Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Author of the Month~ August

Hello everyone! It's another new month and with that comes a new Author of the Month. This will consist of a post that includes an interview with the chosen author, along with featuring them in my sidebar for that entire month.  New feature I started on my blog in September (Refer HERE if you would like to see the original post & if you would like to be apart of this as an author).

August's Author:  Rachel E. Carter

Rachel E. Carter is a young adult author who hoards coffee and books. She has a weakness for villain and bad boy love interests. When not writing, she is usually reading, and when not reading she is usually asleep. To her, the real world is Hogwarts and everything else is a lie.

The Black Mage is Rachel’s first YA fantasy series, with many more to come. She loves to interact with fellow readers & aspiring writers, and here is a list of places you can find her online

Connect with Rachel through:

~Interview time~
Sabrina: Hello Rachel! It’s super great to have you here on my blog. It’s also awesome to have you as my July author of the month!
Rachel:  Aw, thank you, happy you asked me to be a part:D
Sabrina: Who are some authors you have begun to admire over time?
Rachel: Honestly? Tamora Pierce. She made medieval fantasy cool (way before the greats we hear about now) and she gave us kickass heroines instead of princesses (not to say princesses aren’t cool, but let’s just say she gave us something that was clearly lacking in fantasy). I actually heard her talk a month ago at a book convention and let me just say, she’s just as amazing as her books. She gave a long speech about how annoyed she was at Tolkien (Lord of the Rings author) for making his lead heroine, Arwen, give up her sword for a man, and never mentioning realistic fantasy aspects in his work (such as a girl having her period, needing to relieve oneself in the forest, surviving on food besides lembas, etc) and it just reinstated the idea that she is the queen of fantasy. I admire a lot of other authors too, but honestly that list would be a mile long.
Sabrina: What inspired to write a YA book series that revolved around sorcery?
Rachel:  I was a, how shall we say this, a “wee bit obsessed” with a certain male character from a certain book (Julian from LJ Smith’s The Forbidden Game) when I was in middle school and wrote fan-ficition about him. I probably wrote like twelve different short stories, but the one I was most passionate about was Julian as a sorcerer (which honestly makes no sense if you’ve actually read the book).
Later on, in high school/college I got this idea about writing a YA series about a boy and a girl who trained at a school to be future monarchs and then ended up on opposite ends of a war. I realized early on that if they were rulers they wouldn’t be able to fight (because kings and queens send warriors to fight their wars, they don’t do it/train for it themselves, and I wanted a really cool fight scene between them -ssssh, you didn’t hear that), and I knew I couldn’t make them knights because, well, Tamora Pierce (my author hero) already wrote about badass knights better than I ever could… so then I was like, why not make them sorcerers? Then not only could they fight with weapons, but they could use magic. And that makes for the most badass fight of all.
And I call them “mages” instead of “sorcerers” because of two things: 1) I wanted a ranking system for their roles and the color black symbolizes power so “The Black Mage” sounds a bit better than “The Black Sorcerer,” and 2) “black mage” is actually a common term/character known in the fantasy realm to a lot of people (just google it) as a kickass fighter with magic, so I figured people would recognize it right off the bat!
Sabrina: In three words, how would you describe The Black Mage series?
Rachel: Magic. Love. War.
Sabrina:  Which character has been the easiest to write, and which one has been the hardest to write?
Rachel: Easiest? Ryiah. I relate to her sarcasm and way of thinking, probably to a fault. She’s imperfect and she makes mistakes, but she really tries. And I guess she’s just the way I define “real” in terms of a fantasy heroine.
Hardest? Ohhhhhh, that’s totally Darren. Even though he is by far my favorite to write, I struggle with keeping his actions and dialogue in line. I find myself questioning his thought process and making sure his transition from mood A to mood B or the way he does A and then does B makes sense. Sometimes I skip ahead in his thinking, and I really have to slow myself down to make sure I can show the readers (to an extent) why he does what he does. Since the story is told in Ryiah’s perspective, I have to make extra sure Darren makes sense because I can’t explain his actions in his own point-of-view… and to be honest, the hardest challenge were books 1 and 4. The first book because I had to “learn” who Darren was, and 4 because, well, you’ll see. That’s all I will say.
Sabrina: So far there are the first three books out in your series, which has been your favourite?
Rachel: Hmmmm. Okay. Well, I’m a romance girl soooo Apprentice (book 2). I love writing banter and tension and just all of that drama between Ryiah and Darren in that one. But to be fair, emotionally Candidate (book 3) was my favorite because of those last few chapters and the way Ryiah became someone darker and jaded. And First Year (book 1) will always have my heart because I loved when Ryiah was in school and forming her “frenemship” with Darren….. But my favorite book is Last Stand (book 4) because you finally get to see what I was slowly working towards the entire series. I can’t say what you’ll see, but just know this book means more to me than all the rest.
Sabrina: How did you decide on the Magic system, and how long did it take you to craft it?
Rachel:  I love the idea of stamina (something you have to work towards to build) and also the idea that not all magic potential (the maximum powers you are capable of) is equal. I wanted magic potential limits to start to decline mid-20’s to keep my protagonists young (and set it up so you never know who is better, Ryiah or Darren, even after the Candidacy since they aren’t 25 yet). It’s more fun when you don’t know who is the best right off the bat, you really  have to work for your powers and then watch people slowly trickle away like a race they no longer can compete. It took me a couple days to outline it and set the rules, but honestly the hardest part was to describe how they cast (without having them point their finger or wave a wand or shout a spell).
Sabrina: What is a quote you created that you are proud to say you wrote and crafted?
Rachel: “Darren wasn’t darkness, and I wasn’t his light.” I think that is one of my favorites because I really wanted to establish shades of gray in this series. No one is all good or all evil, and anyone who assumes one character is the hero or the villain, needs to look deeper. Even the hero is capable of darkness, and the villain capable of light.
Sabrina: Do you require anything in order to sit down and have a good writing or editing session?
Rachel: I need energy. Even if that means sleeping in and eating junk food. But honestly what works best? New music. I am obsessed with writing to music.
Sabrina: When you are not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Rachel:  I am such a nerd because I read 90% of the time I’m not writing. I gave up Netflix and TV/movies to read because I can justify it as “research” and “career related expense” haha. The other 10%? Friends, family, my fur children, and random activities.
Sabrina: What have been your favourite YA books or books series so far?
Rachel: So not fair. You really need to see my Goodreads shelves to understand. But off the top of my head? Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, anything by Tamora Pierce, Blood Red Road by Moira Young, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkins, V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram, and countless others I just don’t have time to name!
Sabrina: It has been so lovely having you be a guest on my blog today! I can’t wait to see what future writing you bring! Thanks again Rachel. I have adored The Black Mage series, and I can’t wait for the final instalment.
Rachel: THANK YOU SABRINA FOR MAKING ME FEEL SO WELCOME <3 Excited for you to read Last Stand!!!


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