Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interview: Denise Tompkins, author of Legacy: The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1

Welcome, Denise Tomkins, author of Legacy: The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1.

Author Bio: "Denise Tompkins lives in the heart of the South where the neighbors still know your name, all food forms are considered fry-able and bugs die only to be reincarnated in aggressive, blood-craving triplicate. Thrilled to finally live somewhere that can boast 3 ½ seasons (winter’s only noticeable because the trees are naked), her favorite season is definitely fall. It’s the time of year when the gardens are just about to pass into winter’s brief silence, and the leaves are out to prove that nature is the most brilliant artist of all.

Clearly, due to the enormous size of her picture, you can tell Denise isn’t as technologically savvyas she’d like to be. (Seriously. She’s not vain. She just couldn’t figure out how to shrink the picture any smaller.)

Denise is married to the love of her life. Both she and her husband are owned by two dogs and three opinionated parrots who keep her in stitches — literally and figuratively. One bird hates broccoli, one scared the pizza man to death upon delivery, and one bird loves to call out and invite stranger to “Come on in!” The birds thoroughly enjoy scolding the dogs. One dog, the mutt, has turned a deaf ear. The Bullmastiff, however, probably needs emotionally reconstructive therapy.

A life-long voracious reader, Denise has three favorite authors. Why three? Because favorite authors are like chips: a person can’t have just one. Her little house was so overrun with books last year that her darling husband bought her an e-reader out of self-preservation. He was (legitimately) afraid she might begin throwing out pots and pans to make room for more books, and he didn’t want to starve.

Along with reading, Denise loves travel, is obsessed with the British Isles, practices photography, enjoys cooking and looks forward to Christmas as an excuse to bake.

Her debut novel, Legacy, is the first book in The Niteclif Evolutions and will be available in both e-book and print from Samhain Publishing."

What inspires your stories?

The short answer is that the characters I dream up inspire the stories that end up ultimately surrounding them.

The longer answer has to be this. Someone once asked me how many stories I’d be able to write in a given series, and I answered, “So long as I have people to kill, crimes to commit and love to nurture? I can write forever.” I have to believe that these are the elements that fascinate me about story telling—the violence of mankind and the ability of people to go through the worst thing imaginable and still find the capacity to love.

What genre do you gravitate toward and why?

I am all about urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Even better is urban fantasy with strong elements of paranormal romance—my favorite hybrid genre ever!
Urban fantasy thrills me because it doesn’t have to stick to the trope, or formula, of the romance genre. I find I tend to get a bit bored with romance unless there are special skills involved, someone turns furry, someone used to be alive, etc. But urban fantasy allows the stakes to be higher. Save the world and get the girl? That’s absolutely my speed. I like the action, adventure, extreme conditions and world building challenges that surround the characters of urban fantasy.

What are your work habits like?

I’m a horrible boss. I don’t let myself have true vacations, but rather expect myself to write something fresh every day. I don’t care if it’s only a paragraph, but I must produce something new daily or else I get a little cranky. And if I’m eyeball deep in a project, I tend to get a little manic about pushing myself to do just one more paragraph, page or chapter every day. But you know what? It doesn’t make me crazy because I absolutely love what I do. I feel so incredibly lucky that you’ll never, ever hear me complain.

What do you consider your best work?

Oh, tough question! Each project has a special place for a specific reason, but the novel I just finished—Raising Cain—is the first in a new series. I absolutely love my hero and the world I’ve built in that book. But then the third book of the Niteclif Evolutions, Vengeance, has the most amazing explanation for the birth of mythology. It’s a toss-up between those two.

Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I definitely write on the fly. I’m what’s known as a “pantser,” or someone who writes by the seat of their pants. I’m a complete and total creative spirit who works best without any fetters or binders. I love being able to sit down and see where the story will take me. It’s not always the easiest way to write, particularly if I have to write a synopsis first, but it’s the most fun for me.

What experience do you want for your readers?

I long for my readers to fall in love with my characters, to go into each story with an open mind and a willingness to follow the vein of the story. I want them to become invested in the characters’ collective well-being. And above all, I want them to find escape between the pages of the worlds I create.

Of course, if I leave them craving the next book in the series, I have to consider I’ve (ultimately) done my job as a writer.

Are any of your character traits or settings based on real life?

I’m not sure any author can truly save that their characters and/or settings aren’t based on real life to some extent. We tend to write what we know, even if it’s a world we’ve created. We know it intimately. We use those things that influenced us as kids to build bullies and fantasy worlds. We draw on our experience with new love and heartbreak to craft the emotions necessary in a dawning relationship or one that’s in the twilight of its days. So yes, my characters traits and settings must draw on what I know, but I never, ever set out to craft a person or place after an absolute. I like my creative license too much!

What are your most significant challenges when you write?

My most significant challenge has to be finding balance between my own project(s) and serving as a productive critique partner for my three writing partners. Because I tend to become obsessed with a project until I see it through to the first draft’s completion, it is incredibly difficult for me to set my project aside and switch gears to critique the project of a friend writing epic fantasy, or another writing contemporary romance. So finding balance and getting out of my own head is tough.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently finishing up edits on the Niteclif Evolutions book two, Wrath, as well as finishing the rough draft of book three in the same series. I love seeing Maddy’s story evolve as she figures out just who she is in this new life of hers.

Do you have any writing advice you would like to share with aspiring authors?

The best advice I can give aspiring authors is this: you have to want it more than the people around you if you’re going to make it. It seems like everyone and their buddy is writing a book. Many will never finish their project when they figure out just how much labor is involved in the creation of even a rough draft. And of those who get that far, many will often quit, shelving the project, because critiques are hard to hear and revisions even harder to do. Push yourself, and never settle for “good enough,” because it never is. Believe in yourself, have faith in your dream, and want it more than anyone else.

The Niteclif Evolutions: Legacy by Denise Tompkins

Looking back on the wish she made on Midsummer’s Eve, Maddy Niteclif should have been more specific. She only wanted to escape the shadowy nightmares that plagued her nights, not to be thrust into a completely altered reality.

If a strangely familiar, sexy dragon-shifter named Bahlin, who causes a never-to-be-mentioned-again fainting spell, isn’t enough to make her question her sanity, his insistence she’s the Niteclif ought to do the job. Prophesied super-sleuth of the supernatural world—a world that desperately needs her help—isn’t a job she’s remotely qualified for no matter what her family tree says.

Catapulted into a very different London ruled by dark mythology, mystery and murder, Maddy makes a few startling discoveries. Paranormal creatures exist. Getting shot really sucks. And her body responds remarkably well to dragon magic—in more ways than simple wound healing.

But in this kill-or-be-killed world, reality bites. And Maddy must choose to go back to what she knows…or stay and fight for the man she knows she can’t live without.

Warning: This book contains a shape-shifting dragon with a Scottish accent, modern and archaic weapons, global inter-species politics that make democracy seem mild, some very steamy sex underground, a severed head, murder, and…oh yeah…a woman caught in the middle of it all.

Legacy: The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1 is available at



Barnes and Noble

Here are the next Few Stops on Denise’s Blog Tour

10/28 - Le’ Grande Codex

10/31 - Everyone Loves a SiNner

11/1 - Flutey Words

All Stops on the Tour can be found HERE.


  1. Thank you for sharing that interview!

  2. Thank you and of course thank you to Ms. Tompkins for interviewing!

  3. Thank you so much for having me, Lea. It was a lot of fun!