DA Kentner is an award winning author who also enjoys meeting and interviewing authors of many genres.

As author KevaD, my novel "Whistle Pass" won the 2013 EPIC eBook Award for suspense. Previously, in 2012, it won a Rainbow Award in the historical category. "Whistle Pass" is currently out of print, though I'm considering finding a new publisher, or self-publishing the novel. What do you think?

"The Caretaker", a 3,000 word short story, won 'Calliope' magazine's 18th annual short story competition. Click the blue ribbon to view their site and entry rules for this year's short fiction competition.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Award-Winning Author Bianca D’Arc

I got lost (nothing new for me) at a book readers’ convention in Chicago. Bianca D’Arc and her father not only took the time to help a stranger, but actually lead me to a location a floor beyond the one they were headed to. Naturally, I had to find out who these very kind folks were.

Bianca’s father was a design engineer for the U.S. space program. A science major in her own right, Bianca headed a laboratory and was a corporate executive in Manhattan. She is also a martial arts enthusiast, musician, singer, and songwriter, in addition to being a multi-published, multi-award-winning author. Her preferred genres are romance, suspense, and thriller set within paranormal and/or science fiction worlds. Bianca isn’t afraid to explore the erotic side of relationships as well as the toned down or more traditional versions. In other words, the lady is a virtual library of tales meeting just about everyone’s level of reading satisfaction.

She made her publishing debut with the ‘Dragon Knights,’ a series revolving around knights, dragons, and the very special women who share their lives, love, and beds. The ‘Dead’ series, thriller romance set on a stage of a zombie plague, culminated this past year with “Dead Alert.”

Now, her latest novel “Wolf Hills,” the starting point of the ‘Brotherhood in Blood’ series, has been released. Police Detective Sally Decker’s Wyoming vacation takes a not so restful turn when a child is kidnapped from a neighboring werewolf pack. The hunt is on, with Sally trying to accept werewolves and vampires do exist, and control her heart and desires against the lustful interests of the pack’s dangerously erotic Alpha male.

Bianca creates imaginary worlds a reader can feel at home in, as well as implanting believable unworldly characters in our own daily existence. Whether readers prefer stories on a galactic rim, in remote mountain settings, or on the streets of Everytown, USA, Bianca D’Arc has a tale waiting for each of us.

Q) Writers frequently say they have been writing all their lives. Becoming published is quite another topic. Given your scientific and professional background, what event or factor lit the yearning to become published and a fulltime author?

A) It seems I’ve always had the yearning. I tried repeatedly while I was working full time in a very demanding job to get published. I used to get “revise and resubmit” letters, which I took as outright rejections, not understanding the way the publishing world worked at the time. Each one would set me back a few years, thinking I wasn’t good enough. I kept writing, just for my own enjoyment, and every once in a while, I’d send something out, trying to get it published. The real break didn’t come until 2005, when I discovered ebooks. The willingness of new, small press publishers to take a chance on subjects that most traditional publishers thought taboo – science fiction and fantasy romance in particular – made me want to give them a try. I submitted to Samhain Publishing in late 2005 and my first book, somewhat appropriately titled Maiden Flight, came out on Valentine’s Day of 2006. I think writing was a way to express my creativity, which I couldn't really do in my day job.

Q) You enjoy creating a series of books instead of standalone or single novels. What attracts you to that concept?

A) As a reader, I always loved series. When you immerse yourself in a world – and it catches your imagination – you always want to stay there just a little bit longer. Being able to create my own worlds is one of the most satisfying parts of this vocation. The world doesn’t have to end if I don’t want it to. I can always revisit my friends from that world in other books. So far, my readers have been willing to put up with my extended series, though I have made some effort to compartmentalize some of the books into sub-series, to make it a little easier to navigate. 

Q) You and your father are very close. How much, if any, input does he provide to your stories? 

A) I’ve always admired my dad, but we didn’t really get close until recently. My mom passed away in late 2009 and until that time, she was the driving force in my family. She had such a big personality and had achieved so much in her life. She was an immigrant from the Netherlands who came here as a young girl after World War II. She’d been around the world by that time, having been a prisoner of war in Indonesia for 4 years of her childhood, along with the rest of her family. She was the biggest influence in my life, until her passing. But Dad has always been my hero. He was a young Navy medic in World War II, then moved to the Army to get his commission. He went to college on the GI Bill, where he met my mother. He became a scientist and worked on all kinds of top secret stuff, including the lunar module, space shuttle, nuclear submarines, fighter jets, and lots of stuff that he still probably can’t talk about. He helped shape my view of the world as a place of wonder, where anything is possible. That’s probably why I went into chemistry, to follow in his footsteps. My laboratory wasn’t nearly as cool as his, but I enjoyed it and still miss it to this day. Dad gave me a respect for the military (as did my uncles, who were mostly military officers and engineers) and a questioning mind. I think that’s why a lot of my heroes are military men and there’s usually some kind of science angle running through my stories, when appropriate. Dad helped me love science and that’s something I will always thank him for.

Q) With so many books containing vampires, werewolves, and other paranormal creatures on the market, what do you believe sets your books apart from the others?

A) You’ve actually hit on the reason I hesitated before adding my two cents to the paranormal arena. My first vampire story, One & Only, was written for a contest that asked specifically for vampire romance. If not for that, I doubt I would’ve done it, since even back in 2005, vampires had already been done to death, so to speak. I wrote Lords of the Were, my first werewolf book, as a one-off, not expecting much from it at all. At that time, there weren’t quite as many werewolf romances and I thought it would be interesting, since it was still somewhat new in the paranormal romance world. Now, of course, werewolves are everywhere and the popularity of that book – which I always referred to in my mind as “that crazy werewolf book” – has led me to write more of them. What makes my paranormal world a little different – to get back to your question – is that my vampires drink wine. It is their last link with the sun. The fermented fruit of the vine distills sunlight into a form they can take in and it has healing properties for them. That’s why the first two Brotherhood of Blood stories take place in California’s Napa Valley and one of the vampire heroes owns a vineyard. It’s just a little twist that makes it somewhat unique. Otherwise, I stick pretty close to the currently accepted tropes for the genre. As for my werecreatures – they have a distinct society with clear hierarchical structure that differs from breed to breed. The big cats, for example, trace their social structure to the Renaissance and have kings or queens known by such monikers as the Tig’Ra or Pantera Nyx. I had a lot of fun with that, creating little political systems for each of the shifter types. 

Q) Having been published by a major publishing house, e-publishers, and tested the self-publishing waters, what benefit do you believe you have derived from the experience? 

A) I’ve learned a lot. One of the main things a writer in this brave new world needs to be aware of is that modern readers don’t necessarily care where the books come from – be it traditional “NY” publishers, small press, or self publishing. What matters to them is the same thing that has mattered all along – the book has to be good. So the number one thing writers need to do is keep their quality standard high no matter where the book ultimately ends up. At the moment, the publishing industry is sort of like the Wild West. There is still a lot of money to be made, but the way of making it is ever-changing, ever-evolving. While the big “NY” publishers will still have blockbuster books that sell the world over, I feel like the midlist is shrinking beyond anything we’ve seen before. Those midlist books and authors are increasingly finding homes in small press and self publishing. Writers who used to sneer at my small press aspirations in 2006 are now clamoring for an introduction to my editor or publisher. It’s kind of amazing, and the business continues to grow and change at a phenomenal rate. 
Q) Any parting thoughts for your readers and those yet to pick up one of your novels? 

A) If you haven’t read one of my books yet and like sci fi, fantasy or paranormal romance on the hot side, check out my website. I have descriptions there of all my books and warnings about those titles that might deal with subject matter some people look for, and some people avoid. And if you’ve already read one of my books, thanks!
DA Kentner is an author and journalist. www.kevad.net

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