1. Tell us about your newest release.
His Cemetery Doll is a story I've had brewing in my mind for years, the characters part of something my husband and I have shared since our school days together. At different points in time this has been a fantasy story, a shapeshifter story, a scenario in a role-playing game...but at its heart the main characters still carry the same two hearts, and their tale is one that, to me, is the result of years of love. So this is a very, very special release to me. I hope others will enjoy it, too.
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2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
While doing research on Conall's service during World War II, I discovered the Special Air Services, which is the regiment to which Conall would belong. I was very interested to find out what sorts of operations the SAS carried out: mainly espionage and sabotage, in Europe.
3. Do you have any interesting or quirks or rituals?
Tattoos. I have a tattoo commemorating each of my major writing projects, and I've made a deal with myself that I can only get a new tattoo when one of my projects actually gets published. Right now I have a cross on my left shoulder commemorating my first novel I ever finished; an arrangement of Norse runes on my hip for a supernatural fantasy series I almost had picked up; and a two-edged axe with pink petals around it on my ankle to commemorate the success of Lotus Petals. I've had to put a stall on new tattoos, though, as I've run into the problem of being able to hide tattoos at work, so soon I'll probably evolve to piercings instead.
4. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
In November of 2012 I went to a book signing for Jim Butcher's new release, Cold Days. When it was my turn to meet him, I told him how much his books inspired me-really, no matter what I'm writing, if I get stuck or frustrated or even bored with my own work, a few chapters of The Dresden Files never fails to recharge my creative batteries! When I said so, Jim came back by saying to me that I had to keep writing, had to keep putting my work out there, and he believed I would make it. Hearing that from one of my favorite authors gave me a whole new sort of encouragement.
5. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
My mom keeps asking for copies of my books to put on her bookshelf. When I remind her she might not want to display graphic lesbian erotica in her living room where she meets with her church friends, she laughs and says no one will guess by the titles what my books are about. Of course, the only book I have to give her in hard copy format is The Big Book of Orgasm. So, there goes that little bit of protection...
6. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I am a gamer and an artist. When I'm not writing I am either playing a video game or board games with my friends, or I'm working on illustration or digital artwork for my own pleasure. I also like tabletop RP like D&D.
7. Can you tell us what is coming up next for you?
Both Lotus Petals and Goblin Fires have sequels, so those are primary focus at the moment. I've also got some short stories-called Flirts-that I'd like to get in edits with Breathless Press, and finally I have a novel I'm dying to write, featuring a Master/slave relationship and some adventurous BDSM. I have to manage a balancing act, here, as you might guess.
8. How can readers connect with you online?
I'm on Twitter, of course, as @brantwijn, and they are always welcome to visit my blog at www.brantwijn.blogspot.com. I'm also on Facebook and G+, as well as Pinterest. And I love, love, love comments on my work!
When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.
In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology. She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm. She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on. She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at http://brantwijn.blogspot.com.
Conall knows the angel standing in his graveyard is only a statue. After all, he carved her with his own two hands. Can she possibly be...alive?
There's a woman in the graveyard.
Conall Mackay never put stock in ghost stories. Not even after thirteen years serving as the cemetery keeper in the village of Whitetail Knoll. But things change. Now, his daughter is dreaming of a figure among the tombstones. The grounds are overrun by dark thorns almost faster than Con can clear them. White fog and gray ribbons creep up on him in the night, and a voiceless beauty beckons him from the darkest corners of the graves.
When the world he knows starts to unravel, Conall might finally be forced to believe.
He hadn't slept long before he heard sounds from down in the kitchen below.
"Shyla!" he called gruffly. "Weren't you heading into town?"
No answer came from below, but the sounds of pots clanging told him his daughter toyed about down there. Perhaps she'd decided not to leave him after all and taken it into her head to now re-organize the house, since he'd so clearly wanted her to stay out of the cemetery. With a low groan, Conall rolled out of bed and stepped out into the hall.
"Shyla!" he called again, coming to the head of the stairs. If she had stayed home, she could at least do it without making a lot of noise.
He staggered then, as the hallway dimmed. Afternoon light flickered strangely, lightning cracking a dismal sky outside, and in the space of time afterward everything else darkened. Conall darted a glance around him as the house fell into shadow.
From the top of the stairwell, he saw the first whispering tendrils of white fog.
The heat of adrenaline shot through his limbs. Conall stumbled back into his bedroom, even as the fog pursued. His gaze shot to the window as the last gray light of day faded away and eerie darkness replaced it, like an eclipse sliding over the sun.
More cold mists veiled the glass, dancing and floating. Trembling overtook him as he spun to find another escape.
He froze, finding himself face-to-face with the broken mask of the cemetery doll.
"You—" he gasped. His breath came out white as the fog enveloped them both, leaving a space of mere inches between them, so he could still see her expressionless face. Gray ribbons wound and curled through the air around him. "Who are you?" he asked.
The doll stared up at him. He sensed her searching, looking into his eyes even though hers remained covered. She held him there with her unseen gaze, until her cool, cold hand came up to touch his bare chest.
Conall let out a low breath. He closed his eyes, and a shudder of strange ease rippled through his body. The cool pads of her fingers ran down his sternum, to his navel. The silky ribbons brushed along his side.
Then he noticed her other hand. She lifted it up, to her own chest, and she held something tightly in her fingers: Shyla's stuffed dog.
"I made that...for my daughter," he whispered. The woman with the broken mask tilted her head down toward the small toy, studying it. For a fraction of a second, her fingers appeared to tighten around it. She returned her gaze to him, then, and the toy fell from her grip into the fog, forgotten.
"Wait—" he said, but she brought her other hand up to his chest to join the first, and he recognized eagerness in the way she pressed her icy skin against his. Her face tilted to him, and then came her lips again, ivory and flawless.
"I—" Conall breathed. "I...don't understand..."
Her fingers slid up, around his neck, but he pulled away.
"No, this...this can't real. I'm asleep. I must be."
Gray ribbons danced, pulling him back to her, and she stroked his face. He sucked in a breath at her touch and found his own hand coming up to brush hers.
"You're so cold," he said. "Like stone...but..."
Her cool touch thrilled him; it made his skin tingle and the heat of his own body sing. Her perfect flesh did, in fact, prove soft under his hands, as if the contact with his worn calluses infused cold ivory with yearning. She caressed his cheek, and Conall leaned into it. Before he could stop himself, he bowed his head to her and kissed her frozen lips.