Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have C. L. Schneider visiting to tell us all about the first book in her Flash Point series, Nite Fire. Dahlia Nite, a character from the book, will be visiting us as well, but first, let’s learn more about the author.
C. L. Schneider is a New York-based author of adult epic and urban fantasy. Born in a small Kansas town, she grew up in a house of avid readers and overflowing bookshelves. Her first full-length novel took shape in high school, on a typewriter in her parent’s living room. Schneider’s epic trilogy, The Crown of Stones, tells the story of Ian Troy, a man born with an addiction to magic. Flash Point is the first book in her new urban fantasy series, Nite Fire, featuring shapeshifters, dragons, and parallel worlds.
Learn more about C.L. Schneider and her work at clschneiderauthor.com where you can read reviews, excerpts and sneak peeks, and subscribe to her newsletter. An active part of the indie author online community, you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Google+, where she is often found chatting about books, zombies, coffee, and the daily ups and downs of a writer’s life.
Slated for execution, shape-shifting assassin, Dahlia Nite, flees her world to hide in the human realm. As payment for the shelter they unknowingly provide, Dahlia dedicates herself to protecting humans from what truly lives in the shadows. Moving from town to town, she hunts the creatures that threaten an unsuspecting human race; burying the truth that could destroy them all.
But the shadows are shifting. The lies are adding up. And when Sentinel City is threatened by a series of bizarre brutal murders, light is shed on what should never be seen. The secrets that have kept humanity in the dark for centuries are in danger of being exposed.
Wrestling with a lifetime of her own deceptions, Dahlia investigates the killings while simultaneously working to conceal their circumstances. But with each new murder, the little bit of peace she has found in this world begins to crumble. Each new clue leads her to the one place she thought to never go again. Home.
Keep reading for an interview with Dahlia Nite from Nite Fire:
Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
I was born on the world of Drimera. As a lyrriken (a half-dragon, half-human shapeshifter), we have no childhood that you would recognize. Those found worthy are chosen by the Guild at a young age. We’re fed, clothed, and educated. After years of rigorous training, we’re given assignments and put into service. As a Guild operative, we spend our lives protecting our home and carrying out the will of the dragon elders.
Do you have a close relationship with your family?
Lyrriken have no family. We know nothing of our human mothers. Our dragon fathers have already given us the gift of life, so they pay us little mind. Those of us who aren’t chosen by the Guild live and work in the City of Spires. Others live in the wild, among the dragon tribes, serving in whatever capacity the tribal leader demands.
What is the happiest memory from your childhood?
When I was young, I stumbled into a nest of blood-thirsty nageun. I was instantly incapacitated by the venom in their bite. For a long time, they held me there, using my body as nourishment for their young. But the Guild came for me. They pulled me from the nageun den and saved my life. One of my happiest memories from childhood is the day my mind cleared, and I woke to realize I was free. I was alive. I vowed that day to work harder than any other apprentice, to repay the Guild for their rescue and secure my place among the ranks.
Who was your best friend growing up?
Guild operatives have no friends. Growing up, I had den-mates, squad-mates, superiors, instructors, apprentices, peers—lovers. Only after coming to the human realm did I fully grasp the concept of friendship. It was one of the many things I now realize the Guild deprived me of, and one that has proved to be the most difficult to achieve.
Who is your enemy?
Before I left Drimera, I had no enemies. I had targets. As an executioner for the Guild, my skills were aimed and utilized as instructed. When my life on Drimera came to an end and I was forced to flee here, to the human world, Drimera, everything changed. Now, any creature who slips through the torn veils between the world to threaten this one is my enemy. The humans are not playthings or food. Anyone or anything that attempts to treat them that way will be hunted and made to regret it.
Who do you most admire in your world?
When I was young, on Drimera, all my admiration went to Naalish, Queen of the dragon tribes of Drimera. She was the epitome of beauty, grace, and power. I would have done (and did) anything to earn so much as a glance from her. Her recognition of me and my work, the attention she gave me, was a great source of pride. Until the night she turned against me.
What are your goals?
On Drimera, my goals were simple: accolades and recognition. Now, after nearly a hundred years of running, here in the human world, I want to stop moving. I want to settle down, to make friends, to hear someone speak my real name. I want to stop lying. In an attempt to outrun the Guild and to keep humanity safe from the monsters, I’ve lived countless lives. Now, all I want is one worth living.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life?
Since coming to the human world, the greatest influence on my life has been Oren. The oldest and smartest shapeshifter I’ve ever met, Oren has become my mentor. He holds a high rank in the Guild and has many connections in both worlds. His knowledge of science is as great as his knowledge of magic. Oren took me in shortly after I first arrived here. He cleaned me up, taught me how to survive among the humans. When the Guild came hunting for me, I moved on. Years later, after they gave up their search, Oren started farming me odd jobs. The number of unexplained deaths and disappearances around the country was staggering. There were monsters in need of hunting and humans in need of saving. We made a good team. Even though he doesn’t always agree with my methods (and I don’t agree with his beliefs), we still do.
Where is the best place to visit in your world?
Don’t ever come to Drimera. Visitors aren’t welcome. Those who stumble in through the torn veils between the worlds are not treated kindly. If you break no laws and are already aware of the existence of parallel worlds, you might be allowed to return home. But if you dare harm the land or the dragons in any way, you will be executed. If you’re human and put up no fight, you’re allowed to live. But you can never leave. Carrying the knowledge of what you’ve seen back to the human world could be the undoing of us all.
Do you have any hobbies?
I’ve never had time for hobbies before. The day I moved into my apartment in Sentinel City, I met a man who plays guitar. He was sitting on the corner, playing for whatever change someone might throw in his guitar case. Now, I bring him meals and he teaches me how to play. I’m not very good. But it’s nice spending time with someone in a situation that isn’t life or death.
What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?
I wear functional clothing, mostly. Boots are good for all terrain. Denim and leather are my top choices, though when I’m on a hunt for some off-world asshole who decides to use this world for his buffet, it doesn’t matter what my clothes are made of. I go through them like water. I wear shirts with little material or material that stretches to accommodate my hybrid form when I shift. Jackets hide my weapons.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza. Ice cream. Donuts. Fries. Do I have to pick one? Blessed with the fast metabolism of my dragon father, I heal fast. When my body is healing (which in my profession, seems to be all the time), it requires more food than normal. It’s an odd job perk, but I imagine most human’s wouldn’t mind being able to eat a gallon of ice cream and not gain a pound.
What do you own that would be hardest to part with?
Until recently, I’d spent the last 97 years living on the road. My belongings amounted to little more than clothing and weapons. If it couldn’t be picked up and moved at a moment’s notice, if it didn’t serve a purpose, I didn’t keep it. Settling in Sentinel City is slowly changing that. I have an apartment now, a TV. I own things, but none of them really matter. All that does is the one picture I have managed to keep with me for many years. It’s torn and faded, but it’s the only image I have of Ronan. He was my squad-mate and my lover on Drimera. He followed me when I escaped to the human realm. We were off again more than on again, but despite how many times he’s disappeared or let me down, Ronan was the only lyrriken I’ve ever loved.
What do you regret most in your life?
The killing I did for the Guild. I executed mothers, fathers, children. The species didn’t matter. The reason didn’t matter. The Guild taught me to care for nothing but pleasing the will of the dragon elders, and I rose through the ranks by doing just that. For most of those I put down, I have no idea what they did to earn the dragon’s wrath. I have no idea if they deserved the punishment I gave them. It wasn’t my place to know. It was only my place to kill without question. And I did it so well.
Would you ever or have you ever lied?
I lie every day, dozens of times a day. It’s what I do. Moving from one town to the next, changing identities as often as other people change the channel, I have no choice but to lie. They used to roll expertly off my tongue without thought or regret. Lately, I’ve been feeling every one of them. I’m tired of he deceptions, or no one knowing who I really am. Coming clean will jeopardize multiple worlds. But how can I have a friend in this one if everything I tell them is a lie?