Dora Machado is the award winning author of the Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, coming this summer from Twilight Times Books. She is one of the few Latinas exploring her heritage and her world through the epic fantasy genre today. She holds a master's degree in business administration and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University. She was born in Michigan and grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a bilingual fascination for writing, a love for history, and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She enjoys long walks, traveling, and connecting with the amazing readers who share in her mind's adventures. She lives in Florida with her indulging husband and three very opinionated cats.
You can visit her at www.doramachado.com
1.What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was born out of my lifelong dream to write. I'd known all my life that's what I wanted to do, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I had the time, resources and opportunity to sit down and write. That doesn't mean that I wasn't thinking about my stories before then. On the contrary, I think my stories flow out so easily these days because they've been written in my mind many times over. My first book gushed out of me like champagne bursting out of a shaken bottle. It felt good, all that passion finally released.
2.What books have influenced your life the most?
I'm one of those people who think that the human mind is influenced by every contact and every read, no matter how casual or light. As a young woman growing up in the Dominican Republic, I was exposed to many different influences. I thrived on young adult novels from Louisa May Alcott. I loved Enid Blyton and blazed through The Famous Five, The Seven Secrets and The Malory Towers series. I think I wanted to be a student at Malory Towers as much as my kids wanted to go to school at Hogwarts!
But, talk about being a hybrid of many worlds! At the same time I was reading Louisa May Alcott and Enid Blyton, I was also reading the Latin American classics. Books such as A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosas, and the House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende left lasting impressions. I also got to enjoy my parents’ wonderful library, enjoying the Russians (I favored Tolstoy), the French (Victor Hugo), the Germans (Eric Maria Remarque), the Spanish (Jose Maria Gironella), and the Americans (Hemingway, always Hemingway).
Later, when I came to the States, I discovered fantasy and was dazzled by J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, Frank Herbert, Robert Jordan, and George R.R. Martin, way before he became as popular as he is now. I also fell in love with commercial fiction. Diana Gabaldon, Bernard Cornwell and Anne Rice are some of my all-time favorites.
3.What are your current projects?
I'm really excited about the release of my newest fantasy novel, The Curse Giver from Twilight Times Books. The novel just came out in e-book form, and the print version is scheduled for release on October 15. The Curse Giver is about an innocent healer, Lusielle, who is betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn't commit. When she's about to be executed, Lusielle is rescued from the pyre by an angry, embittered lord doomed by a mysterious curse. You might think that Bren, Lord of Laonia, is Lusielle's savior, but no, he isn't. On the contrary, Bren is pledged to kill Lusielle himself, because her murder is his people's only salvation.
What ensues is a dangerous journey, where Lusielle and Bren have to escape their ruthless enemies and unravel the mystery of the terrible curse that ails the Lord of Laonia. They also have to overcome the distrust they have for each other, struggle with the forbidden attraction between them, and defy the boundaries between love and hate and good and evil to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.
I'm really proud of The Curse Giver. It's gotten some wonderful reviews, which you can check out at http://www.doramachado.com/cursegiver.php.
I'm also very happy because the first book of the Stonewiser series, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, will be coming out as an audiobook in the next couple of weeks. I have to tell you, listening to the story was one of the most powerful and joyful experiences I have ever had as an author. The narrator, Melissa Reizian, is an incredibly talented voice actress. She did an amazing job, applying a broad spectrum of accents and sounds, enriching and enlivening the story. Even if you have already read Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, I encourage you to listen to the audiobook. And if you're an audiobook lover, this is one you have to hear. You can listen to a chapter sample at: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Stonewiser-Audiobook/B00F52CJIY/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379186069&sr=1-1
It's good old fashion storytelling at its very best!
There is a lot more going on at www.doramachado.com, including my blog, newsletter and a giveaway that your readers might enjoy.
4.If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Hmm. I think The Curse Giver turned out pretty darn close to how I first conceived it.
5.What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
My publishers worry about the cost of putting out books that buck the current trends for short novels and simple plots. But it's fantasy, people! My books are actually a lot shorter than most of the fantasy novels out there, and readers consistently tell me they read them really fast. Besides, when I tell a story, I want to tell it fully, vividly, exuberantly, with all the passion it deserves. I think my readers are some the cleverest, finest readers in the market and I like to give them not just quality and fun, but also value.
6.What has been the best compliment?
I love it when people say my novels kept them up all night and that they couldn't put them down. It means that I've successfully conveyed the passion I feel when I write. It's also nice to hear that readers have fallen in love with a character. You know you've done a good job when people care about the characters and connect with the story at a very personal level. Some readers have pointed out that my writing has a lyrical quality which they associate with my romance language/Spanish background. I don't know if it's true, but it's nice to hear, because I try to showcase romance not just in the story but in the writing as well.
But the best compliments come from people whose lives I've touched with my stories, people who say my books have helped them keep their mind off problems, illness, grief and loss, readers who find refuge, joy and respite from life in my fantasy worlds.
7.Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I shy away from giving advice to aspiring writers because the journey can be very different for each one of us, and we all tackle the road in different ways. But if you pressed me on this, I would say that, above everything else, a writer has to write. So write, write often, write a lot and write with passion; and don't forget to learn from the experience.
8.What is your favorite quality about yourself?
9.What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I'm stubborn. And skeptical. I stress easily. It's kind of a long list. Maybe I should stop now.
10. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you for having me here today, and special thanks to your readers. If you enjoy a fast-paced, epic adventure with lots of conflict, plot-twists and a torrid, forbidden romance, The Curse Giver is for you. Here's what other readers are saying about The Curse Giver:
"What an original and phenomenal read! I was immediately swept up in this enchanting world of magic, mystery, and lore. It was a page-turner and once I started, I could not put it down! The world-building was so vivid that it was so easy to get swept away in the fantasy."
"Dora Machado’s The Curse Giver, plunges us into a world so rich, and so well constructed, it feels almost as if we could step sideways into it."
"Once the action starts it doesn’t stop. Literally doesn’t stop. I had to put the book down a couple of times to catch my breath and sleep . . . . The plot was interesting with intrigue, twists, gods, goddesses, myths, curses and lots of action. I was constantly on the edge of the couch hoping and praying things would work out in the end."
"Lovers of dark romantic fantasy will relish The Curse Giver. This was a wonderfully entertaining, absorbing read. . . . The Curse Giver is a memorable adventure for fans of fantasy and one I can certainly recommend."