By Deborah Cooke
The books in my Dragonfire series are paranormal romances with dragon shape shifter heroes. Over the course of this series, the good dragon shifters (the Pyr) have been battling the evil ones (the Slayers) in a war which will leave only one kind of dragon shifters surviving. At the end of the last book, Serpent’s Kiss, the outcome of the war looked good for the Pyr, but the Slayers were only down, not out. In Firestorm Forever, the final Dragonfire novel, the Slayers unleash another trick, one good enough to make their victory possible.
So, why choose dragons? There are lots of were-species in mythology and fiction, as well as other kinds of supernatural heroes. I’ve always loved dragons, though. I devoured fairy tales when I was a kid and fantasy novels when I was older. I never liked that the dragons—which were majestic and beautiful, as well as clever and strong—tended to be portrayed as villains. They’re protective and loyal, which meant to me that they’d be great heroes. I also love to weave mythology into my stories, and there are stories about dragons in most human cultures. I could easily interpret that as evidence that they’re real. Of course, they’d have to be hidden in our society or they’d be easily spotted, so it seemed obvious to me that they had to be dragon shifters, who looked human most of the time and kept their powers secret. Dragon shifter heroes would be hot in both guises, to my thinking, long-lived but not immortal.
Dragons are said to have a fondness for princesses, virgins and damsels in distress. This meant to me that even though their relationship with our kind might be antagonistic sometimes, they liked women. In the world of my Pyr, the dragon shifters are defenders of the earth and its treasures, which includes the human race. The Slayers are less enamored of humans, and seek to exterminate us as well as the Pyr who defend us. One reason for this difference in perspective is that my dragon shifters mate with human women—in his long life, a Pyr will have a single firestorm, which is the sign of his meeting the woman who can bear his son. Each of the Dragonfire novels is a paranormal romance, which features one of the Pyr experiencing his firestorm, meeting his mate, fighting off Slayers drawn to the heat of the firestorm and seducing that woman. Although the firestorm was once seen by the Pyr to be purely biological, you won’t be surprised that they all fall in love, too. So, my dragon shifters don’t just defend our kind, but they need us.
Notice that I said she could bear his son. The Pyr are all male, with the exception of one female at any time, who is the Wyvern and has special powers. There’s a spin-off young adult series from Dragonfire called The Dragon Diaries which features the coming-of-age story of the new Wyvern for the Pyr. The male Pyr come into their abilities at puberty, and Zoë does too, but her powers are slightly different because she is the Wyvern. The trick is mastering those abilities and using them for good, without another female Pyr or Wyvern to give her advice.
The history between the Pyr and humans is one characterized by change, which is another reason for Slayers having less tolerance of humans. I have a group of Pyr who have been cast forward in time from the distant past. (These are the Dragon’s Tooth Warriors.) In their time, they lived openly in human society and were recognized as what they were. People knew about them, which is one source of the stories we know about dragons. But the Pyr chose to hide themselves during the Middle Ages, when they were hunted almost to extinction by humans for the supposed cures that could be obtained from their bodies. Although the Pyr aren’t immortal, some of them are old enough to remember that and be distrustful of people. The first Slayers were those Pyr who had lost family and friends to teams of human hunters and wanted vengeance. I have an historical romance series in the works called Dragonfire Legend, which will take us back to that key era in the evolution of the Pyr and their relationship to human society. I think it’s fun that some of the older Pyr we know from Dragonfire will have roles in those stories, too, as their younger selves.
The challenge in writing Firestorm Forever was ending the conflict of the war that has been ongoing throughout the series and doing so in a satisfying way. There were a number of ongoing plotlines that are resolved, and some threads to be pulled free to make way for future series. Because this is the big finish, it became an enormous book—Firestorm Forever is twice as long as the other Dragonfire novels, and it includes three firestorms instead of just one.
A deadly virus was loosed on the world in a previous book by a Slayer determined to win at all costs—I realized that the plague that spread through the world wouldn’t be easy to bring to a stop. In Firestorm Forever, three Pyr and their destined mates work together to develop a cure. It would be a spoiler to tell you who does what, but they all contribute a specific key that makes the solution possible. Those of you who have been reading the series so far will be glad to know that the main firestorm of this book is Sloane’s. Sloane is the Apothecary of the Pyr, and it was only right that he and his mate play key roles in finding the cure. All of the other Pyr make cameo appearances in Firestorm Forever, too, which also makes it longer. It was important to me to revisit all of the previous couples one last time.
Of course, this is as much the end of a series as the beginning of a new one. It’s not much of a spoiler to tell you that the good guys win this particular war and that the Pyr are triumphant over the Slayers—but once the distraction of the Slayers is gone, the Pyr realize that there are other beings in the world, creatures that may or may not be indifferent to their survival. I’m looking forward to my next series featuring dragon shifter heroes, which will be called DragonFate and begins with Hot Blooded.
You can read a sample of Firestorm Forever on my site, or download the first chapter free from my online store. It’s available for pre-order now and will go on sale in both print and digital formats on May 13.
Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself, Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, #1 Kindle Bestselling, KOBO Bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ Bestselling Author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.
Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and of Novelists Inc.
Deborah thinks a lot about publishing and writing, and also knits too much.
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This flame will burn for all time…
Three key firestorms mark the culmination of the Dragon’s Tail Wars, pitting the dragon shifters known as the Pyr against the evil Slayers. The Slayers have struck a blow against mankind, bringing a pestilence from the ancient world, which is spreading like wildfire. Sloane Forbes, the Apothecary of the Pyr, knows it is his duty to find the cure, but the solution is elusive, his beautiful neighbor is distracting, and time is running out.
In moving to a remote farm in the California hills, Samantha Wilcox has left her demanding career behind by choice and on principle. It’s too painful to remember her own failures as both mother and physician, so she’s determined to start fresh. She’s going to live differently, following her instincts and savoring life’s pleasures—like the hot sex with no commitment offered by her mysterious neighbor. Sloane Forbes is no more an herb farmer than she is a tarot card reader, but Samantha is determined to keep their illusions intact—at least until she discovers that Sloane’s one of the Pyr, the dragon shifters responsible for the epidemic that stole her son’s life. As Slayers and Pyr gather for the final battle, can Samantha and Sloane work together to save the world and build themselves—and their respective kinds—a future?
The final book in the Dragonfire series will be Sloane’s book, Firestorm Forever, coming May 13, 2015. It’s available for pre-order at these portals – remember that the pre-order price is discounted.
Kiss of Fire (Dragonfire, #1)
Kiss of Fury (Dragonfire, #2)
Kiss of Fate (Dragonfire, #3)
Winter Kiss (Dragonfire, #4)
Harmonia’s Kiss (Dragonfire, #4.5)
Whisper Kiss (Dragonfire, #5)
Darkfire Kiss (Dragonfire, #6)
Flashfire (Dragonfire, #7)
Ember’s Kiss (Dragonfire, #8)
The Dragon Legion Collection (Dragonfire, #9)
Kiss of Danger (Dragonfire, #9.1)
Kiss of Darkness (Dragonfire #9.2)
Kiss of Destiny (Dragonfire, #9.3)
Serpent’s Kiss (Dragonfire #10)
1 winner will win a digital copy from iBooks, Amazon or Kobo of Firestorm Forever from Author Deborah Cooke