Hello, L.M. David here. This interviewee has been interviewed before with respect to her first novel, The Lady of The Veils. She has now published a novella, The Storm Prince, and I invited her back.
L.M. David: Hello Michelle. Congratulations on the new book. Since this is your second time being interviewed, I think we can skip the usual ‘tell me about yourself’ intro. I want to get straight into it, let’s start with how The Storm Prince relates to Lady of The Veils, your first published novel.
M.L. John: Nice to see you again! The Storm Prince is a novella-length tie in to Lady of the Veils. It is from Beri’s point of view, and details what happened to him while he was separated from Karen during the time where she went to the half-Fey colony
Q. Okay, so The Storm Prince is mainly Beri Quintinar’s story, a character who could melt ice because he’s so hot. What is his purpose in The Storm Prince?
A. Lucky boy, he gets to be the protagonist this time! Karen thinks she knows who Beri is, but you can never really know someone else, can you? He has his own thoughts, feelings, and problems, as well as his own secrets. This is a closer look at The Fey who Will Be King.
Q. What is a Wizard Gen?
A. The Wizard Gen was one of Beri’s teachers at the Wizard’s Academy. For Beri, Gen is one of the good memories he calls on when he needs strength.
Q. In the world you created, the domain between humans and Fey are known yet the Fey have issues with mankind. Why is that?
A. The biggest reason is that humans are mortal and the Fey are not. Imagine if you could never, ever die, and you had lived for thousands of years, and everyone around you had lived and would continue to live for thousands of years. Now, one of the rules of magic in my version of Faerie is that mortality always breeds true. So if you are immortal, and you have a child with a human, it will die someday. For the Fey, having a half-human child is the equivalent of murdering your kids. Even here on earth we don’t take kindly to that sort of behavior. If you don’t believe it, look at the case of Casey Anthony. Whether she did it or not, popular opinion tore her apart. The Fey feel the same way about a person who has a half-human child as some of us feel toward Casey Anthony.
Q. The Storm Prince also has the equivalent of medieval court, which happens to be my least favorite subject because of the way royals treated their subjects. Why did you structure like that?
A. When I was little, my favorite fairy tales were the ones about a regular girl marrying a handsome prince and living happily ever after. Beri is a prince, and when Karen looks at him, she sees fairy tales. But in his own life, his role is not so much to be a happy ending, but to someday be king. Since his own father died too soon, he has to learn what sort of king he wants to be at the Summer Court.
Q. Describe Beri’s mother.
A. In her youth, Beri’s mother was a beautiful noblewoman who decided to become a wizard. She used her magic to join the Wild Hunt, where she met Karen’s mother. Then her mother arranged a marriage for her with the High King, Beri’s father, a person she had never met and whom she had always feared because of his magic. Because of the trauma of being married to a mortal king and having mortal children, it is very difficult for her to feel connected to anyone. Though she loves her children deeply, she comes off as colder than she intends.
Q. Queen Aynia, also known as the Queen of Summerland, comes across as a mean spirited, do as I say or else kind of woman. Why is that?
A. Well, you definitely have her pegged! Fantasy, as a genre, has always been interested in the battle between good and evil, and the way it affects regular people. Beri and the Queen of Summer are far from being regular people, but they make the same point. I wanted to show that love is always good, no matter what form, and intolerance is evil. Beri and Karen’s romance represents love, and Queen Aynia is the face of intolerance.
Q. If the Ogres have taken over Avalon, who now rules in the place of the murdered King? And is there a rule that the reigning King’s widow can’t rule in his stead?
A. The Ogres are currently ruling as sort of a military presence in the absence of any real ruler. They won the war, so they’re in charge. As for the king’s widow, the only people allowed to hold the High Throne are people directly descended from the royal Quintinar line. Those people can use the magic called the Birthright, whereas the king’s widow cannot.
Q. What role does the Queen of Light play in The Storm Prince?
A. In some myths, there are two different courts in Faerie that rule the changes in the weather: the Seelie Court, which governs the summertime, and the Unseelie Court, which governs the winter. I tried to be as true as I could to fairy mythology when creating my fairy world. The Queen of Light is just one of the many titles held by the queen of the Seelie Court (which is just another name for the Queen of Summer, or Queen Aynia, in my book.) In mythology, she brings warm weather. In the Storm Prince, she’s the villain.
Q. Describe the character Connacht.
A. King Connacht is a Selkie, which is a kind of fairy that can transform from a seal to a man and back again. He is from Ireland. Even though he is married to Queen Aynia, he has a half-human son.
Q. When reading the way your characters interact, it’s amazing how you have gotten court snobbery down to a science. What did you research to be so accurate?
A. I think I read too much Alexandre Dumas when I was a kid! The court politics in The Three Musketeers were my first exposure. I think it must have broken my brain when I was too young to defend myself. Court politics (and by extension, snobbery) are an element I look for when I read for pleasure.
Q. In The Storm Prince, there is a difference between mortals and humans. Could you explain what that is?
A. Most Fey are immortal in my world, and most humans are mortal. But the Quintinar family, though they are fully Fey, are mortal, too. They have access to a magical ability called the Birthright, which is the power to kill an immortal with the touch of their hands. This power came from a deal Beri’s ancestor made with the god of death. He granted the Quintinars enough magic to rule the world, but the cost is the life of every person born with the magic.
Q. What was the purpose of forcing Beri to wear gloves at court?
A. Because the Quintinar family lives far away from the other courts on the island of Avalon, most of the Fey they deal with aren’t sure exactly how the Birthright actually works. It is an awful power, so there are a lot of rumors surrounding it. Queen Aynia forces Beri to wear the gloves because she thinks it will keep him from using his powers
Q. I personally liked how you spun this off at a certain portion of Lady of the Veils and then, at the end of The Storm Prince, hook it back into it. How did you come up with that idea?
A. I knew that I wanted to tell a story about what happened to Beri during Lady of the Veils, and I wanted to make it very clear to readers of the first book how he had time to do all the things he does, and exactly why Karen wasn’t with him. The looping structure seemed the best way to accomplish it.
Q. Since The Storm Prince is a novella, will there be another full novel in The Lady of the Veils series?
A. I plan on two more, though I suppose more novellas might spring from the series as well.
L.M. David: Well that is the end of this interview. I wish M.L. John the best with her new endeavor and to say I’m looking forward to her next full novel.
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 started 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 lives in Colorado with her true love, their three children, and a small menagerie of yippy 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.
Gypsy Shadow: http://www.gypsyshadow.com/MLJohn.html#top
Beriani Quintinar, the youngest son of Faerie’s High king, is brilliant, beautiful, and spoiled as only a prince of the Sidhe can be. He has committed an unforgivable sin—he has fallen in love with the half-human daughter of a traitor. When ogres conquer Avalon and execute his father, he must convince the treacherous Queen of Summer to give him troops enough to win back his homeland. But if he makes it home, what kind of king can he be when he has already committed treason?