FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS–Interview and Giveaway
Today’s Brew: Hot cocoa with whipped cream. Why not blueberry coffee? Because it’s night time, and I need my beauty sleep.
Today is a day that we’ve been waiting for around these parts for a long time–release day for Melissa Petreshock’s FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS. FOSAD is a futuristic fantasy that has a little bit of something for everyone to love: dragons, vampires, and demi-gods. I haven’t finished it, so I can’t give you any spoilers, but I can guarantee you’ll keep turning the page for one more chapter. (Damn you, Melissa, I just said I needed my beauty sleep! *shakes fist*)
I’ve heard so much about this book, I needed to know more about how it came to be from Melissa. So without further ado, I’m handing the reins over to Melissa to tell you what went into writing this book:
Why dragons? What made them an essential part of your story?
I’ve always like dragons. Dragonheart and Eragon are awesome as is the general concept of dragons. What really helped give them life in my story is the fact there is simply so much of a history of legends and myths surrounding them. It allowed me to create a whole mythology that builds on the idea that all of that is real and based on the way the Dracopraesi dragons work. The shapeshifting, their Goddess-ordained duties and responsibilities to the world, it all falls into place with the idea these legends and myths may have bits and pieces of truth to them. I like mixing fantasy and reality, blurring lines so readers fall easily into the world I’ve created.
FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS takes place in the 22nd century. How is it different from today? What survived? How does it affect the way Cait considers Theo, Dante, and Corrin?
Of course, in MY 22nd century, the biggest difference is the fact all supernaturals in the world are out in public. Humans are fully aware of the dragons, vampires, deities, elves, and the Fae. They all have various roles they play and levels of integration into society by their own choice, but their existence has become a normal and accepted part of life. Schools teach about their history and cultures the same as they do human history and culture. Our government has fallen to the rule of a monarchy, and the king is a vampire, so that’s a big change.
There is an integration of technology similar to SmartHome technology that is trying to break through now, but it’s widespread and the norm. Everyone uses it. It’s a seamless transition of data between smartphones, tablets, and wall-mounted panels in every home/office/building that use biometrics for access, allowing anyone to pull up their personal data from a cloud server regardless of where they are.
At the same time, the supernaturals are often older than humans, or at least have longer life spans than humans, and the ruling class are significantly older, quite ancient actually. There are plenty of much younger vampires and such, but the ruling class, the monarchy are not young, just as you would expect for most cultures. Because of this, they aren’t keen on too much change in technology, so you don’t see flying cars or anything. They are fine with things changing at a slower pace. They have plenty of time. Plus, the book isn’t about sci-fi crazy futuristic world stuff.
The way all of this affects Cait is in the governmental change and overall societal change. There are aspects that are dystopian. Laws are in place that suppress women, particularly human women, and that’s what leads to her situation in the book, the choice she faces. Cait is in better circumstances than most women because of social standing gained by her vampire uncle, but laws still don’t play in her favor after his death, and she has to cope with that.
I put a little of myself in most of my characters. How is Cait different than you? What similarities do you share with the characters?
For one, Cait looks nothing like me. Lol. She’s more fearless than I am, even when she’s doing something stupid or crazy. I tend to be far more anxious than she is, not that she doesn’t ever doubt herself or second-guess her choices, but she’s less afraid of jumping into things head first than I am. I share sarcasm, self-doubt, and analytical qualities with various characters. Many of my characters have similarities with people close to me in various mixes but all with their own twists. None of them are straight-up copied from someone I know or me and written into the pages.
Had Cait’s uncle lived, what was her original plan after college?
She was studying psychology and had plans to become a counselor with a non-profit organization for women and children. Cait doesn’t need the money and grew up taught to do for those less fortunate because of those circumstances. Her uncle was quite the philanthropist and passed that on to her.
The world of FIRE AND STARS AND DRAGONS is involved. How do you keep track of it all while writing?
Notes, notes, and more notes. I have tons of notes in both Word documents and in notebooks. I have an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the Penfaeryn language I’ve developed, and pages of notes detailing the mythology for the dragons. To make it easier, I’ve also kept the story contained to one general area- Boston. I know it well enough from living up there to require far less notes about the location where things take place. But there is still a ton to track, and it can’t be done without detailed notes, organized notebooks, Excel spreadsheets, and carefully outlined Word documents breaking everything down into groups and subsets of information.
Did you base the Dracopraesi on any existing mythology?
No. I created all of that from the ground up and spent a lot of time pouring over how they would work with the division of houses, responsibilities, appearances, rankings, etc. The basics of everything is found on my website. I created a Guide to the Dracopraesi to help readers understand the Dracopraesi mythology since I know fantasy worlds can be confusing, and the dragons have a great deal of complicated rules about house rankings and such.
Sixes and threes come up often in your work, and you’ve carried your theme onto your blog. What do these numbers mean to your characters or to you? Should I playing these daily numbers?
I have an Irish ancestry and a huge love for all things Celtic, so it was natural for me to pull in certain Celtic symbolism into my world. The triquerta is incredibly significant to the deities, dragons, and other supernaturals in my world. Threes came naturally from there.
Dragons led to the biblical “666 sign of the dragon/beast” concept, which led to me challenging that notion with sixes coming into play. In my mythology, I decided to create 396 eternal dragons. They can die but would reincarnate in death, so there are always 396 dragons, never more, never less. This number comes from there being 6 Houses of the Dracopraesi with 66 dragons in each house. 666 split into 6 and 66. They are further divided into the 3 Goddess Houses and the 3 Catalyst Houses to keep with the symbolism of 3.
Among the deities, there is a strict belief in 3 Sacred Principles, which is why they use the triquerta as a divine symbol. It represents the principles all beings should strive toward gaining: morality, knowledge, and compassion.
What does your typical writing day look like? Do you have any writing rituals?
My typical writing day looks like utter chaos. I have a husband, three kids, and four cats in the house. There’s always some crazy distraction going on. I write every spare minute I can, especially if I’m on deadline, but sometimes I get so stressed that I just can’t focus. My biggest ritual is that I MUST have music playing to write. I have to find the right song to keep me in the tone of the scene I’m writing at the time, or I can’t find the words.
What would you do if writing wasn’t an option?
Go crazy. Honestly. I’ve tried doing other things, and it just doesn’t work out. This is the only thing that keeps me anywhere close to sane. I don’t think I’m wired to do anything else.
What’s been your favorite part of your writing journey so far? (Besides getting The Call from Swoon.)
Meeting other writers on Twitter. I’ve had a blast connecting with fun people I wouldn’t otherwise have met if we weren’t all writers. There have been tons of moments that have been OMG kinds of moments, but in the long run, I think the people I’ve met are lasting parts of this journey. Although, I have to say that seeing the cover for FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS for the first time was wicked epic. I never expected such an amazing cover and am still blown away every time I look at it.
Music is a huge part of your life. How does it inspire your writing?
Finding the right song while writing holds the emotional tone of the scene and keeps it flowing smoothly. If I can nail the perfect song down and get it on repeat, I can knock words out fast and with such beauty it’s as if I’m living the moment with my characters, watching it play out rather than writing it. I know if the song isn’t right because the scene doesn’t work. At the same time, there are songs I hear that click, leading me to write an amazing scene I hadn’t initially planned, but it works out better than I expected. The playlists on my website are tied heavily to the writing and tone of the books. Listening to the songs can deepen a reader’s sense of the characters.
What’s your favorite book? Yes, you have to pick just one.
One? Agh. You’re killing me. If I have to pick just one, I’ll say WHEN RABBBIT HOWLS by Truddi Chase, which is actually a non-fiction book recounting the horrors of abuse and delving into the world of Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). I read it when I was growing up because this is perfectly normal casual reading as a teenager if your mother is studying for her Master’s degree in clinical psychology. Just ask my sister. I think she also read it.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently finishing the second book in the trilogy, BLOOD OF STARS AND GODS, then I’ll dive right into the final book before taking a short break and starting into the first of the standalone novels associated with the series. I have several standalones planned with some of the secondary characters from the trilogy, giving them their own awesome stories. I’m a long ways away from leaving the world I’ve created and hope readers want to stay in it with me.
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