Posted by Will
As part of this month’s Magic Appreciation Tour, I’ve had the pleasure of an introduction to Mysti Parker, author of fantasy and romance who has the admirable honesty to title her blog “Unwritten” (an accurate description for most of my stuff). Mysti has graciously agreed to be interrogated about her latest work and the craft in general. Picture the scene with a single bare bulb swaying in a dungeon draft, the lone chair, the strappado on a table to one side… enter the Inquisitor.
Q: OK, straight to business. Confess- your mom and dad didn’t really spell your name “Mysti” did they?
MP: No, sadly. I was actually named Misty after the Ray Stevens song, “I Get Misty Over You”. I chose Mysti to match the fantasy romance genre I enjoy writing. ‘Misty’ sounds more like a weather condition.
Q: I’m a firm believer in choice during interviews. Choice One- should the picture next to this article show you, an avatar of you, or the cover of your book? Once you reach world-fame level, who will play you in the biopic, and will it be for what’s skin-deep or another reason?
MP: I love the profile pic my husband took of me. He won 2nd place with that photo. It’s much more mysterious and sexy than I really am. So, I’d have to go with that one. As for the biopic, I’ve been told I resemble Nicole Kidman (I think that person had severe near-sightedness), so we’ll have to go with her. She’d have to either slouch or have very tall costars though, since she’s nearly a full foot taller than I am!
Q: Do you clearly recall the moment you became a writer? I’d love to know whether one fateful day you squared your shoulders, took a deep breath and started, or if you sort of looked back and realized it had already begun.
MP: I think it’s really only now that I’m feeling like a full-fledged writer as opposed to a madwoman who transcribes what her characters are saying. So far this year, I’ve got a second book coming out with Melange Books, plus I’m attending two book fairs (The Southern KY Book Fest & Horse Cave BookFest 2012) and Lori Foster’s reader/author get-together in Cincinnati. I’ve also got a gig as a bi-monthly book reviewer for SQ Magazine (an online spec-fic mag) and I run a busy writing blog (Unwritten) that was voted the #3 Top Writing Blog by eCollegeFinder.com. Not to mention I do a lot of reading, writing, reviewing, and critiquing. Add all that to my full time job as a wife and mother of three young children. Phew!
Q: Choice Two- are you comfortable being categorized as an author? Do you describe yourself as a fantasy, or romance writer, or does it change with each query letter? What’s the one driving force behind most or all of what you’ve penned so far?
MP: I’m getting more comfortable with the term “author”, though I still feel very green and have a lot of growing to do. As far as genre, I see myself as a romance writer with a penchant for fantasy, but I like to write outside of the box and toss conventional romance ploys aside. I’m not sure there is ONE driving force, but if I had to choose, I’d say it’s to write in such a way that people see the story, not the author. I want them remembering those characters long after they lay the book back on the nightstand.
Q: I wonder if you have moments in writing where you get truly stuck. Is there a kind of character, or an activity like description, or dialogue, that always seems alien to you? What’s your reaction if the pace of your writing slows down and you start to feel unproductive?
MP: Oh, yes, the dreaded writer’s block. I do suffer from it from time to time. Action and combat are the worst for me. And sometimes love scenes. I have to rewrite those over and over to get them flowing right. It can be frustrating, but when it’s finally readable, that’s a very satisfying feeling. When I get stuck, it helps to walk away for a while, do something manual, read for a bit, or even write a short story or flash fiction. That’ll often resurrect the writing bug!
Q: I haven’t had the privilege of reading A Ranger’s Tale yet, but no one is better at jumping to conclusions without evidence than me, so here’s my gut reaction. It’s a pirate romance! Object all you like, but here comes Choice Three. Is it more like a) Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean, b) Errol Flynn’s Captain Blood, or c) Jim Henson’s Muppet Treasure Island? (Oh yeah, and tell us about the story.)
MP: Since I am a huge Orlando Bloom fan, I’d have to choose choice a). I can totally imagine Galadin looking like Will in Pirates. Of course, most of my inspiration came from Mr. Bloom’s portrayal of Legolas in Lord of the Rings. To be fair to the other choices, Galadin is a bit of an Errol Flynn, doing good deeds along the way. And you know, if I close my eyes, I can picture the trolls on the dock of Yggrich in Muppet form.
But, since you asked…A Ranger’s Tale is the story of a high-elf noblewoman who was expected to take her father’s place as the head of Leogard’s Mage Academy. Caliphany is a century old, she’s beautiful, rich, and one would think she has it all. Yet, she’s been kept on a short leash since her older brother died on the battlefield. She isn’t confident of her wizardry skills at all and longs to see the world.
Everything changes during a kidnapping attempt on the docks, when half-elf ranger and sea merchant, Galadin Trudeaux, intervenes and saves her life. Caliphany decides the only way she’ll ever get out of Leogard on her own is to ask Galadin to train her in the ways of a ranger. He’s reluctant at first, but a hefty sack of gold helps to seal the deal. From there, the two of them embark on the journey of a lifetime, filled with more ups and downs than they ever thought possible.
Q: Sorry, still geeking about Muppet-trolls… I would love to hear something about the experiences you’ve had promoting your work. How about a highlight, an uplifting moment? Is there an anecdote about dealing with agents and publishers, or crafting your website and blog, perhaps the feedback you get that really stands out?
MP: Anytime I get feedback from a reader, it makes my day. I’ve gotten about 45 written Goodreads reviews for A Ranger’s Tale, and I’m so thrilled that people have taken the time to read and review my work. Many readers, including men, have loved it. One of the BEST reviews ever occurred just recently. The reader included pictures of Orlando Bloom!! Can you believe it? The very guy that helped inspire this tale in the first place. I’ve shared the link since it still makes me giddy.
Q: I perused the covers of your tales and of course the artwork in romantic stories really stands out. Do you have a deal with a specific artist, or how did you seek out the ones you’ve used so far? Follow-up question: music, with Ranger’s Tale by chapter? Really? Tell us about that.
MP: I credit Mae Powers from Melange Books for her fantastic cover work. She’s great about working with me to get things just right, including making stock image ears pointy for my elves! And music—absolutely! So far I’ve got a playlist for both A Ranger’s Tale and Serenya’s Song. I’m currently collecting songs for my third book, Hearts in Exile. Music is essential for me when I’m in the early drafting stages. The lyrics really inspire the right emotional setting. For instance, in A Ranger’s Tale, the song “Over My Head” by The Fray very accurately portrays a scene when Galadin has second thoughts about leaving Caliphany alone in Faewood after she stowed away on his ship, forcing him to outrun her uncle’s (King Leopold’s) navy. His crew knows he’s gotten in “over his head” with Caliphany, but his first mate convinces him that she’s not really better off on her own, so Galadin literally jumps right in the water and…well you’ll have to read it to find out what happens next!
Q: Don’t think I won’t! Though I hate swimming… Thanks so much for giving us a peek into your craft, Mysti. Be sure to fill us in with the dope on where to find your works, and when to look out for the next piece you have on tap.
MP: Alrighty, then!
Check out my Goodreads page to see the fantastic reviews!!
There’s always something going on at my blog, Unwritten. I love visitors, so skip on over to: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/
I’ve even got a fan page over at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mysti-Parker/103786449704221
And I do the occasional Tweet: @MystiParker
Thanks so much for having me here!! ~Mysti Parker