Hi Mysti, thank you for agreeing to be my first guinea p…er…guest on my new blog. I was just told by a seasoned interviewer/blogger that we all had our number one hurdles. So with shaky fingers, I’m going to probe your mind and ask you to share with my readers.
1) Have you always been a writer?
Leona, I’m proud to be your guinea pig!! So, let’s begin, shall we? I’ve been a writer probably since before I could read, which I started doing at three years old. My mom said I toddled around with a pencil and paper as soon as I could hold them and scribbled all the time.
2) How did you feel, what did you do when you were offered your first contract?
That was for my first novelette, accepted back in 2009 by what was then Midnight Showcase. I literally jumped up and down and called my husband, squealing about it. After that, I realized the REAL work began!
3) I know your books are in the romantic/fantasy genre. Can you see yourself switching genres to straight romance or even (gasp) erotica?
LOL. Erotica, no, though there are a few who think that’s what I write now. Obviously they’ve never actually READ erotica, or they’d realize how tame my stories are. I like to leave some things to the imagination. For me, it takes the romance out of it when there’s too much description, though I can appreciate a well-written erotic story. I’m in awe of authors who can do that without sounding too repetitious. Jessa Callaver does well with this, writing short erotic fiction in very literary, lyrical ways.
As far as switching to other genres, sure! I write what I’m inspired to write. I have a historical romance on the back burner, a slightly romantic contemporary flash fiction series I’m working on now, and even a children’s picture book in the works. I love trying new things.
4) What genre(s) does your reading preference fall into? Name four favorite authors?
I’m a sucker for romance. Even if the genre is something else, I get disappointed if there’s not at least a strong element of romance in the story.
Some of my favorite authors from earlier years: Victoria Holt, Lillian Jackson Braun, Stephen King, Charlotte Bronte, Tolkien, Mercedes Lackey.
More recently: Jenny Twist, Ruth J Hartman, Deborah Harkness, Suzanne Collins, and honestly, there are just too many to name. I love something about pretty much every author’s book I read, as you can see from my Goodreads reviews page.
5) What are you working on right now?
Also I’ve got what I hope to be a novella in the works that I hope to publish between books three and four. It stars the paladin Sir Francis, who you’ll remember as Sir Robert’s best friend from books two and three. o, I am succumbing to the latest inspiration and working on a series of flash fiction stories involving a run-down hotel that’s full of quirky characters. It’s been fun so far! Otherwise, this summer while the kids are out of school, I’ll be focusing mostly on marketing, because that’s the other half of the writing biz.
6) What percentage would you rate the ease of writing book three compared to book one?
If anything, it was probably harder, not in the sense of HOW to write, but in the challenge of making an even better book than the first two. I think every author or artist constantly wants to improve their product, and it does put the pressure on. But, all in all, it’s good for us and keeps us striving to improve our craft.
7) Did you set out to write a series or did it just happen?
No, I didn’t really. But as soon as that first novelette was accepted and the publisher wanted more, I already had the first makings of A Ranger’s Tale written. Luckily, I found Critique Circle, where I collected enough honest critiques to whip my story into shape. It was during that process that I knew Jayden Ravenwing, one of the prominent male characters from that book, HAD to have his own story. So, that was when Serenya’s Song was born and from then on, I knew I had to keep going. I needed to keep building the world of Tallenmere for as long as the ideas kept coming.
8) One word answers:
a) Writing area neat or cluttered? Cluttered
b) Coffee, tea or soft drink? Coffee
c) Cereal or omelet? Cereal
d) Winter or summer? Summer
e) Hosting or guesting? Hosting
f) Jayden or Galadin? Jayden
9) How do you juggle writing and family?
Very carefully! It really is a constant balancing act. I have to be at least slightly organized to keep track of what needs to be done when. I have to let go of some things like having a tidy house if a writing project needs to be done. And I have to take breaks from writing if family needs arise. Family does come first, so I make sure everyone’s fed and clothed and has what they need before I sit down to write.
10) What makes Mysti Parker tick? Keeps her writing? Makes her happy?
Being a full-time mom for the last decade has given me this need to express myself, and the best way I’ve found to do that is with writing. That, combined with quality chocolate, copious amounts of coffee, and a nice glass of red wine late at night makes me a happy camper.
11) Can you give us an excerpt of your new book?
I’d love to! Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Three, where Sir Robert’s just woken up in a strange place after having almost died in a shipwreck. He finds someone he never expected to see again…
I awoke someplace soft, afraid to move. My head swam like I was still at sea, but when I opened my stinging eyes and blinked past the blurriness, there were rafters above me. Like those in the Temple, but without the ivy.
I studied what I could of my surroundings. It looked like the interior of a small, but pretty cottage. Vases of wildflowers on every surface and a hand-woven tapestry on the wall beside the bed suggested a feminine touch. I breathed in scents of lavender, mint, and seaweed.
Is this heaven?
Dishes cluttered a small table beneath a window. Various pieces of clothing were scattered on the floor. Gritty sand crunched between my teeth. I grimaced at the lamp oil coating my tongue.
Ugh. Maybe it’s hell.
A quilt was tucked around me. I pulled it up to peer underneath. Naked—that was certainly unexpected.
My head throbbed. I sat up slowly, raising a hand to inspect the wound I’d gotten from that piece of wreckage, but my fingertips discovered stitches. Small, neat ones, too, not the rough patch job we got out in the field.
Sunlight poured through an octagonal window in a door, but I had no idea if it was morning or afternoon. Days may have passed, for all I knew. Vivid memories manifested themselves. My fingers flexed as I remembered trying to reach Francis. My chest ached as I recalled the desperate breaths when my head broke above the surface. It was still hard to breathe. Every muscle between my ribs protested with stubborn soreness, but I was alive! W0as it possible Francis had survived, too? If this was some sort of infirmary, I didn’t see any other patients.
Soft splashes of water caught my attention in an alcove past the foot of the bed. I wrapped the quilt around me and stood. Legs weak and aching, I crept toward the sound. Behind a sheer curtain, more sunlight illuminated the enticing silhouette of a naked woman.
I averted my eyes, knowing I shouldn’t be leering, but I had to know who or what I was dealing with. I didn’t detect any unpleasant auras around her, so I doubted she was a vampire or necromancer. But, she could have been something else entirely, like those reptile-like Alkaryans we battled in Summerwind. A paladin never knew what they might face from one day to the next.
Gritting my teeth, I drew on my shielding, and it bloomed around my hand. At least Omri hadn’t taken that from me. Though wary, curiosity pulled me forward. I peered over the chin-high barrier and admired the stranger’s wavy red hair, freckled shoulders, and lean back.
But there was something about the curve of her hips, the way she moved the sponge along her arms, how her head tilted to her right as though she were lost in thought.
I clenched my eyes shut. I’m dreaming again. Wake up, damn it!
One at a time, I opened my eyes only to meet hers in the mirror in front of her. She screamed.
I took a step back, my legs gave out, and I fell to the floor. “Loralee?”
Thank you, Mysti. I love the excerpt.
Mysti Parker (pseudonym) 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 the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya's Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, has already received some great reviews. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind's 'Sword of Truth' series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.
Mysti's other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She has also served as a class mentor in Writers Village University's six week free course, F2K.
Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder's Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.
Contact the Author:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mysti-Parker/103786449704221
A Ranger's Tale, Tallenmere #1
Serenya's Song, Tallenmere #2
Hearts in Exile, Tallenmere #3 (Coming June 3)