One of favorite things to do as reviewers is introduce new to us authors. One of those authors is Mia Marshall. Because she’s new to us we’ll go easy on the questions…this time around. We’d hate to scare her off 🙂 Mia is also giving away a pretty awesome prize, a copy of books 1&2 in her series…just leave us a note telling us what you like about paranormal romance.
TBRG: Welcome Mia to our neck of the internet.
MM: Thanks for inviting me!
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
MM: As a writer, I should probably name check some famous fantasy writer like Neil Gaiman or Emma Bull, but I’d be lying. It’s Joss Whedon, all the way. I was a massive Buffy fan back in the day (still am, really), and the way he placed humor and angst side by side just felt so fresh at the time. That, plus the way he mixed and matched all the genres, showed a new way to approach the urban fantasy narrative, and I think that influence is felt in a lot of UF series, mine included.
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
MM: Probably that I’m a freaking Amazon. Thanks to tall parents and tall grandparents, I topped out at 6’4”. On the plus side, that will make me really easy to spot at conventions and such. So, if anyone out there is going to RT, just look up, and you’ll find me.
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
MM: New Orleans has always held a certain mystique. It’s unlike any other American city, and even if it wasn’t the setting for a gazillion urban fantasy series, I’d still want to go just for the music, the food, and the architecture. And, conveniently, I have my first visit planned for the end of May. So, if any of your readers have suggestions for what I should see or do on my trip, I’d love to hear them.
TBRG: What was the first romance book that you read?
MM: I don’t remember the title, not even a little. I just remember poking around the YA section of the library one day, looking for a Sweet Valley High book I hadn’t read before, when I stumbled across a Harlequin Presents book. I slid it between the age-appropriate books I was borrowing, trying to act all cool, and snuck it home, where I proceeded to be enthralled by the exploits of a Greek billionaire and his virgin mistress. When I went back to the library, there were several more Harlequin books mis-shelved. I’m convinced some romance-lover was on a mission to indoctrinate young readers into the ways of the bodice-ripper. It totally worked, too.
TBRG: Who are some of your go to authors, and what are you reading right now?
MM: My auto-buys are Stacia Kane, Patricia Briggs, and Chloe Neill, with Diana Rowland moving onto that list. Comfort reading and rereads are Jane Austen (don’t even ask how many times I’ve reread Persuasion) and Diana Gabaldon. Seriously, the spine on Outlander is so cracked you can barely read the title anymore. Right now, I’m reading At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran, who may just be my favoritest historical romance writer.
TBRG: If you weren’t writing and keeping us in books (thanks for that by the way), what would you be doing?
MM: You know, I had a lot of jobs before I finally started writing novels, and none of them brought me joy the way writing does. Let’s not even consider a return to one of those, okay? Unless we’re playing fantasy job, in which case I’d either be a big cat trainer or a professional bourbon taster.
TBRG: What is your guilty pleasure?
MM: I refuse to feel guilty about my addiction to reality singing competitions. I probably should feel a little guilty, though, considering how many hours of my life I’ve willingly sacrificed to American Idol.
TBRG: Who is on your playlist when you are writing? If you don’t listen to music do you have the tv on for background noise? If so what shows are on?
MM: I can’t write to TV, at all. I have no idea how people do that! When I’m concocting a story in my head, I can’t have another story interfering and demanding my attention. I can’t even write to music with a strong narrative voice, because I’ll get distracted from my own words. So Aidan might love country, but I can’t ever write to it. I usually write to The National when I have music on. It helps that their lyrics are fairly abstract, so I don’t get lost in the story being told. There’s just something about their music that carries me to a good writing space. Many, many scenes have been written to The National albums.
TBRG: Where do your ideas/characters come from?
MM: Most of the time, something will just pop into my head and I’ll know it’s right. Characters tend to announce themselves to me, already fully formed, and it’s obvious I need to include them in the story. Usually, I just find something that excites me, that makes me say, “Ooooh, I want to write THAT.” I never base my characters on people I know, and considering that I write urban fantasy with a strong mystery element, I definitely don’t take the plots from my everyday life, either.
TBRG: Are you a planner or a fly by the seat author or a combination?
MM: I fly by the seat of my pants about 90% of the time. I always have a general idea where I want to go, and if I find myself without an ending by the halfway point, I drop whatever I’m doing and come up with something, anything. I need to have some direction to keep the narrative focused, but I also love the freedom of being able to change my mind as new and better ideas appear. Outlines for me are rarely more than suggestions I can follow or reject depending on my mood.
TBRG: How did you come up with this series?
MM: The first thing I imagined was a farmhouse, isolated and a little rundown, with a large pond nearby, and I built a story around the woman who lived in that house. That woman was of course Aidan Brook, and the farmhouse became something of a metaphor for who she was–alone and somewhat broken, but with a solid foundation.
TBRG: Tell us about the series?
MM: The Elements series takes place amongst the elementals and shifters of Lake Tahoe (with a few humans scattered throughout, for good measure). Both races are descendants of the earth’s original magic, though they don’t always get along. The series focuses both on the elemental/shifter conflict and on Aidan’s efforts to understand her powers and to come to terms with the past in the hope that she might have a future.
TBRG: Tell us about Shifting Selves?
MM: Shifting Selves takes place about a month after Broken Elements ends, with Aidan still dealing with the fallout from the first book. Her life is uncertain in a lot of ways, and it doesn’t get any more certain when the FBI enlist her and Sera to work on a case involving missing shifters. Book 2 takes the reader further into the shifter world and reveals a lot more about Aidan’s relationships and about Aidan herself.
TBRG: What do you want us to know about Aidan and Mac?
MM: That the reader needs to be patient! I have a plan for Aidan and Mac, but I’m not going to rush it. All will be revealed in time.
TBRG: Using 3-5 adjectives describe Aidan and Mac.
MM: Aidan is impulsive, determined, adaptable, resilient, and more than a little snarky. Mac is intense, private, and protective, with the capacity for some truly impressive displays of temper.
TBRG: If Aidan were to describe Mac what would she say? What would Mac say about Aidan?
MM: Aidan would probably say Mac was really damn hot, both inside and out, and that she trusted him despite knowing very little about him. Mac would say she was stubborn, occasionally unreasonable, and a bit maddening, but also loyal, kind, and determined to do the right thing. They’d both say the other was an excellent kisser.
TBRG: What are you working on now?
MM: Right now, I’m wrapping up the first draft on a new series. It’s very different, a second world fantasy rather than urban fantasy, and third person rather than first, and I’m hesitant to say too much more about it before it goes through revisions. Once I have a chance to do a round of edits on that, I’ll be jumping back into Elements #3. I miss those characters, and I’m eager to get back to that world.
TBRG: We want to thank Mia for coming on today and telling us about her and her upcoming book.
Aidan Brook’s world was shattered when the actions of a brutal murderer revealed long-buried secrets about her past–secrets even she didn’t know. A powerful elemental, Aidan discovered she possesses the wrong kind of magic. It’s a secret that could cost her sanity—or even her life.
What she needs is some peace and quiet. What she gets is a phone call from a division of the FBI so secret it doesn’t even have a name, asking for her help with a series of shifter disappearances.
Before Aidan can settle into a new routine of pancakes and evenings by the fire, the case develops claws. She quickly finds herself caught between uptight bears, deadly mountain lions, overprotective parents, and unhappy federal agents. Throw in a stalled romance with an enigmatic shifter and the slow dissolution of her chosen family, and it’s hard to say which will drive her mad first: her magic, or her chaotic life