In the final Matt Posner* interview, mum of three and fantasy romance author Mysti Parker joins me around the Cauldron to discuss her work and other things - and also to explain what exactly fantasy romance is!
Hi Mysti. Thanks for coming on the show.
Hiya Wiz - lovely to be here.
So. Who is Mysti Parker?
Let’s see: wife, mom of three, writer, event specialist (fancy term for “demo lady”), reader, blogger, chocoholic and partaker in nice red wines.
|Oliver the Cat|
Slave to three cats, one dog, a whole slew of fish (ok, they’re my hubby’s) and 3 hermit crabs. Native Kentuckian and tomboy at heart, who looks fondly back on the days when she splashed barefoot in mud puddles after a rain.
Mine That Bird's 2009 magnificent Kentucky Derby win. Watch Calvin Borel hug
the rail in classic race
Whereabouts in the US do you live and do you like it there?
Kentucky. Louisville area. I’ve lived in various parts of the state and have travelled to several other states in the US, but KY is home. I can’t imagine leaving the green fields, rolling hills and iced tea that’s so sweet you could stand a spoon up in it.
|Some of the finest grazinfg grass in the world - engine room of the one of the world's|
premier thoroughbred racehourse breeding centres
Tell us about your work? How did you come to write these books?
Folks might find it odd that a Kentucky girl writes fantasy, but what can I say? I fell in love with The Hobbit from a little 45 record and abridged story book when I was a little girl. Wore that poor record out.
Then came Jane Eyre from the public library—and I fell in love with romance.
Fast forward to 2000ish when Lord of the Rings was made into a movie. Orlando Bloom as Legolas did me in. I had to write love stories set in a world like that, with elves, goblins, halflings, and all those wonderful magical things that make up classic fantasy. Plus several things of my own creation!
What is your latest release?
Seems weird thinking of it as a “latest release”, but that would be Hearts in Exile, the third book in my Tallenmere series.
It came out in June of this year and tells the story of Loralee, daughter of the high priestess, who is exiled to a hidden island to become the Dragon Keeper. Over the course of the book, we learn how she and mighty paladin, Sir Robert Everlyn, met and fell in love, and how they became separated for 10 long years.
He thought she was dead, until a shipwreck lands him on the island of Draekoria, and back into Loralee’s arms. Unfortunately, his arrival upsets an already tenuous relationship among the resident dragons, so he and Loralee must prevent a dragon uprising or risk losing each other all over again.
What is “fantasy romance?” I’m not sure I’ve heard of that genre? How is it different?
It’s basically a beautiful intermingling of romantic themes mixed with fantastical elements. Books like mine, for instance, rely heavily on the relationship between a hero and heroine, who work to overcome fantasy-based obstacles. The goals are not only to save a kingdom from Destruction by Dragon or to prevent an apocalypse (as in Serenya’s Song, Book #2), but also to find their way back to each other.
Incidentally, I've got a 50,000TH Hit Giveaway going on at my blog, Lots of great books and prizes. Here's the FB Event page link.
Thanks! With three kids, how do you fit writing into a typical day?
It’s not easy, and I’m unfortunately not one of those wonderfully prolific super-mom authors who crank out a book every few months. It’s a slower process for me, averaging about a book a year. I just write when I can, especially when the mood hits. I write while they’re in school, after they’re in bed, even on road trips (when my hubby’s driving, of course). If you love something, you make time for it.
|Classic American family sitcom Malcolm In The Middle - with a|
pre- "Breaking Bad" Bryan Cranston
How would you respond to the comment seen on a forum the other day that fantasy writing began and ended with Lord Of The Rings and everything written in the genre since is an exercise in spectacular pointlessness?
I’d say it’s nice rhetoric, but complete balderdash! You know what they say: imitation is the highest form of flattery. Think about any other genre—vampire fiction, for instance. Bram Stoker’s Dracula birthed a wave of paranormal fiction that continues to this day. Authors build upon what they love.
| Mysti at the Lori Foster Reader-Author |
Get Together in Cincinnati,
Ohio in June of 2013.
"They take the themes of the classics and convert them into their own unique spin on the story. They add in modern elements, combine genres (fantasy romance, anyone?) and these stories sync with readers because they’re built upon something familiar. J.R.R. Tolkien himself was inspired by works like Beowulf, and every other writer in existence was inspired by someone who came before. So…is modern day fantasy writing pointless? No. Spectacular? Yes!"
That's a fantastic answer, Mysti.
It's from the heart, Wiz hahahahaha.
You are also a book reviewer. How do you handle giving people you know bad reviews? Do you have a tip? Have you a fun reviewing story you can share with us?
Luckily, I haven’t had to do this very often, but if I decide a story isn’t at least worth 3 stars in my opinion, I will let the author know and ask if they want me to publish the review and go from there.
|Poncho the cat|
So, I guess that’s my tip. Just be honest and communicate honestly. I don’t give snarky reviews or inflated glowing ones. I point out what works and doesn’t work for me and try to do so constructively and politely.
I can’t think of a fun reviewing story involving me at the moment, but I did have one review on Amazon that called my first book a “nickel nasty”. Hahahahahah.
It inspired me to do a whole blog series on “Nickel Nasties”, celebrating the romance genre!
Dark wizards target you with vindictive, but very clever, spells on some pretext to do with your second book. You are transported to an astral plane with only an irritating goblin and half a wooden spoon to keep you amused. Annoying he may be, but the goblin has brought along a big sack. Inside, two books, two CDs and a DVD – what would you like them to be?
Oh crap, I’m in the Alkaryan realm from Serenya’s Song? Oh well, I hope it’s the scoopy end of the spoon—much more functional. In that sack of his, let’s hope he has a big book of word puzzles, a copy of Mockingjay
CD’s of 90’s pop music
DVD of Ever After.
Who is the greatest fantasy author of all time?
Considering my defence of modern fantasy writers above, I hate to say J.R.R. Tolkien, but…he’s hard to beat. I have to give shout outs to Mercedes Lackey, Terry Goodkind, and RA Salvatore, though. I want to be all of them when I grow up!
What did you and the kids have for dinner last night?
Uh…well, I’ve slept since then. Usually causes a memory wipe, but I think it involved more Thanksgiving leftovers for the husband and me and cheese pizza for the kids.
|Turkey and cranberries|
And what does 2014 have in store for fans of Mysti Parker?
I’m honestly not completely sure. My first book in the Tallenmere series comes out of contract in January and I’m planning to go full indie with it. I’ve got two children’s books in the hands of an agent and hoping to hear some good news on that front next year. I’m hoping to finish the historical romance I mostly churned out during NaNo and will see what I can do with that. Book Four of the Tallenmere series will likely be written or at least started. No matter what happens, though, I’m optimistic that it will be a great year!
Mysti, it's been a blast to have you around the Cauldron - thank you for a great interview and I wish you all the best on 2014.
Wiz, it's been a pleasure. Thank you.
|Mysti in Mombie Mode.|
Follow Mysti on Facebook
The best fantasy film ever made? Hawk The Slayer (1980)
|Harlan Sanders struggled on the road for fifteen years|
trying to sell his iconic fried chicken coating - eventually becoming Kentucky's most
famous son - "Colonel" Sanders....