I am disturbingly happy to be back working after a little vacation that I took at Casa de Barczak. Although I loved having a few movie marathons with my kids, I am now ready to get back into the swing of things. A few weeks ago I contacted a fellow author on Twitter and asked if she would be interested in doing an interview. I was very happy when she agreed because the one thing that I have surprisingly loved about being on Twitter is the amazing people you get to know.
Rebecca McCray is a very interesting and intelligent author. Her book, The Journey of the Marked Heir ( The Miyran Heir, Book One) has been compared to the Fablehaven and Beyonders series, both of which my son Wyatt enjoys very much. When I told him about this book he was excited to read it and I am pleased to say that he is enjoying the story very much. He also thinks it’s pretty cool that I was able to interview this author so chalk one up for dear old mom!
So without further adieu I give you my interview with Rebecca McCray:
1) How did you come up with the idea for your book ‘The Miyran Heir’?
Just to be clear, The Miyran Heir is the series. The Journey of the Marked is book one.
I’m always creating stories. A recurring theme involved an advanced species, a concept which I amended over time. That species was my starting point as protector for a world that serves as a safe haven for other species, but the story evolved considerably from that point. I wanted to create a story that was both entertaining and thought-provoking. So while the story has the typical fantasy flare to it, I’ve also started laying the ground work for a look at persecution. What I think will be fascinating is how each species responds to it. Will they overcome their barriers and stand together, or will the very premise of acceptance on which the world was established crumble?
2) What sort of research did you do for the book?
My research falls outside of what would normally considered research. I’m an avid reader/watcher of fantasy and science fiction. Since my story takes place on another world and with a variety of new species, I can push the limits of what’s “normal.” Therefore, I didn’t spend time hunting down information on many topics. With that said, I did spend quite a bit of time googling bladed weapons.
3) Why did you pick this particular genre?
I have a very vivid, dark, and inventive imagination. Trust me when I say my mind creates some crazy things. Fantasy allows me to explore my ideas. Plus, I find it significantly more entertaining to build a world from scratch rather than be restricted by the limits of our world.
4) What is the most surprising thing you have learned in the writing process?
It’s the little parts of the story that are the hardest to track, but they are the ones that hold the story together. For example, early in my story, a fighter severs the hand of her opponent before she’s killed. Many chapters later, that hand is mounted by her casket as a symbol of her strength. The hand itself is a small detail, yet critical for connecting the pieces of the story. After the story was written, I let it continue to play out in my head to help me identify any of those little pieces that I had failed to connect.
5) What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have a tendency to include these off-the-wall one-liners that certain readers find humorous and others don’t seem to notice. If I stuck solely to my imagination, the story would be dark from beginning to end. As I wanted to balance the darkness with light moments, I included snippets of humor throughout. However, my humor can be a little off-beat at times.
6) Editing is the bane of every writer’s existence, do you have any tips on how you go about this arduous task?
From what I’ve been told, I edit more than many authors. I write a few chapters, then edit them. Write a bit more, but then edit from the beginning. I find this approach helpful, though, because it prevents me from becoming so engrossed in my story that I forget I’m supposed to be editing (this has happened). However, I think the best tip I have is something that worked well for me in the last editing phases for my first book. I broke the book into parts and focused on editing one part at a time. This kept the editing process more manageable and helped me concentrate on the technical aspects of writing.
Funny story about editing: Due to the large number of unusual names (species, characters, creatures, etc.), I overloaded the spellcheck feature in Word. I had to add them all to my dictionary. I suppose that’s a hazard of writing a fantasy novel set on a different world.
7) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep reading and exploring ideas. I doubt there’s a successful author out there that isn’t an avid reader. Also, write what you enjoy. When I started writing my story, I was writing for myself and no one else. After I had been writing a while, I began to think others might enjoy my tale. At that point, I really fleshed it out and developed it fully. While I’m thrilled people like my story, in the end, I’m still writing it because I love it.
8) Who are some of your favorite authors that inspire you?
Tolkien, of course. I also found the Harry Potter world fascinating and well crafted. In addition to fantasy / sci-fi, I read mysteries and thrillers, enjoying authors such as Janet Evanovich, J.D. Robb (love her world), Tony Hillerman, Robert Ludlum, Stieg Larsson, etc. While these may seem disconnected from fantasy, there are still styles and ideas that I can glean from them. Furthermore, I’m a complete sci-fi / fantasy junkie: Firefly, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Star Trek, X-men, Avengers, Iron Man, Battlestar Galactica, etc.
9) What is your next project and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on the second book of The Miyran Heir series. I’m targeting late 2015 for publication.
10) What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever googled?
Well, I’m certain that anyone watching me Google a wide variety of bladed weapons would wonder. I also googled most of the names I used in the book to make sure the ones that should be distinct are. My biggest disappointment was when I discovered that “Myran” was a fragrance from an aromatic balm. I had to change the spelling!
Want more Rebecca? Check her out on these links!