Welcome to today’s stop for The Stone of Darkness by Resa Nelson. I want to be totally honest with you right now, I have not read it. BUT if it is as good as the first book in the series, The Dragon Slayer’s Sword, then I have no issue pimping it out .
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover–the dragonslayer–disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.
Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.
Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much…or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Nelson, so continue reading for some fun info, and maybe even a picture or two!
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.
Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine’s first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer’s Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November.
Resa’s standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it “a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended.”
Resa lives in Massachusetts.
Welcome to Little Read Riding Hood! Let’s get right to it, shall we? What made you decide to write fantasy over other genres?
When I was little, I started out reading fairy tales and folk tales from all over the world, and I’ve always had a special place in my heart for them. I think fantasy is a natural extension of that love. So far, all of my novels have been fantasy, but I’ve also been writing and selling short stories for a long time. My short stories range from fantasy to science fiction to horror to mystery.
That is all right up my alley! My theory on reading, and it seems like you share the same theory in writing, is why on earth would you want to read/write about something that could actually happen?? So, where do you come up with the names, like Astrid, Taddeo, DiStephann, etc?
It depends. Because I modeled the Dragonslayer series on the beginning of the Viking era (although I think the series takes place in a parallel world), I wanted the hero to have an easily-recognizable Scandinavian name. That’s why I chose Astrid. The books actually began as a short story, which was published in Science Fiction Age magazine many years ago. I named DiStephan after someone I had dated because I liked the name. But Taddeo is an invented name. That character comes from the Far East, and I wanted a name that sounded slightly Asian. I just played around with different ideas until I came up with Taddeo. Sometimes when I name characters, I look around the room to get ideas. For example, there’s a character in Book 2 named Vinchi. He comes from a country similar to Italy. I glanced around the room when I needed to come up with a name for him and noticed The Da Vinci Code on my bookshelf. So sometimes I name my characters after authors or their book titles or people from the past.
How fun! Now I am going to start nick-naming people I know after things I can see from here … Though I think Amazon may take offense to me calling people or things Kindle. This may sound sexist against my own sex, but why a female blacksmith?
When I wrote the short story (called “The Dragonslayer’s Sword,” which is also the title of Book 1), I wanted to work through my feelings of having been harassed at my job – one of my co-workers (a married man with two young children) had propositioned me, and I was horrified. He tried to bribe me and then he tried to pressure me. He had a very powerful job, and I didn’t, which put me at a disadvantage. I wanted to write a story about what had happened to me. So I wanted to create a female character who works with a man who propositions her. And I wanted her to feel like if she says no to him, she could be putting people she cares about in danger. I liked the idea of writing about dragonslayers because I’d never done it before. And I thought a dragonslayer would depend on a blacksmith for weapons, but an entire village would depend on the dragonslayer for protection. It made me nervous to have Astrid be a blacksmith because I knew nothing about blacksmithing, but I did a lot of research, including taking a course in blacksmithing. Afterwards, I learned that I come from a long line of blacksmiths and there are currently three generations of people in my extended family who are blacksmiths today!
That is horrible. I am sorry that happened to you, but am thrilled you could use such an a-hole as inspiration to write such a powerful character. I saw in your Bio you actually learned some swordplay, do you have your own swords? Are they named? Do you have any pics?
I have a fencing foil (for sport fencing, which I studied for a year while I was writing Book 1) and I also have a waster, which is the wooden version of a medieval sword that knights used for the first year or two when they were learning how to use swords. (Technically, a waster is the wooden version of any weapon, so you can also have a waster of a dagger, for example.) My waster is from my days of being in a sword guild and being a weapons demonstrator, so I used it for years. My waster’s name is Starlight.
Ok, rapid fire round. What are your favorite:
It depends on how I’m feeling. My favorites are chocolate, cherry, red velvet cake, and peppermint stick.
TV show and or book
There are so many I like! But because I’m anxious for the new season to begin, I’m choosing The Walking Dead.
Type of music
Time of day
Morning, right around dawn
Dogs or cats
Outfit (dressy or jeans?)
Now I feel like we go way back. I was with you on everything, until you said dawn. If I never saw another sunrise, I would be just fine. How many books are planned in this series? Do you know how it will end or is it fluid, changing from day to day?
There are four books in the series, and Book 4 is scheduled for publication in November. The book is done and delivered to my publisher, but I’m thinking very seriously about a spin-off series. The next two books I plan to write are standalone novels, so that’ll give me plenty of time to figure out if I’ll write a spin-off series or not.
Can you tell us if it will have a happily ever after?
My feeling is that the end of the series is definitely happily ever after, although someone else who has read the final book calls it bittersweet. But I’m happy for all of the characters and really delighted with the way everything works out. When I was writing the final chapters, I was literally bouncing up and down and smiling the whole time and saying, “Yay!” constantly.
Which character do you see yourself most in and why?
I identify the most with Astrid, and that goes back to why I wrote the short story that launched the book series.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. And for putting up with my scatter-brain tendencies. Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much for hosting my blog tour and especially for taking a chance on reading my books. I really appreciate it! Also, everyone is welcome to read the original Dragonslayer short story (plus a second short story I wrote in that world) for free by downloading a free “mini” ebook from my website.
You can contact Resa at