D.D. Croix writes fantasy fiction filled with secret worlds, enchanting mysteries, and magical mischief. Under another pen name, she also writes award-winning contemporary romance and historical novels that have been translated into multiple languages and runs O.C. Writers, a support network for published and aspiring authors in Orange County, CA. She lives with her family in a quiet neighborhood beside a lake, where she drinks a lot of tea, plots mayhem, and counts her lucky stars.
Fantasy fiction writer, D.D. Croix is here with us today to talk about her new series, The Queen’s Fayte and the world of the Fayte Guardians.
Jann: What inspired you to write The Queen’s Fayte series?
D.D.:The Queen’s Fayte series combines the three things I love most in a story – magic, mystery, and history – but the idea for it really took hold after a long afternoon of binge-watching Downton Abbey. Those household servants saw and heard so much, but they were often unnoticed themselves. That set my imagination gears in motion: What if they were more than servants? What if they were part of a secret society that had been working behind-the-scenes for ages? What if they had magic? The Queen’s Fayte series characters and the rest of the story grew from there.
Jann: Tell us about your process for worldbuilding this fantasy series. How long did it take?
D.D.: The most challenging aspect of the worldbuilding was making sure the Fayte Guardians could believably exist as a secret footnote to the historical record. I didn’t want to change historical facts to accommodate them. Instead, I tried to find ways for them to plausibly keep their Fayte activities and magic a secret from outsiders. Deciding who the Fayte Guardians were going to be, what they could do, and how they would find themselves in trouble took a few months before the rest of the story could evolve.
Jann: In Dragonfly Maid, Book One, you introduce the readers to the Fayte Guardians and your heroine, Jane. Tell us about Book One.
D.D.: In Dragonfly Maid, Jane is an outcast maid haunted by visions who works in Queen Victoria’s Windsor Castle kitchen. When she’s summoned by the House Steward (her boss) and the kindly old cook who’s been mentoring her, Jane thinks she’s going to be fired, but instead her superiors reveal they’re Fayte Guardians. They tell her they not only know about her secret visions, but they need her to use those visions to save the empire. Jane soon finds herself hunting a killer and fending off otherworldly attacks.
Jann: Today, Book Two, Slivering Curse, makes its debut and continues Jane’s journey. What challenges did you set for her?
D.D.: In Slivering Curse, Jane travels to Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Scottish retreat, where she’s settling into her new role as a full-fledged Fayte Guardian but soon discovers the battle she thought she won at Windsor isn’t over at all. An even greater evil is lurking in the Fayte’s Scottish stronghold, and Jane is drawn into a dangerous conspiracy that threatens everyone and everything she holds dear.
Jann: What would you like the readers to know about this story?
D.D.: I’d like readers to know that while Jane has magical abilities and faces some supernatural adversity, she’s ultimately facing the same challenges we all face: feeling like we don’t belong, feeling insecure about our place in the world, taking risks and learning to put our trust and faith in other people, and feeling the stirrings of romantic love.
Jann: Why did you choose this genre?
D.D.: It’s the genre I’ve been reading for pleasure for as long as I can remember, and – like I mentioned earlier — it’s the one that allows me to combine the things I most love in stories: magic, mystery, and history.
Jann: I see a third book is planned. Can you share anything about it? Will there be more books in this series?
D.D.: In the third book, Shadow Curse, Jane will visit the fae realm, where she’ll discover new secrets and fight against new and more powerful threats to her world and ours. There will be additional books in the series, but the trilogy will wrap up Jane’s story.
Jann: What do you want readers to come away with after writing this series?
D.D.: I hope readers root for Jane and enjoy being part of her journey to becoming a more mature and self-assured young woman in a world so full of magical possibilities, as well as watching her budding romance grow.
Jann: Do you have any writing rituals?
D.D.: I have a few writing rituals, but the one that seems to have the most consistently positive effect on my productivity is writing on my laptop with the lights out. The darkness helps me concentrate on the screen without distractions and to feel completely immersed in the story. Sometimes I joke that my novels are like mushrooms because they grow best in the dark.
Jann: Your book covers are so beautiful. Are you the designer?
D.D.: Thank you for the compliment! The cover designer is the fabulously talented Karri Klawiter.
Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?
D.D.: My website with a blog is at www.DDCroix.com, and I post at @DDCroixWrites on Twitter and Instagram.
Jann: What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?
D.D.: I would love to be an archeologist or anthropologist. I nearly went that direction in college, and I still get ridiculously excited about visiting natural history museums and viewing ancient history documentaries. I suppose it isn’t surprising that my favorite fantasy stories always have historical elements.
Jann: It’s been a real pleasure talking with you today and hearing about this wonderful fantasy series. Wishing you all the best with book two, Slivering Curse!
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