January 21, 2015

Unhidden by Dina Given - BLOG TOUR & AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Unhidden Banner - blog tour
Title: Unhidden (The Gatekeeper Chronicles, Book #1)
Author: Dina M. Given
Release date: December 29, 2014
Book Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance

It’s not always easy to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys, especially when a trained killer may be falling in love with her evil hunter… Emma Hayes, a former military Special Forces Operative turned mercenary-for-hire, finds her tightly controlled world turned upside down when she becomes the target of attacks by powerful supernatural creatures. Emma must use every skill in her arsenal to stay alive as she tries to solve the mystery of why she has been targeted. Her list of enemies keeps growing - from Zane Shayde, an evil Mage, to a secret branch of the US government - and she doesn't know if there is anyone left she can trust. To complicate matters further, Emma is inexplicably drawn to Zane in a way she does not quite understand, even knowing her life is forfeit if captured. Who is he and why does he have this affect on her? How can she fight someone who calls to her, body and soul? Emma is left haunted by questions, doubts and fears as to why she has been targeted, when they will come for her next, and how she will possibly survive against an enemy she doesn't understand.
Unhidden FOR WEB
Author Interview:
  1. What do you do in your down time?
I don’t really have any down time. I work a full time job; raise two children (ages 7 and 9); have a husband who travels for business 3-5 days a week, so I do pretty much all of the cooking, housework and homework help; volunteer for an animal rescue group; oh, and I’m training for my fourth triathlon. In between all of that, I try to get some writing done. Needless to say, I don’t sleep much ;).

  1. When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
The Sci Fi/Fantasy section and the Staff Pics shelf.

  1. Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
Unhidden was inspired by Jim Butcher. I had just finishing listening to every single Dresden Files novel back to back on Audible. I was a woman obsessed. I love the world and the rich characters he created. I also get a huge kick out of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International series. Those books are literally jam-packed with over-the-top action. I tried to combine my favorite elements of each series when I wrote Unhidden.

  1. What research did you have to perform to back up your story? Any research which really opened your eyes or gave you new respect for a topic or profession?
Since this was my first novel, I did a ton of research before ever putting pen to paper. I researched the craft, including how to effectively outline, how to create meaningful characters, how to build a story arc, how to write engaging dialog, etc. Then when I started writing, I did ongoing research on some areas of the story itself – secret spots in New York City, ancient Sumerian creation stories, how to kill a chimera, etc. I think all of that research gave me the confidence I needed to get started, but at some point, you need to put it aside and just write the story you were meant to write.

  1. What is your method for writing a book? A certain amount of hours every day? A certain routine? Are you character/story builder or an outliner or some other method?
Given my unpredictable schedule, I am not able to set a specific writing routine. What worked for me was just grabbing every minute I could – banging out a few sentences while cooking dinner, spending 20 minutes writing after getting the kids to bed and passing out myself, writing in the waiting room while my daughter was in dance class, etc.

  1. How do you get past writers block or distractions like Facebook?
I haven’t really experienced writers block yet, but I have run into times where I’m not sure which direction to take the story. What has worked for me is taking my dog for a hike and talking to myself - asking myself lots of questions about character motivation – and usually the story becomes clear. Facebook is a tough one. No matter where I go, there is usually the ability to get an internet connection. So it really just takes a concerted effort of will to stay away from those kinds of distractions. I also use it a reward – if I write a certain number of words, I can take a 10 minute break to surf the net.

  1. Favorite book from childhood.
I was always a sucker for a series. It started with Nancy Drew, moved to Sweet Valley High, and then I discovered the fantasy genre through Piers Anthony’s Xanth series.

  1. What’s on your desk? Can you see your desk? Describe what you see when you look around.
I don’t have a desk at home – I write at my kitchen counter, in front of the TV, in bed, or wherever else I happen to be – but my desk at work is covered with pictures and artwork from my kids, and stacks of boring paperwork.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’m still so early in the process that I haven’t heard any tough criticism yet, but I know its coming and it makes me very anxious. I don’t have the thickest skin, so I think it will affect me. So far I have gotten some terrific reviews, and I treasure every one of them. I love that people are enjoying the fast pace and action in my book.

  10. Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Action scenes are the easiest for me to write. I see them in my head like a movie, and then just write them down. Erotic scenes are tougher for me. Specifically, trying to find ways and words to depict these scenes that are unique or don’t sound completely corny.

About the Author:
Author Photo   Dina Given lives in rural New Jersey – home of farms, horses and the largest hot air balloon festival in North America – with her husband, two crazy kids, and one rescue dog. She is an exercise enthusiast and avid lover of food and wine (hence the need to exercise). Dina also works full time for one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. She attributes her ability to juggle family, work and writing to her obsessive, hyper-focused, Type A personality. 

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