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New Release: Heart of the Dragon by S.D. Grady: Author Interview

Author S.D. Grady

Author S.D. Grady

Today I am interviewing  Author S.D. Grady.  She has just had a Fantasy romance novel released,  and while the book meets all the criteria for great fantasy writing, there is something about the work  that also feels a lot like  a historical novel. Her new book, Heart of the Dragon, has just been released by Purple Sword Publications.

S.D. Grady is a complicated woman and has diverse interests: she loves history, music, music, writing and NASCAR. And a few people might think that some things in that mix are mutually exclusive, but somehow she makes it all work.  

What is the Heart of the Dragon about?

Lady Yelena is sent in marriage to Prince Pietro, known as the Vellenican Dragon. Instead of her sisters’ elegant beauty, she brings a dowry of swords to the warrior prince. A hard man to love, night after night the prince leaves Yelena behind as he battles against the evil Wasti in a generations long war. Each morning he returns to her bloody and beaten. They despair of ever finding peace for their homelands. Then Yelena discovers treachery in her personal guard and she must find the strength to raise her own sword and fight for her family, her honor and her prince.


Heart of the Dragon by S.D. Grady

Heart of the Dragon by S.D. Grady

What was the inspiration for Heart of the Dragon?


Ummm, Vlad the Impaler. I know it sounds odd that I’d want to tell the tale of the very first vampire.  But what happened that got the locals thinking that he drank the blood of his enemies?  Was he truly universally despised?  I thought these were ideas worth exploring.


What kind of research did you do? Any tips or special tips for those looking to do their own?


Research for loosely historically based tales is an ongoing project.  I eat TV documentaries on personalities of history.  Google is my very best friend. I stare at images of distant lands, read about their games and study the political hierarchies.  Visit museums…it doesn’t matter what type.


In Little Women, Jo is told by her future husband to write what she is truly passionate about. It’s a good rule of thumb when you’ve got to look up a million random pieces of information.  Otherwise the author is likely to forget important things.


Are there any real historical people that were models for your characters?


Almost always.  Prince Pietro came from Vlad the Impaler.  In The Forgotten Princess, Lavinia grew from Katherine Parr–the last wife of Henry the VIII.  In an upcoming work, the heroine was inspired by Madame du Barry–the final mistress of Louis XV.


How long did it take you to write Heart of the Dragon and what were the challenges involved?


It takes about six months for the first draft of the book to be written.  After, there are revisions and submissions and revisions.  It’s been a long time since conception on this one.


Do you write an outline before you write a book?


Only a very brief one. Otherwise I’d be spending all my time outlining, not writing.


Any tips on how to establish a schedule or get disciplined when you work on a project?


LOL … I’m not the one to ask about schedules.  I do work to give myself a certain amount of time each day to accomplish various things.  Writing is just one of them. I suppose the habit from when I first started working as a teenager is jotting down a list of what to do today.  Just today. It generally has little things and big things on it and unless I’m having a couch day, things do get done.


You write in a lot of different genres: Historical, Fantasy, Regency and Contemporary Erotic romance.  Each one of these categories has a different set of rules and levels of sensuality allowed. What kind of process do you go through in shifting your “mental gears”when you switch genres?


I guess since I keep the really erotic works in the contemporary genre, it’s easier to click over to another voice.  The historical and fantasy voice work really well together.  However, right now I’m trying my hand at something intended for a much younger audience, and that is a huge struggle to leave my frilly, sensuous self behind.  Mostly, the story tells me what it wants.  I listen.


Have you ever hated something you wrote? Did you give up on it, or were you able to fix it?


Lots of times. I also have a weekly NASCAR column for Frontstretch.com*.  There’s a deadline and I am expected to submit content.  If I hate the column this week, it still goes out into the great unknown.  And after a day or two, I’ll return and decide it wasn’t all that bad. 

The repetition of forced deadlines does wonders for confidence in your work.

 *It should be noted here that note that not only is Ms. Grady a columnist on Frontstretch.com, she is also a senior editor for the site.

Speaking of shifting gears, you are also a huge NASCAR fan and you write on that topic as well.  How does this influence your other writing?


It’s all about passion.  I love NASCAR.  There’s pageantry, patterns, colors, emotion, noise, smells… You can say the same about any story that is told.  The places and people are different.  As long as you can connect on a visceral level with the topic, writing about it is a breeze.*

* Interviewer:  When you start talking about it that way it kind of sounds like some kind of Medieval festival or joust.  So maybe I can start to see why you love it.

What books have influenced your writing?


Many. We are sponges.  When I visit old friends, I will find phrases, thoughts and actions I’ve since repeated in my own books.  It’s not copying.  Simply I read the book at some point, loved it, savored it and my mind decided to use that reaction in another place in time.

If you’d like to get a real idea of all the voices in my head, check out my bookshelf at Goodreads:


Do you have plans for a new book?  Or what are you writing now?


Current Work in Progress is The Bell Tower, a tale of mystery and myths in a tiny Maine town.  The Kings Mistress is in need of revisions before this historical/fantasy heads to the publisher.


And then there will either be The Cranes of Bellamy Heath or The Trouble Sisters or a NASCAR romance or…


Now for a little voyeurism, and since this is a virtual interview, what are you wearing right now?


I’m not sitting in my office in my uniform.  *looks over shoulder* Nope.  Not doing that.


And how do you usually dress for a settle-in and write marathon?


If I’m at home, “comfies” are the deal of the day.  i.e. sweats, t-shirts in my chair with a lap blanket nearby.


Is there anything you would like to say/tell us about Heart of the Dragon or perhaps your publisher?


If you think you know what to expect when you pick up a romance, this one will challenge you.  We’re not in England, or the 19th century.  We are at war, and it can be bloody.


Try Heart of the Dragon! You just might like it.


Book Info:

The Heart of the Dragon by S.D. Grady


At night, he fights.  In the dawn, he loves. Only with her, he lives. 


is now available at Amazon:




and Purple Sword Publishing  ebooks:



Find out more about S.D. Grady:

“Racing Headlong into Love. Ready for a ride?”


  1. Thanks for having me over! It was fun.

  2. Excellent interview, Pam and Sonya!

  3. Major congrats on your release! Wishing you all the best.

  4. An unusual read.

  5. Great interview, Sonja. Excellent insight into a writer whose interests are so varied and talent unlimited.

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