Fantasy Author Lori McLaughlin Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble!
Lady, THY NAME IS TROUBLE by Lori McLaughlin
Trouble is Tara Triannon’s middle name. As swords for hire, Tara and her sister Laraina thrive on the danger. But a surprise invasion throws them into chaos… and trouble on a whole new level. Pursued by the Butcher, a terrifying assassin more wolf than man, Tara and Laraina must get a prince marked for death and a young, inept sorceress to safety. There’s only one problem – eluding the Butcher has never been done. Aided by a secretive soldier of fortune, they flee the relentless Gifted with magic and cursed by nightmares that are all too real, Tara must stop an army led by a madman and fend off an evil Being caught in a centuries-old trap who seeks to control her magic and escape through her dreams – all while keeping one step ahead of the Butcher.
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Welcome Lori MacLaughlin to my featured guest spot!
I met Lori when I joined IWSG , Insecure Writer’s Support Group, back in early 2014 and have followed her blog ever since. Congratulations on the release of your book. I love your cover. It is so beautiful and would definitely have me stopping to check the blurb. One of the things I really enjoy about it was the epic saga feel to your story. Your rogue antagonist/protagonist I found very fascinating, which I ask you about further down in the questions, so let’s get started.
1. What inspired your story “Lady, Thy Name is Trouble”?
Thanks, Juneta, and thank you for inviting me to do a guest spot on your blog!
I’ve always been drawn to strong female characters who are more than capable of looking out for themselves and who are accepted as they are. I also prefer fantasy worlds where women and men are treated as equals, with no thoughts of discrimination. No one thinks it strange if a woman leads a kingdom or handles a sword well.
I built my story around these ideas and fitted them into the world I’d already created in maps and sketches. My main character is my alter ego, so I dreamed up adventures for her that I would like to have.
2. Tell us about your main character Tara Triannon and her sister. They have an unusual survival mode for the world they live in, don’t they?
Tara and her sister, Laraina, are swords for hire. They are among the best at what they do, and their exploits have earned them a reputation as such. They’re not murderers/assassins, but neither are they always on the right side of the law. They follow their own code of honor. Laraina has fiery red hair and a penchant for passionate love affairs, while Tara’s unusual silver-blonde hair and silver-blue eyes match her icy personality.
3. What is the most important fact that readers should know about the world you have created?
The world of Alltyyr has a medieval feel to it, in that people live in castles, travel by horseback, and battle with medieval weaponry, but the level of civilization is higher. Many of the people are educated, there is less poverty, most of the places are much cleaner, and there is a higher level of hygiene.
4. Your story involves kingdoms, assassins and rogues, tell us a bit about the general story?
At the beginning of the story, Tara and Laraina are staying in a castle because Laraina is having an affair with the prince of that kingdom. When the castle is overthrown in a surprise invasion, they escape with the prince and his young cousin, a fledgling sorceress whose spells never work quite the way they’re supposed to.
The invading general wants them dead, so they can’t warn the other kingdoms of his marauding ways and ruin his crucial element of surprise. He sends the Butcher after them, a terrifying wolf-like assassin no one has ever escaped.
While on the run from the Butcher, they enlist the aid of Jovan Trevillion, a mysterious rogue with an agenda of his own. Sparks fly between Jovan and Tara, though she tries her best to snuff them out, having been burned badly by another handsome rogue in the past.
Many dangers and soul-searching moments test the limits of their strength as they fight to save themselves and the neighboring kingdoms. Through it all, Tara is plagued by nightmares caused by an ancient evil Being trapped in a prison, that is trying to use her magic and escape through her dreams.
5. What made Tara and her sister who they are?
Tara and Laraina grew up in a small village in one of the more unenlightened areas where fear of magic ran rampant. Tara was shunned by most of the villagers because of her unusual hair and eye color. As a result, she became cold and aloof, keeping everyone at sword’s length. Laraina has always been fiery with a temper to match her red hair. Being the elder of the two sisters, Laraina promised their father on his deathbed that she would watch out for Tara and has lived her life accordingly.
6. You have an epic type saga going on here, can you give a little background on Captain Natiere?
As a youth, Natiere suffered a horrible trauma that scarred him both physically and emotionally and turned him into the tortuous killer called the Butcher. There’s so much more to him, though, but I can’t really say any more about him without giving away spoilers.
7. What can you tell us about the magic of your world? What laws of magic did you set up?
The magic is based on what I call elemental energies. Aurelia, the young sorceress, explains it this way: “Everything around us — all the elements — give off energy. Some people are sensitive to it and can tap into that energy and, with the proper incantation, use it to create magic spells.”
There aren’t very many who have this sensitivity, and few of those develop strong magical abilities.
An even rarer form of elemental magic is a much more powerful innate form that draws energy from a single element and doesn’t require incantations to use. This form of magic springs from a source deep within the soul and manifests itself in whatever talent that person has.
8. You have created a very intriguing and debonair protagonist/antagonist to your main heroine Tara, Trevillion. I don’t want you to give too much away, because the mystery is a very interesting facet of your story, but what would you like your readers to know?
Like Natiere, there’s so much more to Jovan Trevillion than anyone knows, inner torments of which he doesn’t speak and for which a resolution will have to be found or there will be dire consequences. And again, that’s about all I can say without spoilers.
9. Is Trevillion based on anyone you know?
Not really. He is the type of hero I’m most attracted to — tall, dark, and handsome with a tortured soul.
10. How long has it taken you to write your novel?
I’ve been working on various incarnations of this novel since the mid 1980s, so close to 30 years. Book 2 took me several years to write, but not nearly as long as Book 1. Now that I’m treating my writing as a business, rather than a hobby, I’m working more quickly and hope to publish on a regular basis.
11. Do you have a ritual or special place that you write?
The only ritual I have is to read a few pages before where I left off in my last writing session to get my mind back into the story. When I first started writing way back when, I used pencil and notebooks and perched in whatever spot inspired me at the moment. Then I had to type everything into my old typewriter/word processor. Now, I have a desk with a computer in my small library/computer room where I usually sit to conjure up my stories. Beats trying to edit on a typewriter.
12. What is the release date of your novel?
My novel came out in e-book format on February 27th and will also be available in print.
13. What is a day in your life-like?
My typical day consists of taking care of my kids, the house, the chores, and so forth. Since I started my own publishing company, my writing has become my day job, and I’m still learning how to make that a priority and fit it in around everything life throws at me. I’m trying to squeeze more writing time in amid the promotion and social media blitz for Book 1.
14. Is your family excited about the release?
Yes, very. They’ve always been incredibly supportive of my writing.
15. Where can readers find out more about you?
I have a blog, a Goodreads author page, a newly created Facebook author page, and a Twitter handle, though I haven’t had time to explore Twitter much yet. I’m also on Pinterest. Here are the links:
16. Do you have any plans for future projects, or are you working on anything else right now?
After the blog tour and the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, I plan on finishing the final edits for Book 2: Trouble By Any Other Name. My goal is to have the second book published by the end of the year.
17. Who is your favorite author, or what type of reading are you drawn to when you read?
My favorite author is J.R.R. Tolkien. I love epic fantasy, and sword and sorcery with the emphasis on the sword. I also read science fiction, mysteries, and whatever else happens to catch my fancy.
18. Any last words for our readers, before we close?
It took a very long time for me to achieve my dream of being a published author. But the fact that I made it, proves that with perseverance and determination, achieving dreams can be done. If you have a dream, go for it. Never give up. It’ll be oh so sweet when you get there.
Thanks again, Juneta, for having me here!
Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She’s been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up. She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids’ shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish. When she’s not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.