Author Interviews

Interview with Blaine D. Arden on 23-December-2013

Author's Interview

Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Blaine.
Well, I’m very tactile and a perpetual hugger. I was born and raised in Zutphen, a city in the east of the Netherlands.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Such a hard question. There’s probably plenty that people don’t know about me, but would they be surprised finding out how crazy I am? Anyway… let the readers be the judge.

After I’d shared a canteen rotation at my korfball club with a very cute guy—and we'd managed to spend most of that time talking—I phoned all the chemical companies in my town to find said cute guy. 'Cause all I knew was that he’d recently moved to my city and worked for a chemical company… I'd never realized we had so many chemical companies.

Of course, said cute guy has been my husband for the past 23+ years, so crazy as I was, I don’t regret a second of it.

When did you start writing? Is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I started writing when I was 12/13, thereabouts. It was never a conscious decision, but long before that, I told myself stories to help me fall asleep (me and being alone in the dark were never great friends), and I suddenly found myself starting to write these stories. My stories grew with my age. I started with little plays and school romances and the likes, then wrote my first gay fiction at age 16/17, and after that started building my own worlds and went on to write fantasy, mostly with gay main characters.

I never saw it as something to pursue as my main job, though. It wasn’t something I was supported in at home, it was mostly seen as a waste of time. So, I studied, got a job, got married, got kids, and became a stay-at-home mum, and all the while, writing came second. Around the time I joined the NaNoWriMo craze (2005), I realized I was ready to take my writing more seriously, but it wasn’t until I discovered the m/m genre (after I bought my first e-reader), that I realised I needed to take the plunge and submit something, somewhere. Haven’t regretted taking that step.

Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Mostly, yes. I can’t help wishing more people bought my books, but I’m still very much enjoying the writing, the editing, and I love talking with colleagues and readers in the genre, both on- and offline. I’m nervous every time I submit a story/book to a publisher, or even the critique group, but I’m still amazed at the ideas that hit me, even if I think I’m in a writing slump. So, it might not be everything I thought it would be, but I’m damn happy to have taken the plunge and make writing my first priority.

How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
Like nothing could ever kill me. On top of the world, and so bloody proud of myself.

What's your favorite part of writing a book?
When ideas in my head take shape. And while I love writing my first draft, that really mostly happens during my edit phases. That is when I’m deepest into my world and my characters, and when the magic of gluing it all together happens.

Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I guess you could say I take time to read. I drag my e-reader with me everywhere, doctor’s appointments, train rides, even the toilet. So any spare five minutes are spent reading.

I have to admit I read mostly within the m/m genre (and some trans* as well), soaking it up, more like. Whether more spicy and light on plot, or a serious mystery/fantasy with love on the side, I love it all.
I do like other books as well. I recently borrowed PG Wodehouse’s The World of Blandings, which was hilariously funny, and I think CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series is really good.

Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
Mainstream fantasy, I guess, but only if they accept my ‘diversity as is’ way of writing. And there will always be some romance in my stories.

And Young Adult. I never thought I’d be able to, but I’ve had two ideas pop into my head this year, and I’ve written one of them during this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
The Forester 2: Lost and Found was released on the 21st of December 2013. It’s the second part in my Forester Trilogy. The first book saw Truth Seeker Kelnaht struggle with his desire for two men, a shunned Forester, and his ex, a smith. It’s hard to not spoil the first book for those who haven’t read it before, but in this part Kelnaht is struggling with an investigation into a missing teen (stripling), and his secret relationship with Taruif and Ianys.

What can we look forward to in the future from you?
Nothing definite at the moment, but I’m hoping to sub two shorts in the next two days, provided I can get them finished in time. As for 2014? I’ve got plenty of projects shoved into schedule.

I have a fantasy novel about a blind curse breaker that I’m itching to edit and rewrite. There’s a young adult fantasy about a boy who sees numbers that I wrote for NaNoWriMo this year lined up for edits/rewrites as well. I also have a trans* story that I keep having to shelve for different reasons that I’m dying to finish, finally. And I have ideas for more stories in my Forester world. So… more ideas than I have time to write. My well hasn’t dried up yet.

Anything you want to say to your readers?
A big THANK YOU, with free hugs for those who enjoy them.

Thank you so much for the interview, Blaine!

Blaine D. Arden's most recent releases:
The Forester

One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers—smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif—is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht.

If it isn't sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it's heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free.

And if that's not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.

Oren’s Right
Veld, tree elf and Forester, fell in love with mute baker Oren, also a tree elf, when he first set eyes on him two turns ago, but Healer Haram, Oren’s vowed, made it clear that he had no intention of sharing Oren with Veld. Now, with Oren in mourning after Haram is killed, Veld is torn between Haram’s unwillingness to share and his desire to make Oren his. But when Haram’s death turns out not to be quite the accident it seemed to be, Veld is drawn into the investigation. At the same time, others appear to claim Oren’s independence, and Veld is forced to face his insecurities or risk losing Oren…

The Forester 2: Lost and Found
The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.
One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers—smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif—is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht.

If it isn't sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it's heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free.

And if that's not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.

Excerpt for The Forester 2: Lost and Found:

I was glad I wore my trousers tucked into my high boots, as the mud sucked at them with every step. It had been raining off and on for the past two weeks. The leaves of the few evergreen oaks and parulm trees scattered throughout the forest dripped water, and twilight threw the woodland into a cold and eerie darkness. Cloak wrapped tightly around me and wings folded, I tried to ignore the drizzling chill brushing my fingers as I held my hands out in front of me, energy flowing freely as I scanned for Ustion's footsteps.


Step by step, I circled the area at the foot of Moors Mountain surrounding the mouth of the hunters' cave, while my apprentice, Brem, did the same on the other side of the cave's entrance. Even with the floating lanterns hovering above us, I could find little trace of Ustion. There had been plenty in the cave. Just outside, same thing, but the farther I moved away from the cave, the less I found. At this point, I'd be thrilled to find even the tiniest trace that would tell me where Ustion had walked off to. I muttered a prayer to Ma'terra, hoping something would turn up soon. Deeper into the forest, the search party bellowed out for Ustion every couple of paces.


Ustion, son of Ashyu and soon-to-be carpenter's apprentice, had been staying with Ashyu's hunting group when he disappeared. It was tradition to take their older children with them once a turn for a break in routine. According to the hunters, Ustion had been doing fine—couldn't shoot a rabbit even if it stood still, but made the best arrows—until three nights ago, when Ustion and Ashyu had argued, and Ustion had walked off to blow off some steam. When he hadn't returned that evening, Ashyu had assumed he'd gone home to sulk. At sixteen turns, Ustion was old enough to find his way back, but when the hunting group returned to the village earlier today, Ustion hadn't been home. He hadn't been anywhere in the village.


Three nights was a long time for a stripling like him to be missing.

"Do you think we'll find him soon, Master Kelnaht?"

Ashyu, a tall tree elf built like an oak, looked old in the flickering light of the lanterns. Lines were etched into his face, lines of worry, lines of regret. He'd been mumbling prayers since we started our search, staying close to Brem and me as we searched for traces. Every time we paused or bent down, he held his breath. His sighs when we found nothing sounded heartbreaking.

"I hope so," was all I could answer to that. Truth was, I had no idea. The lack of traces was alarming, the nearing darkness even more so. I hadn't expected the absence of traces, hadn't expected the search to take this long. We weren't prepared to spend the night in the forest, and once the night creatures stirred, the fire would be needed for protection more than light. The sooner we found Ustion, the sooner we could all go home. I hoped Taruif wasn't waiting up for me.


Grabbing some herbs from my pouch, I sprinkled them over my cold hands and rubbed them together to cleanse them and protect them from the worst of the cold. When my hands started tingling, I took a deep breath, muttered a prayer to Ma'terra to guide us in our search, and renewed my focus. Hands extended, I felt my way through the rubble and the mud, moving farther and farther away from the cave. Every now and then, Brem and I met up in the middle, but we had nothing new to tell each other. Neither of us could find anything, and we were both reaching the limit of our powers.


In the end, I had no choice but to call it a night. We could barely see our hands in front of us, the wind had become fierce and close to freezing, and Brem and I needed to stop before we ran out of energy. Standing amidst his hunting group, Ashyu begged and screamed for us to give it another hour, stamping his feet into the mud and swinging his fists to punctuate his words.

I shook my head. "Look at your friends, Ashyu," I told him. "You've all just returned from a week long hunting trip. They need a good night's rest." I gestured at Brem and I. "We need a good night's rest to replenish our energy. We'll restart our search in the morning and gather as many elves as we can to combine our energies. We will find your son."

Ashyu sagged against a tree, disappointment and pain clear in his expression. Two of his group had to help him back on his feet before they could lead him back to the village. We walked in silence. I couldn't stop myself from scanning the ground every couple of paces with what little energy I had left. Next to me, Brem did the same. A desperate act, or idle hope, maybe, but we'd never lost anyone in the forest before, and we weren't planning on doing so now.

When I entered the village, Ianys stood waiting in the shadow of my dwelling, keeping out of sight until the last door in the village had closed. As soon as I reached him, his strong arms enveloped me, and I sagged against him. His warm mouth claiming mine brought a relief I couldn't express in words. Ianys knew me well. He wrapped his cloak around me, took my cold and wet hands in his, and led me to Taruif's dwelling.

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