Author Interview: Merri Halma

Merri Halma

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am working on my second companion novel in my Indigo Travelers Series entitled Ian Temple and the Search for the Wisdom Trees. It is about a 13-year-old teen who hears the voice of the trees. He knows they are in danger, some are disappearing. The trees is hearing are from another world. Ian learns that they, and others, are searching for the original Wood Sprite. A werecat shows up in Ian’s bedroom, tells him he is an Indigo kid. The werecat also points out the shadow in Ian’s room that is moving independently. This sends chills up and down Ian’s spine.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Book 1: Indigo Travelers and the Dragon’s Blood Sword is about Xander Veh and his search for why he was created to hear other’s inner most thoughts and wishes. Early one morning, his cat brings him a griffin encased in stone. Xander, who can hear animals’ words in his mind, can hear the griffin. The griffin, named Geoffrey, tells him about the world he came from that has been torn apart by a king who wants to rule all the countries on that world. He learns they are searching for the Indigo Traveler who will wield the dragon’s blood sword that will be used to remind this errant king of what the dragon’s kindness to his ancestors so their race would survive.

Book 2: Indigo Travelers and the Keys to the Shadowlands follows the Arimaspians king, Titus, who tried to take over all of Curá in the first book. A raven comes and pretends to be a Crow Court Judge when she is really the self-appointed judge of the Shadowlands. She takes advantage of Titus’ anger at the Albagoth, the Creators of the Worlds. She encourages Titus to be angry and wallow in his regret and self-hatred, finally stealing his soul and taking it to the Shadowlands. The Indigo Travelers gang, Xander is brought back to Curá. He brings with him Milo, his adopted brother and Sarah, who wants to escape the World of Nampa for a while. Though, Sarah has her own questions- like why does she see spiders whenever she closes her eyes? Xander risks losing himself by going to the Shadowlands with his body. The danger is going crazy from seeing what he has been suppressing all his life played out.

Book 3: The Indigo Travelers and the Lost Murdoc Princess

Sarah dreamed of the circle with many divisions. A voice spoke to her of the lost Murdoc Princess bringing peace to a world where two rival spiritual paths sought to convert each other. It spoke to her of ridding their world of the third, the Murdocs, but she knew she was part Murdoc.
Could Sarah be the Lost Murdoc Princess? If so, her people and her life were endangered because of the other two spiritual groups. After the voice finished, a spider appeared to her, with the symbol on his forehead, telling her to trust him. She hates spiders. She learned they are Anansi.
Separated from her friends, Sarah must turn to is the one insect she is most fearful of, the Anansi, which look like spiders. Can she allow one to become her best friend?
Does she trust the Anansi to teach her the meaning of the symbol of the circle with the divisions?

Companion Novel 1: Lynx on Fire

Lynx, a werecat, doesn’t remember his birth world. He knows his first caregiver, Alchemist Tarrier, rescued from under a burning wagon. Lynx has no memories of that time. Until he was attending a bonfire with his new family, the Veh’s in his new home world of Nampa. Watching the bonfire brought back memories of being a cub in a world that was foreign to him. A cub, called Runt because he was the youngest and too small for his age, was being bullied by his oldest brother and taunted. The brother threw Runt against the wall, and the young cub’s spirit soared out of his body to see a bear family. The bear cub, Artois, wanted to find the spirit and return it to the body or send it to the Creator of Ohana, the world they were on. Runt soared on to the humans in the village- many- bear cub remembered Runt’s face. Bear cub knew- but his father said they, the grizzlies, were the true god of the land. Artaois remembered.

Lynx was shaken out of his trance by Geoffrey, his griffin friend- but from then on, Lynx was plagued by more memories of a fire. He heard some distant voice say he would face another fire. He had to face his true self- not the Maine Coon shape he had chosen to hide before he left Curá. Artois, remembered. He knew Lynx in the same world as him, now. Artaois would not be happy until he either gave Lynx that soul his father said werecats didn’t have- or killed him with the fire he could make with his paws- using his god gifts.

Demons are made of Fire. But Lynx swears he is not the demon others say he is. Will Lynx embrace the fire to become what he knows he can be?

Haunting of Powell Hall, not part of the Indigo Travelers Series

Mark Owl Eyes loves to tell stories from his Native American folklore and spiritual paths. He brings his new girlfriend to Powell Hall where his office is on campus, and begins to tell her to the story of Krystal, the ghost of Powell Hall. Krystal hears his voice and flies to him, but sees he is with a new girl. One of them has to go. Krystal believes Mark is her beloved Mike, who died in WWII. Mark finds himself caught between two worlds, one is the white man, path to blend in with that culture and the path of his ancestors. He must find a way to reunite Krystal with her beloved or risk losing the one woman he wants to give his heart to.

Table by the Window by the Caldwell Writers Group.

I have two essays and one horror story in this anthology. My Life, Thirteen Again and the Mysterious Chest.

I am a member of the Caldwell Writers Group.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Editing. I hate editing. It is difficult to back through a piece and painstaking decide what to leave in and what to take out. Or how to rewrite a sentence, paragraph or even a whole chapter.

Currently, the book I am working on now has had so many drafts I feel like I am editing it. I’m probably not working as hard on it as I want to. Other things keep getting in the way. So, right now, I’m planning a lesson for a local writers group. I’m researching that and including footnotes. After I get that done, I will work more on Ian’s Story, as I call it. Until I have to plan my next lesson for that group next month.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Yes, when I can get my characters in the vision quest within the story, like Xander being swallowed by the tree the Wraiths tie him to and he ends up in the chamber where the Sage of the Murdoc trees begins counselling with him on why he feels he has to save Sarah instead of allowing her to save herself. In the end, he realizes Sarah has always been the one to save him whenever he gets in trouble.

Or Lynx ends in the cave deep within Ohana and he is faced with all the facets of his personality. Even the demon part of him, which he does not want to accept.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would steal Brandon Sanderson’s world building and deep character detail and construction. I’m awed by his ability to create such detailed characters that just pop off the page. They are so real, I want to pull them off the page and interact with them. I would love to sit with Shallan, watch her draw and ask her questions. Or walk with Kaladin, watch him work out with his Shardsword and listen to his stories. Or watch his spren fly around, dancing on the air currents.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Ian, you were not searching deep within you for strengths nor were you willing to talk with your parents to get the truth from them. If I hadn’t taken you on the journeys so you would face down evil, and found the trees, you would never had learned you magic and can do more than turn invisible. You would never learned to trust your parents and see how much they do love you. You have grown so much surviving the ordeals.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

I don’t know enough about poker to answer this question. I watch Star Trek Next Generation playing poker. My characters are teens, and likely would not play that game. I can see them LARPing or playing D & D.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I would say my expertise is mythical world building. I’m a pantser to an extreme, so I would say not researching enough early on and trying to imagine or create enough and then find out it isn’t as tied to real world so the readers might not accept it. I also try to write my lead characters so they sound older than their actual age. Sometimes editors dock me for that. With my current book, I’ve caught myself a couple times asked me if a teen would actually dialogue with an adult on the same level. Sometimes one teen might. So I decided Ian might not be able to track the whole story time that explains how the worlds were created. I had Ian say to the Sage, who was teaching him, he wasn’t interested and blew it off. Sage allowed the kid to do that, but it bugged him.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Plots to take over the world would be Lynx’s department (lol). Seriously, I hope to have Ian Temple and Search for the Wisdom Trees out by June of 2021.