"This was a wonderful read --- at first I had a hard time keeping track of the characters as their names changed when they changed into humans or dragon but, was easy to figure out! [...]
A GREAT read! Plus I pretty much read it in a day! Will look for more in the series!" - Lynn, Goodreads
Cassandra has a problem, and it's only the first of many. Being raised as the youngest child in a family of great heroes would be a challenge for anyone.
Until a few days ago, Cassandra was content with her role as a child of greatness. She was studious, spent most of her waking hours with her mother and other heads of state and at her father’s insistence, learned how to duel. As her siblings had before her, Cassandra knew she would likely be matched with a partner for political reasons and had long since accepted her role in the world.
That was, of course, before her mother died, and before her...transformation. Overnight, her soft pale skin sprouted gorgeous golden dragon scales.
Presented with a future she no longer recognizes, as the first of her kind, she must overcome a whole new set of challenges if she hopes to survive the unknown threat that comes from across the Careless Sea.
The Sakwa dragonkin are a dying race, fueled by a tribal system that failed them centuries ago but yet unable to adapt to a new way of life. In a desperate bid to keep the people focused on outside conflict, Jenya of the Toho has declared war on Cassandra's country. An ocean may separate the two cultures, but the Sakwa sees the Seven Kingdoms as their opportunity for a new start; a new start they will willingly kill and die for.
What inspired you to write this book?
This is the third book that takes place on the world of Amesdia. My first two novels set the stage for this novel, after taking a break from this world to write Daughter of Vengeance , I wanted to come back to Amesdia and explore what had happened since we last left the Vallious family. So I suppose time, curiosity and a desire to keep exploring the world I’d initially created for a short story.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have plans for sequel to this novel, I also have the first few chapters in the sequel to Daughter of Vengeance as well as a start to a new urban fantasy story that continues on from a short story that won a couple of awards.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I do have some short stories I’ve written that I’ll eventually assemble as an anthology. I tend to write stories about the main characters as a way for me to get to know them and get a feel for how I want their personalities to have developed and what drives them.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I grew up in Emerald Park, a suburb of the city (Regina) I was born in. Unlike a lot of Canadian kids, I love baseball as opposed to hockey or lacrosse.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Probably with family…and then jump out of a plane.
Who is your hero and why?
My mom. That poor woman put up with so much…
What book do you think everyone should read?
Archangel by Sharon Shinn. It’s not widely read and the sequels aren’t spectacular, but Archangel was a phenomenal book in my opinion and doesn’t get the credit it deserves. I loved reading it and I learned a lot about writing as well.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Think Julius Caesar – and I would likely meet the same end.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Erik von Darkmoor from Raymond Feist’s Serpentwar novels, I saw a lot of myself in him and it wasn’t hard to feel how he struggled with his early life and then found his purpose and rose to the occasion.
Describe your writing style.
I’m not sure what I would call my style. I don’t like long-winded descriptions of the texture of a button when I read, so I don’t subject others to that either. I like to give enough information to picture the character, place and setting without spending an inordinate amount of time on items of little interest in the background. Most of us focus on what’s in front of us and rarely do our eyes wonder around the room unless we’re bored. I’d hate for people who read my work to be bored.
How to find time to write as a parent?
Children are chaos personified. So I just take whatever time I have to write. As my girls have gotten older, they have discovered their own hobbies and interests and are less likely to want me to be in their play space.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I’ve always been a writer. It’s funny to watch my eldest daughter begin to keep journals of her activities and write short stories about her daydreams. I used to keep composition books full of short stories, sketches and random thoughts. Most of them have been lost. Even if I never made a dime writing, I would still do it. It helps me unwind, express myself and create.
Coffee. Day job. Kid time. Wife time. Write for an hour or two.
Advice they would give new authors?
The old 10,000 hours adage is true. Spend the time, get someone to critique your work, seek out like-minded people, share, explore, discuss, and EXPERIENCE LIFE! Nothing rings more false than people writing about things they clearly have no experience with and never did the research on.
What are they currently reading?
I’m about to start Nicholas Nickleby. It’s on my list of classics that I’ve never gotten to. I try to keep on top of modern story-telling trends, but I keep finding myself revisiting the classics and being much more inspired.
How long have you been writing?
More than 30 years. Most of it was short stories, fan fiction, scripts, storyboards and really horrible drivel that I thought was very profound at one point. These days I take myself much less seriously and write fun action and adventure based fantasy stories.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I outline first. I write a two to three page outline of how I expect the story to go…and then I toss it out after the first chapter because I come up with something better. I used to feel like this was a waste of time, but doing a “re-write” on a three page story is much less work than a re-write on something that’s already 30,000 words in.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Rebel Queen?
Cassandra is the daughter of a great hero of the realm and has absolutely no desire to “live up” to the family name. After her mother dies, the pain of her passing causes a physical transformation in Cassandra by turning her soft skin into dragonscale. This makes her the first of her kind within the Seven Kingdoms. When an invasion force of dragonscaled attackers razes a major city, she and her father are sent after the invaders to determine if this is an isolated incident or the precursor to war. We get to follow along as Cassandra faces the many challenges of a growing young lady who also has the added stress of a constantly evolving draconic body.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Some are required to move the plot forward and some of preconceived before I even begin outlining the story. The protagonist and antagonists are pre-determined as are most of the major players. Sometimes I find though that bringing in a main character doesn’t fit the scene and need to come up with a better character to help transition the story from one spot to the next. I will admit; sometimes those characters have forced a re-write deep into the story.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
As I’m outlining, I begin to jot down subjects that I have no experience or knowledge with. I also find that as I’m doing research I find better ways to explore the characters through their personalities and abilities. My main focus when I write is the characters. Their journey’s need to having meaning and substance to them and if that means I learn about geology then that’s what I have to do.
Creative problem solver.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I’m a huge fan of fantasy. I love the freedom it gives me to explore the human condition from a different perspective. Most of my characters are derived from a mixture of personalities I’ve observed or spoken with. The story arch is usually the result of some injustice I see in the world around me that I want to explore to better understand.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Expanding on my established dragon lore. Part of it is because that lore is so entwined in the character development, but I will admit that some of it is a guilty pleasure. Dragon mythology has always interested me and I like to take the pieces that appeal to me from dozens of civilizations.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Flaws. Like all of us, my characters are deeply flawed. Some of them are very sure of themselves and need to face the unexpected in order to help them grow and evolve. Other characters are intensely self-conscious and need to face trials to bring out their strengths.
Do you have any advice to give aspiring writers?
Write. A lot. Find something that you like writing about, start a blog, a journal, a Wattpadd account…whatever. Just write. But write in a public place where people can find you. No one ever got better writing in a bubble and it will help to start becoming accustomed to criticism. The hardest part I’ve found with writing is dealing with criticism. It’s incredibly important to learn what’s working, what isn’t and what needs polishing. Ultimately, writing is an art and subjective…but you’ll never be able to decide what valuable criticism is and what’s trolling unless you allow yourself to be open to being reviewed. It’s a valuable skill to develop. Thicker skin doesn’t hurt either.
About the author:
David has been writing for most of his life, though only began putting together full-length novels in 2008. His first two novels were distinctly fantasy, containing the usual fare of dragons, princes, swords and sorcery.
With "Daughter of Vengeance", he took leave of the more common tropes in fantasy and instead wrote a book predominantly from a female point of view. The story follows a young woman coming of age while apprenticed to a master assassin.
His strengths lie in compelling stories with a satisfying mix of action, dialogue and plot building. He doesn't believe in waxing philosophical to fill pages or fluff his word count, there will not be entire paragraphs dedicated to the painfully long-winded description of a button. He also uses his extensive martial arts and marksmanship experience to create believable and easy to follow the action.
Most genre fiction uses the genre to drive the plot, David believes that the genre should merely be used to supplement a great story. A mystery is just a mystery, but a Holmes mystery is infinitely more entertaining in his opinion. There are still inalienable requirements to any genre fiction and as a fan of the fantasy genre, he still loves to read and write within fantastical surroundings.