Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nico Rosso and Pushed to the Limit

Welcome to the blog Nico! Why don’t you tell us a little about your book, PUSHED TO THE LIMIT.

-Here’s the blurb:

Teryn Pilander lives in a world of secrets. Trained in espionage, she is a Shadow Corps operative for the Core Army in the Limit War. Her latest mission takes her to the planet Viela, drawn by a communication that the local government captured a Dusk Warrior Officer for questioning. More interesting than the message, though, is the voice delivering it. A little shy, but deep and strong, the masculine voice sparks dormant fires in Teryn. She tells herself that once the mission is over, she might put her spy self away for a bit and live a little as a woman.

Drel Kol has secrets of his own. He is the one who sent the message drawing Teryn and her team to his planet. But he was just following orders and led her into a trap. Now, the woman he spoke with could be in grave danger. Her voice alone is enough to ignite a passion he has never known. Yet he's only a technician. Can he fight against his own government and the Dusk to save her? And will the new bond between Teryn and Drel be torn apart when she learns his secret?

Where were you when you got your first book contract? Who did you tell?

-I was home, hitting ‘refresh’ on my e-mail. The first person I told was my wife, romance author Zoë Archer.

What draws you to write your genre and sub genre?

-My wife writes romance and I was drawn to the genre because of the general hopefulness and honesty within the worlds. There may be a lot for the characters to overcome, but they will succeed and their emotions aren’t treated with any cynicism. I like Sci-fi as a sub-genre because of the creative challenge of constructing a plausible world and action for the characters to inhabit.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

-A lot of people say, “Write what you know.” My tactic is, “Don’t write what you don’t know.” Make sure you’re confident with the genre/characters/research before moving forward and make sure you’re writing something you’d like to read.

What is your guilty pleasure?

-Gear, like: boots, pocket knives and flashlights.

Where can your readers reach you?

-My website is:

Are you working on another book?

-Always. I’ll have a new Limit War story coming from Liquid Silver later this year. My Post-Apocalyptic romance THE LAST NIGHT, will be e-published by Carina early 2012. Meanwhile I’m collecting notes for another Limit War tale as well as more stories in other worlds.

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

The light of the central star burned bright and lurid onto Capital City. The buildings were thrown into high contrast. Light and shadow. Life and death.

Drel had killed. He had never taken a life in combat before. He had never driven a knife into a creature capable of speech. He killed and now he ran to survive. The city he grew up in was no longer home. It was hard angles and dangerous corners. But at least he knew the streets and alleys. He couldn’t imagine how sinister this all must look to Teryn.

If she was afraid, it didn’t show on her face. Her large eyes took in her environment, breaking it into sectors and assessing each fragment. Drel had never seen such capable focus and determination on anyone’s face. She kept pace with him, her lithe body strong and balanced.

Strange, he had gone to that basement room as her rescuer, but now he felt safer with her at his side. He’d killed the Dusk Warrior; he had to, fighting to survive. Teryn, though, helped him in the aftermath. The world seemed to have frozen around him, as if the Dusk Warrior’s death was his own. Echoing from a great distance, Teryn’s voice broke through. Black clouds shifted away from his vision and he saw her. Her dusky skin was the color of gray shadows. Dark eyes brought him back to the world of the living. You’re also the same man who came here to save me. Her words inspired him back into the fight.

They barely made it out of the archive building with all their limbs. But it still wasn’t safe in the glaring light of Capital City. Drel hurried Teryn through two empty alleys, free from any curious locals. Then the buildings opened up and they were faced with the sprawling central market. Citizens moved about their business, oblivious to the danger Drel felt. If he could get himself and Teryn through this market, they had a clear shot out of the city.

He started to cross the street, but Teryn hooked his arm and pulled him back into the shadows of the alley. He noticed for the first time that her fingernails were the same dark green as her hair. They shined, like polished stones.

“That local security?”

She ventured a quick glance into the street and he followed her gaze. Two patrollers were out, their dark blue uniforms in stark contrast to the natural hues of the clothing worn by people in the market.

“Yes, but they don’t look...” A third security officer joined them. “Nela.”


“Head of City Security.”

“More trouble than a girlfriend.”

Drel watched Nela talk to the other patrollers. Their posture changed, becoming more watchful.

Teryn interpreted the body language. “They’re definitely on the alert. But it’s still covert, otherwise the head would’ve put out a general communication. They might not even know what they’re looking for.”

“So we can lose ourselves in the market crowds then get out of the city.”

Teryn nodded, liking the plan, then a small frown creased her eyebrows. “If we’re going to keep running, I’ll need some shoes.”

Shocked, Drel looked at her feet. Teryn flexed her toes as proof. Her toenail pigment matched her hair and her fingernails. The intimacy of seeing her exposed feet flushed a heat through Drel. He had never felt so acutely sexual in public before.

Teryn brought him back to the situation. “They took my boots and jacket.”

“You didn’t say anything before.”

She shrugged this off and looked across the street at the market. “Wasn’t important when we were scrambling for our lives.”

Drel’s heart was still pounding from that danger. Her calm amazed him. “There’s an outfitter in the market. We can get you boots and some supplies.”

“Supplies for what?”

“We have to get out of the city. Too many eyes. Only safety is in the Wildlands.”

“Doesn’t sound safe.”

“With me it is.”

Sounds Great! How did you come up with the title?

-The first book in the Limit War was TAKEN TO THE LIMIT, so I wanted to maintain some continuity with that and reflect how the hero, Drel, was pushed into the Limit War and had to discover his own capabilities.

Do you work on one project at a time or mulitples?

-Usually I’ll be writing one story and working on the plot for the next.

Is there one particular thing that you find challenging about writing?

-Right now, the hardest time is trying to eliminate distractions when I’m writing. There can be a lot of things swirling out there, and even warring voices in my head, and I need to shut all that out.

Who is your favorite author?

-My favorite romance author is my wife.

What are you reading now?

-Haven’t had a lot of time to devote to reading lately. I have a bookmark slowly progressing through a copy of Dumas’s The Women’s War right now.

Are your characters a reflection on you or anyone you know?

-I think the characters are aspects of myself. Hero or villain, I try to find something in myself I can put in them to make them feel more real. Not that I’m as heroic or terrible as the characters, but I try to amply my own fragments within them.

Do you use more than one pen name? Why?

-So far, I’ve only been published under the one name, but if I ever publish books in other genres, I’ll use a different name to avoid confusion (don’t know if YA readers should be reaching for the romance stories I write).

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

-I generally like to write first thing in the morning, but if I have a clear day, I’ll try to take it as far as I can with a little music on.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

-I can’t think of just one favorite thing, but I do really enjoy the construction of a story, before the pages start flowing and I have to build the structure so all the moving parts—plot, character, action, tone—work together.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you like to be and why?

-I think I’d like to be an old-school vampire. I’d dig wearing the cape and turning to mist to slide under doors. And the accent is killer.

How long have you been a writer?

-As long as I can remember, I’ve been creating stories.

How many books have you written? How many have been published?

-I’ve written six novellas, two published now and two pending. I’ve also written three full-length novels in a different genre, but haven’t found a publisher for them yet.

Do you have a favorite character from one of you own books? Who and Why?

-Can’t claim one as a favorite, but the hero from the upcoming Limit War story was a lot of fun to write. He’s a country-boy roughneck soldier with a lot of vinegar in him.

What is the easiest and hardest thing about writing?

-The easiest thing is the early process of generating stories. Little prompts are always spinning out into whole solar systems. The hardest thing is eliminating distractions when it’s time to get to the page.

Do you find love scenes difficult to write?

-The most difficulty in love scenes for me is to create something fresh, so each time doesn’t feel too similar to the last one.

Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

-Fragments from my life and observations sometimes make their way into my writing. The great thing about writing romance is that it’s an opportunity to heal previous heartbreaks, or play out scenarios in a more idealized setting.

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

-It really depends on how many outside influences take me away from the writing. If I can finish a novella in about six weeks, I’m making good time.

Do you set timelines when you’re writing or write when the feeling hits you?

-Unless I have other obligations, I try and get up early and write every morning (at least weekday mornings).

Do your characters talk to you?

-Yes, and I talk back. Often there are whole dialogue exchanges between me and the characters that never make it to the page. It’s almost like an acting improv exercise, where you search out character.

Who controls the storyline, you or your characters?

-I plot extensively before I write, but in that process, I try to motivate the action based on the characters. It’s kind of a collaboration in the early stages. When I’m on pages, I control the story, but keep enough flexibility to adapt if something unexpected happens.

What is your writing day like once you start a book?

-If it’s a free day, I like to get up early, write until I’m hungry, eat, write more, eat again and try and get some daylight. If I’m really flowing, I’ll keep writing in the late afternoon. Evenings are for cooking dinner and catching up on the outside world.

Do you promo your backlists when you’re writing a new book, or dedicate your time solely to writing?

-Not having much of a backlist right now I’d have to say I spend most of my time writing the current book.

How many books do you write in a year?

-I don’t have a reliable count because of outside influences taking my time away. If I can write four or five, I’d be very happy.

Thanks for joining me today Nico! I look forward to reading PUSHED TO THE LIMIT. Okay Readers, it’s your turn. If you have any questions or comments for Nico, feel free to post them below!

Happy Reading!

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