Author Raine Thomas, creator of the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy, sits down with OBS reviewer Annabell for interview round two! Thomas opens up about some of her favorite memories as a child, her relationship with her husband, what makes her squeal like a girl, and which one of her own characters she would switch places with if she had the chance.
Annabell: Central is set around Olivia and James and their bond together. They are both inquisitive and observant types. What’s a funny little mannerism you’ve realized your husband does all the time? What about a funny little funny mannerism you do all the time?
Raine Thomas: This is a fun question! I’m not sure this qualifies as a “mannerism,” but my husband always has to be right. You really have to prove your point for him to eventually concede. As for me, I’m very expressive with my hands when I talk. I can’t seem to control myself!
Annabell: All three books in the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy speak of both the weaknesses and strengths of each of the sisters. What do you think your biggest weaknesses and biggest strengths are?
Raine Thomas: My biggest weakness has to be math. I was a straight-A student in school until it came to higher-level math. There’s definitely a reason I was an English major! As for my biggest strength, I would probably say my ability to relate to others. When taking personality tests, my result is typically “the counselor.” I consider the other person’s perspective before making a judgment, and I always try to put myself in their shoes.
Annabell: Olivia loves to climb trees and being around nature and animals since she was a child. What was something you love to do as a child growing up, something you never seemed to tire of?
Raine Thomas: Swimming! One of the few things that I remember from before the age of five was swimming at the community pool in my hometown of Chicago. My grandparents—who used to live in Jacksonville, Florida—also had a pool, and my brothers and I spent nearly every summer with them. I love swimming (especially in a pool), and I’ve passed this on to my daughter.
Annabell: Caleb and Skye were my two favorite characters and their relationship was the best one out of the three books. They are such complete opposites which was fun to read. What are some opposite qualities you share with your husband? Do you think you guys balance each other out?
Raine Thomas: I think that the phrase “opposites attract” is true to a certain extent. Where my husband is a tech geek, I stray more toward the arts. He could practically build a house from the foundation up, and I’d prefer to hire someone else to do it. I’m also an optimist and positive person, whereas he tends to be more pragmatic. In the end, we’ve been married for almost eleven years, so I think we work well together!
Annabell: All of the girls along with their Gloresti have wings. If you could design wings for yourself, what would they look like?
Raine Thomas: My favorite color is blue, so I’d have to say that my wings would be a beautiful, luminescent blue. They’d also be practical in design…maybe like a peregrine falcon’s, but with wispy edges.
Annabell: Each of the girls have various tattoos all symbolizing their relationship with one another, their relationship with Caleb, James, and Gabriel, and their own powers. How did you come up with the designs for the each of the tattoos and decide on the meanings behind them?
Raine Thomas: My stories do include a lot of symbolism and imagery. I spend quite a bit of time researching symbols and their meanings, and I try to include symbols from various cultures, such as Egyptian, Celtic and Native American. Each symbol’s meaning directly relates to the character’s core personality. For example, the swirls around Skye’s eyes relate to her ability to command the element of air, as well as to her “flighty” personality.
Annabell: There are various scenes I liked from each book. One of my favorites is from Central when Caleb tells Skye to cease her weeping, I cracked up so hard! What was one of your favorite scenes from each of the books?
Raine Thomas: I’m so glad you enjoyed the books! Let’s see…my favorite scenes. Well, I’d have to say that one of my favorite scenes from Becoming is when Amber puts on her “girly” sweater and jeans in Alaska. The clothes are really a metaphor indicating that she’s willing to push herself outside of her comfort zone if it results in Gabriel’s happiness. One of my favorite scenes from Central is when Olivia learns to fly. That’s the moment when James truly begins to understand human emotion, and when Olivia realizes how deep her feelings toward him run. Lastly, one of my favorite scenes from Foretold has to be the Estilorian softball game. I absolutely love baseball, so including that in any way within the stories was a fun element for me. This scene finally brings everyone together and unifies them.
Annabell: Underlying the plot, I felt there were many Christian-based Scripture meanings behind the message within the trilogy. Especially in Foretold since the Great Foretelling is revealed and the great battle finally occurs. Was the underlying message of love, hope, and faith as well as love being the most powerful weapon we have, inspired by Christian-based Scripture?
Raine Thomas: I was raised Catholic, so I think that will always have an impact on my life and my writing. I’ll admit that I didn’t consciously set out to write the Daughters of Saraqael with this specific reading audience in mind. However, after going back through the books, I definitely noticed the underlying theme of faith. I’ve always felt that if you believe in something enough, you can make it happen…so I suppose I’m not overly surprised that this came out in my writing!
Annabell: Food is often discussed through all three of the books. Do you enjoy cooking? What’s one of your favorite dishes in your own life?
Raine Thomas: This question made me laugh. The fact is, I enjoy food (especially anything Mexican). You’ll often catch me watching Food Network whenever I want the TV on as I work. Unfortunately, however, I’m a pretty terrible cook! My husband does most of the cooking in our household.
Annabel: There are many Disney like themes mentioned throughout the book. As a Disney obsessed fan, I appreciated many of those moments *hehe* Why are you such a big fan of Disney? Which Disney princess is your favorite?
Raine Thomas: It’s an exaggeration to call me an avid Disney fan. Don’t get me wrong—I live in Orlando and have a six-year-old daughter. I do enjoy Disney-related stuff! But I introduced the Disney elements in my books as a result of Skye’s character more than because of my own preferences. In my wedding planning career, I’ve worked with many Disney-obsessed brides. Skye is that kind of gal if ever there was one! As for my favorite princess, I’m torn between Belle and Rapunzel. Tangled is now one of my all-time favorite movies.
Annabell: Defy is the first book in your new Firstborn Trilogy which continues exploring the Estilorian plane. What are some juicy tidbits you would be willing to giveaway to readers?
Raine Thomas: Juicy tidbits, eh? Well, Defy follows Tate, the firstborn daughter of Skye and Caleb (from Foretold), and a new male character named Zachariah. This is Tate’s coming-of-age story, following her through a harrowing experience that forces her to grow up faster than she expected. The story opens up with Zachariah being accidentally identified as the killer of a Scultresti female. Right off the bat, readers learn that there is at least one murderer on the mainland, and that Zachariah has removed himself from Estilorian society for more than fifty years. In the end, they’ll learn the reasons for both, which leads to the next book in the trilogy, Shift.
Annabell: Now for fun stuff:
There are a lot of firsts in the three books that occur between the characters. What was your first date like with your husband?
Raine Thomas: My husband and I didn’t have a traditional first date. We met at Mardi Gras in New Orleans (an event that’s about as far outside of my character as you can get!). I tagged along with a former co-worker, and he attended as a last-minute invite from his cousin. We ended up staying in the same one-bedroom apartment, the home of a woman who my co-worker and his cousin both knew. There was an instant connection between me and my husband, and we spent that week enjoying the sites and getting to know one another. The rest is history!
Annabell: What quality do you think is most important for a woman to look for in a man?
Raine Thomas: A sense of humor. There will always be bad days, and being with someone who can make you laugh will help get you through them.
Annabell: Favorite Time of Day:
Raine Thomas: My favorite time of day is the evening, when my wedding planning work is done and I’m spending some time with my family.
Annabell: Favorite Genre of Music:
Raine Thomas: I’m largely a Top 40 gal. I enjoy a mix of genres…pop, hip-hop, country, rap, jazz…there are songs within just about every genre that appeal to me.
Annabell: Biggest Fear or Phobia:
Raine Thomas: Bugs. Just about anything that skitters or crawls makes me shriek like a little girl.
Annabell: Fashion is discussed in various scenes within each book. What is your sense of style?
Raine Thomas: Very sadly, I don’t have one. Seriously…not at all.
Annabell: You grew up with three brothers. What was one of the fondest memories you have with them?
Raine Thomas: One of my fondest memories was a night when I was about nine, and a terrible thunderstorm struck. My brothers and I all woke up and met in the family room, where we camped on the floor with our pillows and blankets. We didn’t get much sleep, but we weren’t terrified anymore!
Annabell: If you could become one of your own characters, which one would you choose and why?
Raine Thomas: Oh, this is tough! I created each of my characters to embody different traits that appeal to me. In the interest of answering, though, I’m going to say Amber. She’s practical, strong, sarcastic, and she’s got Gabriel. I could get on board with that!
Annabell: Thank you to my friend Raine Thomas! Always a ton fun being able to interview her! For more information on the author and the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy as well as her new Firstborn Trilogy coming out in April, check out her site at http://rainethomas.com/.