Okay, here’s the deal with this interview. Prior to the discovery of certain information, it was prepared and put in proper format for publication. After everything was complete and ready for posting on my blog, I received notification of some improper behavior on the part of Ms. John while inside this building. Apparently, Ms. John was unaware our security system had been repaired after Preston destroyed it following the Guardian Angels interview. The cameras in the west wing caught her going into the janitor’s closet. The guard at the security station observed her, via the viewing monitors, and thought nothing of it until she emerged half an hour later, giggling and smiling. The guard was about to call his supervisor when, minutes after her departure, Preston emerged from the closet, licking his lips.
Had I known this type of behavior was going on I would have had her detained for questioning. So, you ask yourself, why am I going ahead with her interview? Because I have to be nice. You never know when I might need bait to catch that pesky vampyre …
Welcome to my little edge of a workspace, Ms. John. Let’s get started.
Q. Give us a little background information about yourself.
A. Thanks for talking with me today, L.M! I’m thrilled to be here. Let me see, background information. I live in Colorado with my husband and three children, I have so many pets I may as well be running a zoo, and I write because I love to read. My house can double as a boarding house for wayward paperbacks.
Q. Okay, before we get into this I have to say I have read your book, Lady of the Veils, from Prose 3 writing critiques, through the query route and finally, publication through Gypsy Shadow Publishers. This is an amazing book with strong characters that are incredible. It takes a reader into a fantasy world that is actually mind-blowing. What inspired you to write Lady of the Veils?
A. I’m really glad you enjoyed the book! For me, inspiration is a strange thing: it happens in flashes. When I was in high school, I had this scene pop into my head where a girl was helping fairy refugees in a YMCA. That became the basis for Lady of the Veils. At that point in my life I had only ever written epic fantasy, so an idea for a modern fairy world was radically different for me. I felt as if the idea had shoved itself, whole, into my head. I guess it was just a story that wanted to be written!
Q. Your character Karen McGregor is a solid character with a kind heart. Where did you get the inspiration to create her?
A. Karen is a conglomeration of many of the people I have known throughout my life. Her gentleness was based on my mother, her courage was based on my best friend, and her smart mouth was all me. She’s basically the luckiest fictional character ever because she has the best traits of all the women I know.
Q. Karen is adorable but my interest perks way up when Beri Quintinar shows up in a scene. I love the way you described him and wonder what, or who, inspired you when creating him?
A. I once read a quote (who am I kidding? It was probably a Facebook meme) that said, “If a writer loves you, you will never die.” Only if this writer loves you, you’ll die a bunch of times and come back from the grave just as often. Like Karen, Beri is a mixture of the things I loved about different people I have known. He gets his intelligence and his sense of humor from my husband, his passion from my son’s father, and his charm from my very first love. There’s even a little bit of the boy I loved in the third grade sprinkled in there. Most of these people aren’t in my life anymore, but the way they made me feel will always live on with Beri Quintinar.
Q. One of Karen’s talents is “parting the veils”. Can you give a little description of what that is?
A. Karen is half-Fey and half-Human, which basically means her parents were born in two different worlds. These two worlds are parted by a very thin metaphysical curtain called The Veil. Due to the unusual circumstances of her birth, Karen can step through it from one world to the other.
Q. You have a term for Beri, who is a Meteomancer. What is that exactly?
A. Meteomancer is the profession in which Beri was trained. Since he was the fourth of five children, he didn’t have much chance at the throne and knew he would, eventually, need to get a job. The word ‘meteomancer’ basically means he went to school to learn how to control the weather. It is a made-up word based on the Greek word parts meteor meaning ‘weather’ and mancer meaning ‘a person who performs divination.’ In my Faerie world, there are several different types of magic users with different specialties. For example, I also refer to Agromancy, which is the magic of making things grow, and Necromancy, the magic of controlling the dead. Necromancy has a really big part in the sequel, so it may be a good idea to remember this conversation.
Q. I like that word, maybe make a t-shirt out of it just to see who looks at it and who stops me to ask how to pronounce that word. Okay, the Land of Fae – what are the similarities between it and our world?
A. Earth and Faerie are mirror images of each other. If I were to draw you a map, you would see that Beri’s Avalon is located exactly where Hawaii is in our world. As Avalon’s population grew, it became necessary for earth-working wizards to raise more land from the bottom of the ocean and combine the three islands into one large one. Other than that, the primary difference is that so much magic is used in Faerie that the land itself has become almost sentient. The trees are bigger there because they can protect themselves. The ocean is purer because it rejects waste. The Fey call this consciousness The Mother and have developed a matriarchal, nature-worshipping society accordingly.
Q. In your book, there is a place where everything is black and white, ruled by the Unseelie. What is that world like?
A. It is called Underhill and it is a very cold, desolate land populated by creatures cruel and fierce enough to enjoy its harsh climate. The dustbowls stretch on forever, the sun never comes up, and winter never ends. The barren trees whisper secrets among themselves and the only law is the law of cold. It’s not a very nice place. I would avoid it if I were you.
Q. Thanks for the head’s up. And, I’m happy to say, your book has vampires, yay!! Are your vampires the written the same as other writers have depicted them? If not similar, what differences did you add or subtract?
A. You are right, vampires abound. They are similar to traditional vampires in that they sustain themselves on blood, dislike the daylight, and are possessed of superhuman physical power. They’re different in that they’re fairies—they’re immortal instead of just hard to kill and they’re born, not changed.
Q. What a concept, vampire Fae. As a vampire fan, I have to respect that. You are currently working on the sequel to Lady of the Veils. Is there a working title and can you give a brief synopsis of it?
A. I admit, I am terrible at titles. The file it is under in my computer is ‘Three Days Later.’ Hopefully I will be able to come up with a better title when it gets closer to publication. But here is a tiny description to whet your appetite:
“As Avalon reels from attacks both without and within, Karen and Beri struggle to bring order to the new world they have created. But their old world is not yet finished with them when an old friend comes back as a new enemy.”
Q. I absolutely adore Karen and Beri as a couple. Can you tell us what is in the future for them in the sequel?
A. I’d prefer to avoid spoilers, but I can tell you this: things will not go smoothly, and they will not go the way our lovebirds expect.
Q. Will the saga of Karen and Beri be an ongoing series of books or do you plan to branch away into other characters, like her brother Julian and his squeeze Dahlia?
A. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of branching off from the main story, but who knows? Anything can happen in the world of Faerie.
Q. When you first started writing, what inspired you to travel down the path towards becoming a writer?
A. I knew I wanted to write from the time I was a very little girl, and I started doing it as soon as I could string sentences together. The earliest piece of my work I have ever come across was a rhyming poem about a woman who lost her children to the bubonic plague. I must have been seven or eight years old when I wrote it. I am grateful none of my children have exhibited such peculiar inclinations thus far.
Q. If your book were being made into a movie, who would you get to play Karen and Beri?
A. To be honest, the answer to that question changes all the time. Right now I love Alessandra Torressini from Caprica for Karen, and for Beri I would request Ezra Miller from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He doesn’t look much like Beri in my head, but he is a fabulous young actor and I think he would be really great. Maybe I can convince him to wear a wig.
Q. Good luck with that, lol. Okay one last question. What advice do you have for writers trying to make it into the publishing world?
A. My advice is the same advice you’ve heard a million times: write things. Finish things. Then, keep sending out queries until you find someone who wants to buy your work. Every time I have noticed a writer on the verge of breaking in, that writer has also been on the verge of giving up. If they had stopped just a week earlier, a month earlier, their dream would have died. Don’t be that guy, kids. If you write it and make sure it’s really great, you can publish. So throw away those nasty rejection letters. They’re not as much a comment on you as you think they are.
Me: Okay, that concludes this interview.
M.L. John: It’s been a blast! Thank you again for having me.
The first novel M. L. John ever read was Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, and she has had a love of fantasy ever since. As soon as her handwriting was good enough to write full sentences, she began writing stories about beautiful princesses who spent their time rescuing princes and slaying dragons. Very little has changed about her writing style since that time, with the possible exception of her handwriting. She currently lives in Colorado with her true love, their three children, and a small menagerie of yippy little dogs. These days, she spends most of her time explaining different mythologies to her kids until their little eyes glaze and roll back in their heads.
Blurb from Lady of the Veils:
In a suburban town twenty minutes from the border of Faerie lives a young woman named Karen MacGregor. Though she is the daughter of an exiled Faerie princess, Karen leads an unremarkable life full of homework, punk rock and old science fiction movies. When bloody civil war breaks out in her mother’s homeland her life has to change. Her brother is presumed dead after his fighter jet is shot down over the Enchanted Forest, and Faerie’s royal family, including her beloved godfather, has been executed. Accompanied by a Fey Prince with whom she shares a forbidden love and armed with magic she never knew existed, Karen must lead a rebel force against an ancient and powerful enemy.