Wind and Shadow (The Talbot Trilogy #1)
written by Tori L. Ridgewood
published by Melange Books
About the book: After a series of misadventures including being accused of attempted murder in high school, Rayvin Woods, a photographer and natural witch, left her hometown of Talbot in Northeastern Ontario, hoping to start her life over and never return. Ten years later, circumstances force her back to face her past and her former crush Grant Michaels.
Malcolm de Sade, a cunning vampire, escapes from an underground prison looking for vengeance. His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town. Rayvin’s power is all that stands between de Sade and his domination of Talbot, and beyond.
Grant Michaels, a police officer, thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger… but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?
Rayvin didn’t count on rekindling a lost love or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life when she came home to Talbot. Facing the past can be a nightmare… It’s worse when a vampire is stalking you.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. It’s a different take on the paranormal romance genre, returning to old-school nasty vampires and involving powerful, gritty, sensual witchcraft.
Where did you get your inspiration for Wind and Shadow? When I was growing up, I spent three years living in Haileybury, Ontario, next door to the former mining town of Cobalt. In its heyday, Cobalt was known as the Silver Capital of Ontario, and miners riddled the ground beneath the community with tunnels. After the price of silver dropped, mining slowly diminished in the area, and the tunnels were left to deteriorate. Sometime in the late 80s/early 90s, one of these tunnels collapsed, opening a hole in the street that some say was big enough to swallow a car. It jokingly became known as the World’s Biggest Pothole, but the danger of further collapses pushed engineers to inspect the rest of the mines and reinforce them: some came so close to the surface of the ground, or near to people’s basements, that the residents could hear the engineers talking!
Fast forward to 2006. My husband and I are now permanent residents of the same region, only an hour and a half away from Cobalt. I’m on parental leave with our newborn daughter, spending May in a poorly heated cabin in a summer camp while we wait for our house to be vacated by the previous owner. Surrounded by the budding and then suddenly leafy trees, rocky outcroppings, and gorgeous lakes typical of the Canadian Shield. I’d had an idea kicking around for a while about a paranormal romance, and spending time away from town made me think back to that event in Cobalt. I started wondering, What if that mine’s collapse hadn’t been an accident? What if someone — or something — had been trapped down there? Of course, it would have to be a vampire! But how did it get there? And for how long? I started piecing together details, starting drafts and discarding them, until I found something that fit.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? I’m currently waiting for the edits on the sequel to Wind and Shadow. The second book in the trilogy is called Blood and Fire, and it’s due out this February. I am working on Book 3: Crystal and Wand as well. I have some ideas for an anthology or novel based on my current town, Kirkland Lake, and notes for YA fiction. I’d like to write a historical romance at some point as well.
How do you balance being a full-time teacher, a mom, and a wife? I tend to lose a lot of sleep! And I tend to relax on the chores — laundry is done but has a hard time making its way into drawers, and cleaning is a madcap event once a week or when someone is coming over. Sometimes I’m able to work on writing projects while sitting with my family, watching TV or a movie together, and sometimes I stay up until the wee hours if the story has caught me and refuses to let go. Ethically, I have to put my day job first, so I aim to get my prep and/or marking done as much as possible before my creative writing, but occasionally I have to do the reverse for some stress relief. Thankfully, my very supportive husband is a trained chef, so he does most of the cooking, and we’re working on teaching the kids to assume more/regular responsibilities at home. I’m not sure I’ve achieved anything close to a balance, truthfully, but I keep trying.
What do you like most about teaching? I’ve found that helping students one-on-one to understand concepts and think critically is really rewarding. But engaging a whole class in an intelligent discussion, analysis, or project is also fantastic. I like writing plays for my students, and I’ve been involved in several extracurricular plays as director, supervisor, and/or designer, helping kids to find their paths as they grow. I’ve been thinking that a good sign I’ve made a real connection is when one of them accidentally calls me “Mom.”
What is your favorite genre to read? It all depends on the mood I’m in, really. I enjoy paranormal, historical, and/or contemporary romance, science fiction/fantasy, horror, and mysteries. I enjoy Young Adult fiction as much as adult fiction. And I love the classics — Jane Austin, the Bronte sisters, Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, and others.
Who is your favorite author? In paranormal/historical/contemporary romance, I’d say it’s a tie between Nora Roberts, Maeve Binchy, and Diana Gabaldon. My favourite sci fi/fantasy writer is Robert H. Heinlein — I fell in love with his work when I was 13. At around the same age, I discovered Stephen King, who became my favourite of horror writers.
In your opinion, what is one book that everyone should read? There are two, actually: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, and Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. Both are fantastic examples of how language can be played with and rules broken to create artful visions of the world. They’re also about the tenacity of the human spirit, and that even a broken world can contain some hope. I only hope that one day I can produce something as moving and beautifully composed as these.
You also like listening to a mix of music. Who are some of your favorite artists? Sara McLauchlan, Loreena McKennitt, Barenaked Ladies, the Rolling Stones, Carrie Underwood, Muse, Paramour, Hedley, Gordon Lightfoot, Rush, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Arcade Fire, Avril Lavigne, Heart, Cage the Elephant, Delhi 2 Dublin, Rick Howland (who is also an amazing actor!), Crash Test Dummies, Fergie, Goo Goo Dolls, Adele, Leona Lewis, The Tragically Hip, Big Wreck, Great Big Sea, Queen, Joni Mitchell, Green Day, Katy Perry, Nickelback, Linkin Park, Kansas, Coldplay, David Bowie, Blue Oyster Cult, Oasis, Journey, The Police, Bryan Adams, One Republic, Daughtry, Owl City, Daft Punk, George Thoroughgood…
I’m a huge fan of soundtracks, you see. I do buy whole albums by these and others, but I like collections of music that are meant to communicate common themes in a film or story. My favourite soundtracks are from movies: Twister, the original Spider-man (with Tobey Maguire), Twilight, The Lost Boys, Easy A, and Hot Tub Time Machine.
What music do you like to listen to while you write, if any? Mainly Alternative tracks, sometimes Pop, sometimes Classic Rock or Metal — it depends on the emotional tone of the scene, the situation that the character finds him or herself in, or even the environment. I connect back to events in my own life through certain songs — they trigger memories, and I use those to inform what’s going on, to some extent. It becomes a really eclectic mix.
Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the internet…at least not found easily. I have three tattoos: one is on my left shoulder blade, showing a sun and a moon sharing the same face that I designed myself and had done while I was in university. The other two are on my lower right leg and ankle. I have two Kanji figures for “boy” and “girl,” in garnet and turquoise respectively for my children’s birth months. The third is an anklet of rosebuds and thorns that I had done because I love ankle bracelets but find that they give me blisters when I wear them.
I married my husband when I was 19 years old! I was just two months from my 20th birthday, and he was 23. We were still in school — I was in university, and he was doing his Chef’s Apprenticeship — and the first among our friends and most family members to get married.
I have been to Bermuda, viewed New York City from the top of the Empire State Building, taken the Polar Bear Express to Moosonee, and toured Washington, DC; left my luggage in Gettysburg, accidentally mooned the Big Apple when my awesome 90s broomstick skirt was swept over my head by the wind, had my wallet stolen in Bermuda along with my camera and all of my photos, all while I was a teenager! Ah, the memories…
Thanks so much for having me on Every Free Chance!
About the author: After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.
At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.