- T&D Publishing
- Release Date
- October 2017
- Book 1 of Fire and Tears
Action/Adventure Romance, Alternate Universe, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance
Layla Brightarrow's world fell apart the day the Sorcerers invaded her city. Abandoned by the neighboring elven kingdom, Layla must forsake all hope for the man she loves, a powerful elf lord now forever beyond her reach. But when some of the elves break the neutrality to side with the Sorcerers, Layla is sent to assassinate one of the traitors. Her mission forces her to confront the very man she never thought she'd see again—and face a desire she thought long buried.
Ulric of Glengowyn is determined to protect Layla from his traitorous brother, and he'll do whatever is necessary to keep her alive, including using her feelings against her. But his game of seduction cuts both ways, endangering both their lives. To save her, Ulric will have to convince Layla to trust him, an impossible feet when her mission is to kill his brother.
For Layla, Ulric is a temptation she can't resist, and a risk she doesn't dare take. Years of denial and betrayal hang between them, leaving Layla caught between duty and a love that could be her destruction. Or her salvation.
BOOK INTERVIEW on October 2011
Interview by Laura
Isabo, congratulations on your newest release, BRIGHTARROW BURNING, coming on October 4!
Q: What inspired this story?
I was asked by an editor if I could give her a short story proposal to substitute into an anthology if the proposed stories for the anthology didn't come through. In the end they all did, but by that time, I'd come up with the very basic idea for this story. The initial spark came in the form of the opening scene and that first bit of dialogue where Ulric asks Layla when she's going to stop trying to kill his brother. From that tantalizing bit of dialogue, I built a story. It was a really fun story to develop.
Q: That's interesting! Please tell us more about your world. What's the dynamic of the relationship between the humans, elves and sorcerers?
Before the sorcerers found their way to Layla's human city, Sinnale, the humans and elves were neighbors and had an active trade arrangement. Elves commonly visited Sinnale and humans weren't forbidden passage through the elven forest city, Glengowyn. When the sorcerers invaded Sinnale, looking for human slaves and sacrifice fodder to enhance their spells and power, the elves decided to remain neutral, separating themselves from the "human" conflict and breaking off all trade with the Sinnale. Some of the elves disagreed with this tactic—our hero Ulric being one of them—but the elven king and queen wanted to stay out of the war. And they did until some of their own defected to help the sorcerers. Ulric's brother is one of the traitor elves.
Q: So much history! Layla Brightarrow, your heroine, is an assassin. What made you give her that profession? What characteristics does she possess that qualified her for the position?
The profession kind of came with that opening dialogue that started me thinking about this story. :) From that point, I dug into who Layla was and why she would be pushed to this roll. She isn't inherently violent. But everything changed for her with the invasion. And she had to learn to fight. She is one of the best archers in the city, so when the elf king and queen asked the Sinnale to kill the traitor elves (there's a reason they went to the humans for this task), Layla was called to help. The invasion and the loss of so many of her people ignited a lot of anger in her against the sorcerers and elves, so going after them and killing them to save her people isn't as hard as it might have been before the invasion.
Q: Aside from Layla being an assassin, what else can you tell us about her? Why is her name "Brightarrow" part of the title?
Before the invasion, Layla and her family were weapons merchants—they negotiated with and bought and sold elven weaponry. She loves to negotiate and barter over goods, almost as much as her mother and father. She used to be a very active, restless woman, until the war taught her to stay still to survive. And she was happy and trusting—outside of negotiations. That part of her has been damaged during the war, though.
The name "Brightarrow" comes from her family's profession as weapons merchants specializing in elven weaponry. The name is in the title mostly because it sounds cool :) But also because this is really Layla's story. The core conflict is her struggle over her feelings for and reaction to Ulric (the burning part of the title :) ) when she doesn't know if she can trust him.
Q: That certainly makes sense, and yes I agree! BRIGHTARROW BURNING is a cool title. Now we come to the hero! Tell us more about Ulric of Glengowyn. What qualities make him a droolworthy hero?
Hmmm, Ulric… He's a warrior elf who has led his fellow elves in battles and proven himself one of the greatest warriors of his people. Since the elves have been at peace, he spends his time trading elf weapons made by other members of his family with the human merchants of Sinnale. He loves to negotiate—especially with the Brightarrow family—and prefers that to war even though he would never shy away from a fight. He is a favorite of his king and queen—much to his brother's disgust. And he's the one who taught Layla how to shoot a bow and arrow. He's fiercely protective, has a strong sense of honor and loyalty, and is incredibly hot and sexy.
Q: I like hot and sexy! And the excerpt on your publisher website was intriguing! I absolutely love the tension between the hero and heroine. If Ulric cares for Layla, why hasn't he made the move on her? Why wait until now?
Going into too much detail would be a bit of a spoiler. I will say that there's a reason elves and humans don't normally form long term relationships, elves generally keep any sexual relationship with a human very limited and temporary, and it took a serious shock for Ulric to acknowledge what he really wanted from Layla.
Q: I see I have to read the book to know! What's your favorite scene? Why?
I love the following little scene because it really gives an insight into what's going on with Ulric even though the whole story is told from Layla's point of view. I also find this particular passage very romantic and sexy. This is from the very beginning of the book:
"I hate that you cut your hair," [Ulric] said, his gaze traveling over her face. "You're still beautiful. But I adored your long hair."
"Long hair is a hindrance during war. And I know full well I'm not beautiful."
Just weeks after [Layla had] nearly killed his brother, and almost died in the process, Ulric started to show up everywhere she went in Noman's Land, following her and trying without any subtlety at all to get her into bed. After years of treating her as no more than a friend, the daughter of merchants he regularly sold elf-weapons to, suddenly he was plying her with compliments, touching her, teasing her. As much as his continued communication with his brother, his attempts to seduce her roused her suspicions and heightened her distrust.
"You never believe me," he said, shaking his head. But his tone was teasing now, as if scolding a naughty child.
"Why do you keep the scar hidden?" he asked.
She glanced away. "It's ugly." It wasn't the only ugly thing about her. But it was the one thing she could cover. The gap between her two front teeth could only be hidden if she kept her mouth closed and she was too outspoken for that. Her nose was too sharp, her face too long, her eyes too far apart. Her skin was splotchy and her figure much too thin. Two years of war had taken their toll on a body and face never perfect enough to compete with the beauty of the elves anyway.
Now she had a scar to add to her imperfections. Yet another reason she didn't believe Ulric could really want her.
He brushed her hair aside again, catching her hand when she reached up to stop him. "It's a mark of your courage," he murmured. "You shouldn't be ashamed."
"Easy for you to say." How could he understand? He was a warrior without a single scar, not one imperfection, though she knew from her father that Ulric had fought in at least two wars during his long life. He was battle-hardened and yet still looked magnificently flawless.
"No. I hate that you have this."
He ran his finger over the rough skin and Layla trembled in response. The slight contact sent heat radiating throughout her body. She started to lean into him, catching herself only at the last minute.
"It reminds me you were nearly killed. Every time I see it…" He paused and swallowed visibly.
Layla raised her brows. He sounded and looked so sincere.
"But you shouldn't be ashamed of the mark." His voice dropped to a whisper. "And I need the reminder."
Q: What's the most romantic thing Ulric has done for Layla that was the culmination of all her fantasies about him?
Actually, what I consider the most romantic thing he does for her is a spoiler so I can't say! But needless to say, it's good. It happens near the end, during the climax. You'll see when you get there. :)
Q: Now I really have to read this! Please share a unique fact or behind-the-scenes experience that you encountered in the course of writing this book.
The original title for BRIGHTARROW BURNING was Elf Fire. Which I liked and it really fit. But my brilliant publisher (Samhain Publishing) decided it wasn't unique enough, it didn't really stand out. It took probably two weeks of thinking, mulling, reading lots of book titles, and throwing out potential ideas before Brightarrow Burning occurred to me. When I thought of that title, I got goose bumps. I knew that was the winner even before I emailed my editor. I'm really glad now that Samhain made me work for something better. BRIGHTARROW BURNING seems like it should always have been the title now.
Q: I agree! What's up for you in the coming months?
A lot of writing and editing. My agent and I are working on getting two projects ready for submission. I have a novella to write for a collaborative project I'm doing with two other authors. And if BRIGHTARROW BURNING does well, I have two more stories planned for this particular world. Plus all the other writing I kept promising myself I'll get done :) It's a good and busy job I have.
Thanks so much for all the great questions! I really enjoyed the interview.
It's we who should thank you, Isabo, for the great insight you've given us into BRIGHTARROW BURNING. Thanks for joining us!
Isabo Kelly is the award winning author of numerous science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romance novels, short stories and novellas. After finishing her Ph.D. in Zoology in Ireland, she buckled down to concentrate on writing. Isabo currently lives in New York City with her brilliant Irish husband, her son and her mad dog.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/IsaboKelly (@IsaboKelly)
The Promise of Kierna ‘Rhoan
The Heron's Call
Isabo Kelly is giving away 2 digital copies of BRIGHTARROW BURNING and a signed paperback from her backlist (US/Canada residents only)! The backlist to choose from:
The Promise of Kierna'Rhoan
In the Gloaming (paperback with The Heron's Call in it)
Fangbangers (anthology with my short Mate Run in it)
Faery Song (duet with my story Lady of the Herd in it)
Simply write a comment or ask a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaway!
Contest ends October 31.
Winners will be announced in November.
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