#IndyAuthorTalk with Stasia Morineaux

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Sooooo…I saved this scary part for last. (I totally cheated and skipped ahead to fill in the other sections first!)

It’s so easy to answer the questiony-factual bits, and to write an excerpt, and to type in my social media details.

But, oh boy!

Look what we have here…that ultra-intimidating big blank space. And ‘The Dread’ (a somewhat cute, and of course quite tiny, fantastical critter, something akin to an itty-bitty goblin) sits in my tummy and sets loose the hummingbirds.

What do I want to write about? What do you want to read? Is it gonna be interesting enough?

My mind is a blank.

So I’m going to follow my own advice…which I’ve conveniently posted down somewhere below. And just write.

Something will come of it, I suppose.

How about dreams? The largest source of my inspiration. Aside from traveling and wandering and day-dreaming and people watching…

Dreams.

I weekly regale my family and friends with my wacked-out dream adventures.

I mean, seriously, what is a baby hippo fish? And why was he living in a flooded cornfield-pond? And why-oh-why did he want so badly to suck my arm down his cute little face?

And where are my shoes? Why am I so often finding myself in the most awkward instances with no shoes?

And for the love of Puck…why can I never find a clean restroom?

My mind is a strange and funny place, and I don’t want to scare you away, so maybe we should move on from dreams.

How about ‘Random Facts’? Those can be entertaining.

*I used to be a Candy Maker at Disneyland, right on Main Street! I can make candy canes!  Best job EVER…other than making up worlds that is!

*I have a squirrel circus in my back woods! They perform a daily trapeze act along the Kudzu vines that lace through the trees. And Buddy Squirrel sits beneath my balcony, being all cute and squirrely-like, and begs for peanuts. (Of course I give them to him, I’m no monster!) He’s teaching his friends to do the same. I’m convinced I’m going to wake up one day and they’re going to be knocking on my balcony door.

*I binge watch Netflix and Hula…waaaaay too much.

*Coffee tends to make me sleepy, but I still drink it ALL the time.

*Iced Chai Lattes are my true weakness.

*I have 6 tattoos.

*I suffer from Duality…I want to live in the city. I want to live in the country. 😃

*I didn’t learn to drive until I was 23, I was terrified of having an accident. But with good reason. I’d been in 3 just as a passenger! In retrospect, you’d think that would’ve prompted me to drive myself around a lot sooner! Huh…oh well.

*I craft lotions & potions.

*I rescue spiders…

*I want a Christmas tree farm…and some goats…and some chickens…maybe some bees…

Okay, enough randomness for today.

Go on and enjoy all the nitty-gritty factional info and book stuffs now!

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Isabelle Finne’s perfect world utterly unravels when she meets Death’s right-hand man one fateful night, spiraling her life into one which is beyond her wildest imaginings.

She’s quickly whisked away into a new life…she is no longer Isabelle, and is part of the most secretive inner-workings of Death itself, as well as an otherworldly dominion of ancient Celtic magic.

Now beings—that we were taught as children were merely fictional creations of wildly whimsical minds—are edging their way into her world as well.

Redcaps and Kelpies and Kobolds…oh my!

She yearns for the unmistakable simplicity of her old life; this one is full of dangers, unanswered questions and cryptic dreams.

And whispers, haunting whispers in her mind that send shivers through her…but in the most agreeable way.

After one particularly anomalous dream in which she learns of the Nine While Nine Legacy, things get truly precarious.

Now someone sees her as a risk…a threat…and wants to eliminate her.

Fortunately, she falls under the protection of Gideon—unless she leaves his territory—which is the one thing she wants the most…and wants the least.

 

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Where are you from? Does the area you live in influence you writing?

A ~ Originally I’m from California. I’ve lived in both NoCal and SoCal, we moved a lot when I was a kid. I tend to collect cities. It seems that every time I visit a city, I feel the need to move there. This drives my hubster a little nuts. Lol! Recently I moved to Asheville, NC. Same thing happened. I came for a day-trip and a month later we were packing up our house and relocating. But I do have to say, it’s completely NOT my fault! Blue Ridge legend has it that if the woods speak to you while you’re here on a visit, then you are fated to return here to live. And I’m starting to very much believe in that.

Since moving here the Nine While Nine Legacy went from being a trilogy to being a full blown epic series with off-shoot novels. I have SO many books outlined. The forests here are very inspiring. In fact, every city that I’ve lived in, or have desired to live in  (such as New Orleans, Seattle, and Salem) left such an impression on me, and my imagination, that they do flavor my writing, and some of them are quite prominently featured.

Tell us your latest news!

A ~ Currently I’m entered in Amazon’s Storyteller2017 Contest, and keeping my fingers crossed for that Grand Prize! I could use a trip to London! But aside from that I’ve been spending lots of time in the woods at the Biltmore Estate doing research for the next two books in the Nine While Nine Legacy series. If the Siog can cross over anywhere in our world, it’s in those woods. I’ve been tromping around out there, taking pix, sketching, imagining otherworldly beings peeking from behind trees, and occasionally slipping on slippery rocks and falling into the stream with my dog, Sass.

When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

A ~

I can remember writing as far back as being four. Back then I didn’t use paper or pencil though. I’d rewrite the books in my mind as I was reading them, having them go in a direction that I preferred, or as I played them out in my room. I was the youngest kid of three, and the only girl, so I was left on my own a lot of the time…and like I said, we moved around a lot because of my dad’s work, so friends sometimes were a scarce treasure. I always became so enamored with the characters and would invite them to have tea with me and my plushies. I guess that was the earliest form of fan fiction! When I got a little older, and could actually capture all the thoughts and conversations, there were always the beginnings of stories littered around my room. I became more serious in high school, but then was led astray by the costuming world for many years. Just another form of storytelling in my opinion. But as for when I got really, really serious about writing, that would have to be about fifteen years ago after a very impressionable trip to New Orleans. That specific book lies unfinished in my den—for the time being. But not long afterwards, I had a series of dreams that led me to my current work. The dreams were utterly fantastical and amazing and I couldn’t let them go after waking, so I wrote them all down, expansively…and just kept on going. And that brings me to right here and now!

What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

A ~ It’s a huge ongoing list, but I’ll narrow it down to just a few. My mom had a great book collection, huge! So many that there were too many to be housed on the shelves in the house and many were boxed up after she’d read them and stored in the attic. And it was in the long, hot, boring summers of SoCal, being the new kid in town with no friends yet, that I discovered some of my favorite authors and books.

The first one that stands out is Stephen King. Wow! I was the first kid to haul The Shining to school. It even got the cute football player I was crushing on to talk to me in English class. I introduced him to King! We were friends from that point on. Books rock!  😉 I always discovered such jewels in those boxes: Peter Straub, Raymond Feist, Anne Rice, Lewis Carroll, Dean Koontz, and SO many more. Later when I began building up my own collection, I added Neil Gaiman, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Robert McCammon, Whitley Strieber, Jane Austen, Julie Kenner….told you…I can just keep filling in the page with names.

Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?

A ~

It’s so cool how it happens and never stops amazing me. The very first really memorable character discovery, that just popped into my head and never left, took place in New Orleans, in a cemetery of course, right in front of a tomb! I was completely drawn to this one specific tomb and no matter how many times I walked away, I found myself wandering right back on over to it. I immediately had a storyline spring into my imagination based around this vision in my head. It was SO hard to leave the cemetery and leave him behind. I took dozens of photos, from every possible angle that first day…and every other time when I returned…every following October. An entire story was born that day as I explored the French Quarter and the Garden District. It happened years ago, but has never left me. It’s an upcoming novel, after The Nine While Nine Legacy.

The most recent characters were discovered in that dream series I spoke about earlier. They were all just in the dreams, and as I spent more time with them they each simply grew dimensionally with their personalities and likes and dislikes, and their histories unfolded for me as I wrote, almost as if they were guiding my hand. Collum was the most surprising one to date though. He wasn’t supposed to be in those woods in chapter 30, he just showed up and took the book where he wanted it to go. He wasn’t in the outline. It was supposed to be Gideon in the woods.

What motivates you to write?

A ~ I miss my characters terribly when I don’t. I’ve spent so much time with them, years…that if I don’t write, it feels just the same as when I neglect my friends. In fact, after wrapping up Nine While Nine I even found myself in tears. It was by no means the end of the story, but I knew, due to what happens in the story, that there is a shift, and I won’t be seeing some of them right away, and it left me unbearably sad. It’s such a strange process, and we get to know them so intimately that they feel like family, like friends.

What is the hardest part of writing?

A ~ 1) Getting large enough chunks of time to really submerge myself deeply into their world. Finding enough quiet and undisturbed hours. It usually takes some ‘stage-setting’ to get me there. The right scents in the room, the right music playing, everything spread out in front of me just so…and then I read some of what I’ve written previously and sink down into that place that once in is SO hard to return from.

2) Trying to stop writing when I need to eat, or fix dinner, or sleep, or do anything other than writing….my family is so patient!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

A ~

That the only way to get it written is to sit down. And write. To not be afraid of that blank page. That it doesn’t have to be perfect…and will never be perfect enough, or done. And get some editing help!

Where do you get your ideas?

A ~ Everywhere. I can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. From crazy dreams to being at the supermarket. The tiniest, most inconsequential thing can turn into a huge idea!

What does your family think of your writing?

A ~ My kiddoo loves it…I’m the cool mom! Yay! She’s a budding author herself. The hubster likes it, and is proud of me, but I think he’s getting tired of ordering in dinner…

And I think he might be getting a little tired of sharing me with Gideon!

What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?

A ~ I have to pass along the advice I received from Anne Rice when I was lucky enough to speak with her, and that is… “Just write.” Seriously. Don’t worry about what others will think of what you’re writing, or if it’s good enough. Just write it down. Scribble away on sticky notes, napkins, legal pads, receipts…whatever you have handy…and then just keep on going. Starting is the hardest part. Every day, starting is the hardest part…and then the words fly out of my brain faster than I can write or type. Hours just fly right by.

And never stop, never give up the dream.

What book are you reading now?

A ~ I just started in on the Grimoire Saga by S.M. Boyce. I’m really enjoying it! It’s got a great edge-of-your-seat kind of pace to it, wonderfully dimensional characters that I liked immediately, and it’s full of magic and intrigue!

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I’m running.

I had my horse, Eyvindur, just moments ago, but I’ve gotten separated from him, pulled off, and now I don’t know where he is.

It’s so dark out, so late at night, I should not be out by myself, and fear has my heart lodged in my throat.

The dark ones are here.

They are looking for me.

Rain is pouring down in sheets so thick it’s hard to see very far ahead. I’m pressed against a wall so tightly that I can feel the wood siding digging into my flesh beneath my top. I’m trying to figure out where to go from here.

I don’t know the area, this part of the city.

I don’t know where to run or to hide.

Can I find my way to Elysium?

It can’t be far. I think.

I peer around the corner of the house and no one is out there on the street, or on the sidewalk. I can’t just stay here, in someone’s side yard. I have to go somewhere. I’m drenched and I’m shivering and I’m lost. I want to sit down and let the tears take over. I’m exhausted and lost in so many ways, but I know if I don’t move they’ll find me again.

There is no time to cry.

So instead I run blindly, trusting my feet and some sort of extra sense, to take me in the right direction. I keep going until I begin to recognize some of the homes. I’m in Liam’s neighborhood, so Elysium is not much farther.

Then my back is suddenly on fire and I cry out in pain as I’m thrown to the ground, landing in the wet, mushy grass of someone’s lawn. All the air rushes from my lungs as I strike the turf front first. Before I can drag any air into my body I’m flung onto my back and someone straddles my body, pinning me down.

The rain is hammering down onto my face, into my eyes as I try to see the face of my assailant. I’m kicking my heels into the ground, trying to get some sort of traction, trying to push out from under this…thing. I finally draw a breath, but I don’t scream. I should scream for help. But instead I keep fighting.

The deluge lessens and I can see now as her hood falls away spilling white-blond hair forward, revealing the beautiful face of this woman, the eyes filled with death.

My death.

In all my gothic, vampire club days I’d never seen anyone this pale—and that’s saying something—and she means me harm, serious, deadly harm.

And I’m suddenly still inside, even though we are struggling against each other, with her trying to pin my arms, and me trying to push her away. I go still and quiet inside…and I’m gripped by it, this calm, and I feel a sharpness, an acuity of truth…of…some sort of intellect…or wisdom. And then I’m speaking words out loud. Words I don’t know…but I do know. Words that are powerful. Are power.

And I see shock in her dark, bottomless eyes. And disbelief. The words are ancient. I know they are. And they are not of this world. Not mortal.

They freeze my attacker.

And I feel power surge forth from me, like a blast from a furnace. She flies backwards off me. I should be shocked too. I should be stunned with the power. Stunned by the words that I just uttered in a deep and deadly tone with complete assurance and awareness. Astounded that I just did this.

But I’m not. It was exactly what I had expected from those words.

I get up and I run again, because I know she wasn’t the only one. If she found me, so could any of the others. I need the protection of my Cerberus.

I’m running up the walk to Elysium and there is Gideon, walking out the front door. At first, he smiles when he spots me, and my heart reacts immediately. That smile makes everything okay. But it falters. His smile fades, and he looks alarmed. I look behind me, but no one is there. I dart up the steps and crash into him, pushing him back into the entrance. Back into the safety, the sanctuary, that Elysium is.

His arms wrap around me as he slams the door and locks it.

I burst out, words erupt out of me. I tell him, breathlessly, looking into his eyes, my body shaking.

“Something dark is coming.”

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Stasia Morineaux grew up in Southern California, pursuing faeries in the garden and seeking spirits in the local graveyard with her cat Bartleby; they also spent countless nights hunting down things that went bump!

She resettled recently in Asheville, North Carolina with her hubster and kidoo, as well as with a bevy of creatures…both real and “imaginary”.

Mysterious dreams, copious hours of awesome music, and obscene amounts of coffee fuel her writing sessions of paranormal, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, the supernatural…and sometimes even a sprinkling of chick lit!

In her spare time she likes to relax on her balcony, feet kicked up, listening to the squirrels arguing with the crows in her woods.

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