Interview with me at Fantasy Faction

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There’s a great interview with me (under my other name) at Fantasy Faction, which begins with a discussion of Masks, part of which I’ve excerpted below:


Your protagonist, Mara, is an adolescent girl, which makes it seem like it should be aimed at the YA market, but much of the plot is definitely not for the young. How hard was it to strike this balance, and why did you write the story in such a way?

I certainly hope YA readers won’t be put off by the fact Masks isn’t being published as a YA book. I actually disagree with you about the plot definitely not being for the young: maybe not the very young, but anyone who is reading The Hunger Games or Divergent or some of the other many gritty YA books out there won’t be uncomfortable with what’s in this trilogy.

But at the same time, I wrote Masks as I would write one of my adult science fiction or fantasy novels, without making any attempt to make it more accessible to young readers by changing the language or plot, so I hope adult readers will also be engrossed in the tale I tell.

As to why I wrote the story this way…Masks was originally conceived as a single YA book, not necessarily intended for DAW. When DAW decided it wanted to take it on, it became longer and more complex, but the very nature of the central idea dictated that the main character would be a young person.

My hope is it will be a crossover book, one both teens and adults will enjoy equally.

Where did the idea of doing a magical variation on the Orwellian surveillance state come from?

Well, the idea of magical masks came from a decorative mask I picked up at some costume ball or other that’s hanging in my bedroom. As for the Orwellian aspect of it…there’s a theme I find running through a lot of my fiction about individuals fighting back against tyranny. Governments of every stripe are all about control, and all governments, unless checked (at the ballot box, in our system; with bullets in less fortunate places), drift toward seizing more and more control over the lives of their citizen, always for the very best of reasons, of course: security, safety, etc., etc. In Aygrima, the government, in the person of the Autarch, has found the perfect control system…or almost perfect: because individuals have a way of undermining even the most controlling states. All governments drift toward tyranny, but there are always those who fight back: and sometimes, they succeed.Shadows Cover Cropped

How much of the supporting characters’ histories do you have mapped out?

I don’t do detailed character histories up front; I tend to figure out their histories as I go. But by the time the book is finished, I know a great deal about them!

What can we expect to see from Shadows when it comes out?

In Shadows, the plot is set in motion by the arrival of an unexpected visitor from beyond the sea. Mara learns more about her power, but at an awful personal cost. Many things are destroyed. And a new, powerful force takes the stage.

Is that sufficiently vague, yet satisfying? :)

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