Another Q&A Session with Thea

These questions were originally asked by patrons on Patreon. Here are my answers.

Q1: My question is about copyright/trademarks. When I used to purchase paper books, there was almost always a comment on the copyright page regarding the use of copyrighted or trademarked references included in the work, with the phrase, “Used with permission . . .” I rarely see this in e-books. Is it no longer required to include these things on the copyright page of e-books?

The short answer is, I don’t think it is required. But I also have to add that I’m not a copyright expert, and I rely on the help of professional editors when processing my documents. So, it’s possible I could be wrong! I’m also very careful about checking for “fair use” for anything I write.

And, I should add, just because something *should* be done doesn’t mean it necessarily will be, especially these days when it’s impossible to regulate or legislate the deluge of content that can be found (and purchased and downloaded) online. The advent of self-publishing has been amazing and liberating on many levels, but we also live with the reality that anybody can slap together a document and upload it–and many, many of those people don’t know the legalities of what they should or should not be doing.

Sometimes, even if they do know, they go ahead and do it anyway, and often they aren’t caught. Plagiarism and copyright/trademark infringements are hard to police (and piracy too), and even harder to prosecute. I’m going to include a link about a plagiarism scandal that involves Nora Roberts, who has the financial clout and the wherewithal to defend her intellectual property.

This is an interesting case to follow, because the reality is, many writers don’t have the financial means to defend their intellectual property the way Ms. Roberts does. It’s refreshing to see her go after someone who thought they could get away with plagiarizing so many authors’ works. Click here to read more about this case.


Q2: We’ve met quite a few of Dragos’ sentinels. As books will no longer focus on Pia and Dragos, will we ever actually meet Grym, Bayne or Alex? I’m particularly intrigued by Alex but learning more about Grym would be nice. We have seen little bits about Bayne in True Colours and Lionheart. Thanks!

I decided a long time ago that I’m not going to give every sentinel their own story. While everybody has to decide what does and does not work for them in terms of suspending disbelief–and I’m quite aware that the Elder Races universe has many fantastical elements that require the readers’ suspension of disbelief–what I can’t get over, myself, is that it’s not realistic for every sentinel to have their own romance and storyline.

At some point I do want to go back to the New York to give readers one last trilogy in that original setting, but I haven’t made any final decisions about who those stories will be about. Having said that, I think there’s a high(er) likelihood that Bayne will get his own story–he’s had the most story time, and as such I have a more solid feel for his personality.


Q3: Hi Thea, I love every story line of every book of yours. How do you come up with the story line and what inspires you?

Thank you so much! 😊 I’ve been asked this question many times over the years, and I’ve answered it in a variety of different ways, but the short answer is, I don’t know. I don’t think any writer really knows. Creativity is a fluid, organic process, and as such, it’s going to be somewhat different for every creative.

Having said that, I really like what Neil Gaiman says on this subject. Here’s one small slice: “You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.”

There’s so much truth in that! My ideas come just like Gaiman says–from daydreaming, from boredom, from interacting with the stimulus of the world around me. Then I take those kernels of “what ifs” and “I wonder” and build from there. And then they get hammered out through the discipline of actual writing.

If you’d like to read Gaiman’s essay for yourself, you can find it by clicking here.


Q4: Hi Thea, will we get to see more of Grace and her kids?

Hi! So… I don’t know. We will get to see more of Grace and her kids if they become active in any of the upcoming stories I intend to tell. Right now, that doesn’t look likely. I’m moving forward to tell new stories, not backward to rehash old ones.

That was a major reason why I retired Dragos and Pia as POV characters. We all had so much fun with them–myself included!–and they had so much story to tell! But after a certain point, their story DID get told in a variety of ways. We got to see them argue and make their relationship stronger, face danger, overcome challenges, give birth to their two sons, to grow as characters, and revel in their love for each other. Telling anything more would have become too repetitive. And too much repetition ends up feeling stale, and that’s when creativity starts to die.

Grace and her kids didn’t get the same kind of airtime that Dragos and Pia did, but the principal is still the same. Those stories were told years ago, and I have such fond memories of them, but when I mentally reach back to touch the characters, I don’t feel a creative “spark of new life.” It is always possible they might show up as secondary characters in someone else’s story, though. I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, and I really hate to disappoint readers! But I do have to focus on where I feel that spark of new life—because that’s where the stories exist. 😊