Hi friends! Today I am sharing a guest post from the blog, The Arrow and the Song, which just so happens to be the blog of my editor, Arielle Bailey.
This was one of my favorite interviews ever, simply because the questions are so good. I think you’ll agree. Arielle is quite imaginative (part of why I love working with her). And yes, dinosaurs are really dragons. Dragons are dinosaurs. Whatever. You know I’m right.
Check out the interview below!
From The Arrow and the Song:
I had the privilege of editing this book and helping Morgan polish it for release. If you like prophecies, realistic love stories, fantasy wars and politics, and a good villain against which the heroes can fight, you should check out The Chalam Faerytales!
Describe your book’s aesthetic in three words and/or a graphic.
Poetic Epic Færytale
What was the very first spark for this story?
Wow. That’s a difficult question… If I’m being completely honest, I think the book sparked in me when I was a kid. I remember from the time I was tiny, I would lay outside in my backyard, looking up at the sky and wondering if God had made other worlds. And if he had, if he would give them a similar story to ours. Would he redeem them the way he was redeeming us? Even as a kid, I figured the answer was probably yes. And from then on, I have had stories floating in my mind—stories of other worlds and other people. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize that I was a storyteller until well into adulthood. I just thought that if anyone knew the things floating around in my mind, they’d call me insane. Turns out I am insane—I’m a writer! Ha!
If you could invent a sub-genre to classify this book, what would you call it?
Hmmmm…. It’s probably Spiritual Romantic Epic Classic. Yeah. I like that.
What music did you listen to while writing it? Are there any songs that go to particular chapters or characters?
As a singer/songwriter myself, I have a soft spot for the genre. So I listen to a lot of folksy, ethereal, under-produced artists who write their own stuff. They get bonus points if they play the piano. My favorite right now is RHODES. He’s a British singer/songwriter with a voice like butter. I think I took to him because he sort of reminds me of Ferryl. His music is deeply romantic but clever and thoughtful. It’s ethereal in all the right ways. He has quite a few songs that inspired a lot of scenes in my books, but ones that come to mind first are ‘Wishes’, ‘The Lakes’, ‘What If Love’, and ‘Crash’.
Do you have a favorite character, and if so, why?
Can I have more than one? *wink* I think my favorites are a tie between Titus, Michael, and a character you haven’t met yet named Hania. (You’ll meet her in the next book but sufficient to say, they call her a lioness for a reason. And I LOVE her.) Titus is my favorite because he’s so conflicted. He doesn’t know who he is yet. But he knows he’s not who he should be. I love his journey. And, having the privilege of knowing what’s going to happen to him (#AuthorPrivileges), his story is one of my favorites.
But Michael is another favorite. And I think it’s because he’s so nauseatingly selfless. He reminds me of my husband in that regard. He’s one of those people that would give you the shirt off of his back. But he’s flawed, too. And he’s got scars he hasn’t worked through yet. If I’m being honest, I think both of them are in my top favorites because I hadn’t planned on any of them. This story was birthed through Ferryl’s and Elizabeth’s eyes, so the secondary characters that became central characters were a surprise to me. I think that is honestly one of the most rewarding things about being a storyteller—the characters can really surprise you. And they feel like your own children in some ways.
Which character do you identify with the most?
This is a tough one for me, because I think there is probably a little bit of me in each of the characters. If there is a character I’d hang out with on weekends, it’s probably Hania (again, you haven’t met her yet but she’s just…. GREAT). If there’s a character I feel like I’d go to for advice, it’s Elizabeth, hands down. If there is a character that I would be thrilled to have show up slightly intoxicated at family parties so that he can say highly inappropriate things at all the wrong times, it’s Derwin. And if there is a character that I would hate but also be slightly jealous of her style and personality, it’s Meria. (Yes, I love the villain. She’s delightfully horrible.)
What was your favorite part to write and why?
I’m going to answer this the only way I can: by saying what has been my favorite to write of what you’ve read so far because… if I said what has been my favorite to write of the series so far, there would be major spoilers. (Again, #AuthorPrivileges) So, of books one and two, my favorite scene to write was Ferryl on the mountain. Largely inspired by Moses’ encounter with the burning bush in the book of Exodus, this scene gave me chills as I wrote it. I loved the challenge of trying to explain immortal, divine Light. I loved the challenge of giving God a personality. And I loved seeing it all through Ferryl’s eyes. For me personally, I think God is all of the things Ferryl encountered and more: light, music, fire, eternity, galaxies, heat, joy. I think creation is a shadow and portrait of the Creator. So to try to convey that magnitude with letters and words and phrases… it was daunting. But it was also quite cathartic and romantic for me. I’ve had a lot of readers tell me that was their favorite scene, too.
Did you have a LEAST favorite part to write, and if so, what?
I did NOT like writing any scene where Ferryl and Elizabeth fought. It was difficult to give them problems because I wanted to cradle them in my arms and keep them safe from all harm. (Again, they feel like my kids in a lot of ways.) But it has been a central tenet of these books to write love for what it really is—the valleys and the mountaintops. The highs and the lows. So I didn’t want to portray one of those we-never-have-problems-because-we’re-in-love couples. So I let them fail. I let them get nasty with one another. I let them say things they regretted. And I hated every minute of it.
What scene/s did you love writing that DIDN’T make it into the final draft?
Hahahaha, okay, you’re going to hate me for this, but when I wrote the first draft of The Purloined Prophecy, Lord Adam was originally intended to be a new love interest for Elizabeth. I thought it might be fun to give Ferryl a little challenge. I eventually changed that thread because of who Lord Adam became, and because of what I knew he would have to do in the rest of the books. But originally, there was a scene were he kissed Elizabeth. It was my subtle little nod to George Lucas and Star Wars because (SPOILER AHEAD….) of them being family. I thought it would be a funny little nugget to have for Derwin to make fun of Elizabeth for unknowingly making out with her cousin. BUT…. I ended up changing Lord Adam’s entire persona from being someone Elizabeth might be attracted to, to someone Elizabeth knew was up to no good. Because that will become tantamount in later books. So the kissing scene got nixed. (Plus I realized that even if she couldn’t be with Ferryl, it would take Elizabeth a lot longer than a few days or weeks to move on to another man.)
Will you share three of your favorite quotes from the book?
Ooooooh, YES. Gladly!
“I know who holds your leash, Prince Derwin.” smirked King Aaron, sipping again of his wine. “Just as I know you happen to like it that way.”
– Chapter 48, The Purloined Prophecy (I love this because I love Derwin. He’s a grumpy cuss and there is only one person in the world who has his number. And he happens to be married to her.)
“Providence was… He was…
Beyond anything Ferryl could put into words. His light. His color. The radiant glory and power emanating from him like a tangible wave of heat and power and infinity. Eternity. Future and past. The book and the pen that wrote it. The song and the notes that composed it. The canvas and the brush that painted it. Fury. Splendor. Fire. Wonder.”
– Chapter 49, The Purloined Prophecy (I love this quote because of what I mentioned before: the challenge of trying to convey who Providence is in mere words.)
“Maybe I need you, yes. But maybe… Maybe you need me, too.
“Because the truth, Elizabeth, sometimes it’s black and white—as black and white as the halls of Benalle Palace.
“But sometimes, Elizabeth… Sometimes the truth is as nuanced, as colorful as the glittering halls of Chesedelle. And it requires something more of us. Something beyond logic, beyond reason. Sometimes the truth requires…”
“Faith,” she interrupted softly, tears lining her eyes.
“Yes,” he nodded. “Faith. And I think the fact that it requires both faith and logic is what makes it truth at all. I think the fact that it’s both unchanging and depthless is what makes it formidable, eternal.”
– Chapter 52, The Purloined Prophecy (This. This sums up the mystery of my faith. It’s both black & white and as nuanced as a glittering crystal. It is the enigmatic marriage of tangible and intangible. And I think love was given to us to help us understand that, even if only just a little.)
Are there any hidden easter eggs in your book that we should look out for?
Only about a million. Every prophecy, of course. They will all matter. And some of them… well, some of them will be left for you to decide how they will work. The moths. Oh, I can’t wait for you to learn about the moths. And well, I cannot give all of them away because where would the fun be in that? But sufficient to say that there is a LOT more to Michael’s story. And you already know it, you just don’t realize it yet.
How did writing this book help you grow as an author?
I think looking at the world through the eyes of so many different characters has made me a better person. So often in real life I will interact with someone who reminds me of one of my characters. And so I take a moment to listen longer. I make a point to absorb and retain. I think I’ve become a better listener and a better friend. And perhaps those reasons began as selfish character research. But it has taught me to slow down, to soak in, and to appreciate human nature in all its varied forms.
What’s your favorite book? Did it influence this story in any way?
That’s like asking me what is my favorite star in the sky. GEEZ. Okay, I have several go-tos that I read over and over. I absolutely LOVE Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I make a point to read that one about once a year. I also LOVE The Princess Bride by William Goldman and the entire Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Of course these books influenced mine. Of course! How could they not? I think all art influences art. I think all life influences art. But in particular, I love how the story of Christ is represented in such a tangible way in Redeeming Love. I love that, again as I said before, a love story teaches us about the Creator’s own heart. Yes, that book is beautiful.
And as for The Princess Bride? The book is witty and clever and quick and yet still sweet and poignant and deeply romantic. I think that had to have influenced me in some ways. I did not set out to write a particular genre. I set out to try to be authentic and write authentic people, with a healthy sprinkling of magic. People who are deep and broken and scarred, but are still funny and clever and witty. People who have many layers, like we do. So of course The Princess Bride influenced that. It’s a masterpiece of light-hearted fairy tale meets profound peek into human nature. I love every morsel of it.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m deep in the throes of writing this series. As of now, I have written the first five books of the series and have started writing the sixth. I have eight planned out so far. But I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be more in there. Only time will tell. I haven’t allowed myself to think past this series yet because I’m a bit of a *squirrel* kind of person when it comes to creativity.
BUT… as I write these books, I am also simultaneously working on writing, composing and recording a companion soundtrack, with both songs and scores influenced by the story and characters. I don’t have a definitive release date set for it yet, but you can at least get a sneak peek of one of the songs on the trailer for The Promised One here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MwIK5WvoME (I wrote, arranged, and performed the music for this, and the piece is lovingly called Ferryl’s Song.)
Do you have a favorite dinosaur? If so, what?
Okay ummmm, peg me as one of those people who firmly believes dragons are dinosaurs. Fight me. I don’t really care about real-life dinosaurs, except perhaps Littlefoot (color me a kid of the ’80s). But give me dragons all day. So yes, my favorite dinosaur is a dragon. Elliott, to be precise. Pete’s dragon. He’s perfect. You’re welcome. And while we’re on this dragon vein, I also happen to love Abraxos, Manon’s mount in the Throne of Glass series, though technically he’s a wyvern, which is an armless dragon. Which is really a dinosaur. #Science
Thank you for stopping by, Morgan! It was delightful to hear about behind the scenes of this book and series.