Today on Paws4Thought we welcome Maeve La Fay. Maeve says she writes for both men and women, age 16-30, who enjoy Dark Celtic and Arthurian Fantasy. Tell us about yourself, Maeve.
I am an avid reader of about any genre, though fantasy is my favourite. I enjoy weaving tales that are character driven and complex in unique worlds steeped in magic. Though I do not have any of my novels published as of yet, I do have two short stories published to this date and several stories submitted. My short story, “The Otter King”, published in Dragon Knight Chronicles 2014 edition, is set in my own world and carries strong eco themes.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
While writing I enjoy listening to folk music and soundtracks, hoping the music will set the mood and transport me into that magical place in my imagination. When I need a break I go and cuddle with the dragons, better known as the cats!
What authors or books have influenced you?
J.K Rowling, as with many writers my age is the person I attribute my love of reading and writing to. Before I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone I was conquering a learning disability that made it difficult for me to read and write. Harry Potter kept me reading and got me in the habit of reading every day and looking up words I didn’t know in the dictionary, which later turned into a good research habit when I began writing.
TA Baron, Jane Yolen and Juliet Marillier also helped me blossom into an avid reader and writer. Other than that, four years ago one of my friends changed my life dramatically by introducing me to dark fantasy meant for adults. I was almost exclusively reading YA at the time, and the introduction of that beat up blue paperback, A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin and another massive volume by Joe Abercrombie entitled The Blade Itself opened my eyes to the wonderful and dark world of adult fantasy. This allowed me to realise a joy in keeping characters dead, and moving the plot along without worry that something was “too dark”, as I and many others love the dark and gruesome.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two projects right now. My first project is a behemoth I have been working on for two years entitled The Tree of Nine Worlds/Crann Na Beatha. It’s the first installment of a five volume series set in an original world highly influenced by Celtic folklore.
The next was a NaNoWriMo Project I intend to polish and publish unattached to the main series. It is called Camelot Shall Fall. Camelot Shall Fall is a multi-perspective, character driven narrative that depicts everything from the conception of Arthur and goes far beyond the Battle of Camlann.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My best advice for writers is to read and write every day. Even if it’s just journaling and reading a page a day, it will help you develop as a reader and an author. Also don’t be afraid to tread new ground, if you have an idea for a story you’d like to share with the world, others will want to read it!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t forget that you are writing because you enjoy this. I remember weeping over a liquored-up coffee to a close friend that I would never finish my novel and he told me that though I should put lots of care and love into my craft, I can’t look at writing as a chore. If you are despairing in a project, take a break and allow yourself to find joy in writing again.
What are you reading now?
I am reading several books right now, but I am primarily focusing on Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule (First Sword of Truth Novel) and Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I want to finish Tree of Nine Worlds‘ first volume and Camelot Shall Fall. Once one of those are finished and proofread a million times just to be sure, I want to send them out to publishers to see if there are any bites. If not, then I will look into re-editing and self-publishing.
3 or 4 books for deserted island?
What? All my favourite books are installments of series! Four stand alones I would take would be Stephen King’s Pet Semetary, Cecilia Ahern’s If You Could See Me Now, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradely and a collection of Insular Celtic and Norse folktales.
What inspires you to write?
Folklore and fairy tales as well as the Harry Potter Series started my writing as a child. As an adult I am inspired by anything, a painting, a good book, or a moving song. Anything can get me to write, it’s one of the only advantages of my ADHD.
Tell us about your writing process
I am what you call a discovery or whim writer. I will have something plotted out in my head, characters and a world as well, as I have done tons of research, but after that I just write. This is why I tend to bounce from chapter to chapter filling in bits later. I let the story and characters evolve with the plot and setting while keeping it within a rough skeleton. Sometimes things change completely, but It’s always, I believe, for the best.
Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?
I often have character sketches and their interaction with the world done before I begin. Once they are fully developed I throw them into the narrative and see how the plot and setting change them,
Do you listen to or talk to your characters?
It’s a dialogue. Often I tell my characters what they should do and why, but every now and then they tell me what they want.
What advice would you give other writers?
Best advice I can give writers is to write, write, write! Also maybe listen to feedback, you don’t need to uproot everything on a troll’s comment, but listen to any criticisms of plot holes and word flow, those can help you master the craft.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that there is definitely a future in book publishing. Now, more than ever, I’m finding people want to read with all of the films based on books coming out in the past three or four years. There is a long and prosperous life for literature ahead of us and I think the number of people wanting to read is bound to rise.
Maeve in her own words
Tree of Nine Worlds:Quest for the LochbhanEveryone knew what a bride to be singing that song meant. This was the entire reason for betrothal ceremonies before they became an excuse to feast for the sake of feasting.“Saoirse!” King Agnew cried angrily down at his daughter . “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”Saoirse inhaled deeply and spoke as she had rehearsed it in the mirror before coming down to the hall. “I am invoking the Bridequest, as is my right by Highland Law!”Everyone around her let out a gasp, and nobles from both highland kingdoms stared at her, wide eyed or simply squinting in anger. King Ferghus stared at her the most intently, his fair skin reddening by the minute. She knew better than to hope the Sluadaighish king would not be slighted.“Ach! Ye cannae do this to me lad!” Ferghus announced angrily waving a large square index finger in her face. “King Agnew, your daughter can’t resurrect this archaic ritual.”“You have to renounce the Bridequest, Saoirse,” Agnew pleaded. “No one has invoked a Bridequest in over eighty years. The match has already been made, this isn’t fair to any of the parties involved.”Except perhaps me, Saoirse thought bitterly, but said. “It is my right by ancient highland law to name a quest for any suitor who wishes to strike a match, to prove he is a good enough match, and ensure that our sons will be strong. There was once a time that any noble man who wished to marry had no choice but to complete a quest chosen by she who was promised to him.”“Aye,” Agnew conceded. “T’was a strong tradition, but, Saoirse, but these are dire times and we have to keep making noble matches before more houses die out.”“Your king father’s right, your highness,” Doug stated without expression. “As my father’s only son, it is important for me to continue the line. A quest could kill me, and thus end it.”“The bridegroom has the right to refuse the request,” spoke Queen Adelaide, Saoirse knew not to be surprised with her stepmother. “But in refusing the Bridequest, he is also refusing the right to his bride.”“Adelaide!” Agnew choked, his hazel eyes staring widening.“I am sorry, your grace? Is it that you want your daughter to wed a man who could not prove his worth?”“Your grace?” asked Gawaine in amazement. “Our alliance with Sluaghdaigh—““Does not depend on my step-daughter’s hand in marriage,” Adelaide stood with her arms open and spoke loudly. “We are one land split into four kingdoms and we are naturally allies against those who would see us harm in this growing world. The princess’s hand in marriage is an act of friendship between two allies, no more, no less!”“Name your quest, Princess Saoirse of Daoinebhaile and I shall fulfil it.”Saoirse stared blankly in amazement. She didn’t expect him to accept the quest. She couldn’t remember what she had wished him to do for a second. Disbelief clouded her memory and caught her breath while her heart thudded loudly in her chest. She now remembered what it was she had wanted him to do. Never did she imagine he would accept her quest, but she would happily marry him on the morrow if he gave her the means to do this.“I want you to help me find the sacred city of Crannllwynn and grant me an audience with the Lochbhan.”
Connect with Maeve on her blog, Tales from the Mists where I also am visiting today.