Get ready to be swept away in an epic fantasy of elves. Today we are talking with Mysti Parker, author of A Ranger's Tale. Mysti will be giving away two copies of her #eBook to two lucky winners, so please leave your email address with your comment to be entered into the contest. Ready to find out about Mystic and her novel?
What inspired the idea behind A Ranger’s Tale?
First of all, thanks so much for having me here today!
I’ve always been fascinated with the elves in The Lord of the Rings trilogies, and in fantasy roleplaying games. They seemed so whimsical, full of magic and lore and mystery, beyond piddly human conflicts, which wasn’t a bad thing, but I wondered what it would be like to create elves with realistic problems—ones similar to what we mere humans face. That’s when Caliphany came about. Her father is a control-freak, she’s disgruntled with her life and occupation, and she falls for a “bad” boy. What I like most about her story is that while she faces these realistic problems, she’s still in a world of fantasy. Nearly one hundred years old, she’s a wizard turned ranger with some kick-ass firepower. She battles trolls, goblins, and traitors who possess equally strong magic.
And of course, I’m a romance-a-holic, so romance plays a huge role in this story.
Why is your protagonist, the high elf Caliphany not permitted to travel far from home?
For one thing, Caliphany’s mother is King Leopold’s brother, so as the niece of the king, she’s expected to stay the course, marry noble blood, and live a respectable life in the city. It was her brother’s death, however, that sealed her fate. Her older brother, Caelen, wanted to become a paladin, and their parents allowed him to, but he ended up being killed in a crusade in a weak moment where he couldn’t decide whether to use magic or melee. He was supposed to take their father’s place as leader of the Mage Academy. As a result of his death, Sirius successfully rallied to remove magic from the battlefield and kept Caliphany on a tight leash so they wouldn’t lose her and so she could lead the Mage Academy like her brother was supposed to.
Is a high elf like royalty?
A high elf in Tallenmere is a distinct race of elves. According to them, they are the cream of the crop, Mother Innessa’s finest creation. Tall and fair-skinned, until King Leopold’s reign, they were pretty xenophobic and didn’t like to mingle with other races. Many of the noble ones still don’t appreciate Leo’s new open-city policy and you’ll see references to that mind-set as Caliphany interacts with her parents.
Other elves you’ll see are wood elves, like Jayden Ravenwing—they are shorter, have olive-toned complexions and in the city of Leogard, are usually in the employ of the high elves. Dark elves live across the Southern Sea in the land of Tyronnia. They have skin of dark blue and hair in shades of white and purple. When they align with the evil human Emperor Sarvonn, they cause a lot of trouble in Leogard, which you’ll see in the story.
How do Caliphany and Galadin meet?
It’s a chance encounter, while Caliphany is daydreaming of faraway places at Leogard Harbor. As is often the case, she’s where she shouldn’t be, and a couple of unruly sailors take advantage of that and try to kidnap her. Galadin steps in and rescues her. An instant attraction ensues, and Caliphany finds a way to ensure they’ll meet again. She decides she must leave her gilded cage and needs someone to show her how to fend for herself. So, she seeks Galadin out, offers him enough gold that he cannot refuse, and they begin to train together. The rest, as they say, is history!
How did you come up with the names for your characters?
Would you believe me if I told you they just sort of come to me? Ok, I can do better.
I do try to pick names that sound like the character’s specific race, if that makes any sense. The high elves, like Caliphany Aranea, and her parents Sirius and Ellawen, will have more complex, formal-sounding names. Half-elves like Galadin Trudeaux will have half-human, half-elf-sounding names. Wood elves like Jayden Ravenwing will have names that contain something involving nature. As in the story I’m writing now—Zephyrus and Shade Windsong are a wood elf couple.
Hopefully that gives you some insight into the process.
What interested you in writing fantasy?
Fantasy gives my imagination free reign. It’s not confined by real-world facts and historical accuracy; though I still research things like archery, etc to make the story as plausible as possible. You still have to be consistent with worldbuilding, magic rules, and all that. But if I want to write about fire-wielding wizards, trolls, and goblins, by golly, I can! That’s what makes it fun!
How many books have your written?
Let’s say 1.5. I’m working on Book Two of the series, and it’s fun to keep some of these characters alive and give them their own story.
On your blog, you have a song list. Are those some of the songs you listened to while writing A Ranger’s Tale?
Most definitely. Some I’ve added are better fits for my current book, heavily influenced by Evanescence. And some of those I just like, period!
Does music heavily influence your writing?
While I didn’t plan scenes in A Ranger’s Tale around songs, I found songs that fit certain scenes and listened to them as I wrote and edited. “Over My Head” by The Fray fit chapters 13 and 14 and the way Galadin was torn between loyalty to his crew and protecting the woman he loves. “Rhythm of Love” by Plain White Tees was fun to listen to while writing chapter 18, where Galadin and Caliphany danced together in a crowded tavern in Faewood.
In my WIP, the heroine is based heavily off the haunting beauty and songs of Amy Lee (lead singer of Evanescence). Serenya has those same pale blue eyes, raven-black hair and rich singing voice.
Is A Ranger’s Tale a stand alone, or will it have a sequel?
It is both actually. Meant to be a stand-alone novel and Book One of a series. Many characters are introduced in Book One that will appear in subsequent books. Jayden Ravenwing, for instance, plays a prominent role in A Ranger’s Tale and has his own story in Book Two, Serenya’s Song.
Are you working on any new projects?
I’m working on Serenya’s Song, Book Two of my Tallenmere series. It follows directly after the events of A Ranger’s Tale. I’ve also got a short story in the works and I’m in the planning stages of a possible 4-author collaboration. I’m really excited about that, as I’ve never done anything collaborative before.
Where can readers purchase your book?
You can find it at www.melange-books.com in both print and e-book. Also, www.amazon.com in print and Kindle. Other places to find it are www.allromanceebooks.com, www.bookstrand.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, www.digibookscafe.com, and www.coffeetimeromance.com.
Where can readers connect with you on the web?
The best place is on my blog, Unwritten, at www.mystiparker.blogspot.com.
I’m also on Facebook, with a regular profile using my book cover and a new fan page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mysti-Parker/103786449704221
Can you share an excerpt from your book?
Well, since you asked nicely, here goes:
One of my favorite scenes is between Caliphany and Galadin, when he first begins to train her in the ways of a ranger. This is from Chapter 7, in Galadin’s POV:
Caliphany followed me to the worn-out archery targets. Behind us, I heard a familiar step and figured that nosy wood elf wouldn’t leave well enough alone. I was prepared to ignore him, but Caliphany heard him coming and turned.
“Greetings, Captain!” Arven smoothed out his hair. All those damn elves took pride in their pretty hair; his was dark brown and hung to his shoulders. He eyed Caliphany like she was a prime cut of beef. “And who might this be?”
I stepped between her and the golden-skinned wood elf. “This would be my apprentice, Caliphany, uh-”
“Just Caliphany, thank you,” she said. “And who might you be?”
Arven laughed. “I’m Arven.” He winked. “Just Arven.” He punched my shoulder. “You’re moving up in the world, Trudeaux—got yourself an apprentice now, and a fine one at that. We don’t get a lot of lighties out here.”
I glared at him. “Watch your mouth around the lady.”
Arven bowed. “Humblest apologies, my lady. Have a look around. We have all your tracking and hunting needs right here.” He turned back to me. “We got your arrow order ready, Trudeaux.”
I nodded. “Good. I’ll get them when we’re done here.”
Arven gave Caliphany one last look-over and headed back for his cabin. She ignored it and walked over to the targets. If she’d been offended, I couldn’t tell.
“Sorry about Arven. He’s a bit rough around the edges.”
She shrugged. “I’m used to being, um, looked at. Can we start?”
I stood there like a dummy for a moment. I didn’t doubt men enjoyed looking at her. She was breathtaking, to say the least. Regardless, the woman had given me a heck of a lot of gold, so I owed her some lessons. If I enjoyed the view while we were at it, all the better. Her identity didn’t matter to me either. A few days, maybe a week or two, and she’d get bored with her little game. I’d have a hefty sack of gold to show for it. We’d both be happy.
“Here you go.” I handed her a bow.
“This is lighter than I thought.”
“It’s ebonwood—light, but sturdy and flexible. Go ahead,“ I said, handing her an arrow, “try it.”
Caliphany held the bow and tried to nock the arrow. She dropped it. I rolled my eyes, but stood still, letting her pick it up and try again. Carefully, she nocked the arrow on the string, pulled it back as far as she could, and let go.
She stuck her finger in her mouth, then pulled it out and examined the injury. Blood pooled under her fingernail. The arrow had not even made it halfway to the target. Her eyes shot daggers at me when I started laughing.
I crossed my arms, smirking. “You. You’re doing it all wrong.”
“Well then show me, oh exalted trainer.”
I sidled up behind her, positioning my body against hers. I imagined how smooth her bare skin would feel next to mine. She was tall, like all the high elves, and matched my height. Catching a glimpse of her cheek, I noticed a blush, and my own heart sped fast as a hawk’s dive. I pressed my chest against her back. She caught her breath. I wrapped my arms around hers, positioning her hands. Caliphany might have been accustomed to men’s probing eyes, but it was clear she hadn’t been handled by too many of them.
My lips brushed her ear as I instructed her. “Here, lift your elbow, it’s like jelly. Yes, good. Now, turn your hand like this. Find a comfortable anchor point, right here under your ear, probably.” Goosebumps rose along her neck in response to my breath. I tried to remain serious, but making her react that way was quite fun. “Now, relax your shoulders, pull back, aim, and release.”
The arrow flew toward the center of the target, but bounced off. She beamed. I couldn’t help but smile as pure joy danced in her sea blue eyes. At least she was enjoying herself. Better than her cursing at me. So many of her kind wouldn’t have given me the time of day.
I gestured toward the target. “Again.”
We'd like to thank Mysti for stopping by and chatting with us. Be sure to catch our live interview with her on Blog Talk Radio Wednesday, June 15th at 3:30pm PST. You can visit our channel and set a reminder for the show.
That's it for us for now. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win A Ranger's Tale. See you on the stream!