The Book Beacon is proud to participate in the YA Reads 2013 Debut Authors Bash.
Today is the day our blog gets to host Christina Mercer, the author of Arrow of the Mist.
We would like to thank Christina for stopping by to answer a few questions about her book and her craft! But first, my review of Arrow of the Mist:
This is the story of Lia, a brave girl in search of a cure after her father is poisoned by a deadly thorn. The venomous plant is spreading quickly, killing peasants as they work in the woods. Dark magic is sending the root system far and wide, and the usual remedies don’t heal the victims. Lia and three others embark on a quest to get the necessary ingredients to cure those infected. It is on this journey that Lia finds the power behind the poison plants and discovers she has magic of her own.
The Arrow of the Mist is an awesome coming-of-age story, steeped in mystical folklore. Lia’s long standing knowledge of natural resources and recently exposed inner power makes for a wonderful battle against evil – she uses her brain and brawn against magical enemies. The story is fast paced, the plot is entirely original, and the quest is thrilling. Lia battles evil and encounters first love on this quest; making the well-rounded protagonist even more dynamic. She is a heroine for all readers, and her quest will resonate with all who love a great adventure.
The combination of Celtic-inspired myth and very real botany is fun to read, the fight scenes are vivid and exciting, and the conflict is convincing. I love stories where good and bad overlap, and it is in this gray area that Lia finds herself. Does she finish what she started or surrender to the natural order of living things? This is a great book, and you will enjoy the adventure – I promise. – Kris
Now, as promised: Q&A with Christina Mercer!
1. What was the inspiration for Arrow of the Mist?
The seed-thought for this book took root nearly eight years ago, though elements of the story have lived within me since childhood. It started out as a short story meant for a much younger audience, but kept growing and developing into the novel for tweens/teens it is today. My formal studies in alternative healing and my informal studies in mythology inspired the world and facets of magic woven throughout the story.
2. Can you describe the process of world building the kingdom of Nemetona?
I set the world in a fictionalized ancient Ireland. I wanted to keep with a Celtic feel, as I drew many of the magical elements from Celtic mythology (as some from Norse). Especially tree lore, which in a way guided me through the landscape.
3. Which authors inspire(d) you?
I enjoyed growing up reading fantasy by J.R.R. Tokien and Terry Brooks. I also loved MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
4. What are you currently reading?
I have a stack of books waiting for me to read when I can carve out some time, but the last book I finished was TONGUES OF ANGELS by Julia Park Tracey (really great!)
5. What actor/ actress would you choose to play Wynn and Lia?
I have a character board for this on Pinterest. Bella Thorne (with green contacts) was my pick for Lia and Alex Pettyfer for Wynn.
6. Do you have a specific time of day you prefer to write?
I’m typically fresher in the morning, though I’ve had my share of jotting scenes down when a surge hits me late at night.
7. Plotter or Panster?
Both. I’m a hybrid of sorts, enjoying freedom within the boundaries. I do a rough outline/story board for the major plot points and then I write pants-style to fill it all in.
8. What was the most difficult about writing Arrow of the Mist?
Since it was my debut novel, writing ARROW OF THE MIST was my greatest learning curve. What began as a slow, relaxed “playing with ideas” pace, grew into a serious endeavor where creativity met with craft and form.
9. Do you have advice for getting past Writer’s Block?
READ! Reading other fiction helps get your head out of your own manuscript, but keeps you in that creative space.
10. Is there a message you want your audience to take away from Arrow of the Mist?
That nature is full of (healing) magic. Also that girls can ride horses, shoot bows, and outwit adversaries as much as anyone 😉
11. What was your favorite chapter/ scene to write in your book?
Oooh, well, I have a few favorites, but one I had lots of fun with was when the protagonist, Lia, was dealing with a trio of tree “guardians” comparable to the Norns of Norse mythology.
12. What project are you working on now?
I have two more teen fantasies in the works which I aim to get out late 2013/early 2014. The first is the sequel to Arrow of the Mist, titled Arms of Anu. The second is for older teens, titled Honey Queen, which took Writer’s Best in Show at a 2012 SCBWI Regional Conference.