Author Interview: M.C. Leavitt

M.C. Leavitt

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’m currently working on three new serials and two books. I started on The Forgotten Wife over a year ago, and when Kindle Vella came out, I jumped on the bandwagon – I feel it fits my style of writing. In Summoned Bride, a completed serial I’m uploading and scheduling, I mention one of my main character’s ‘name’ from The Forgotton Wife, so I want to get that finished as soon as I can. I’m also planning a serial for one of the characters from Summoned Bride, giving them a redemption arc.

I’ve written most of Barbarian King’s Bride, another serial, but I’ve hit a slow moment that’s just too… slow. I love action, weaponry, fighting styles, and something always happening (bring on the drama!), so the really slow moment doesn’t work for me. However, I feel it works for this part of the story – slow is actually what it needs, so I’m thinking of pulling inspiration from manga and anime and maybe making it a little cute. Once I finish setting the scene of Riley’s new temproary life at the academy, I’ll be able to bring in two particular characters (I don’t think readers will be expecting it, but I’m a bit inspired by a couple of web novels on a particular cultivater who’s unbeatable and constantly underestimated. I can’t remember the name of the one main web novel (it had two) that inspired me, but I believe The Peerless Concubine on WebComics is based off it.) to show something highly important that’ll cement just how messed up one of them is. And you won’t believe what’s up with the other!

Another serial will be about one of those two characters.

My third serial I’m also working on is (title subject to change) Bride of the God of Fates.

As for books, I’m trying to finish a few projects, actually, but I for sure want to finish and publish books 3-5 in my SciFi-Fantasy series Kaliah’s Hope. I’ve finally decided to go with an option someone gives Nara in book four to her dilema, which will turn it into a reverse harem – this a a pg-13-ish New Adult series.

I’m also working on An Elf’s Quest, the companion book to A Nymph’s Journey.

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

Daughter of the Wind is soon coming. It’s one of my favorites – packed with action (different types, but if you love magic, hand-to-and combat, killer battles, I’ve got you covered), betrayal (oh my goodness, everyone and their dog, I swear. But I promise they’re solid and there is justice. Because I love justice and revenge. You have been warned.), awkward moments (in chapter 2 you’ll see the first major moment. I’m so tempted to give spoilers, but my main beta was like, DANG! I, of course, couldn’t help but laugh. And yeah, I so go there with awkward moments. Can’t help myself. Have had plenty throughout my life, so of course I have to torture my poor characters.), and magic. The deadly kind. Because that’s how I roll. Come travel through space with us and to another planet!

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!)*

Marketing. Because in this day and age, we have to do it ourselves! Which is where publicists and PAs come in. If you can afford them. And if you can, I highly suggest hiring them. I’d rather sit and write my way out of an impossible situation than to have to sit and post everything everywhere, crunch the numbers for paid ads, and follow the analytics. Okay, so, hire someone who can do all that. But I’m doing this one step at a time as I’m able and learning tons.

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

The inspiration and seeing the story unravel and reveal itself to me.

The vast majority of my stories come from vivid dreams where I can hear, see, feel, and at times, evern smell and taste. For the most part, I’m given enough info in my dreams – the MC’s every day life, the inciting incident, and the main arc of the story.

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’d steal Piers Anthony’s ability to create such in-depth, rich worlds and cultures, like The Magic of Xanth. I found a huge book (with all three sotries!) in a box outside a used bookstore – everything was free, take what you want. And wow! I was completely immersed in another world. That’s my ultimate goal – to make my worlds and cultures so stunning and believable, readers get sucked up in the reality of the main character(s).

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?

I, uh… *Swallows hard and raises hands to hold Siren off* I was along for the ride, I swear it. And I gave you everything you need. Your life, it turned out good, right? I mean, sorry about the deaths and huge scares, and maybe the heartbreak. But, like… *Points at head* It was all your fault, really. You got inside my head. Or rather, sucked me into yours and Cam’s. And look, everything turned out… uh, you’re alive?

*Siren from Daughter of the Wind is one of the most understanding and patient people. She’s quick to forgive and give people a chance, so of course she’d hear me out. And she’s a bit logical – she’ll know how and why everything worked out for the best. Especially since her world (both figuratively and literally) is at stake.

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?

Okay, so, the last completed book I finished reading (again) is actually Dinj of Light. It’s one of my favs. A short, fun, adventurous story I can relax and enjoy. Well, except for one really intense part. Okay, two. It’s kind of like a ScifFi-Fantasy fairytale. With action – fight scenes, the possibility of death, secrets…

So, if I were playing poker with Kita and say, her viss, I think she’d try and let me win, but her viss is much too clever. The stakes – gosh, I have no idea. I’d maybe try to play to get her dad’s dagger because it’s awesome, but her viss would no doubt put a fake there instead of the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, the fake would be epic. But if they’re playing to win, he’d win, hands down. Freaking brilliant, that one.

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.)*

Stage directions. So, stage directions are when characters do things – action beats and body beats – without any frame of mind to break them up. They’re boring and can be overdone, leading to bad proportions.

Uh, lemme give an example:

Emmie sat at her desk and drummed her fingers on the worn surface. She flicked her pencil between her fingers and starerd at the large textbook with too-small print.

A fist rapped on her door, and she jumped. She spun in her seat and blinked. Ryder laughed.

*To me, that’s super boring. What’s she doing at her desk? What’s her why? We can so take this deeper and break up the stage directions by adding in the character’s frame of mind and their why:

Emmie slouched at her desk and drummed her fingers on the worn surface. Science was so boring. Why’d she have to learn the periodic table? It wasn’t like she’d ever use that knowledge in the future (warning – oh, yes she would! I’d make sure of it because I’m a mean author!).

She flicked her pencil between her fingers–it shot from her grasp and pinged off the wall, the tip chipping off.

Great. Just great. She didn’t have another pencil or a pencil sharpener. It was bad enough the tiny text taunted her aching eyes, but she had no way of making notes on the unimportant crap she had to learn.

A fist rapped on her door.

She jumped and spun in her seat.

A tempting Ryder laughed, a glimmer of mischeif flashing in his hazel eyes. Her heart fluttered as her core warmed.

*See what I mean? Now we’re inside Emmie’s head and know what’s going on. And we’re probably going to laugh when she has to use her knowledge (if she’s able to remember anything about the periodic table, because if she can’t this can be funny and add a lot of tension later).

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.

Oh, goodness. Um, if I told you about my–er, some of my character’s plots to take over the world (yeah, that’s right. My characters. Not me. *Wipes at forerhead with a tissue*), I–uh, they’d have to kill you. Seriously, though, I’m just writing what I love and I hope others love it too. Whether you like SciFi-Fantasy, Fantasy, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal, I do mashups of two or more in most of my work – I’ve got you covered.