What a wonderful way for readers to get to know authors over a chat and a cuppa. I would like to say thank you to Margaret Ann Loveday for sharing in my last blog, but now I would like to welcome Rebecca McCray, author of, the fantasy adventure, ‘The Journey of the Marked’ the first in a series of books called ‘The Miyran Heir’. Thank you Rebecca for taking the time to do this interview.
Tell me how did your book come to life?
Over the years, I played around with the concept of an advanced species, developing it, tweaking it, changing it. My story started with this species (the Miyran), though I’ve made some modifications for a better fit. From there, I decided to focus the story on individual differences and create a world where these were valued. However, every story needs conflict. The source of that was simple — persecution.
Now, you’ll likely be surprised by this given I’m writing an epic series, but I’m best described as a forced plotter. I work more effectively when I’m not constrained by an outline and that’s how I started…without a plan. Not to fear, though, as I created species and built out the world, I did start a character / species guide and map. I’ve also drafted out other necessary pieces of information (e.g. timeline of the planet, dictionary, relationships) to ensure consistency. However, at a basic level, I’m still a panster.
As I wrote book one, I was developing the rest of my series, so it took a number of years. Now I have it all mapped out… but it’s all in my head.
Did you plan to be an author? Can you explain your experience?
No, I certainly didn’t. When I was younger, I played music and wrote poetry and stories. Unfortunately, I developed an injury in my shoulder and had to stop playing piano. I was just devastated and pushed all creative endeavors out of my life. Luckily, I couldn’t maintain it. After a handful of years, I caved in to the urge of writing and started my story. Honestly, I was writing just for me. At some point, I realized others might enjoy my story and it was at that time that I focused more heavily on writing something I could publish.
Did you have to think about the title of your book, and how did you come to choose the name?
I chose the title around the time I finished drafting the story. Given that I’m writing a series, I felt it was important to distinguish between the series and book. So the titles of each relate directly to the questions that are answered as part of each. There are overarching questions about the heir to the advanced Miyran species and those questions are addressed as part of the overall series. Hence the series name, The Miyran Heir. The primary storyline of book one is what happens to the sixteen-year-old youth when they’re marked. The book tells the tale of their journey and answers that question by the end. Therefore, the name The Journey of the Marked seemed fitting.
What location(s) did you decide to use for your story and what were your reasons?
I love fantasy and I wanted to create my own world. This allowed me the freedom to craft my own species with whatever abilities I selected. However, I didn’t want to move so far from reality that readers struggled with my world. When I think of Caldot, the main city in my novel, I picture a hybrid between the old-world cobblestone streets of southern France and my home in San Francisco with multiple story structures packed into a small area.
My world is also a mix between old and new. I love the image of something so advanced as a hovering transport vessel against the storefronts of years passed.
Tell us what is your book about?
As I mentioned above, the heart of the story is valuing differences. I’ve created a world with a wide variety of species, each with unique traits and beliefs. As most are refugees from other planets, they’ve meshed into a combined culture, but each maintains cultural traditions from the past. While there are perceptions about each species, the society was built on mutual respect.
Unfortunately, a species with less than honorable intentions settled there. They have distorted and manipulated the original premise of the world to their advantage. And that’s where the conflict starts.
What is the main theme running through your book and what does this main theme mean to you. Is it a passion in your life?
We’re not all the same, nor will we ever be. Rather than trying to shove people into buckets where they don’t fit, I’d love to see a time when we can respect others despite our differences.
What do you think makes a great writer? Do you need to be taught to write?
Specific to fictional writing, I think you need both skill as a creative storyteller and training as a writer. Without training, someone could write an entertaining tale, but training can make the difference between an okay book and an amazing one. With that said, you can train someone who can’t tell a story and that person might never write something that touches a reader. I truly believe you need both pieces to be a great writer.
Do you have plans to write another book(s) with the same theme(s)?
The Journey of the Marked is the first book in a series, so yes, there will be others that continue the theme.
How do you feel when you see the numbers of books on the market today and the number of self published authors increasing and everyone trying to get attention? How do you keep motivated?
More and more books are published every day. The challenge becomes distinguishing a quality book from the rest. By that, I mean a book that is both well-written and entertaining. I’ve learned a lot about marketing over the last year and while the reviews confirm my book is a quality one, it’s definitely still a challenge. I simply keep looking for avenues to promote my story. The strong reviews I’ve received are helpful. Plus, I’ve also found strength among other Indie authors, which helps with motivation.
Is there is anything else you’d like to add?
I’m targeting late 2015 or early 2016 to publish The List, the second book in my series. The story grows darker in this one, but there’s still humor woven throughout. I think the direction the series takes might just surprise you, though.
For more information about Rebecca: www.rebeccamccray.com where there are more blogs and opportunities to follow Rebecca on Social Media