dragging him down. Until one day, he was forced to save his enemy…
Since it was hitting me so often, I sat down and started sketching out the overview and as I did so it completely came to life for me. How one powerful wizard gained control of an army of men, used them for his purposes and then even though he died, they would continue to live out his curse forever. Unless they saved one particular man. In every life they were given the opportunity to kill him or walk away and they’ve always killed him.
So what happens when they not only meet their victim but instead of killing them, they feel conflicted and that conflict turns to love?
I think readers are drawn to the anti-hero because through him, we see redemption. He may have done horrible things but he can overcome his past and stand tall. He can throw off all the issues that he may have ignored, and be the hero that makes us all go “Ahhhhh!” Plus, in many ways, he is easier to connect with than the perfect hero. Take for example Indiana Jones. Who didn’t startle and then cheer when he was fighting men with his whip and a huge guy with a huge knife walked up and Indy shot him? That’s a regular guy and while we adore heroes, there’s something so wonderfully heartwarming about the anti-hero.
Amberly: Yes, flaws definitely make them easier to connect with! The first book of the series, Gideon by Ashe Barker, comes out today. Super exciting. I preordered my copy. I’m interviewing Ashe later this week. Your Black Knight Vesper will be out in January. What can readers expect? Care to share a brief excerpt?
Thianna: Vespar suffers. He’s been driven with the need to kill as long as he can remember. He went into the military which honed his skill to a razor’s edge. Once he got out, he hoped that had fulfilled the need… but 6 months later he found himself taking a contract for a professional hit.
He thinks life will be easy until he meets Marcolm. The guy he expects to be a lowlife is nothing like he expects.
Excerpt of Vespar
Vespar was vigilant. Not only had he scoped out the area for three days, but he wore an earpiece that would pick up any voice for up to half a mile. There was a kid three rows away backing his ancient VW Beetle out of a spot. Two girls to the northwest chatted about an upcoming dance. And several professors droned on about boring subjects. The chatter of students as they went to and from classes drifted through his mind as he sauntered onto campus toward a specific classroom.
Rogers had to die in the next eleven days. First Vespar would get a good look at the twenty-one-year-old. He had already discerned the young man was stealthy. He changed jobs every few months. Apartments every few weeks. No doubt he knew someone was after him. Vespar almost wished he had more time. It would be enjoyable to chase his mark for a little while.
But no. His birthmark ached and reminded him he needed the kill. It had been over seven months since he last fulfilled that desire. There was no time to waste. During the last physical and psychological exams he had as he left covert ops, the doctors had some very unnerving things to say. Vespar could still remember what the psychologist told him. “Killing is your drug. You won’t be able to go for long without another hit. You need to get help, Lieutenant McKauley.”
But the rest of the medical jargon only confused him. The doc showed him a scan of his brain. It was all a mixture of black and gray to Vespar. “Your frontal lobe is not right,” the doctor said. He looked as confused as Vespar felt. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it. You need to have someone keep an eye on it.” He suggested specialists, but Vespar ignored that advice.
His feet slapped lightly against the wet pavement, and he took in the students and the buildings. Would Rogers still look like the little boy in the picture? If he did not, Vespar would find him. He knew where Rogers lived. But it would still be good to get a look and take a mental picture of the man before his death. Why that was important, he did not know. It had never been important to him before. Maybe it was because Rogers was his first contract kill.
“Excuse me.” Vespar heard a male voice from behind him. “Pardon me. I… whoops.” A body tried to pass him and collided with his back, and while he instinctively switched his center
of gravity enough to stay standing, the guy who crashed into him bounced off and hit the grass with a loud slap.
“Ow,” he groaned with a slight laugh. “That’s gonna leave a bruise.” The guy turned his head and looked up at Vespar. His bright azure eyes twinkled in the low light of the cloud-covered day. “Hey. Sorry about that. Glad I didn’t knock you over.” He grinned and showed slightly uneven white teeth. Slowly he stood up. When he looked down at his front, which was completely soaked from landing in wet grass, he shook his head. “Damn. Oh well. Can’t be helped.” Quickly he scooped up the book bag that he had dropped.
“Sorry I knocked into you,” he said with another grin, and then he dashed off and called over his shoulder, “I’m late for class.”
Vespar stared after him, a mixture of confusion and doubt racing through his mind at the same time as his heart beat out a single refrain. “Kill, kill, kill….” Marcolm Rogers was not what he expected. He had a mop of reddish-blond hair, and freckles covered his nose. And that smile…. It had been friendly. He looked like the fucking boy next door.
What the ever-living hell?
Amberly: Besides the Black Knight series, you have a crazy writing and release schedule in both M/M and M/F romance. How do you manage it all?
Thianna: LOL Good question. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a very worn out hamster on a wheel in my head wondering if I’ll ever slow down. Poor little guy – I’m sure he didn’t sign up for this.
I’ll have months of time where my muse is on and we write and write and write and then I’ll have several months where it seems like I can’t get a word down if my life depended on it.
And next year is going to be even crazier than this one as I plan to have a release about every 4 weeks and since I’m writing them ahead of time (before the end of this year) I’m able to schedule them so that I can go back and forth between my M/M books, my M/F books, and the fact that two series I’m launching next year will have both. (1 is contemporary BDSM romance and the other is PNR BDSM romance)
And I’ll admit that many releases is scary, especially from a marketing standpoint. But I have a goal to write a novel wherein I can put in hundreds of hours of research, writing, and rewriting, so I hope with having all of next year’s books written by Dec 31, 2016, that I can finally write THAT book.
Amberly: THAT book. Oh, that sounds very intriguing! Thank you so much for answering my questions. Where can readers connect with you?
Thianna: Thanks for having me, Amberly 🙂
Readers can reach me in any of the following ways. I love to connect with readers 🙂
Website – http://www.athiathing.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ThiannaDurstonAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ThiannaDurston
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ThiannaDurston
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536433.Thianna_Durston
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/thiannad/
And if your readers would like to see how I write, I have a free book just for my newsletter subscribers. They can subscribe via the signup form on the right side of my blog.
Again, thanks for having me, Amberly. It’s been fun.