Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Interview with Mysti Parker

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

First of all, thanks so much for having me here! For those of you who don’t know Roxanne, she is awesome. I don’t know how she keeps so many irons in the fire, and so well! 

This is my second tour with Bewitching Book Tours. Between this blog, the tour business, her writing, and everything else, she somehow manages to run it all smoothly. My hat’s off to Roxanne!

As for me, I’m a full-time mom of three (four if you count my husband). I earned a biology degree back in 1998, but decided to stay home when we had our first child on New Year’s Eve of 2001. At this point in time, I’m busy keeping my kiddos busy while they’re out of school.

I’ve loved romance ever since the book ‘Jane Eyre’, and fantasy ever since ‘The Hobbit’.  The writing bug bit me in 2009 and told me to write a combination of the two. So I did. And here I am!

What is it about the paranormal, in particular elves, that fascinates you so much?

It all started with a little 45 record and read-along book called “The Hobbit”. Orlando Bloom in his role as Legolas in the film version of Lord of the Rings sealed the deal. Basically, I thought elves needed more screen time. I wanted more than just their portrayal as perfect, whimsical beings. I wanted to dig up the skeletons in their tidy closets.

You can read more about that in a guest post entitled, “Elves Are People Too—A Love Story”, which you can find here: http://blog.sarahmakela.com/2012/06/guest-author-mysti-parker.html

What inspired you to write this book?

Serenya’s Song came about because Jayden was so brokenhearted at the end of A Ranger’s Tale. I really felt bad for him, and decided he needed another chance at happiness. Besides that, I knew I wanted to continue these books as a stand-alone series, so I wanted one character from each book to become the next hero/heroine for the following story.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Serenya’s Song is a story of second chances, for both Serenya and Jayden. He’s moved to Summerwind to escape a broken heart. As fate would have it, he meets the enchanting Serenya Crowe in a tavern called The Wasted Witch. Her piano music and sultry voice instantly captivate Jayden, who just happens to be a musician too (in addition to his role as a secret agent). It’s pretty obvious from the start that these two are the perfect match.

But as usual, nothing comes easy for Jayden. And certainly not for Serenya, either. She’s married to the cruel and manipulative Earl of Summerwind, Sebastian Crowe. From that first encounter in the tavern, things spiral out of control, with Jayden eventually discovering a portal that could spell disaster for the town AND that Serenya is much more than she appears. He’ll have to make the toughest choices of his life, which could cost him more than just a broken heart.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

I try to base my names off the particular race of the characters. High elves, for instance, will have more formal sounding names, like Caliphany Aranea or Juliana Livendell. Wood elves’ names involve elements of nature, like Jayden Ravenwing, & Zephyrus and Shade Windsong. Half-elves have names that sound half-way human, as in Serenya Barnaby-Crowe or Galadin Trudeaux.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

They’re all pretty equally challenging for different reasons. I do remember having a hard time getting Sebastian Crowe’s character nailed down in this book. He started off as just a big, mean brute. But, on a lovely date night, hubby and I watched the movie “Water For Elephants”, and all of a sudden, I knew exactly what Sebastian was missing. He grew to be a wonderfully complex, manipulative character, and still managed to be sympathetic, even for a villain.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

That would probably be Lillyanne Sawyer, a spunky halfling that also migrated over from A Ranger’s Tale. As Jayden’s partner in the Leogard Intelligence Organization, she really knows how to keep him on his toes. And she’s funny—I was so glad to have her around to lighten up the mood of this rather dark fantasy. 

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

Toward the end, there’s a ballroom dancing scene where the voluptuous Alyss, who’s been panting after Jayden from the beginning, cuts in and makes him dance with her. She suggests finding somewhere they can “be alone”. By this time, Jayden’s too much in love with Serenya to even consider sleeping with another woman, AND he’s about to try and save Serenya with a planned covert operation. Alyss just can’t understand why he keeps turning her down…until she comes to her own conclusion. All I can say is that Jayden is forced to take a hit to his ego so Alyss will leave him alone. I still laugh over that scene.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

Tallenmere is a lot like our normal world. They exist on a 12-month calendar, though the months are named for dragons and gods. Their seasons and climates are similar. Civilization is generally medieval in terms of technology, clothing, and transportation.

What makes Tallenmere different are the characters. Along with humans, you’ll find elves, halflings, trolls, goblins, ogres, and races yet to be revealed. Magic is everywhere, but not everyone can utilize it. Bits of “modern” life can be seen now and then. Characters drink coffee as well as tea.  Healers take blood samples and give injections. You might see someone writing with a pencil instead of a quill. Several unique plants and animals call Tallenmere home too, and you’ll see a healthy dose of those throughout the series—the biologist in me just couldn’t resist!

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

I am writing each book with the intention of them being stand-alone reads. However, one character will move from the preceding book to star in the next, like Jayden. As far as story arcs, in Serenya’s Song, for instance, you’ll see references to what happened in Book One (A Ranger’s Tale), and you’ll even see some other main characters coming back, yet knowing that whole story isn’t pivotal to understanding what’s happening in this book.

But, as my bookmarks say, “I Betcha Can’t Read Just One”!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Oh yeah! With summer here, the series-writing bug is buzzing somewhere else. He must be afraid of the unexplainable noises and screaming from upstairs. So, I’m focusing on writing things for this blog tour and flash fiction. I spend time doing stuff with the kids, or I do one of the gazillion chores that need to be done around here. I’m never bored.

Do you write in different genres?

So far, the only novels I’ve published are fantasy romance, but I’ve written short stories and flash fiction in all sorts of genres.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

Not really.  If the writing bug guides me to an idea, I go with it. It’s actually creating a decent final product that’s the difficult part.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I love my blog and coming up with fun things to do on it, like my May Flash Fiction (MFF) contest and 10,000th Hit Giveaway. I’m also crazy about my kids, cats, and chocolate.  Currently, my favorite TV shows are American Idol and True Blood. My favorite movie is “How To Train Your Dragon”, with “Ever After” a close second. And I adore a good book that I can’t put down.

What was the last amazing book you read?

I just read Mike Mullin’s Ashfall, which is a teen dystopian novel that I reviewed for SQ Magazine. It kept me riveted, and you can see my review for it July 1 at: http://www.sqmag.com/

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

Probably in the car, while hubby is driving. But, I read wherever I get a chance to sit still long enough.

What can readers expect next from you?

Hearts in Exile, Book Three of the Tallenmere Series, will be available (hopefully spring) of 2013. Here’s a blurb to whet your appetite:

In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, fate has a way of catching up with you...

Somewhere, hidden in the waters of the Southern Sea is an island unlike any other. Within the amber glow of its pyrogem-laden cliffs, legend says the very heart of the dragon god Drae keeps the island, and its occupants, alive.

Loralee Munroviel, daughter of Leogard's High Priestess Arianne, had no idea what she would face when she arrived by boat ten years ago and was left alone in exile. All she knew about Draekoria's inhabitants was written in one tattered notebook. Now, her life revolves around keeping Drae's descendants happy. Never once did she imagine being a dragon keeper.

Captain Igrorio Everlyn, known as Sir Robert to his unit of Holy Paladins, has faced his share of hell, battling the evils of Emperor Sarvonn's tyranny and the dark god, Tyr's abominations. But nothing compares to the ten years of hell he's been without Loralee, presumed dead, struck down by a minor version of the Great Plague that took his mother and countless others years ago.

One freak storm changes everything. Now the two of them must fight to reestablish the delicate balance of the island before the dragons take things into their own hands. Through it all, they discover the secrets that kept them, and their hearts, exiled for a decade.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Twitter: @MystiParker 

A Ranger’s TaleMelange BooksAmazonBarnes and Noble,Smashwords 

Serenya’s SongMelangeBooks, Amazon

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Certainly. This is from Chapter One, when Jayden first spies Serenya as he steps into The Wasted Witch:

I stepped through the door. Soft piano music and the voice accompanying it—angelic, rich, soulful—stilled my footsteps. I finally made my way inside and slid onto a stool at the bar. The bartender, an aging human with a partly bald head and pot-belly, asked me what I wanted.

 “Gingerroot tea, please.” I couldn’t take my eyes off the ebony-haired girl singing at the piano.
“That’s my daughter, Serenya. Lovely, isn’t she?” He retrieved a teapot behind him, added water, and set it on a small stove.

 “She is.”

 “Where is the one who holds the key? Where is the one who’s made for me?”

I’d heard the song she sang before, but the words had never resonated within me like this. I shifted in my seat. If I listened long enough, I feared her voice could unearth every secret I had. But, I had no intention of leaving now. I liked a good challenge.

“I’ve journeyed high, I’ve journeyed low, to heaven above and hell below.”

 Slightly pointed ears indicated she was half-elven, but she didn’t resemble the proprietor at all. I studied her white skin, pale as the ivory piano keys she commanded so well. Lustrous, black hair fell in waves over her shoulders. Rose red lips wrapped around each word of the song. An irresistible light sparkled in her eyes. Pure joy. I knew that feeling all too well. Very few women had even come close to understanding my passion for music. A familiar longing settled over me like an invisible net.

 The teakettle whistled. The bartender filled my cup. “Haven’t seen you before. Don’t get many wood-elves down here. What’s your name?”

 “Jayden Ravenwing.”

 “Douglas Barnaby. Welcome to the Wasted Witch. New in town or just passing through?”
 “Just moved from Leogard.”

“Then, welcome to Summerwind, too. It’s just a spot in the road, but I think you’ll like it here.”


 He nodded and walked away to serve other customers. The spicy aroma of fresh ginger met my nose as I sipped and listened. Maybe this would be a decent town to reside in after all.

Serenya’s Song
Tallenmere Book Two
by Mysti Parker


In the fantasy world of Tallenmere, no one ever said love was easy...

Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she's no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured small-town gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she's ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world and her heart, are turned upside down.

Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.

When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property at the edge of town, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in Summerwind may die.

Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil, and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they've always dreamed of.

Author Bio:
Mysti Parker is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and is the first in a fantasy romance series. Mysti reviews speculative fiction for SQ Magazine and is the proud writer of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award.


Twitter: @MystiParker

Serenya’s Song: Melange Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble


Mysti said...

Thanks for the interview, Roxanne!

Jack Eason said...

Another brilliant interview Mysti :)

Stefanie J Pristavu said...

This was so much fun to read! :)

TJ said...

Hey Mysti!

This is another great interview on your book tour. I loved hearing about your new project. It sounds like another great adventure.

Talk later.


Lindsey R. Loucks said...

This was a great interview! Serenya's Song rocks!

judysnwnotes said...

Wonderful interview, Mysti and I think your "Betcha Can't Read Just One" is spot on. I am now also sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the third book -- nice "tease" included here.

Leona~Author said...

A very nice, thorough interview, Mysti. Roxanne asked some good questions. By the time your tour is over, I'll know Mysti Parker like a sister.

I still know a tiny thing about your... uh - feet - that I won't share. lol

Tara Fox Hall said...

Wonderful interview, Mysti :) I am a fellow lover of Tolkien, and Ever After :) You're having a fab tour so far! Congrats!

Mysti said...

@Jack--Brilliant might be a stretch, as my brain is so fried from being in the KY sun for two straight days, but thank you anyway!!

@Stef--Glad you enjoyed, and so happy I'll be on your blog soon. Thanks for being my groupie!

@TJ--Thanks so much! Now all you need to do is whip my arse into gear so I can finish up said project. :)

@Lindsey--Thanks dear--you're listed in the acknowledgments for a reason!

@Judy--Thanks so much! You can join TJ in kicking my arse into gear. :)

@Leona--LOL. I figure they can all smell them from here. Thanks for sticking it out with me!

@Tara--Thanks so much for stopping in. Hope to jump in on your character sketches tonight. I'm curious!