Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reader Questions

I opened up the floor for reader questions in one of the Mageri groups on Facebook. Since I knocked out a bit of editing this morning and plan to go out to lunch, I thought I'd put aside my work and answer a few of them here. Randomly selected since I can't answer them all:


Q: In the Breed world, do the children attend normal schools or are they educated in Breed run schools and where will Maizy go to school?

A: This is addressed a little in books to be released. In my mind, there is no hard and fast rule because it depends on the family. Since there is an overall dislike toward humans, most of them have their own homeschooling set up, but it would always vary based on the individuals or community. Relics are more likely to go to human schools, even colleges.

Q: It was mentioned in Seven Years that Mage's are immortal, how is what they are different compared to the shifters. Cause we know they can die, right!?

A: Yes, a Mage is immortal as far as the word "immortal" goes. They do not age and they can rejuvinate through healing. They are called immortal, just as Vampires, because they have the potential to live forever. But like Achilles, everyone has a weakness and we can all die. The Mageri series makes mention of how a Mage can die, and one way is beheading. Shifters do age, but very slowly. Their lifespan varies based on the individual or even the strength of their genetic line, just as Chitahs. Shifters can also heal through shifting, however if they cannot shift and heal themselves, then that poses a problem.

Q: Will there be any Gemini in this series? 

A: That I can't say as I keep very tight-lipped in regards to all questions about future books. But I have written a stand-alone book about a Gemini which I hope to publish one day. I created the world, introduced you to some of the Breeds, but now the Mageri world is my playground and through each series I release, you will learn so much more about different Breeds from different perspectives. I will say that you will see more of a diverse cast through my urban fantasy books than paranormal romances.

Q: I am just in love with this world! Is there going to be cross over between the two series (Seven Years & The Mageri Series)? I just want to know if I should stop fantasizing about it!!

A: As it stands, yes, there will be a connection between the two books. The idea came to me a little while back when I was fleshing out the plot line for a future book. Seven series only fans won't know the difference, Mageri fans will get it and really enjoy it. I can't detail this out any further.


Q: I know that even you have to wait to find out where the story goes as you write them, but when you mapped out the Seven series to be six (or seven) books, did you decide before hand what each book was going to be about? Or did you just planned on the titles and will find out where it all goes as you write each one of them?

A: I am very much a pantser vs plotter, however I do get the foundation of an idea for future books while I'm writing current ones. I make notes, but sometimes those go out the window when I begin writing. I will say that what happens in book 3 was never meant to be. From the very first page of Five Weeks, the book took a complete left turn from what I had initially planned. So much for that. So in away, I have the ideas, but to some degree, the story becomes larger than me and determines its own fate. The titles will work themselves into the story as I go. As it stands, I have no idea who will be in book 5-6 (I know who, just not the order) I do have an idea on the final book.

Q: If you were to come up with a new Breed to introduce what would it be called? And what would their abilities be?

A: I have no idea! Making up a new Breed and name is more challenging than it seems. I conceived of: Chitahs, Relics, and Geminis. And while not technically considered a "Breed", let's not forget the new one in SEVEN YEARS mentioned. Won't say as it's a spoiler. If you can't remember, then time for a re-read. Everything else I put my own spin on (Mage, Vampire, Shifter, etc). However, there is a Breed no one has yet scene that has their own series (the last one I wrote before I began publishing). It is somewhat of an existing paranormal breed that is rarely written about, and I've put my own spin on it. But I can't divulge in any details.

Q:
What inspired you to write Maizy's character?

A: I'm not sure. The first book of any series is a true pantser book, and it wasn't until I hit that scene and Lexi was looking at the house that Maizy came bounding out the door. I didn't know the relation she was to Lexi until I began writing the scene. Perhaps I've taken a small piece of every child I've known in my life and  inserted them into that little girl, so full of life and spirit. The child who still believes in magic and fairytales.



If you have any questions, shoot them over to me and I'll add them to a list. I kept the others from this discussion and will see which ones I can address at a later time. Hope you enjoyed a little insight.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reader email

Warning: SEVEN YEARS SPOILER

Every so often, I receive an email that makes me sit back, finding it hard to concentrate. I've always taken care of how I write any "traumatic" event in my books. I deal with it as realistically as I can, and as true to the character as I can, without it detracting from the main story. I'm always cognizant that there are readers who might have gone through something similar. But each layer of of the story enriches the characters, gives them direction, and shows where they came from. So they become necessary evils to the story.

At the end of the day, it's urban fantasy/paranormal romance, and I want readers to come away from the story feeling entertained. Today I received an email that brought tears to my eyes. It's no the first time that's happened with readers, but I wanted to share this email because I'm hoping that it will inspire someone out there to change their life. Whether it's something you're going through or have gone through, or maybe someone you know.

The message below contains spoilers to SEVEN YEARS, so if you haven't read the book and don't want to see any spoilers, then come back. I wanted to take just a moment to get serious, because I've learned that sometimes the smallest things we think don't matter, actually do. So maybe posting this will matter to someone.

Upon her request, I have changed the names. Thank you "Sarah" for sharing your story or survival and hope and allowing me to give you a voice.
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Dannika,

  I am almost done reading "Seven Years" for the second time.  Your craft in writing (not to mention steamy covers) is superb.  ...You make the reader care about the characters.  They come alive.  I have a special place in my heart for Alexia.  You see, I was that abused woman in her apartment.

  A long time ago when I was 22, my ex-boyfriend tried to kill me and almost succeeded.  He strangled me twice, nearly killing me the second time.  My best friend was in the next room, heard the struggle the first time and with the help of another friend peeled him off.  As she held me, comforting me, he lunged a second time and wrapped his hands around my throat.  That time I lost consciousness.  My friend tells me my tongue and eventually my face turned black.  Again, they pulled him off me and this time they managed to get him out of the room.  The police showed up and removed him from our apartment. 

  John was a big guy with large muscles and I was a tiny 5'2" 125lb waitress.  I went to the police, swore out a complaint, they photographed my eye where I had hemorrhaging and my neck that had a perfect set of hand sized bruises with lines of broken blood vessels from the space between his fingers.  I also obtained a protective order.  Later, when he was tried, he received a six month suspended sentence, $100 fine and six months of probation. 

  I am telling you all of this because it happened in 1984 and your book, so beautifully written, triggered me.  Therapy then and a couple years ago has helped me be a well adjusted mama to three great kids.  But, your writing brought up stuff I had forgotten.  If you did not write this based on your own experience or of someone close to you, I will eat my shoe.  Thank you for capturing in living color what it means to fight for your life.  Thank you for showing Alexia's irrational reaction to Austin's wolf when she remembered.  Thank you for this line in reference to her heeled neck: "the emotional ones left behind became fingerprints that would never wash away."  That is such a poetic way to describe the PTSD I still have when just the right set of events combine. 

  You truly are a rising star in the writing world.  And, thank you for giving voice to abused women, including me.  

Sincerely,
"Sarah"

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Author's note:

Lexi's story in SEVEN YEARS is not specifically one of abuse, but of someone who survived Breakup Violence. Sometimes there are no signs of abuse in the relationship, but an individual can snap after the separation.  I didn't write Seven Years with any intention of it being a heavy read, in fact, it's a fun read with a lot of humor. But every story I write touches on at least one serious issue, and I try to handle it with care.

I wanted to share Sarah's story so we can remember how some of the events we read about in books are someone's real life story. Maybe even yours. Please use the Internet as a source of information and talk to someone. There are a number of websites that give the warning signs of someone in an abusive relationship, or may offer you help numbers to get you out of one. Women like Sarah are an inspiration because they are survivors, not victims. They have gone on to raise families and give back, so remember there is always hope. Never feel like you are alone. People like Sarah's friends who were there to help are heroes. I commend her for having the courage to talk about what happened to her, and not just that, but her followup email that touched on the positive things she took out of her experience.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm
http://womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/get-help-for-violence/how-to-help-a-friend-who-is-being-abused.cfm
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml