TTS: The Top Shelf would like to welcome my evil twin, Mysti Parker to the blog! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your book A Ranger’s Tale.
Mysti Parker: I’m a full-time wife, mom of three, and a writer. It’s a wild and crazy life, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Well…I might trade a week to lie on a beach in Hawaii and sip little drinks with umbrellas in them. A Ranger’s Tale is the first in a series of stand-alone novels about the fantasy world of Tallenmere.
It’s 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.
TTS: How did the idea for this book come about?
Mysti Parker: In 2009, I got the idea for a fantasy world called Tallenmere. Inspired by a lot of roleplaying games and The Lord of the Rings (Can you watch Orlando Bloom as Legolas and NOT be inspired?), I wrote a novelette, Let There Be Love, sent it to Midnight Showcase Fiction (now Melange Books), and they took it right off the bat. I was thrilled. They wanted more, so I dove into writing A Ranger’s Tale.
TTS: I like to ask this question of every author I interview because I find character creation interesting. How did you name your characters and did you shape them after people you know in real life?
Mysti Parker: My hubby’s always accusing me of putting him in my stories, but no, I really don’t base any characters off people I know, but I certainly draw from real personalities and experiences. As far as character names, I choose based on their race. Humans have human-sounding names, like Galadin’s fellow sailors Shyler and Bob. High elves have rather formal names, like the Aranea family: Sirius, Ellawen, Caelen, and Caliphany, and the supporting characters of Julianna Livendell and Aelendyl Sivenya. Wood elves have names that involve nature, like: Jayden Ravenwing and Arven Foxwood. Half elves will have a mixture of human and elf names, like Galadin Trudeaux.
TTS: Did you have the storyline all planned out when you sat down to write or did it take a life of its own beyond the initial paragraph?
Mysti Parker: I originally set out to make it a novella, but I followed the advice of some wise critique partners and expanded it into a novel. The story rather flowed from that expansion and really took on a life of its own. I had no idea that Caliphany would end up…oops, I almost spilled the beans!
TTS: When you sit down to write a story do you use an outline?
Mysti Parker: I’m not much of a planner, but I do go by a fluid outline, changing it if I need to.
TTS: Where there ever moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted it to go? How did you deal with that?
Mysti Parker: There was a certain event that had originally been much different, but would have left the hero in a bad light. That was the point I knew I had to rewrite and expand, and though it was challenging to tie up a longer story with more events, I’m REALLY glad I did it!
TTS: What led you to writing?
Mysti Parker: From the time I was old enough to walk, my mom said I carried a pencil and paper around with me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write something. In my teen years, I wrote a lot of poetry. In college, my creativity was limited to research papers (I studied biology). I write now to stay sane while I’m raising three kids. It’s good for mama to have an imagination and have an outlet for her creative side.
TTS: Are you planning on sticking to one genre or are you going to branch out into others?
Mysti Parker: I surrender to the writing bug’s direction. This fantasy romance series is top of the priority list, but I love trying new genres in short stories. I also have a historical romance first draft about 2/3 done.
TTS: What do you like to read?
Mysti Parker: I grew up loving classic authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, and Charlotte Bronte. When I got a little older, I fell in love with Victoria Holt’s romantic suspense, and Stephen King’s creep-fests. Nowadays, I read all sorts of things. Independent authors are wonderful—I love being surprised by their non-conventional plots and genres.
TTS: What are you reading at the moment?
Mysti Parker: Not a lot since I’m finishing up my second book, but I’ve got Renee Vincent’s Raeliksen open on my Kindle. I’ll be reading that when I’m done!
TTS: Do you think what authors read influence what they write?
Mysti ParkerYes and no. When you first start out, I think you’re inclined to imitate, but the more you write, the more you find YOUR original voice and style.
TTS: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now if you’re working on anything at all?
Mysti Parker: Sure! I’m finishing up Book Two of my Tallenmere series, which follows Jayden Ravenwing (a prominent male character in A Ranger’s Tale).
Here’s a blurb to whet your appetite!
Serenya Crowe may be a half-elf commoner, but she’s no ordinary woman. With the ability to interpret dreams, and a birth defect that forces her to wear gloves, she’s endured gossip and the cruelty of her husband, Sebastian, The Earl of Summerwind. All she’s ever wanted is to live a quiet life and raise a family. When she meets the new stranger in town, her world, and her heart, are turned upside down.
Wood-elf Jayden Ravenwing is an ex-secret agent who wants nothing more than to forget matters of the heart. He left the bustle of Leogard and his failed marriage to make a fresh start in Summerwind. He never planned to fall in love again, especially with the enchanting Serenya Crowe.
When a strange portal opens on the Crowe property, Jayden is thrown into an investigation, knowing that if he fails, Serenya and everyone in the town may die.
Together, he and Serenya must overcome an ancient evil and their own inner demons, to save Summerwind and find the love they’ve always dreamed of.
TTS: Once again, I would like to thank Mysti for taking the time to be here! I would love to have you back again sometime!
Mysti Parker: Thanks, not-so-evil twin! I’d love to come back and wreak havoc appear on your fabulous web site!
Mysti Parker is a full-time wife, mom of three, and a writer. She graduated from the University of Louisville in 1998 with a biology degree, but writing has always been her first love. After many years of pursuing life in the biology field and as a mother, she began her writing career in earnest in 2009. She and her husband Bryan grew reside in Buckner, KY with their three children.
A Ranger’s Tale is the first in a series.
Mysti is giving away ONE e-book copy of A Ranger’s Tale! It’s available in PDF and Kindle format. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment with a valid email in the e-mail field! A winner will be chosen by random.org on Thursday February 09, 2012 at 9 PM eastern. Good luck! If you’d like more info about the book, a synopsis can be found below.
Synopsis: Set in the fantasy world of Tallenmere, the high elf Caliphany Aranea longs to explore the world and escape from her controlling father. Her dreams are fulfilled when she meets ranger and ship captain Galadin Trudeaux. But, when secrets from the past bring tragedy to those she loves, Caliphany must fight to hold on to the life she’s always wanted.