Please welcome Melissa Eskue Ousley to Parajunkee’s View.
Book Name: The Rabbit and the Raven
Release Date: 03/15/2014
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the author of The Solas Beir Trilogy. I’m currently working on the third book in this YA series, The Sower Comes.
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my family and our Kelpie, Gryphon. I love to swim, hike, paint, and walk along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.
Before I became a writer, I had a number of jobs, ranging from the educational summer I spent scraping road kill off a molten desert highway, to years spent conducting social science research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona. My background in psychology and love of mythology influence my writing.
In your own words, tell us a little bit about your book?
The fantasy adventure began with Sign of the Throne, released September 2013. Haunted by dreams that come true, Abby’s world is turned upside-down when she meets David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams. Discovering that he is the lost heir to the throne of Cai Terenmare, Abby and David must battle blood-thirsty monsters in a race to claim his birthright. The story continues in The Rabbit and the Raven as David and Abby journey to the outer regions of their magical new world, seeking the loyalty of four Oracles in an effort to win the war against the evil lord intent on stealing the young king’s throne. Along the way, they will learn just how beguiling darkness can be, and that power always comes with a price.
Can you tell us about the characters in your book? Who is your favorite?
David Corbin was not born in our world, but was kidnapped as an infant by his aunt and raised among humans. As he takes the throne and becomes Solas Beir of Cai Terenmare, the king of a magical realm, he gains great power, but using his power comes with a price. For example, if he heals someone, he takes that person’s injuries for his own. He soon realizes that the crown is a blessing and a curse. He falls in love with Abby Brown, the girl who freed him from the spell keeping him from the truth, and together they fight to win a war against an evil lord named Tynan Tierney.
Tierney may be my favorite character. He’s a bad guy, but he was also the most fun to write because he is not bound by the same moral code as the protagonists. While everyone else is fighting against him, he’s having a marvelous time wreaking havoc. He can be very charming, and that’s why he’s so dangerous.
What makes your book different from other books out there in the same genre?
A lot of paranormal books focus on popular mythological creatures with well-known lore (vampires, werewolves, fairies, demons, etc.). As I was researching mythology for my books, I noticed that many legends in our world have similar elements, especially bogeyman stories. Bogeymen are shadowy creatures that come in the dark of night to steal us away, and the myths about them can be found all over the world. I wondered if perhaps these legends could have a similar origin, that maybe these bogeyman came to our world from the same place. Reinventing the legend was the beginning of the Kruorumbrae, or Blood Shadows, predatory shape-shifters from Cai Terenmare that have found their way into the human world and become a part of our bogeyman stories.
What led to you going “indie”?
I work with a small, independent press, and one of the things I love about working with Castle Garden Publications is the personal touch they have with their authors, allowing us a lot of input into the look of the published book. I also appreciate the mentoring I’ve received.
Is Writing your full time profession?
Yes. I worked as an educator and a researcher for many years at a university, but then decided to pursue writing full time. As an indie author, part of the job is marketing, and I’ve enjoyed learning those skills too.
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Although I have a basic outline with my books, I really enjoy writing by the seat of my pants. There’s something very magical about hearing your characters and adapting the story as you learn more about them. I love being surprised by my characters, discovering things as I go along. I end up telling myself the story and I become the first reader.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Stephen King has been a huge influence. I grew up reading his books and I still love them. His book, On Writing, is one of the best out there for teaching writing. J.K. Rowling is also a favorite. As far as YA authors, some of my favorites are Kendare Blake, Holly Black, April Henry, Marissa Meyer, and Anna Banks.
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. The mixing of paranormal protagonists with history, magic, religion, and culture was amazing, and I loved how their struggles mirrored those of their fellow immigrants. The writing was rich and beautiful.
What advice can you give to struggling writers?
As a writer, you need the fresh perspective an editor brings, and it’s important to work with an editor who knows your genre so you can present your best work. Having my book professionally edited helped me find a publisher.
About the book:
Darkness is beguiling…and power always comes with a price.
Adopted by loving parents, David Corbin had no idea his life as he knew it was a lie. Then he met a girl. Abby Brown freed David from the spell keeping him from the truth, that he was the lost heir to the throne in a magical realm.
Even though he got the girl and gained a kingdom, David had no clue about the unfathomable power he would inherit, nor did he realize how much he would have to sacrifice to keep the throne.
If there is any hope of winning the war against the deadly Blood Shadows, David and Abby will have to journey to the outer edges of the realm to secure the loyalty of the four Oracles. Along the way, they will learn just how seductive darkness can be.Find out more about Melissa Eskue Ousley and The Rabbit and the Raven here:
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Melissa Eskue Ousley is the author of The Solas Beir Trilogy. The Rabbit and the Raven, the second book of this young adult fantasy series, will be released this March by Castle Garden Publications, the young adult division of Gazebo Gardens Publishing. She is currently working on the third novel in the trilogy, The Sower Comes.
Melissa has also published numerous academic articles in peer-reviewed journals such as The Journal of College and Character and The College Student Affairs Journal. Having received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from The University of Arizona, she has taught psychology courses and worked within higher education on diversity issues, serving underrepresented students and conducting research. She has presented her research at professional conferences throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Her expertise in psychology and interest in culture and mythology have heavily influenced the themes and character development in The Solas Beir Trilogy.