We sat down with Lindsey Piper, author of the new Dragon Kings series, for some girl talk on everything from book inspiration to favorite chocolate! Lindsey’s book CAGED WARRIOR, the first installment in the Dragon Kings series, was released on June 25th. 

1. What was your inspiration behind the “Dragon Kings” series?

I loved the movie Warrior with Tom Hardy–the idea of very manly men squaring off in a closed-off, violent arena. I was also watching Rome and Spartacus at the time, which added to ideas about gladiators who were physically powerful and their masters, who held the political and financial sway. Then, of course, there needed to be romance and a woman strong enough to keep up with all that testosterone, and a few paranormal powers. Of course! Maybe that’s my lifelong love of X-Men showing through. My daughters have been fascinated with dragons for some time now, too, and becoming obsessed with Game of Thrones meant dragons needed to be part of the mix!

2. What can we expect from this series, and CAGED WARRIOR in particular?

CAGED WARRIOR is gritty, sexy, fierce, and at surprising moments, tender. That tenderness was essential for me, because the world Leto and Audrey–and all of the Dragon Kings– inhabit is so intense. I remain a huge fan of The Terminator, where the quiet moments between Sarah and Kyle were all the more poignant because of the danger they faced.

As for the series, you can expect BLOOD WARRIOR (out July 30th) and HUNTED WARRIOR (Summer 2014) to expand beyond the underworld of Cages and mafia cartels, even traveling from Crete and the Himalayas to London and the Scottish Highlands. Oh…and those dragons. Let’s just say that in CAGED WARRIOR, the Great Dragon is a myth. An idol. A deity. But this is a paranormal world. As the series’ prophet says: “The Chasm isn’t fixed.” The Dragon will make its return…

3. Favorites. Of anything. Go!

Dark chocolate, tabby cats, Aliens, Toyotas, enchiladas, cuddles, 28 Days Later, softball games, Say Yes to the Dress, Kresley Cole, summer rainstorms, Papasan chairs, lean guys in three-piece suits, built guys in jeans and white t-shirts, laughing, roller coasters, a really good cup of tea with milk and sugar, and having been fortunate enough to see my stories turn into books.

4. Lindsey Piper is a pseudonym, yes?

Yes. I’ve been published in historical and contemporary genres, but for this series, we wanted for the stories to stand front and center. No preconceived notions about what an author is or isn’t “good” at. A good author uses words to tell a compelling story. Hopefully that’s what I’ve done here as Lindsey Piper. (By the way, I won’t be in hiding forever!)

5. Give us a favorite anecdote from your life…

My husband and I married when we were in our early 20s because I’d been studying abroad, he was (and remains, I suppose) English, and we didn’t want to attempt a long distance relationship at that age. What kids in their early 20s have the money or patience to pull off a transcontinental like that?? So it was do or die: break up at the end of my school year in England, or drag him home with me forever…. We live in Chicago now, so you can guess the outcome. We married nine months to the day after our first date, in a lovely ceremony in my parents’ backyard in rural Indiana. The boy had no idea what he was getting into!

6. What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on HUNTED WARRIOR for next summer, where the leader of the Five Clans unites with an unlikely heroine in order to make sense of that prophecy. “The Chasm isn’t fixed.” They’re the least likely couple with the most at stake, so my job is to make sure the adventure they share ignites passion, drama, and a few flames from the Dragon everyone has been waiting to see return.