Today's guest is Kylie Griffin, author of The Light Blade series. The first book, VENGEANCE BORN, was released in February and the second book, ALLIANCE FORGED, comes out today! I'm so pleased to have Kylie with us on her pub day so that you can find out exactly what it is she doesn't when she's not writing these novels. You might be surprised!
If that's not enough reason to stick around, Kylie is also providing a giveaway of her brand new book, ALLIANCE FORGED, at the end of this post.
Hmm, good question, because it seems over the last two years of my life, since contracting with Berkley to produce the Light Blade series, it's been nothing but writing! If it wasn't creating a new book, it was revising one, completing copy edits, drafting up back cover blurbs and cover descriptions, or completing blog posts, guest posts and interviews for promotion and then telling the world about it.
When I tried to recall what I spent my spare time doing, top on the list was housework and continuous cycle of preparation and assessment for my "day" job (teaching), but then I sat down and really thought about it and discovered I do have a life outside of writing! LOL
I'm a keen amateur photographer and that goes hand in hand with my globe trotting, gardening feeds my need to commune with nature, reading takes me to some amazing places and the tactile/visual artist in me enjoys patchwork, but over the last 17 years a huge part of my life has been my "volunteer" work, and this is what I'd like to share with you today.
As a teacher I've taken up teaching positions mostly in rural Australia, usually very small places with populations between 150-3000 people. At the moment I live in a country village (population 203 - that 3 make all the difference!).
We have a local pub, a one person police station, a one teacher school with 10 children, two churches, a general store that doubles as a post office and an agricultural supply business. As it takes emergency services from the nearest larger towns up to an hour to respond to calls, our geographic location puts us in the isolated community demographic.
Our volunteer fire brigade consists of five members - I'm the deputy captain and only female in the unit and we respond to both bushfires and structural fires. The SES unit helps out in floods & storms (and because of our isolation) we're also tasked with the responsibilities of search & rescue, road crash, and community first response (aka ambulance calls). With only six members (and two of us are in both organizations) I've been Controller, deputy controller and grunt in this organization.
Our RFS unit trains once a month and the SES unit trains once a week, with our CFR team (aka ambulance response team) has an extra night of training per month. Depending on how much time you wish to commit to extending your basic qualifications, courses outside our own unit's training are run by Regional Headquarters and they offer extra training if you want to reach a higher level of qualification.
When I took up my first posting as a teacher I never imagined joining an emergency service and learning the skills I now have - back-burning, blacking out, using a chainsaw, operating communications equipment, cutting vehicles up to free trapped casualties, monitor floods, help people stranded by flood waters, line searches for the missing, or learning how to use a defibrillator, an oxy-viva machine, and administering certain drugs.
One of the most heartbreaking call outs involved attending an emergency with two infants and having to perform CPR on them both until the ambulance arrived. One child survived, the other was declared DOA at the hospital. In such a small community as ours, this had a devastating effect (I taught some of the children in this family, and so this affected me deeply).
A more light hearted and amusing call out involved us heading out to assist a woman who'd gone into labor. She lived on a property in the middle of the bush and to get to their place we had to traverse a goat track, in torrential rain (which had been coming down for hours) and made driving the dirt track hazardous. There were three of us on the call out. When we got there we made the decision to evacuate the family of 5 as we knew we'd never make it back in there a second time. With two of us in the front of our 4WD vehicle, the pregnant woman and her family piled in the back seat and me in the canopied back sitting on top of all our medical supplies, we only just made it out of there.
Then we discovered the driver of the ambulance who had responded from the nearest town had managed to bog their vehicle twelve feet inside the front gate. So we transferred the family into the ambulance then used our road crash gear to pull the ambulance out of the bog and tow them back onto the tar road. We didn't get to see the woman's child born but then, I think the "rescue" of her and the ambulance was adventure enough for one night!
I've been to catastrophic bushfires, house-fires, motor vehicle fatalities, searches for missing people (whom we've found alive and deceased), ambulance call outs involving amputated limbs, heart attack casualties and emergencies where I've used CPR to sustain life. Every call out still gives me an adrenaline rush, but it's the camaraderie of working within a tight knit team (members I trust with my life, and have done on some occasions) and the satisfaction of knowing you've helped someone that keeps me going back week after week to train and responding to that pager when it goes off. I wouldn't swap that for anything.
And the wonderful thing is - these "spare" time activities allow the author in me to rejuvenate so that I can pursue a passion I really enjoy - writing!
Speaking of which, I must get back to it...
Thank you for taking the time to visit us, Kylie! Such a great post. =)
Here's the scoop on ALLIANCE FORGED:
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not purebred is virtually powerless. Until a blind priestess lays claim to a half-breed warrior, body and soul…
Hunted and marked for death by Na’Reish demons for their half-blood heritage, the Na’Chi are searching for a new home—something an alliance offered by the human leader could provide. With both races divided by prejudice, when Light Blade rebels brutally attack the Na’Chi, the alliance seems doomed to fail.
Varian, leader of the Na’Chi, a hybrid race of gifted warriors, is cursed with the darker impulses of his demon heritage. Controlling the part of himself that craves the high of the battle is a struggle he’s afraid he’ll lose—until he meets Kymora Tayn, a priestess driven to serve her deity. While he’s unwilling to trust anyone outside his people, he finds himself drawn to Kymora’s strength and passionate nature, and discovers she has the power to calm the darkness inside him.
When the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart the war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human—is an alliance. However when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.
Read an excerpt
You should also check out VENGEANCE BORN, the first book in the series:
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born...
Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na'Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father's people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she's gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy...
With the Na'Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na'Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons-and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.
When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father's dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council-and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war...
Kylie is kindly offering one (1) copy of ALLIANCE FORGED plus a signed bookplate to a lucky reader!
To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!
(as long as the Book Depository ships to your country)
Ends Monday, July 16, 2012a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!
Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!