To celebrate the release of Toil, Temptation and Trouble, four new urban fantasy shorts by Mocha Memoirs Press, fellow author Amy Braun and I have teamed up to spotlight each other and our work. In addition to the ongoing MMP Christmas in July Contest, there are some goodies in store for those readers who leave a message both her and on Amy's blog so read on.
Tell us a little about yourself and "Call From The Grave."
I’m a Canadian urban fantasy author who started writing when I was in middle school. I’ve always had a passion for reading, loving how words could take me to another world or another reality, making me feel like I was part of someone else’s adventures. It was kind of an inevitability that I started thinking about creating stories. I started with fanfiction, moved onto helping other writer friends with their work, played with my own imagination. A few years later, I realized how much I loved it. Writing brings me a joy I can’t even begin to describe. I honestly can’t picture myself doing anything else. I started my career professionally a couple years ago, and currently have one story out, Call From The Grave, but will have three other short stories coming out before the end of the year.
What do you write?
I’ll read basically anything that catches my interest, but I’ll always be an urban fantasy girl. If there are ways to mix monsters, demons, gods, genetics, magic, or superpowers into modern day life, I want to write about it. A lot of my work involves two main characters, typically siblings or close friends, one of whom is snarky and the other who is more reserved, working together to fight (and sometimes lose) impossible battles. I love dark, gritty writing, sarcastic dialogue, building new realities and worlds, and fill my work with hardcore action. The stuff I read is the stuff I want to write.
Where do you get your writing inspirations?
Honestly? Anything and everything. One of my best friends said I have an overactive imagination, and he could not have been more right. Ideas just seem to form in my head. I’ve taken inspiration from everything from comic book covers, to episodes of Supernatural, to my favourite authors. Usually it’s the details that catch my attention. I see or hear something that interests me, and I build on the “What if... ?” that follows.
What is the background on "Call From The Grave?"
When I read the submission guidelines for Toil, Trouble, and Temptation, I knew I wanted to challenge myself. I’ve always found stories with necromancy and raising the dead to be interesting, so I decided to give that a try. My original idea was to place my main character in a world I didn’t typically write: the 1920’s. It seemed like I had a great idea at the time– my character, Tessa, would have a quirky accent and would take revenge on the mobsters who killed her mother. I thought it was great. Then I started writing it, and it turned into a bunch of pieces I couldn’t fit together. I couldn’t get the setting right and there was too much melodrama. I tried to force it, but that didn’t help the situation. So I stepped back, didn’t think about it, then let the inspiration come on its own. Skip the dead mother thing, go straight to danger. What if Tessa was forced to summon a dangerous spirit? Say, someone who had been an assassin before their death. After I got that thought, the story practically wrote itself. I played with the idea of what it might be like for a necromancer to summon a spirit, how draining it would be and how she would essentially have to watch over it. I’m grateful my original idea didn’t work out, because I came up with something so much stronger and more suited to my style.
Excerpt:A hard metal gun barrel pressed into the back of my head. I glanced at the two muscle-heads behind me, wishing I had another power to send them flying. But alas, they were still alive, so my powers were useless. Ciro moved out of the corner of my eye, and I forgot all about the beefcakes pointing guns at my head.
The silver-haired man scrutinized me, clearly unimpressed by what he saw.
“You’re the necromancer?”
Time to play dumb.
“What? What are you talking about? What’s a necromancer? Who are you people?”
Ciro stared at me, trying to see if I was lying. I hoped that was what he thought. I didn’t want any part of his gang or wicked plans. I’d rather be seen as what I was on the outside: A skinny, curve-less eighteen year old with long orange hair, blue eyes, and a face covered in freckles.
Apparently, that wasn’t good enough.
He took a step forward and loomed over me.
“I’ll tell you this once. Do not lie to me.”
I weighed my options. Tell the truth, and be forced to do some black magic. Lie, and get shot. In the end, I decided to stay quiet and let him talk. He was the big boss here anyways.
“All you need to understand is that I know what you are, Tessa Sterling. And you are going to perform a spell for me.”
We'll announce the winners at the end of this week.