Author in Our Castle
Eighteen-year-old Devin McKay is a complete and total emotional wreck. Fresh out of high school and on her own for the first time in her life, she’s reeling from rejection of a relationship gone very, very bad.
Emotionally battered and tormented by the pull of her narcissistic first love, she wants to make a clean break in a small mountain town where he is everywhere...
with his new girlfriend.
Ronin Andrews is still battling his own cataclysmic ghosts. He recoils from anything heartfelt, choosing instead to work hard and live wild. Outside of his job, parties and causal hooks-ups are his life until Devin walks in. With her short skirt and her sad green eyes, he can’t help but want her… badly. His protective streak wants to provide her with a haven, to shelter and sustain her.
Through a flash of torrid intensity, they struggle to be friends... just friends. She relies on him to nourish her shattered soul and shield her heart from the clawing, gnawing loss that has consumed her. Before long, the attraction proves too tenacious, and the passion between them becomes undeniable. But will the shadows of the past prove too much to overcome?
She found him on a snowy night.
He sparked her desires and inflamed her dreams.
Independent and feisty, Shea Madison has a tussle on her hands.
Living in and loving her quiet little corner of Montana, she’s fiercely determined to fight a real estate developer trying to turn her quaint little mountain town into a touristy ski resort.
So, when an outsider shows up to study the effects on the area, she instantly attempts to sway his impression… even if it means a little harmless flirting with the enticing visitor.
Rhys Weland’s charade has one purpose—to bring the locals around to the idea of the resort, primarily the ringleader, Ms. Shea Madison.
Embroiled in his deception, he’s stunned by the feelings she draws from deep inside him.
Her integrity and sincerity quickly have him second-guessing his twisted morals.
Her spirit arouses his soul. Her sensuality steals his breath.
In the dark of the night, in the warmth of the fire, the passion smoldering between them combusts. But just when it all seems to make sense,
one small stubborn mistake shreds the fragile bond between them.
Will an impetuous act reignite their flame,
or will their love vanish like sparks in the air?
I know I’m twisted.
Growing up in a perfectly well-adjusted home,
I don’t really have an excuse. But no matter…
I realize how messed up I am. And therapy can
only do so much.I pushed my boyfriend to violence,
a violence he couldn't control. Sickly, I almost liked it.
So I pushed him more. Before long, the pain outweighed
the pleasure and the loss I sustained shattered me. So I ran.
I’m now a bit shell-shocked harboring a lot of guilt. My boyfriend is
now my ex and wants revenge. He wants me to pay for turning him into
the monster he’s become. And I still have a deviant yearning that I don’t understand. My own monster inside… my own demon to battle.I can’t get
close to anyone. I can’t give in and scratch that itch. I can’t wreck someone else.
And now there is Kian… my rescuer on a dark, painful night. He sees through my pretense. He tries to pull me from my frightened isolation, to keep me from becoming a victim. He forces me to face my warped desires and shows me that pain doesn’t really have to truly hurt.
He wants to show me a way to serenity.
But I am afraid…
Will I ruin a good man?
Sibylla Matilde grew up in the mountain valleys
of Southwest Montana, and grew up exploring the
alfalfa fields on the back of a horse.
She attended a two-room schoolhouse 1st
through 6th grade where she had same teacher
the whole time. Beginning at about age 12, Sibylla
discovered historical romance, feeding off of work
of Jude Devereaux, Lisa Kleypas, and Karen Robards.
She loves a book that can make the reader run the
gamut of emotions, from the sweet glow of new love
to gut-wrenching heartache. She always has stories
floating around in her head, living in some
fantasyland until she writes them down to free them.
She is a true romantic, a bit of a Pollyanna, and a deeply emotional soul. Music is her emotional trigger. Growing up with a Wagnarian-opera-loving mother, Sibylla grew up with music that digs deep into her soul and pulls out emotion. The soundtrack to her life includes different genres and generations. She looooooooves Thirty Seconds to Mars (rather obsessively, actually) with a little Kings of Leon to mix things up, and pimps them out regularly to all her friends through Spotify. She also enjoys watching Met Opera HD broadcasts at her local movie theater, and hopes (listening Met?) to someday see Diana Damrau reprise her role as Mozart’s Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte – The Magic Flute.
Sibylla lives with her husband, Mike, a man who she firmly believes saved her from her self-destructive, hot mess self. He makes her laugh every day, even when things seem to be falling apart around them, and has proved to her that love really can heal a shattered soul. In almost 19 years, they have never had a fight, but argue regularly with their two teenage kids who have, unfortunately, inherited their father’s quick wit (unfortunate as it is a quick wit that Sibylla, herself, definitely does not possess – there is a reason she is a writer and not a stand-up comedian), and live a quiet life with their two weird little rescued Chiweenies. Wait… teenagers and little yap-dogs? Okay, maybe not so quiet. :)
Novels by Sibylla Matilde
In the Firelight
Because of Kian (Bitterroot #1)
Some instances of Little Conversations are taken right out of my history (yes, there was a little white towel incident that still makes my mouth water), but a lot of it was pure fiction, more how I wish things would have worked out than how they actually did.
Inspiration for the characters in Little Conversations were actually real people, so I don’t really have pictures.
That said, Colin Wayne was picked early on by one of my favorite bloggers as Ronin, and it has kinda stuck.
Devin, however, has the same characteristics I did at about that age.
Rhys for In the Firelight was totally modeled after the beautiful Henry Cavill. The smile and the rugged, scruffy look to him looking ‘really fucking hot’ in a suit.
Shea is a little harder to pinpoint. There’s a couple pictures on my ITF Pinterest board (http://www.pinterest.com/LETObsessed/in-the-firelight/) that are close. I’ve included the closest to the image in my mind.
Kian…. Oh…. Kian is based on Chris Hemsworth who, I’m pretty sure, is perfect in every way. Because there are a couple different looks he’s sported over the years, I wrote in a change to his appearance that allowed me to pant and slobber over all kinds of pics I had on my Pinterest board.
Again, I didn’t really have an idea in mind for Brynn. Her blonde hair was guided a little by a picture I had intended to use as a cover picture, then decided not to as it was on a lot of stock photo sites and I was concerned it would be used by other authors (which it was, multiple times actually).
For some reason, I tend to have a much clearer image of the guys in my mind than the woman.
Maybe because I like to picture myself with all these hotties. LOL.
Welcome to the castle, Sibylla. It is so lovely to have you.
Please, pull up a pew and get comfortable while you tell us a little about yourself.
Q1. Did you always know that you would become an author and what was it that finally inspired you to write your first book, Little Conversations?
Honestly, I had no clue. I’ve always been a daydreamer, and, as a kid, I used to write some just to get it out of my head, but I never was happy with it and I’d always rip it up or erase it. A few years ago, I joined Goodreads and met a bunch of crazy book-loving people (Kelly being one of them!), some of whom were indie authors, and I started doing some editing and proofreading for them. And then, late last summer, I began to make notes on my iPhone for a story that was floating around in my head. Instead of deleting it, I emailed the notes to myself and over the course of a couple weeks, I began to compile them. When I put it into a Word document, I found I had written over 6,000 words and had a basic plot line. Not sure if it was complete shite or not, I showed it to my SmutSisters, and, with their encouragement, I finished the story. Their advice and beta reading and everything was absolutely a Godsend. I’m not sure I’d have ever EVER published without them.
Q2. To those readers who are yet to experience the amazing works of Sibylla Matilde, how would you classify your work? (i.e. writing style, genre)
Well, that’s kind of hard to answer. I think, more than anything, I like to write about real, every-day folks. I don’t write about rich dudes seducing virgins or larger-than-life rock stars. Not that there is anything wrong with those books, but I like to focus a little more on characters that could quite possibly be my neighbors, and to find their story in their situations and feelings. I was once told that I am ‘emotionally gifted’ and, while I can wish I was gifted in other ways, this does serve me well when writing, I think. Regarding genres, LITTLE CONVERSATIONS was more New Adult, but dealt with some heavy issues (mental abuse – something I have first-hand experience with, unfortunately). IN THE FIRELIGHT and BECAUSE OF KIAN are more romance/erotica with adults in the main character roles. And Kian’s story dips its toes into a little BDSM, more elements of the story than the focus of it, though. In all my stories, I like my characters to have flaws, but to try to make them loveable in spite of those flaws. I try to instill humor (I really like to laugh) and passion and reality.
Q3. We love the fact that you write standalone novels, but have you ever considered committing to a series and is this something that we can possibly expect in the future?
BECAUSE OF KIAN is actually the first in a series that will move into the stories of the side characters. I’m about 7,000 words into Sage’s story (and, of course, Mattie) and getting it all straight in my head. I’m thinking I will be publishing sometime in July. As well, I’ve been asked by readers for more of Ronin/Devin and Rhys/Shea. I have plans to write at least a novella centered around Ronin and Devin after I’m finished with Sage’s book.
Q4. As a Wife and Mother with other work commitments, describe to us your typical ‘writing’ day.
Haha. I don’t know that I have any idea of what a typical day is. I work full-time and, as you said, am a wife and mother, so writing often takes the backseat. Of course, housework is trailing along behind the car. On the brighter side, my kids are teenagers, and don’t really want to be around me a lot at this point in their lives anyway, and my husband is truly an amazing guy who gives me lots of room to write when I’m on a deadline. When I first start a new WIP, I’m a horrible procrastinator. I do lots of taking notes, daydreaming, and listening to music to get my creative juices flowing. I don’t do a very good job of pacing myself, so then, towards the end when I’m nearing my release date, I will wake up at the crack of dawn and write like the wind until my fingers get puffy from the strain. I’m trying to be a little better about Sage’s book, though, but I’m sure I’ll be freaking about deadlines and stuff anyway.
Q5. Because of Kian broached some difficult subject matters (i.e. domestic violence, self deprecation), how did you go about research and what were the challenges faced writing in a ‘darker’ vibe.
I did a lot of reading online about human responses to abuse, how the brain processes the fear and hopelessness. I’ve experienced mental abuse, but never physical, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t assigning feelings to Brynn that were unrealistic. I sat there sobbing over some of the horrific abuse stories that I read, but I think it gave me a pretty good idea of the different ways someone would react and their intense desire to just be normal. But, in reality, I’m not sure anyone is truly normal. Everyone has their quirks and fears. I think it is how we deal with them that makes us strong.
Q6. What character would you consider being the easiest to write / relate to, and the hardest.
Devin was the easiest for me to write because, honestly, she was me at that age. I was a wreck and in a really bad relationship. Many scenes in LITTLE CONVERSATIONS, good and bad, had a great deal of basis in reality. (Yay for little white towels!) However, she was also the hardest for me to receive feedback on at first because she was a mess and drove some readers crazy. I’m kind of right there with some of the readers, though. I wish the Siby of today could go back to the Siby of that time in my life and slap a little sense into myself. I may have made some better choices.
Q7. You have always written a play list in your novels with songs that either relate to the characters, or have inspired you in some way throughout the story. Do you pull energy from music while writing and is it an important part of your journey?
Music plays a HUGE part in my writing. I listen to music all the time. Spotify and iTunes are my best friends. When I start a project, I start compiling songs that remind me of those characters or spark a dialogue or scene in my brain. I pull the feel of the music into the scenes and use the lyrics to help guide my thoughts. I often will listen to one or two songs over and over and over when writing a scene to really try and pull the sorrow or thrill or whatever I’m looking for.
Q8. What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
A couple things… the first is actually some advice I read from an established author to not worry so much about editing until the story is done. Just write what you feel, let it come in through your mind and out through your fingers. You will probably rewrite and cut and add and do all kinds of stuff before you are finished, but sometimes the things I think are crap turn out to be some people’s favorite parts of the story. Second, get a diverse group to beta read. I was fortunate enough to have beta readers from the across the US and in England, Ireland, and Australia… all kinds of places with all kinds of speech patterns and nuances. It is really amazing how different we are. You’ll never make the perfect book for everyone, but it is good to know what words might have different meanings in different places. If you are really set on something and one beta reader makes a comment against it, you may or may not change it. But if multiple beta readers comment on it, give that one a little more thought. And, finally, you will never ever EVER be able to please everyone. There will always be someone who thinks what you’ve written is crap. We are all different with different likes and dislikes, and reviewers can be brutal. Something about the anonymity of the internet allows some people to really be nasty. Try not to take that stuff to heart, but use them to help you grow as an author. Instead of getting defensive, ask yourself what you can learn from those negative reviews, how you can improve and move on.
Q9. So, can you give us a little sneak-peak of what we can expect from Sibylla Matilde next?
Well, I’ve got a couple things my mind is turning over at the minute. The first is my current WIP, a follow-up to BECAUSE OF KIAN that will follow Sage and her little girl, Mattie, as Mattie’s daddy winds up back in town. Following that, I’ll be revisiting LITTLE CONVERSATIONS’ Ronin and Devin to see what they’re up to. :)
Q10. Kelly is very much looking forward to meeting you in Edinburgh this July, but will you be attending any other book signings throughout 2014?
I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to meet Kelly in Edinburgh! My first signing! OMG OMG OMG! Kilts and castles and all kinds of great stuff. I’m going to be an attendee at LovNVegas (I’d love to sign, but I need to get out there more first, I think). I’d also love to sign at the April 2015 London signing, but, again, I’m still kind of a newbie, so not sure if I’ll be able to. ***crosses fingers*** However, there is a signing in the early stages of planning (Kiss and Tell) scheduled for July 2015 in Hershey, Pennsylvania, that I was invited to sign at, so I’m super stoked about that one too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, Sibylla.
We are honoured that you will be spending the duration of May in our castle,
and we wish you all the very best in your next writing venture.
We can’t wait to read it!
Love, Kelly, Elizabeth & Emma
Thank YOU for featuring me in the castle this month! I’m thrilled to be here! Now, where are the hot dudes in armor?! :D
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