Dora Machado is the award winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books July 2013. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.
About the Book
Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when her husband betrays her and she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn’t commit. She’s on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames.
Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark.
Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.
PURCHASE ON AMAZON.
1) Welcome to BloggerNews, Dora! Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?
Well, hello everybody. My name is Dora Machado. I’m the author of the Stonewiser epic fantasy series and The Curse Giver, my latest novel. I’ve been writing fantasy for about six or seven years. I was born in Michigan, but I grew up in the Dominican Republic. I’m one of a handful of Latinas writing fantasy these days.
2) When did you decide you wanted to become an author?
Even in my earliest memories, I was fascinated by books. As a child, I made up stories in my mind all the time. My teachers called it daydreaming, but I remember it as character development and plotting, even if it was all done in my mind. No wonder I had such trouble with sixth grade math!
It took me a long time to realize that those stories in my head were actually novels that needed to be written. By the time I figured it out, I was a wife and a mom and, with a full-time job, I didn’t have the time to write. But as my children grew older and more independent, I realized that my time to write was coming at last. And when it did, I seized it and now I plan to keep at it for the duration.
3) Do you have another job besides writing?
4) Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
The Curse Giver is a fantasy novel about an innocent healer called Lusielle, who is betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. When she’s about to be executed, Lusielle is rescued from the pyre by an angry, embittered lord doomed by a mysterious curse. You might think that Bren, Lord of Laonia, is Lusielle’s savior, but no, he isn’t. On the contrary. Bren is pledged to kill Lusielle himself, because her murder is his people’s only salvation.
What ensues is a dangerous journey, where Lusielle and Bren have to escape their ruthless enemies and unravel the mystery of the terrible curse that has fallen upon the Lord of Laonia. They also have to overcome the distrust they have for each other, fight off the forbidden attraction between them, and work together to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.
I was inspired to write the story while I was working on another project. I was doing research and came across the striking picture of an old tablet, an ancient curse. The more I learned about curses, the more I realized how pervasive they were to the human story. I mean, every culture in the world believes in curses in one way or another. Right?
From crime prevention to religious practices, curses have all kind of applications and influences. My mind has only two settings, on and off, obsessed or uninterested. Fascinated with the subject, my subconscious went to work. I’ve told the story before. It’s embarrassing because it entails the huge cliché of a powerful dream, but from such a dream The Curse Giver was born.
5) How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
My initial creative process is subconscious at first and then tied by a very loose outline to my writing journey, which entails equal measures of disciplined plotting and stream-of-consciousness writing. Most of the time my creative process is sparked by a scene, a vivid image that fuels an intricate plot. I hate to repeat this because literature snobs everywhere frown upon it, but it’s the truth: Both the Stonewiser series and The Curse Giver were born in my dreams.
In the case of The Curse Giver, I dreamed about this wretched man, bitter and angry, who had been cursed to live in fear and die in agony and was desperately searching for a way to defeat his curse. The image was very powerful and unforgettable. It got me thinking. What type of curse ailed him? Something very dark, I told myself, something shocking, something that forced him to straddle the boundaries between good and evil, duty and crime. From then on, the story took off, acquiring a life of its own, with the outline as a guide but the plot twists and the characters in charge. That’s how I wrote The Curse Giver.
6) What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?
Hmm. What an interesting question. I’ve never been asked that before. You might think that I’m the latter rather than the former, and yet that’s not completely true. While I fantasize a lot in my head—after all, I do write fantasy—I also draw a lot on my experiences to develop my stories. Traveling is key to my creative process. I get a lot of ideas from my experiences while traveling. For example, while I was writing The Curse Giver‘s mythology, I went to Peru and visited Cuzco and Machu Pichu. What I saw, heard and experienced helped me fashion the details of The Curse Giver‘s mythology. I think that for me the writing process entails experience meeting imagination to create rich, powerful, multidimensional stories.
7) Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?
The shower, definitively the shower. Maybe it’s because I can’t sing, so instead, I think. Seriously, I think that after a long night writing, a hot shower relaxes the body, clears the mind and allows the stories to flow. I also get a lot of ideas in my dreams when I’m asleep. Driving is good too. In fact, I have a pen and pad always ready in my car. The scribbles are really hard to read, though. So please, on behalf of highway patrols everywhere, don’t drink and drive and don’t write and drive either. Okay?
8) From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
About a year, give or take.
9) Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?
I always edit what I wrote the night before prior to writing new material. So if I wrote three chapters last night, then today I’ll read through those before I start a new chapter. It’s something that I’ve always done and I think it helps set the tone and ease the flow as well. I have moments where I go back and read the story from the beginning to make sure all the elements are in place before I continue on to the next section. I guess you could say that I’m editing when I do this, because I do make changes as I go along.
10) As a writer, what scares you the most?
Not being able to write.
12) Are you a disciplined writer?
I think I’m a disciplined writer, or perhaps I’m just compulsive about my writing, because I love what I do and I would love to have even more time to download the stories in my mind.
13) When it comes to writing, are you an early bird, or a night owl?
I’m a creature of the night, a night owl for sure. It’s peaceful at night. It’s quiet and there are no interruptions. At night, I’m free to dream, even if I’m fully awake.
14) What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?
I think critique groups can be very helpful, as long as they are a good fit for the writer. In my experience, critique groups come in all different types. Some are exclusively social groups, some offer support, encouragement and commiseration, some are very much into the mechanics of writing, others are very production oriented. There are groups that are very strict about membership and participation requirements and others that are very relaxed. I think the best thing to do is ask yourself: What is it that you are looking for in a critique group? If you have a clear goal in mind, the search will be easier.
Lurking about is a good practice to learn more about a group and get acclimated when you first join. Reading old posts and getting familiar with the members and their work will also help to establish the nature of the group that you are considering joining. Visiting is always a good idea and reciprocating is vital. Notice how members treat each other and how they approach their critiques. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of openness and respect that the group demonstrates. And if you don’t like what you see/hear, you can always try another group.
15) What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Write like the wind, (It’s actually a book by Aaron Lazar), write often, diligently and continuously, write for yourself and my favorite, write to The End. Also, get off line and go write.
16) Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
I do and I’d love to welcome your readers to http://www.doramachado.com. I can also be contacted through email at Dora@doramachado.com, Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/DoraMachado101, my blog,http://www.doramachado.com/blog/ or @doramachado on Twitter.
Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here
Thank you for having me. I had a lot of fun visiting with you and your readers.