Sometimes my life has awesome moments… moments like this one. I get to bring you all an interview I had the privilege to do with one of the best authors… as well as one of the best people… in fantasy writing today: Mireille Chester.
Mireille is the author of the Chosen One series and Chael's Luck, as well as much, much more. I'm doing my best, and failing, to not sound like a gushing fan-boy... but that's not easy when it comes to Mireille.
She's graciously agreed to not only answer my questions, but giveaway (to one lucky person who comments - chosen at random) a full signed set of her Chosen One series, in paperback... a truly priceless prize (valued at almost $50)
After you read this awesome interview feel free to visit her links listed below, and leave a comment or question for her (thus entering yourself in the giveaway).
The Chosen One series…
First of all, I have read all three of these books more than once… I don’t want to give away too much, that you may want people to buy the books to find out… so, would you mind giving us a little summary, from the author, in case people reading this have the misfortune of not being familiar with these wonderful books?
The Chosen One Trilogy is primarily about Hayden who is a college student here in this world. One day, while out on a trail ride with her horse, she finds a trail that only she is able to see. What she finds at the end of the trail is a completely different world with beings she’s never thought actually existed. This series is about Hayden’s adventures in Quelondain; from finding out that she’s actually from there, to finding the man who will become her mate, to trying to stop a war that could destroy everyone who lives there.
All of the books I have ever read, all of the phenomenal authors who have been brave enough to put their stories down on paper… I love to get lost in other worlds and reading is something I could do twenty four hours a day. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but Crossover is the first novel I’ve actually sat down and finished. I think it was just the right story. I started writing and it just kept on going.
Not to sound like too big a jerk here, but I'm curious... how did you come up with the name Quelodain?
Honestly, I just threw some letters together until I got a cool word that Google couldn’t find. :D
What do you feel writing the Chosen One series of books taught you as a writer?
Absolutely everything. I learned to sit down and keep at it until the story was done (Crossover was actually just one book… then it turned into three). I found out how long it takes to get a book published. People just don’t realize when they pick up a book and read it in a day or two that it can take years to get one of them done from start to finish. The biggest thing I had to learn about was the whole promoting and networking thing. I am one of the most socially awkward people on the face of the planet, so learning to just get out there and talk about myself and my books was just… well… terrifying. Thankfully, I’ve found that most of the author’s I’ve met are all very encouraging and everyone does everything they can to help others out where they can. It really is just a big happy family out there for the most part.
This may sound like an odd question, but it was on my mind, as I re-read this series of books recently… which characters from Quelondain would you find the most entertaining to see in a single, or stand alone, story of a different genre (horror, urban fantasy, sci-fi, etc.) ?
Hmmm. I really liked when Jasper crossed over to this world. I’d have to say that seeing another of the shifters do that as an entire novel would be interesting. I’d have to go with Rainen, though. She’s just got that great kiss my ass attitude that would be fun to let loose.
Rainen in a modern Urban Fantasy, or even a sci-fi story? That would be a book I'd pay to read. Definitely!
Hahaha. I think that every author’s goal is to write a book the reader can’t put down. I am very pleased that Chael’s Luck was that for you.
Okay, It may seem shallow… but Chael’s Luck is a damned eye-catching book… who designed the cover?
Julija Lichman did the cover for that one and she did a phenomenal job of it. What I really love about it is that the horse and rider are actually my sister and her horse. I took the pictures then sent them to Julija who then worked her magic. For more on her art, if anyone is interested, her website is: http://julijalichman.carbonmade.com/
Most definitely it was trying to write in some mystery as to what Chael’s big secret could be without giving away what it was before it was revealed. I was so scared that readers would go, blah, I saw that one coming.
I think, if anything, I would go back and lengthen the epilogue so people had a better idea of what went on after the fact and maybe lead up to the second novel a bit better.
This question really applies to The Chosen One series as well as Chael’s Luck, but it is Chael’s Luck that makes me feel the need to ask it… What do find to be the biggest challenge in bringing a vibrant fantasy setting to life?
I think descriptions are a big thing. You need the readers to be able to picture the strange worlds and the creatures you think up. If it’s different than it is in this world, then it needs to be described.
Have you considered writing other tales, perhaps prequels, to this book concerning the Shadow Knights?
I’m actually working on an idea for a sequel which will star Chael Jr. in his own story. I can’t really give you any more details just because I’m still working them all out.
Let’s examine Mireille, as an author…
What books or authors do you feel have most influenced your writing, be it characters, setting, or style?
I’d have to say Diana Gabaldon was a big one. Her Outlander series really hit a point with me. I was used to reading novels stuck to one genre until I picked hers up. Her whole time travel, history, romance combination sort of turned that little light in my brain that said, holy shit! I also have loved Stephen King for as long as I can remember. He’s been giving me nightmares since I was about thirteen. He’s awesome. Michel Faber taught me that it’s okay to end a book in a way that a lot of readers will hate. Not all endings are happy and he is the king of that. Tolkien. I mean, the man was the master of Epic. Anne McCaffrey brought out my love of dragons. Pern was, and still is, an fantastic world. Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere; I’ve read that too many times to remember the count. I think I could probably go on and on.
I guess if I had to choose just one, I’d have to Tolkien. I am above all else, an epic fantasy nut. Middle Earth is my heaven.
Where have you found the most support for your work outside of family and friends?
Most definitely other authors and bloggers I’ve met online. They really are like a second family to me. In a lot of ways, they can actually be more supportive than the people around me simply because they understand what it takes to try and get your stories out there.
Are there any new authors/books that have grasped your interest recently?
Too many to name for sure. Since the start of my journey in authoring, I’ve met tons of writers I would never have heard of otherwise. A few of my favorites would include Gracen Miller; her Road to Hell series is suspenseful and sexy as hell. Sammie Spencer writes great YA about witches. Allie Burke writes in the style of fairy tales. Nicole Chase, C.A. Kunz, Shelly Crane, M.R. Merrick, Thomas Amo, Garden Summerland… Good god, I could go on and on. There’s also this great author who just blew me away with the first book of his Coming Storm series… Oh, right. That’s you. Speaking of, if you don’t hurry up and get the second one out, I’m gonna hunt you down and hold a gun on you until it’s done. Just saying.
Duly noted. I'm actually also a big fan of Thomas Amo, Sammie Spencer, and Allie Burke as well, but I'm fairly sure you already knew that about me. Alright, just because I’ve “got to know”… What are the last three books you read (or are you reading now)?
Um, let me see… I read Pandora’s Box and Hell’s Pheonix (the first two of the Road to Hell series) back to back. I’m waiting for book three which I have a feeling will be mind-blowing. I’m now reading a Game of Thrones. So far, my favorite characters are Dany and Jon.
That leads me right into my next “got to know” question… What are you current writing?
Right now, I’m working on the third volume of Angered Seasons. It’s a serial novel set in today’s day and age. I’m actually having a blast destroying my home town using bad weather and zombies.
I'm a big fan of letting zombies and bad weather run amok in a fictionalized version of my hometown. It's a really fun exercise I'd recommend to anyone. I find it not only fun and rewarding, but desperately easy to do. Mireille, what do you find to be the most challenging (but still rewarding) subject matter you've written?
That would actually be stories set in this world. I find that everything needs to be that much more accurate because, well, everyone knows about it. I have to do more research about places and times and such things. When I write fantasy, it’s just whatever comes to mind. I don’t have to follow any rules.
Speaking following rules... do you have any rules, pointers, or advice for other writers just starting out?
There was a time when I almost gave up writing. That was just before I released Journey. I actually almost didn’t publish that one. I was lucky enough, however, to meet three very special people on Twitter who convinced me that you should never give up on your dreams. So, to anyone who writes, here’s my advice to you. Write. Keep writing. And when things get overwhelming, take a deep breath, and write some more. Find other writers, find bloggers… hell, find anyone who enjoys a good book, and talk with them. Not many of us will make it huge, but that doesn’t mean we should all stop trying.
Finally… for your fans, of which I happen to be one… is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Any tempting teasers or the like?
First and foremost, THANK YOU!! When I first released Crossover I going to be happy if I sold ten copies of the book. I have to say that I’m blown away and very thankful that so many of you have enjoyed my stories and have been recommending them to others. That’s really all we can hope for as writers. So again, thanks bunches.
As for a teasers… well, how about something from Tyler’s Story. It should be out December 1st if all goes well. It is the first YA novel set in Quelondain.
John gazed around the woods. Tyler closed his eyes and concentrated on their surroundings. A branch snapped overhead and he looked up into the trees.
His dark brown eyes locked with tear filled grey green ones.
“Hello. I’m Tyler.”
John looked up and his eyes widened at the sight of the woman holding on to the tree trunk for dear life. Her dark brown hair fell just past her shoulders, her petite frame shook with fear or cold, or maybe both.
“Are you alright?” He took a step toward the tree and stopped short when she let out a small cry and tried to climb higher into the tree.
Tyler noticed her clothing and things fell into place. The short sleeved black tunic was what Aunt Hayden would have called a T-shirt and the blue pants were jeans.
“John, back off. She just crossed over.”
“You know… she’s one of the humans who comes from the other world and gets stuck here.” He looked up at the woman and back to John.
John gazed at the woman and back to Tyler. “Why don’t I head back to camp and make something to eat? You’ll have a better chance getting this girl to come down.”
Tyler frowned. “What makes you say that?”
John grinned. “Look at me and look at you. I’d feel much safer listening to a man who’s in shape and has obviously eaten a regular meal. If I was her savior, you know damn well she’d be better off on her own.” He laughed and jogged away in the direction of the camp.
Tyler leaned against a tree and looked up at the woman. His head cocked to the side. “I’m not sure if you know this, but you’re not where you’re from anymore.”
The woman wiped an arm over her face. “Really. I’m not sure what was my first clue; the little blue person with wings or the miniature mammoth with teeth.”
Tyler looked around. “You saw a tlarrison? When?”
“Which one is that?”
“The tiny meat eating mammoth.”
“About an hour ago.”
“Look, I don’t want to frighten you, but I’m coming up your tree.” Tyler took three running steps toward the tree and two more up the tree where he grabbed on to the lowest branch on the trunk. He hauled himself up and climbed the rest of the way so he was at the same level as the woman.
He frowned at the shocked look on her face. “What?”
“It’s just…” She grunted. “You made that look easy.”
“It’s amazing how much motivation a tlarrison can give you, especially after you’ve just fought two of them.” He gazed at her curiously. “How did you get up here?”
“I… I guess it was the same way you did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t look that graceful.” She wiped her hands over her face and Tyler looked curiously at the black streaks that ran from her eyes.
“Are your eyes alright?”
She looked at her hands. “Oh. Yeah, their fine. It’s my mascara that’s smeared.” She used the bottom of her shirt to wipe away at it. “Makeup. It’s supposed to make you look prettier.” She shook her head. “I picked one hell of a day to put some on.”
Tyler cocked his head to the side. By the moons, why would black eyes make a woman look more attractive?
“Is your hand alright?”
Tyler hadn’t realized he’d pressed his burnt hand to his chest in an attempt to ease the pain that climbing the tree had caused him.
She looked at him cautiously. “So if the mini mammoth is a tlarr… um, what was it again?”
“Tlarrison. So what was the little blue person with wings?”
“A Burrie.” He smiled.
“And you are?”
“Tyler. That sounds normal enough.” She took a deep breath. “I’m Heidi.”
“Hello, Heidi.” He watched her for a moment. “Are you alright?”
She swallowed hard and nodded then shook her head. “I don’t know.” Her voice was just a whisper. “What happened? You’re the one who yelled at me to run the other day, right?”
He nodded. “John looked for you afterwards but he couldn’t find you.” He took a deep breath and gave her a small smile. “There’s no easy way to tell you this. You crossed from your world to ours. You’re in Quelondain now. No one here is exactly sure how it works, but for some reason there are some humans from your world who possess enough magic to cross over. Once they do, the magic leaves them and they can’t leave.” He reached over and touched her arm as the tears streaked down her face.
“You mean I’m stuck here?”
“Yes, no… it depends. If we could find you a cross stone you could get back.”
She touched the dark green bandana tied around her neck. “Where do I find one of these crossing stones?”
Tyler shook his head. “I’m not sure. But!” He kept going rapidly to beat the rush of tears that threatened to break through, “we could go to Growlen and I can see if anyone there knows.”
“You’re willing to help me?”
Tyler frowned. Why indeed. He shrugged. “You know, my aunt has a habit of picking up strays.” He smiled. “It seems it’s a contagious trait.”
She finally smiled and his grin widened.
“Come. Let’s get out of this tree and back to camp. John went to make you something to eat assuming you’d be hungry.”
Tyler dropped down to the ground and helped her ease down. “How long have you been here?”
“Five days.” She paused. “Humans. You specifically said humans.”
“That’s right. Why?”
“Does that mean you’re not one?”
He shook his head, all the while watching her reaction. Heidi took a deep breath, her eyes closed.
“What are you?”
“I’m a Maj. We shift into dogs. You know… wolves, coyotes, foxes, bears…” When she didn’t run screaming he continued. “John, you’ll meet him in a few minutes, is a Maj as well. He shifts into a coyote. Namaels are cat shifters. Tigers, lions, panthers, cheetahs, that sort of thing.”
She opened her eyes and searched his face, looking for some indication he was lying. Not seeing any sign that he was, she took another deep breath. “What do you turn into?”
“Can I… I mean, can you do it? Just so I can see and I don’t freak out when it happens later?”
“Is it… Am I going to be grossed out? Do you bust out of your skin?”
He shook his head and smiled. “No. It’s magic, see? I just think of it and it happens.” His head tilted to the side. “Ready?”
Heidi looked up at him and took a deep breath. She should have been terrified of this strange man, but his deep brown eyes gazed into her grey green ones and she felt a strange calm. She nodded. “Ok.”
Her heart jumped in her chest and her eyes widened as Tyler’s form blurred, shrank, and became a large grey wolf.
Tyler looked up at her, trying to judge her reaction. She bit her bottom lip and took a deep breath before kneeling in front of him.
“Oh, god, you just turned into a wolf.” She reached a hand forward and stopped short of touching the top of his head.
Mireille Chester’s Vital Statistics and Online Details:
Mireille Chester was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1979 and moved to Saskatchewan when she was eight. Writing is one of her many passions which also include reading, drawing, painting, animals, and the outdoors. She is a stay at home mom and wife.
Her first series, The Chosen One Trilogy, is the first of her adventures which are based in the world of Quelondain. The three stories, Crossover, Journey, and Destiny follow the adventures of Hayden Carlson when she suddenly discovers a world filled with magic and finds herself caught up in a war that could wipe out almost every being that lives there. The trilogy has been described as a great mix of epic and paranormal fantasy for adults.
Mireille now lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with her husband and their three children as well as multiple animals. She hopes to keep readers entertained with her magical worlds and enjoyable characters.
http://mireillechester.com is where you can learn more about her books, where to buy them and also follow her blog.
Remember to comment below to be entered to win a signed set of the Chosen One series in paperback by Mireille Chester!
The giveaway ends Saturday, July 14th at midnight (US Central Time).
It only takes one comment, question or otherwise, to be entered to win!