Tell us about your latest PNR novella!
First, thank you for having me today! NIGHTBLOOM is the third and last novella in the Nightwing series to wrap up this trio of love stories and introduction to the Morgon (dragon hybrid) world. Of the three best friends, Ella is the most unsure of herself, a shy but talented and sensitive artist. Paxon, a half-dragon, sees the creative and intelligence behind the beauty and wants to know more. But there are quite a few obstacles in the way–aka, Ella’s boyfriend, Clayton.
How did you approach world building in your story? What are the paranormal or magical rules that govern your world?
I wanted a world grounded in reality, which guided the fantasy elements. For example, the Morgons, who are dragon hybrids, move from place to place by flight, of course. So I imagined what their homes would be like from above, and that they would enter the first floor (the top floor) and each level below would be a higher floor. This is the opposite for humans because we walk in on the bottom floor (first floor for us). I also wanted the dragon DNA to drive the Morgons in their architecture, so you see more natural stone and firelight in their homes.
I also used the age-old societal problem of racism as the driving conflict of this world. But the racism occurs between species—the humans and Morgons. And like in the real world, there are lovers and haters on both sides.
Were there any fun/interesting paranormal legends you learned in your book research?
Hmmm…not really. But I enjoyed using the traditional fairy tale form of storytelling to create a mythology for the Morgons, which the reader learns more about in WAKING THE DRAGON, book one in the full-length spinoff series of this one.
Writing short presents some unique challenges. How do you plot out character and story arcs within the space of a novella?
This is actually very difficult to do and please readers. Rather than a novel which has multiple ups and downs leading to a climax, the novella traditionally climbs steadily up, hits the climax then has a quick resolution. I’ve found that readers often feel dissatisfied when reading novellas in complex worlds, because they want more of the world building and they want more build-up of the romance. In a novella, there’s only so much time to complete both tasks, so you must accept and imagine some of the world on your own and the fact that the romance may be insta-love/attraction.
How do you develop a realistic romance within the short span of a novella?
Excellent question. I’m not sure if I’ve been successful or not. As I mentioned above, for a novella to actually work, the characters either must’ve met in the past before the story begins or there must be an instant attraction that blooms into something deeper. Both the hero and heroine must be able to connect on an emotional and intellectual level fairly quickly. I hope I’ve accomplished this in NIGHTBLOOM.
Who’s your favorite paranormal character in pop culture, and why?
Selene from Underworld. I adore a badass heroine who isn’t afraid of her own femininity or of falling in love and fighting for what’s hers.
What’s next for you and your writing?
Well, I’m actually working on book one in a brand new series that I’m not ready to share entirely. But it will be a historical paranormal romance that I’ve been dying to write for ages. Then I’ll be jumping back to the Morgon world with DRAGON IN THE BLOOD, book two in the VALE OF STARS series.
Thank you so much for having me today! It’s been a pleasure to be here.
The Nightwing Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Date of Publication: September 1, 2015
ISBN: 978-161650576-9ASIN: B00QP3CZR2
Word Count: 36K
The love between a human and a Morgon, the dragon-hybrid race, tempts fate once more…
All her life, Ella Barrow has allowed others to make her decisions. Forced to stifle her artistic talents and stay in a loveless relationship with Clayton Kerrington, the man her mother believes to be her perfect match, Ella’s life may be safe—but it’s not her own. Paxon Nightwing, on the other hand, is anything but the safe choice.
A charming and alluring Morgon, Paxon sees Ella for the woman she truly is. His bold confidence and protective nature ignites a passion she’s never felt before. But a dark family tragedy forces their secrecy—until Clayton makes it impossible to hide their clandestine affair. Will Ella be strong enough to fight for herself at last?
Or will she succumb once more and risk losing the only man she’s ever loved?
I blotted my Petal Pink lips on a piece of memo paper and capped the lipstick.
Trying to retrieve the tube with the tip of my open-toe heel, I only succeeded in pushing the lipstick farther away. “Ugh.”
Unable to bend that far in my pencil skirt, I hiked the hem up to my thighs and crawled on all fours, shimmying my behind, then stretching my arm till my fingers finally gripped my favorite lipstick.
That’s when I heard a low, masculine whistle from someone standing behind me.
Scooting back, I shot off the floor and slid my hemline back to my knee, all under the steady gaze of Paxon Nightwing, silhouetted by the sunlight that filtered into the foyer of Linden and Burke.
Towering above me with jet-black hair and matching sharp-edged wings, wearing a charcoal button-down, black slacks, and a devilish smile, his voice crooned when he spoke. “Now that’s what I call a warm welcome.”
“I, um, well, I…”
He extended a bronzed hand. I reached out with my right, nearly dropping the lipstick again. I shifted it to my left hand. “I like pink.”
I like pink? I like pink! For God’s sake, Ella. How old was I? Five?
His extended hand engulfed mine, then he drew our bodies closer. Grinning wide and stroking his thumb across my knuckles, his melodious voice sounded sultry and sinful.
“So do I.”
I blinked stupidly till my brain started functioning again. He didn’t say a word, mesmerizing me with ridiculously deep brown eyes.
“I’m, uh, Ella Barrow.”
“Paxon Nightwing. Pleasure to meet you. But I think we’ve met before.”
I tugged on my hand. He didn’t let go, tightening his hold.
“Uh, well, I’m friends with Sorcha and Jessen.”
I knew this guy was a player, the kind to make a girl swoon with a glance and charm the pants right off her. Literally. Jessen had even kissed him in a club once. And while his carousing behavior should make me want to run away, I couldn’t forget that Jessen had said on a scale of one to ten, his kiss was a ninety-nine.
He still held my hand, angling his body closer. “I’ve also seen you at the Vaengar games. With Kerrington.”
“Yeah. We’re, um, dating.”
“That’s a shame.”
I tugged again.
He released me. “I have an appointment with Sorcha Nightwing.”
“Yes. I know.”
Pulling myself together, I pressed the comm device on my desk and cleared my throat. “Mr. Nightwing is here.”
“Thanks, Ella. Show him to my office, please.”
Rounding behind the desk, I gestured down the hall. “This way.”
“After you.” A sly grin.
I tilted up my chin, pretending I wasn’t afraid of him, then led him toward Sorcha’s office. I was good at pretending.
As soon as I stepped in front of him, a primal shiver vibrated through my bones.
His eyes were on me. I felt his gaze, as if his gaze were a caress, brushing up my legs, curving over my behind, rounding my hips to the dip of my waist and finally settling on the blond waves that fell past my shoulders. By the time we reached the door to the office, my heartbeat hammered in my throat.
Gesturing for him to enter, I kept my eyes on the floor, trying desperately to regain control. He stopped in front of me, but I held my gaze until I realized I was fixated on his crotch. I jerked my head up. Amusement flickered across chiseled features. He was about to say something, but I didn’t give him the chance. I marched back up the hall to the receptionist area.
About the Author:
Juliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. She has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance–brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.
Juliette is a multi-published author, including her Nightwing series with Kensington Publishing and The Vessel Trilogy with Samhain Publishing.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Juliette-Cross/e/B00MQ18Z1W/