Jen: Please help me give D.F. Krieger a warm welcome to Romancing the Book. D.F., will you share a short bio with us?
D.F.: When D. F. Krieger was banned from writing contests at her school, she immediately set it in her head that she would become a professional writer. Since then, she has thrown away her plans of world domination through books, but she still enjoys writing. Her tastes run from classy urban witches to dragons, space pirates to shape shifters. By the time she pens her final book with a hand ravaged by age, she hopes to introduce her readers to many alternate worlds, lines of thinking, and captivating characters.
You can find D. F. on the East Coast, hiding away from the real world with a gleam in her eye and a plot in her head. She resides with her husband, kids, and pets; who all kindly put up with her random bouts of laughter (over things she can’t explain) and journal collecting fetish.
You can also visit her website: www.dfkrieger.com to learn about what she’s writing, what she already has out, and what crazy stuff she puts on her blog.
Jen: Tell us about your newest release, Panthers and Precincts?
D.F.: Believe it or not, the book started with a talking cat. My black cat named Xerxes, to be precise. Like the cat in this series, Xerxes had up to twelve human words he could use in context. Yes, no, up, Mom, rain, tuna, now, help, hello, and more were commonly heard in my house.
How did it become a book? I had friends who loved coming to visit, just to talk to Xerxes (mean brats. For a long time I thought it was because they wanted to hang with me!) They told me I should share what he could do with the world. And so the Faxfire series was born. The cat on the pages, Magic, needed a supporting cast, of course. That’s how Zeara and Jake were born. The rest of the story just appeared on its own.
Here’s a short excerpt:
“Mom?” Magic brushed his head against her shin before he stared up at her. It was obvious he was picking up on her body language, and she was throwing off some serious vibes of discomfort.
“Nothing, baby, I’m fine.” She smiled down at him as she inserted her keys into the door lock. A static pop shot up her arm and the world around her turned bright. Emotions, sensations, and pictures flooded her mind in a great tsunami that caused her to struggle for breath.
Open yer heart and yer mind. Let the seal release its bind. The whispered words in an exotic accent sent shivers up her spine as they echoed in her head.
Purple, red, and blue vied for dominance at coloring her perception. Visions of creatures—things—that she had no word for flashed at her. Teeth, feral yellow eyes glowing, danger! The flash of metal, moonlight gleaming, butterfly wings fluttering lazily.
Regardless of how hard Zeara tried, she couldn’t sort through them and catalogue them fast enough. The one thing that stuck out the most was the complete knowledge that none of these thoughts she was experiencing were hers. Stop! I can’t take anymore. Too much.
When the world around her had calmed and cleared, she found herself on her knees on the porch. Magic was shoving his face into hers, his cries high-pitched and frantic. Her stomach churned and bile rose in her throat, tasting bitter and gritty.
“What…the…fuck…was that?” Zeara panted as she uncurled her arms from around herself. When had she dropped down into this position? When had she wrapped her arms around herself like she was staving off a horrible chill?
She raised her gaze to stare at her keys still dangling from the lock of her door. Did she dare touch them? What if whatever had happened, happened again?
This is utter bullshit. I’m just exhausted and my mind is playing tricks on me. It’s all because of Jake’s mumbo jumbo crap that I’m hallucinating like this.
With a stubborn set to her jaw, Zeara stood once more and, after only a slight hesitation, she grasped her keys. Once more the sensations enveloped her, though they were less invasive this time. Voices cried out around her, begging for her attention, though they sounded distant and muffled. Images plowed through her, arousing emotions that her brain insisted weren’t hers. After a few moments she was able to force them into some semblance of a cohesive sequence.
A woman, her features sculpted and exotic-looking, stood before Zeara. Her hand was imposed over Zeara’s own, clasping the door handle. Her eyes were closed and her mouth moved in a steady motion that reminded Zeara of chanting. When she opened her eyes to stare directly at Zeara, they flashed the same bright purple that was streaked in her dark hair.
“The Hidden World has chosen you. Wake up, hearth woman.” The words echoed loudly and invaded Zeara’s ears long after the woman’s lips had stopped moving. It reminded her of watching a badly dubbed movie. Except a movie didn’t freak her out this badly.
A ripping noise filled the atmosphere and the air was sucked from Zeara’s lungs. She gasped and tried desperately to gain a breath, but it was like a vacuum was pulling her lungs inside out.
“Stop it!” Her scream jarred the world around her, and the sensations that were assaulting her ceased immediately. Panting, Zeara surveyed her surroundings as she tried to make heads or tails out of what had just happened.
Magic was crouched at her feet, his fur standing completely on end. His eyes were wide with fear as he stared up at her.
“I know exactly how you feel,” Zeara whispered.
Jen: What age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
D.F.: I vaguely remember drawing dinosaurs and writing a story for them when I was five. My mom helped me staple the pages together and put it in book form. I didn’t realize I was destined to be a writer, however, until I was banned from a writing contest in my local school during junior high. How was I banned? I’d won two years in a row. The judges voted that I couldn’t enter any more because it wasn’t fair to the other students. It actually made me pretty angry. Hence my vow to dominate the world and become supreme ruler through books.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
D.F.: My mother, hands down. She was not supportive at all. Oh, she was when I was young, but when she realized I was serious about taking over—I mean becoming a writer, she tried her best to convince me I’d end up in a gutter starving to death. The lesson I gleaned from all her lectures was a simple one; if I was serious about it, I would have to treat it seriously. Writing was never a hobby. It became a way of life, a destination, and publication a dream I would achieve at all costs. Needless to say, I made it. Go determination fueled by obsession!
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
D.F.: Remember that determination fueled by obsession I just spoke of? Well, using it as a booster for my bravery, I cornered a manager of my local zoo and grilled him on procedures. Gods help the man, I’m sure he thought I was either psychotic or delusional. “I’m an author,” I said. “I need facts for my book.” He humored me, though I couldn’t help but notice he kept eyeing the door. I have an acknowledgment to him at the beginning of the book as a thank you. Now that it’s come out in print, I plan to surprise him with a copy. You know, in hopes it’ll make him feel better that he gave me the time of day even though he had no clue who I was.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
D.F.: I think I’d like to tackle Young Adult at some point. It has its own set of challenges and I do have a nagging storyline in my head. It’ll have to wait until the other 50 somethingruther books in my head are done, though. As for genres I’ll stay away from, I can admit wholeheartedly I’ll never write M/M. The authors who write those have my greatest admiration. I’m not very good at writing sex scenes (at least in my opinion) and I just don’t think I could get through writing a M/M without a great deal of giving myself grief that I suck as a writer.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
D.F.: That first acceptance. Being able to look at it and go, “Wow. I did it. I really, freaking did it.” I fought my way from a small country town with no prospects at a real future and became a published author. The level of awe that goes with that can’t be conveyed. Now that the road is paved, let’s approach my first order of business: bow to me! I am hereby declaring myself the Empress of Evil and Enforcer of Common Sense and I demand obedi—Why aren’t you bowing? *Sigh* Fine, fine. I get it. More books, more subliminal messa–*Ahem* I mean, I’ll be right over there, writing.
Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure and I do hope we’ll do this again. Later, when I have more power over your minds! ~ D. F. Krieger