Interview with Cat Patrick

Hi friends, I’m sure you’ve already known that Cat Patrick has new series which first book, Court, was released on October 23rd. I posted my review and all about the book last week, November 12th. Now it’s time for the interview with the author! I’m so excited with this interview because I really like her answers and it looks like Ms. Patrick and I share the same favorite authors 🙂

-Who are your favorite authors, past and present?
I would like to have a dinner party with Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, Gabrielle Zevin, Rainbow Rowell, Harper Lee, Stan Lee and Neil Gaiman.

-Writing mentors
I find inspiration from every good book I read. I’d recently finished Justin Cronin’s The Passage as I was getting going on Court, and it inspired me to be more thoughtful about description of landscapes, for example.

-Favorite books to movies
The Hunger Games series, The Fault in Our Stars and Perks of Being a Wallflower are some of my favorites. Non YA, I think the Gone Girl adaptation was one of the best I’ve seen.

-Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?

Forgotten, is about a girl who remembers the future instead of the past. It’s a romance and a mystery and I still love my first book baby. What’s different about Court is that it’s a bigger world told from more perspectives. Ultimately, though, no matter the scale of the world, the most important thing in my books is the depth of the characters and relationships between them. I hope readers will find that even though Court is urban fantasy and on a larger scale, it’s still very “me.”

-Advice for aspiring authors
From one of my six-year-old daughters: “Think of something that happened to you. Touch and tell across pages. Write a quick sketch so you don’t forget. Then write the words.”

I’m not kidding. She just said that.

For me, I think the most important thing is to just do it. I hear from people all the time: “I want to publish a book.” And they haven’t written the book yet. Also, unlike my kiddo, I purposely don’t write down book ideas—or sketch them. If I forget them before it’s time to write then you’ll forget them before it’s time to read.

What do you think? I love her six-year-old daughter answer about writing. I think I can take her advice for myself 🙂

And here’s to remind you again what Court is all about.

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For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

 Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?

Goodreads | Amazon

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Review: Court by Cat Patrick

23377533Blurb from Goodreads

For more than 400 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with external struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?

Kindle Edition, 277 pages
Published October 23rd 2014
edition language: English
genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
I think this book has an awesome idea for its story, a story about a hidden country. A country, called Realm, that is disguised as a state in the US. Along the way it was quite hard for me stomach all of the things that make Realm runs. Many questions wandered in my head, the how, what and why demanded answer from the characters, which to be honest at first I was kinda doubt they will provide me the reasonable answers. And the most important question is could Realm even truly exist when there is no one knows about them? The answer is it can be and the characters give me make sense description to answer my doubt and my questions. So then I began to understand and quite believe of what the author told me through her story. And what I love most of it is the story isn’t as simple as I thought before. There are so much going on and more complex than the blurb says. And I really liked it.

The story its self is told from third person POV from 4 perspectives; Haakon, the prince; his bestfriend, Alexander; his fiancee, Gwendolyn; and a commoner, Mary. Some of their POV are more interesting than the others. The problem is when I was so glue with one POV I have to wait for a couple chapters to go back to it since the next chapter is told from other perspective. And sometimes it isn’t as interesting as the previous one. So here I read one chapter about the king’s dead and then the next chapter is about a mundane thing like riding a horse. It was (kinda) frustrating since I want to know more about the king’s dead, and its impact. And since I didn’t read this book in one sitting (have to put it on hold to do my works, to have dinner and even to sleep) when I continue reading it I was kinda forget the stories from the previous chapters. So I have no choice to go back to it. However the more I read, it’s clearer that each chapter in fact intertwine each other, even when it seems so simple and all.

As for the characters, my favorite is Mary. She feels more real and I can connect easier to her than to other characters. The four main characters have their own virtue and vice, in a way I just couldn’t tell who the good one is and whom I should believe. But one thing for sure is they all seem so naive and trust others easily which kinda bothers me, to be honest. Take Haakon for example, he’s the prince, the heir of the Realm, I think it’s understandable that I assumed he has a prince qualities. Surely his parents and also the council train him for his whole life of how to become a king and his responsibilities, right? But it isn’t what I got. He seems so lost when his father died. At first I thought it was because he’s in shock knowing that he will become a king sooner than later, but then he keeps his unsureness, and doesn’t know what he has to do all the time. This makes him to have to listen to the council which leads him trust them while I think he’s too easy trusting them. As a prince I kind wish he has curiosity and questioning everything that happened around him. But then again, he doesn’t seem have prince qualities in the first place, so he being naive might understandable, I guess.

I also think that the way the characters solve the problem is too easy. I felt like suddenly everything falls in pieces and in a rush. Yet I really liked the story and the feel that I got when I read this book. I thought it’s purely fantasy story but when I got to know more about Realm, I felt like it’s also a dystopia world, though the setting is in present time.

All in all, I think this is a good story that beautifully written. Before I read it, I thought it’s a standalone but reading the way it ends, it’s clear that there will be another books since Gwendolyn and Haakon’s story haven’t finished yet. And I’ll read their next journey for sure.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Court by Cat Patrick

Hi! Welcome to another blog tour and giveaway. It’s time for a young adult fantasy story, Court by Cat Patrick. I’m so excited because this is my first invitation (from publisher) on NetGalley and it has great giveaway, 2 set signed books (4 previous books) from the author!. Isn’t it awesome?  So yeah, I can’t not to accept it. Let’s take a look about this book, shall we?

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Title: Court

Author: Cat Patrick

Date of Publication: October 23rd 2014

For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

 Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?

Amazon | Goodreads

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Excerpt

HAAKON

Before he was the enemy, James Haakon McHale III was just a seventeen-year-old in what most people knew as the state of Wyoming, wishing he was somewhere other than the predawn forest with a rifle in his grip.

“It’s colder than moonlight on a tombstone,” Haakon muttered, blowing on his fist. His thick-soled boots swish-thumped on the hard earth as he skillfully avoided twigs, rocks, and low branches.

Alexander Oxendine—youngest son of the Duke of Wind, wide receiver, video game button masher, and Haakon’s best friend—laughed into his collar. It could’ve been mistaken for a cough.

“It’s colder than a whore’s heart,” Alexander said, his tone cautiously low. They were the youngest members of the hunting party, and were only allowed to take part because of their rank. Haakon could think of a thousand superior privileges.

He glanced around to make sure none of the other men were paying attention—especially his father. Smirking, he said, “Colder than a polar bear’s balls.”
The pair stifled laughter.

“Than a witch’s—”

“Too easy.”

“Colder than a dead woman’s touch,” Alexander said.

Haakon checked again, dialed down his voice even more, and said, “It’s colder than Gwendolyn Rose’s kiss.”

“Quiet!”

It was Haakon’s father: dictator, fun-spoiler, and—regrettably for his son—the tenth ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, also known as the Realm, the monarchy hiding in plain sight in the depths of the Democracy known as the United States of America.

Every schoolchild knew the story. In 1670, after Joseph Dyer’s wife died in the Great Plague in London, he brought his five daughters to what would become the United States one hundred years later, seeking a better life. But it soon became apparent that his family would never thrive under strict Puritan rule in New England–which banned higher education for girls and taught submissiveness above all else, and which centered around extreme religious beliefs that were counter to Dyer’s own.

A friend, John Seymour, who was—controversially—married to a Native woman, suggested that they set out together in search of a new home deep within America’s treacherous unknown. Seymour’s wife had been attacked; her family persecuted. Seymour believed that rather than fighting the Natives, they should live in harmony with them.

Dyer, Seymour, and several other men and their families snuck away. After a long and dangerous journey, together they created their version of paradise: a kingdom that blended the best of England with Native cultures. Dyer was thought of as the Father of the Realm, and Seymour’s Native wife, who ensured their survival through tribal relations, the Mother.

Rather than cause a revolution, the founders decided to keep the kingdom secret. Inside the borders of what they’d eventually stake claim as Wyoming, they’d follow their own rules. Outsiders wouldn’t know they were different because they wouldn’t understand.

Outsiders weren’t to be trusted.

Dyer’s youngest daughter, captivated by the ancient Greek she wouldn’t have been allowed to learn in Puritan society, named the new kingdom Eurus, meaning east wind. She pronounced it “air-us.”

“But the winds here blow from the west,” Haakon had asked his father once—before Dad was King James. That was when it was okay to ask questions. When curiosity wasn’t an imposition.

“That’s right, Haakon,” his father had replied, straw between his teeth. They’d gone on a walk together. The sun was setting on an easy day. His dad had pointed toward the eastern horizon. “The wind here does primarily blow from the west, but our founders blew in from the east. That day, the wind changed directions.”

Haakon frowned away the memory of days never to return, and refocused on the trees. He walked as soundlessly as he could in his camo fleece jacket and vintage Levi’s, his rifle nestled in the crook of his left arm, a round in the chamber. He was on the left edge of the group, three rows behind his father. Evenly spaced gaps between them, the men were like migrating geese, locked in formation.

Geese hunting deer.

“Were you drinking last night?” Haakon’s father had demanded on the way to the meeting point that morning. “Is that why you’re so tired?”

“I’m tired because it’s so early that the birds aren’t even awake yet.”

“Good. Because you know what the consequences will be if you start drinking again.” They’d shared the backseat of the armored SUV; Haakon had done his best to preoccupy himself with his cell phone.

“Yes, sir, I know.”

“You need to turn that thing off before we arrive. And when’s your next haircut? You look slovenly.”

Will you just get off my back? Haakon had thought at the top of his lungs. What he’d said, though, was simply, “Yes, sir.”

There, in the forest, Haakon toyed with the idea of raising his gun and shooting King James square in the back of the head. Right there under his hat, just above the rise of his custom down hunting vest. He could do it. Even with the others present, he knew there’d be no trial, no trip to Corby. But offing his father wouldn’t solve anything. In fact, it would make life a lot worse. Because with his father gone, Haakon would be in charge.

Haakon would become the King of Eurus.

The thought made him want to puke.

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About Cat Patrick:

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 Raised in a house that was struck by lightning–twice–Cat Patrick is the author of young adult books ForgottenRevived, and The Originals, and the co-author of Just Like Fate.

As a child, Cat could be found making up stories like her first book, Dolly the Purple Spotted Dolphin; growing corn in the backyard; or performing with a traveling sign-language troupe. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Wyoming and a master’s degree from Boston University, and worked in public relations for fifteen years. She lives outside of Seattle with her husband and twin daughters.

Cat once…

• Interrupted Warren Beatty’s lunch to snap a picture with him.
• Appeared on a game show, but not as a competitor.
• Climbed a 50 foot tower and rappelled back down. (At least she thinks it was 50 feet.)
• Met Muhammad Ali.
• Was on the high school golf team.
• Got a tattoo.
• Was pooped on by a dolphin.
• Performed a high kick routine to Personal Jesus.
• Interviewed Carmen Electra.
• Worked as a “concessionist” at a movie theater.
• Met the guy who created Sonic the Hedgehog.

Cat likes… Crunchy snacks, decaf nonfat lattes, mint chip ice cream, Alan Rickman, zombies from afar, traveling, reading, easy hikes, challenging plotlines, stargazing, silly hats, and boots.

Cat dislikes… Talking on the phone, socks with holes, zombies close up, the flu, mean people, touching ice, copyedits, flying, spiders, squeaky windshield wipers, black licorice, and salmon.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway

 

Cover Reveal: My Lea by E. Mellyberry

Hello friends! It’s cover reveal time now, hosted by

XpressoBannerTours

I’m so excited for this one because I really like the cover. It looks pretty and different from other New Adult contemporary romance out there, makes the cover is quite outstanding in the sea of NA books, I think 🙂 So without further ado, here is the cover of My Lea by E. Mellyberry

My Lea cover

What do you think? doesn’t it make you curious about the book? let’s see what it is about.

BOOK & AUTHOR INFO:
My Lea by E. Mellyberry
(A Broken Love Story, #1)
Publication date: November 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New AdultSynopsis:

A simple girl.

A broken guy.

One horrible incident.

When Lea Amelia landed her feet in San Francisco for her overseas study, her idea of freedom was simple, like eating junk food ten times a day, sitting in front of the TV in her PJs, or going out late with her friends without the need to check in with her mother constantly.

Then she met Andrew Jaya, her brothers’ best friend. A twenty-two-year-old guy whose physical appearance looked like he was crafted straight from God’s heavenly hands, but possessed a past as bleak as if it was drawn by Evil himself. A conflicted guy who wore sadness like nobody’s business beneath his mask, a perfect-looking mask she slowly peeled away.

He was also the guy who hurt her.

Suddenly, everything about her was no longer simple.

Andrew Jaya had convinced himself that not feeling was good for him. He’d been doing it splendidly for almost his entire life. But that was before his best friend’s sister stepped into his life and ruined it. After weeks of knowing Lea, all of those warm and wonderful feelings he’d long ago denied to himself started to reappear. Problem was, the brighter the light, the bigger the shadows that came with it.

His traumatic past refused to let him go.

When the unthinkable happened, the easiest thing to do was to run. But life often proves that the easiest way is usually the hardest.

AUTHOR BIO:

Melly author profile

Melly is a full-time mom, wife, and fangirl. She used to work in a school and she’s very passionate about education.Melly has been writing children’s books since 2011 under the name mellyberry. She loves reading all kinds of books in her spare time, mostly MG, YA, NA, contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy. She avoids horror and sci-fi as much as she can.

Melly was born in Indonesia and grew up in a multi-language environment. When she talks to people, she could accidentally string words from different languages into one sentence. When she does that, simply reminds her to speak properly.

Her ideal vacation always involves a beach; usually it’s the Nusa Dua beach, Bali. She spent a few years in USA to complete her Master degree. It was during that time that she’d fallen madly in love with San Francisco and the Bay Area. According to her, San Francisco is no doubt the most romantic city in the world.

Now, are you curious enough with the book? you can check it out and even add it to your Goodreads’ account. Its link is My Lea on Goodreads

And if you want to stalk the author 🙂 These are her links

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Beautiful Beautiful by Heidi Garrett

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Welcome to my first blog tour, my fellow blogger. This blog tour is hosted by Shane Morgan from Itching for Books. In this blog tour I’m also doing an interview with the lovely Ms. Garrett, and not only interview there is an interesting giveaway too. All you have to do is click the link below. Let’s this blog tour begins…………..

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Book Description:

Movie director Karen Mayham has an eye for beauty. Now her years of struggling on the indie film circuit are about to pay off. She’s the frontrunner to win Golden Pinnacle’s Director of the Year. Winning will mean generous financial backing for her next project, and the most bankable actors in the industry are already signaling interest in the leading role. How will she decide which Adonis is right for the part of Demion Glass?

In this contemporary retelling of the eponymous Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale, Karen’s journey leads her to discover a deeper meaning of beauty.

My Thoughts

 “Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

  Hans Christian Andersen

Have you ever felt the blurb of the book you want to read mislead you when you finish reading the book? I often feel that way. When I want to read a book, I usually check on the blurb first, if it isn’t from my favorite authors. Sometimes it suits with the story and I really enjoy it but other times it doesn’t do the story justice. The blurb of this novella is one of those misleading blurbs, but in a good way, the opposite of what I used to feel. This story has so much more and an interesting one than what the blurb said.

From the blurb I can tell that it is divided into 2 parts. One part is when Kerrin tells her daughter a bedtime story. A story that has a fairy tale vibe which is in fact is her life that leads me to second parts. The more I read, I didn’t think Kerrin fairy tale was suitable for her daughter, Mibi. It was too dark and heavy for her. But then I think it was her way to show Mibi about life and beauty in the simplest way and was her way to deal with her past. Both parts intertwined each other. What she couldn’t tell Mibi, she told me through third person narrative. And at the same time, I understand her feeling of her own fairy tale. She’s smart, witty and always feels lonely. In some part I want to tell her to stop thinking of being a victim of her past and glad when she finally can get through it.

But what I most love from this novella is its unpredictable story. Although from the first line I’ve already known who Kerrin will be with, it can kept me thinking why and how she will be with him. I just love the surprises and twists in it. It’s like whatever what I thought the story will go, it ended up surprised me. I think it was kind of useless to guess it. Maybe it was because I haven’t read Beauty of Foam and Beauty of Mind by Hans Christian Andersen which is the source of this retelling, but I think even if you’ve read it you can still enjoy this story. It’s well written with good plot and different from fairy tale that I used to read.

My Playlist

About The Author

Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairytale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.

She is also the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series, a fairy tale/high fantasy mashup about a young half-faerie, half mortal woman who must save both the Enchanted and Mortal Worlds.

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She also spent a decade in southern California, but was disappointed to discover it seldom rains there. Now Heidi lives in Eastern Washington state where she’s content experiencing the four seasons with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle.

Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow and hopes to remind readers that: Once Upon A Time You Lived in an Enchanted World Too…

The Interview

heidigarrett

Why do you write fantasy books?

All fiction is fantasy, in that it is made up. However, I compare “reality fiction” and “fantasy fiction” to “photorealism” and “impressionism” in art. Photo realism is a painstaking and highly skilled replication of reality, as most, or many of us, would see it from the eyes of a camera, undistorted. Impressionism takes the same scene and inflicts a deeply personal perceptive upon it. The impressionists and postimpressionists—Cezanne, Degas, Monet, van Gogh, and Gaugin—added their vision of the world to their work.

When you’re writing non-fantasy fiction, you want the reader to feel like they are in the normal, everyday world, like this is happening, and the story you’re telling could be something that could happen to them, or to their sister or friend—perhaps something they could flip on the news and watch. However, when you write fantasy, you and the reader know many of these things could—and would—never actually happen… except, perhaps, they do—in our dreams and our imagination.

There is much debate about reality. Is reality seeded in our thoughts and imaginations? If that’s true, how does the collective reality of a family, a state, a country, or a world work? Are our dreams unreal? If our imagination is not “real,” how can it become so powerful, and consuming, at times?

For me, I can have the feeling “the world is too much with me,” and when I focus too much on facts, and information, the world becomes crispy, dry, and dull around me. I crave the possibility and mystery the inner realms offer.

Writing fantasy is a way of bridging the inner and outer worlds, and like rain, it freshens reality. Whether you’re reading or writing fantasy—a new perspective, a delightful moment, a unique comprehension occurs—you return to the real world with new awareness or insight.

I suppose, that’s why I write fantasy, because I believe the things that we can’t see, are as powerful as the things we can see, and that we must imagine great characters to become them.

What are your favorite things about reading fantasy books?

The escape from the real world, and the inspiration they provide.

Before The Queen of The Realm of Faerie, did you write any stories? If you did, where are they now.

Yes, I’ve been writing inconsistently for many years. I have at least three buried novels and many incomplete stories. The last I saw them, they were all on some floppy disc never be retrieved!

What is the hardest thing you face when you write?

The blank page. Sometimes it’s hard to get started. Whether it’s the beginning of a book, the beginning of a chapter, or the beginning of the end, it all starts with a blank page. Nothingness. That page seems not to care at all whether it remains blank until eternity. So for me, the moment between writing and not writing is the most treacherous. But, I have found, that if I will begin to fill the page, sooner or later, I will tap into something—an energy, a source of inspiration—and then, the writing becomes, if not easy, then at least, possible.

What are your favorite books when you were a little?

When I was a young child, my favorite stories were about Curious George, and pretty much anything by Dr. Seuss. Although, Happy Birthday to You! was probably my most favorite. When I got a little older, I fell in love with The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Three Investigator series. By the time I hit puberty it was: Lord of the Rings, Salem’s Lot,  and the Angelique series!

Are there any authors who inspire you’re writing The Queen of The Realm of Faerie? Who are they?

The traditional fantasy authors—J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis—were big influences. The world-building, the epic quality of the story, and the purity of love between Melia and Ryder, are heavily influenced by The Lord of the Rings. However, Carlos Castaneda’s Yaqui Indian shaman, don Juan,  and Lewis’ The Last Battle, specifically, influenced the cosmology of the Whole. The Dragon’s of Babel by Michael Swanwick seeded Umbra.

What is the most enjoyable moment from writing?

When things start clicking. You’re writing, and then the story starts coming through you. Time passes, you get up from your chair, and you’re like, “Who wrote that?” The thing is written, but you don’t feel like you did it.

My husband and I are actually beginning to believe that it’s our cat, Jack, who’s writing these stories.

 What is the most uncomfortable moment while you are writing?

When every idea you have is stupid, cliche, boring, and you know it. But you can’t think of anything else at the moment.

 Is there any particular time to write?

Although, I can’t make a regular schedule of it, my favorite times to write are early in the morning, and late at night.

 If you aren’t a writer what would you become?

The next indie singer/songwriter sensation, lol. I don’t know. If I could set aside my need to write, I might go into something like public relations. I’m completely fascinated by modern ways of connecting.

Is there any part of you, or someone close to you, in books you wrote?

The spring faerie, Flora, in The Queen of the Realm of Faerie was inspired by my beloved grandma. Although, Grandma was petite and had much greater social decorum, the essence of Flora, captures Grandma’s spirit. Her endurance and embrace of life—in spite of great loss.

 Also, Melia’s relationship with Flora is pivotal in her coming into her own power, as my relationship with my grandma was pivotal to my becoming a woman. However, Melia is not, specifically, based on me. Although, I’m sure she possesses some of my qualities—perhaps, ones I’m not aware of.

 The relationship between Melia and Ryder is influenced by my relationship with my husband. We met, and that was kind of it—so that was the inspiration for Nandana’s mark! However, like Melia and Ryder, despite our mutual attraction, we didn’t become involved right away, either.

My latest releases, the three short stories, The Girl Who Watched for Elves, The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and The Girl Who Couldn’t Sing, are as close to fictional autobiography as I will go—and it’s pretty close. Although they are fictionalized, they are each based on real life experiences I’ve had.

 I did spend an interesting afternoon with a Tarot reader. I was enthralled by Clarissa Pinkola Estes audiobook, The Red Shoes: On Torment and Recovery of Soul Life. And I did spend some years as a singer/songwriter on the local indie circuit. However, not every single thing in those stories is fact!

 For years, I’ve been encouraged to tell my story, but—like many people—I’ve had some dark moments. I never wanted to tell the story in a depressing way, and I’m finally happy with the way these stories came out. I love the humor and mysticism that runs through them. Recovering a sense of humor, and a consciousness of the mystical, have been key elements in helping me move forward from my own dark times. Telling the story of leaving the darkness behind, was as important to me as telling the story of life’s difficulties.

 I know that Nandana’s Mark is based on French story and Beautiful Beautiful is a retelling of an HCA story, what made you decide to use those stories? as I’m not familiar with them so I’m kind of think that I read new stories.

 Well, I’m kind of glad to hear those are new stories for you. I’ve always been drawn to the unusual, the offbeat, the stuff on the fringe. I’m always the last to read the most popular books, like the Harry Potter books and Twilight series.

When I began developing The Queen of the Realm of Faerie, I was very clear that I wanted it to be a spinoff. During my research, I came across an old collection of Time-Life books. They contained many wonderful fairy tales that I’d never heard of before. Initially, I narrowed it down to four stories about the myrtle tree fairy, the rose-petal fairy, the swan lovers, and Melusine. I’d planned to have each story’s main character sit on the Grey Council. However, the world and story I was building for The Queen of the Realm of Faerie was becoming too unwieldy. I had to winnow things out. Out of those four fairy tales, I settled on the Tale of Melusine. I’d already begun doing some of the writing, and the scenes connected to her story, were the ones I felt most passionate about.

 For the first fairy tale in the Once Upon a Time Today collection, again, I was looking for something off the beaten path. Going through The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairytales, the title ‘Beautiful’ jumped out at me. As soon as I read the story, I knew it was the first story I wanted to retell. Beauty—and its many faces—has always intrigued me. Telling a story, that touched on different kinds of beauty, would allow me to explore that enigma.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and don’t forget to give a try to Beautiful Beautiful. I love it and I think you will love it too.