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CHRISTINE FEEHAN: C.L. Wilson is a wonderful find. She combines my two favorite genres, fantasy and romance, in a sweeping epic that carries from book to book. Her first book, Lord of the Fading Lands (Oct., Leisure), is followed by this month's Lady of Light and Shadows. C.L., tell us about yourself and why you decided to write such a rare and remarkable combination.
C.L. WILSON: Thanks, Christine. I'm a longtime lover of both fantasy and romance novels. Over the years, I realized most of my favorite fantasy reads were stories that featured romance as a key subplot. I wanted to combine my two favorite genres but in a story where the romance was as integral to the plot as the fantasy. And I wanted to tell a story that had a bigger, more epic feel than most romances have room for.
FEEHAN: Your books have the same richness that Tolkien and Goodkind and so many of the greats have achieved in their worldbuilding. How did you create such a vivid world?
WILSON: Elfin magic. (Laughs) No, seriously, I've always been fascinated by cultures, belief systems, legends and languages. My bookshelves are crammed full of books about mythology and history and fairy tales from all around the world -- and poetry, which I love because it packs so much vivid emotion into just a few words. For me, half the fun of writing the book has been exploring the worlds and cultures through various characters' eyes and discovering their own myths, legends and histories.
FEEHAN: Your main character, Rain, is hot, sexy and -- my favorite -- a shapeshifter with tremendous power. What can you tell us about him?
WILSON: Rain Tairen Soul is the king of an immortal, magical race called the Fey. He's the most powerful of his people, and the last Fey alive who can shapeshift into a tairen, one of the deadly, legendary winged cats of the Fading Lands.
A thousand years ago, his mate, Sariel, died during the Mage Wars, and in a wild rage of grief-struck madness, Rain nearly destroyed the world with tairen-fire. Now, both the Tairen and the Fey are dying. He consults a powerful oracle for help, and it sends him to the mortal land of Celieria to find the one woman who can save them all.
That woman, of course, is Ellysetta Baristani, the adopted daughter of a mortal woodcarver and his wife, who turns out to be full of surprises. She's also something the Fey have never seen before: the truemate to a Tairen Soul.
FEEHAN: Was it difficult to ensure your heroine didn't look weak in the face of Rain's strength?
WILSON: Great question, Christine. Avoiding that possibility was one reason it was so important to me that the truemate bond could only form between beings of equal power. In her own way, Ellie's just as strong as Rain. In fact, the overarching plot of the series is about Ellie discovering and accepting her true nature and her own vast power, which she must do before she can complete the truemate bond.
FEEHAN: The story is poetic and haunting. I couldn't stop thinking about the world or the characters. Can you give us a glimpse of what happens next?
WILSON: Without giving away too much, I can say that Ellie and Rain will face serious danger in Lady of Light and Shadows. We'll learn more about the Tairen, Ellie's magic and her true parentage -- plus a few other surprises.
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