Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Guest Author: Travis Heermann - Heart of the Ronin

Today, I've got a special guest for you - friend and fellow author Travis Heermann. Travis and I met while we were both working in Japan, where Heart of the Ronin is set - so he definitely knows his setting!

Here's what the Ronin trilogy is about (from Travis's website):

Set in 13th-century Japan, The Ronin Trilogy tells of the rise and fall of a young warrior named Ken'ishi. With only his father's mysterious blade to guide him, he walks dangerous lands in search of honor--and the truth about his parents' murder.

You can also download an excerpt on the website.

Please welcome Travis to the blog everyone!

First of all, many thanks to Nalini for inviting me into her space. Second, a bit about me and my book. I'm speculative fiction author; my recent novel, Heart of the Ronin, was released in library-edition hard-cover in February of this year, and I've been delighted with the response it's getting from readers and reviewers.

These days, in addition to being a freelance writer and author, I also teach English Composition at the University of Nebraska at Omaha while I work on my M.A. in English. Heart of the Ronin is a historical fantasy set in 13th century Japan. If you like a story with monsters, spirits, shapeshifting animals, spies, intrigues, ninja, samurai, and forbidden love, then check out my website at for more information.

A female reader recently pointed out to me the immense differences between sex scenes written by women (i.e. Nalini) and those written by men (i.e. Yours Truly). The conversation went something like this:

Reader: "You know, in this book [Slave to Sensation], the juicy bits go on for pages and pages and pages. Hell, the entire book is foreplay! Then there's this part in yours [Heart of the Ronin]..."

Me: "Oh, yeah?"

Reader: "Well, yeah, the juicy bit lasts all of a paragraph."

Me: "No way! They've been leading up to it for a hundred--"

Reader: "One paragraph. Boom. In and out. Done."

Me: "Well, it's--"

Reader: "That's soooo like a man. How typical."

Me: "Yes, but it also says--"

Reader: "Gimme feelings, give me build-up, give me aftermath."

Me: "But for a hundred pages--"

Reader: "--There was romantic tension between them, yeah, but then he has to leave!
With that much build-up, you need more payoff. I mean, big payoff. At least a chapter long."

Me: "But what about the adventure, and the intrigue, and the drama, and--"

Reader: "Gimme juice. Romance is all about the juice."

Me: "Sigh. Noted. Anything else?"

Reader: "[The hero] Ken'ishi sounds hot. Gimme more of that. Write juicy bits like [Nalini] does."

How can one argue with that?


Cybercliper said...

Hi Travis!! Nice to meet you. Sounds like a wonderful trilogy. I must say, I do agree with your "female reader" perspective. If warrior Ken'ishi is hot, I want to read it. And, oh yeah, lots of juicy bits, build up, foreplay, and aftermath :-)

Travis Heermann said...

Thanks for your comment. Don't worry. In the next book, any juicy bits will go on for quite some time. ;)

cmcl said...

I really wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that conversation.
Can't wait to pick up your trilogy Travis! It sounds excellent, minor juicy bits notwithstanding ;)

Willa said...

Hahahahaha *wipes tear*

Don't you just love your female readers!!

When I pick up a novel by a man I expect the juicy factor to be low, way low compared with a female author. Anything extra is a bonus!

Thanks for sharing that - and god luck with you future research! Lol!

Off to check out your website . . .

Willa said...

Oops - the link you posted to your website doesn't work. . .

Nalini Singh said...

Willa, oops, that was me. Have fixed the link! Hope it works now :)

KJsGrrl said...

Ahhh, the juicy bits! It'd be interesting to check out the research for that! Be sure to include a book or two or three of Nalini's for tips! :)

I'm intrigued by the description of the story. Must check it out.

flip said...

Your novel sounds great. Thanks for the fun interview.

Blodeuedd said...

I am liking the sound of this book :D

Una said...

Hi Travis and welcome! Your banter with your reader is hilarious. Your new book sounds intriguing, I'll definitely check it out.

Strangely, I enjoy the various ways that authors portray the "juicy bits". Sometimes you want the hot steamy chapters that Nalini is SO gifted in. And in some novels, you can only have (and only need) that paragraph. But, if Ken'ishi is that hot *fans self*...he might need additional steam time...

Anonymous said...

Great book trailer Travis!
Luckily I`ve a little weakness for Asian movies. Especially for the sword/hero/love/drama genre. Therefore your triology sounds worth to try.


Travis Heermann said...

Thanks for your kind comments, everyone. The funny thing is, Nalini is so quiet and reserved in real life (pirate incident notwithstanding). I was so surprised at the steam factor the first time I read one of her books that I had to tease her a little via text message, whilst she was quietly holed up writing in her garret in the next town over.

I will have to apply myself more thoroughly to research the right way to write the juicy bits. ;)

Nalini Singh said...

Thanks for being my blog guest, Travis :)

And you know, I have incriminating pictures of the pirate incident.