Chatting with the Pros: Interview with author RA Winter

It’s been several years since I posted a “Chatting with the Pros” interview, but today I have a very special post with an author I’ve known for several years, In fact, she was a contributing author to the original Ask the Authors writing reference anthology back in 2018. She’s got a new book coming out tomorrow, Themis’ Revenge. It is book 4 of her Queens of the Underworld series. She’s a multi-genre author and she’s joining me here to share with us about her writing and her new release, which is always very exciting.

About the Author

I started writing under my married name, writing genealogy books as history was my first love. Now I write stories that give me joy-be it fantasy, magical realism, ghosts, urban fiction, or romance. All my novels contain strong females with sass, sarcasm, and humor. You know, women exactly like me. I love animals and it doesn’t matter what kind either. I’ve even petted a crocodile in Egypt-tried to take him home too. Apparently, that’s not allowed.

Our Chat

Please tell us a little about yourself to start out.  

RA Winter: Currently, I’m in Pittsburgh, PA but I’ve lived all over the world; Turkey, Germany, Egypt, Jordan and tons of states in the US. I love to travel but hate to fly!  I’ve been working as Federal Agent since 2013, I won’t tell you which agency, but lets just say that it’s interesting.

You write what your heart tells you too, making you a multi-genre author. What are the genres that you have written in? 

RA Winter: I’ve dipped my toe in a few genres and I always include romantic elements. Contemporary,  magical realism, low-fantasy, high fantasy,  western fantasy (which is becoming a thing. I finally got to write a Sleeping Beauty retelling at a rodeo with spirits!), historical, paranormal, Greek myth, sci-fi and I’ve also published nonfiction.

What is your favorite genre to write in so far? Why?

RA Winter: I adore writing fantasy. I love the descriptions, the world building-my world-my rules!  My novels end up being in the 300-400 page range so they aren’t your typical 1000 page high fantasy.

What genre do you classify Themis’ Revenge? Why?  

RA Winter: Got Zeus? I do!  I’ll take you on a journey from Olympus to Hades, Tartarus and into the real world. I have dragons, werewolves, arrogant gods (yes, Zeus), sexy scenes, a romance with Ares and Death (oh my!) and that one little pesky secret and mystery that is threaded through each book. Can you guess the ending?  (Bane’s Wish will be out in April). Multiple genres collide in this series with myth-based fantasy action being the main focus.

What inspired the Queens of the Underworld series?

RA Winter: You remember Supernatural, the TV series?  Well, in the show, Death is a person and I was like-she needs a romance. Then the whole-how do I bring Death alive idea started. Then I had to have a bad guy, and a world to build on, so I tinkered with bits of mythology to find the right pieces.  I had taken courses in Greek mythology in college years ago and loved all the backstabbing, romance, and intrigue and wanted to capitalize on my knowledge. I actually took a couple more classes to freshen my memory and spark new ideas.

What do you enjoy about writing the books in this series?

RA Winter: I do not like stories to end! I love to read. If I find a world that I enjoy and characters that I’m invested in-I don’t want to put the novel to rest. It’s like stranding them in no-man’s land and walking away. Writing a series is a way to keep characters alive and build on the setting/plot/features from prior books until those unruly characters are ready to die.  It’s also much more complicated to write.  You have to remember picky details like eye color, sex, boots or shoes? WTF is his sons name? so a story bible is imperative. As is a wonderful, patient, honest editor.

Themis’ Revenge is Book 4 in the series. Are these stand-alone novels or do readers want to pick up the previous books in the series before reading Themis’ Revenge?

RA Winter: Themis is the prequel. It can be read as a standalone or at any point in the series.  I would prefer that you read it first-but that’s up to the reader. It takes place over four-thousand years ago but the consequences of Themis’s actions are being dealt with today. It digs deep into the stakes of the series. If you read Themis first, you’ll be invested and hopefully solve the mystery that’s driving the series before others do. The other books can be read separately, but you might miss some clues! If the stakes/worldbuilding aesthetics are not paramount to you and you’re just looking for the romance between say–Death and Ares–then jump into Death’s Lover and hopefully you’ll fall in love and come back for the others.

Could you tell us a little about the story?

RA Winter: She is Themis goddess of Justice, only she can write the rules that govern men. Zeus, king of the gods, has other ideas. Not only did he cheat on her, but he changed her laws. Horrified that Zeus has doomed an innocent man to be fed to a Titan god, Themis must descend into the depths of Hades to save the damned soul- without Zeus’s knowledge.

But an omnipotent being guards the prison of Typhoeus. One with blood pulsing through his veins. He’s neither god nor demon, (but sexy as hell with his dark hair, tight abs, gruff manner), and he refuses Themis entry into Tartarus. With no way around him, she must go through him- and step directly into his arms.

In a race against time, Zeus and the Titan god’s hunger, Themis is willing to sacrifice everything to save an innocent soul. But is she willing to risk her heart again?

What was the biggest challenge for you in writing this story?  

RA Winter: Keeping the characters true to their personalities. That’s why Themis’s Revenge starts over four thousand years ago. I had to use the earliest myths of her and show her evolution from a ‘right-wrong-no gray area’ goddess to one who sees that the law shouldn’t be so cut and dried-and neither can relationships!

What was the most fun in writing this story?

RA Winter: Planting the seeds for my big ‘Ah Ha-Gotcha’ moments. I want the reader to be able to see those bits and pieces and put it together-but have Themis totally blindsided and missing those clues. Reactions are golden.

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

RA Winter: For the love of God woman, life can’t be planned-process, improvise, and continue -KC Freeman, author extraordinaire and my overworked editor.  I’m a Virgo. I organize and plan everything. I have schedules for daily, weekly, monthly and over the course of a year.(Sometimes I even do hourly schedules. Ugh.) I have this horrible internal flaw. I follow through then something happens where I can’t complete a task in the time allotted and bam! I quit because I can’t fulfill my plan. It takes me a while to reorganize and return. After a bout of Covid, it took me two years to start writing again. I just couldn’t stick to a schedule I even have an exercise and diet chart. If I get ill-I can go from running 4 miles a day to a year later wondering why I can’t walk 4 miles when I finally restart my plan.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

RA Winter: You have to write it. Take it in chew-able pieces. Have a vision and stick to it-if you have the ending-you can write the rest. I finished my first book because someone told me that I never would publish. My first novel was a graceful uptick of my middle finger in his face. Wonderful image to this day. Hey, there are now 13 books, 2nd book of the year in the NR,  and a USA Today Bestselling author title at the end of my name-so maybe I should thank him?

Um. No. I’m waiting on my next screw-you moment. It’s the challenge that keeps me going.

About the Book

Zeus rewrote her laws. Now, Themis, Goddess of Justice will extract her revenge.

She is Themis goddess of Justice, only she can write the rules that govern men. Zeus, king of the gods, has other ideas. Not only did he cheat on her, but he changed her laws. Horrified that Zeus has doomed an innocent man to be fed to a Titan god, Themis must descend into the depths of hades to save the damned soul- without Zeus’s knowledge.

But an omnipotent being guards the prison of Typhoeus. One with blood pulsing through his veins. He’s neither god nor demon and he refuses her entry into Tartarus. With no way around him, she must go through him- and step directly into his arms.

In a race against time, Zeus and the Titan god’s hunger, Themis is willing to sacrifice everything to save an innocent soul. But is she willing to destroy her own soul by opening her heart again?

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Artemis: From Vigilanty Diety to Superhero

Artemis

 

One town, two killers and the body count is rising.  Artemis, by Chris Snider is the tale of how freak set of circumstances turned an ordinary scientist on the brink of death into something no longer human. With superhuman powers, including the ability to command animals, Joseph Art becomes Artemis, defender of animals and the innocent or vulnerable. The police don’t know whether they should string him up as a vigilante, or pin a medal on him. After he comes face to face with the evil clown axe murderer, the stakes are raised and the hunt becomes personal, and no one knows what will happen when the two killers confront one another a final time.

The individual storylines are skillfully woven into a single plotline and action filled climax. I give Artemis four quills.

four-quills3

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.