. Greetings everyone! Please welcome MuseItUp author, Rebecca Ryals Russell. She is an ex-teacher, grades four through seven, and loved teaching English, especially writing. She lives in a 101 year-old Victorian home in Florida. She has a vacation rental business – Florida Black Bear Cabin LLC on her property. She married an Irishman new to the US by six months almost thirty-five years ago and loves him as much as when she first fell for him! They married six months after meeting. She knew by their third date that he was the one. Her daughters hope to follow their romantic beginnings. Her youngest child is ten-years-old from Vietnam. Her next is sixteen and all boy. Her next is nineteen and a freshman at U of F studying Psychology and Pre-Law. Her oldest is twenty-two, and as the ice-breaker first child, finding her way in the world. Rebecca obviously loves and enjoys each of her children!
ksm: Rebecca, thank you for joining me today and answering these questions. It’s great to have you here. My readers are excited to learn more about you and your work. Congratulations on your contract with MuseItUp Publishing.
RRR: Thank you for this opportunity, Karen.
ksm: You know I have to ask this, when and why did you start writing?
RRR: I began writing at age eight with stories in school. Then I moved on to poetry and stories throughout high school. By college it was newspaper articles, stories, poetry and photography all published in the Broward Community College Literary Magazine for the two years I attended. I also wrote thousands of love songs (met my hubby there). Then I didn’t write for many years. All of my energies went into the classroom, and then my family. Finally, three years ago I quit teaching and wrote Odessa, my book coming out in April. Since then I can’t turn off the spigot.
ksm: Please tell me a little about your book.
RRR: Odessa is the first book in a five book series written for YA. The book is about eighteen-year-old Myrna Watts who is from Jacksonville, FL, but wakes one morning on a distant planet populated by dragon-demons who shape-shift to blend in with the native population. A cute young man explains her reason for being there which is to fulfill her destiny and make an ancient prophecy come true. She must collect and train six teens called the Vigorios, demon-hunters, who will help the Seraphym win the final battle between good and evil. Throughout Book One, Myrna and several others are chased by monsters and demons while fighting their own inner demons. Myrna must come to grips with her feelings for three men while dealing with the repercussions of a rape two years previous.
ksm: What inspired you to write this book and why did you choose to write a YA Fantasy book?
RRR: I have always loved reading YA lit. You can’t fool teens with sloppy plots or weak characters. Writing for them is a challenge that pushes my writing skills. I also love Fantasy because of the freedom it allows to just let go of reality.
This particular book was born of my need to alert teens to what is happening around us, which is so slow not many notice. ALL of the evil/violence in my series actually occurred and came directly from recent news accounts.
ksm: What research did you do for this book?
RRR: Of course I had to research the news, which was a depressing task. I also have included A LOT of mythology in the creatures, names of the characters, relationships and all of that required research. Plus I have classic Fantasy creatures which had to be researched.
ksm: They say that books choose their authors. How has writing this particular book affected you?
RRR: My kids say I have become more religious since starting it. I guess writing about demons and evil, it’s hard not to think about both sides-the good and the bad. There have been times after writing a scene that I scared myself. I don’t particularly like feeling that someone’s watching through the window or hiding under the bed. But it comes with the story.
ksm: What do you want readers to take from your writing? What do you want them to understand and why?
RRR: I desperately want people to take a look at what is happening in the world. Listen to rock music lyrics, notice the popular movies (Saw, 6 or Them!!) and television programming, read the news. It’s a scary world we live in and it’s gradually getting worse.
ksm: Longhand or typing? Do you carry a notebook with you all the time?
RRR: Absolutely. At least one. I also bought a Netbook recently that I carry and use.
ksm: Do you consider yourself a full-time writer or do you have a day job? Where do you see yourself in five years?
RRR: As of today I am a full-time writer. I still have kids in school and activities so there are plenty of interruptions, but I spend eight to ten hours a day writing or marketing.
In five years I hope to have my series in development for a movie, video game, graphic novel and be working on more series. I love writing and reading series.
ksm: Are you working on any new projects? Can you give us a short preview?
RRR: I’m excited about the YA Dystopian Romance I’m writing for NaNoWriMo. The story is really coming along and the main characters, Izzy and Josh, are terrific. My husband read the first 10,000 words and said it was awesome, and he’s a tough critic.
There are also several middle grade books and a series I’m working on.
ksm: What is the hardest thing for you as a writer?
RRR: The hardest thing is wanting to write but being interrupted or not having time for some reason. Very frustrating.
ksm: Do you have any pearls of wisdom to pass on to aspiring writers?
RRR: Write. Before I started writing I had A LOT of trouble coming up with plots and ideas for future stories. Once I got into the habit of writing daily, I can’t keep up with the ideas and find I have to sort through for the best ones.
My new motto is: Write Often, Write Well
ksm: Can you tell us what your favorite pastime is? (other than writing!)
RRR: Lately I’ve been attending live theatre with my daughter who is attending U of F and is taking a theatre class. It has been so much fun and enlightening.
ksm: If you could do anything you’d like, go anywhere in the world without time or money constraints, what would you do and why?
RRR: I would buy a house on a cliff in southern Ireland where we would live for half of every year. My hubby is from west Ireland, County Clare, and we’ve been over numerous times. I love it there and would totally enjoy writing overlooking the Atlantic.
ksm: Thank you for joining us. How can fans find, follow and friend you?
Other Websites: http://seraphymwars.com
Teen Blog: http://teenwordfactory.com
Email: myrnawatts (at) gmail (dot) com
Zarena.Nuara (at) gmail (dot) com
Seraphym Wars Prophecy Book 1: Odessa, a YA Fantasy novel with Steam Punk undertones and elements of Mythology:
On the primal planet of Dracwald, eighteen-year-old Myrna reluctantly confronts her destiny to become leader of six demon-hunting teens. Battling monsters and demons, the seven chosen Vigorios quest across evil-infected Dracwald toward the island of the Majikals to be trained for the final battle. Only after surviving this battle can Myrna return to Earth and her family. But the love of a warrior demon-hunter, a dragon egg concealed through betrayal and Destiny itself threaten to undermine that goal.
Demonic influence on the rise, Myrna is recruited against her will to unite six teens as the Vigorios in the war between Heaven and Hell. -- The Seraphym Wars.
Odessa, Book 1 of the YA Seraphym Wars expected release April 1, 2011
Guardian (of the Prophecy), Prequel expected release September 1, 2011
Harpies, Book 2, expected release in 2011
Majikals, Book 3 being written
Zarena, Book 1 of the middle grade Stardust Warriors series expected release July 1, 2011
Jeremiah, Book 2 expected release November 1, 2011
Laman, Book 3 expected release February 1, 2012
Mercy, Book 4 at the publisher for approval now
Stregone, Book 5 being written
Horror Story-Don’t Make Marty Mad expected release October 1, 2011
Although Odessa is not yet available, you can read about it and reserve your copy at the buy page:
Don’t Make Marty Mad buy page.
Unedited excerpt for Odessa, Book One in The Seraphym Wars:
I shook my head, “I can’t stab a child in the chest! I can’t kill a child!”
He rested both hands on my knees and said in a firmer voice, “That is not a child. It is a demon. He wouldn’t think twice about killing a child. Or you. Get your sword and go now.”
Like a zombie I rose and picked up the sword where it leaned against the corner. I carried it to the door of the bathroom where I looked back down the hall at Michael who stood there mouthing “now” and shooing me with his hands.
I stepped into the bathroom just as she-he slid the curtain open. Twelve-year-old Tien stared at me with wide oddly-colored eyes and long black dripping hair.
“What are you doing, Myrna?”
I stepped forward and thrust the sword into her-his chest where I hoped the heart was. I couldn’t imagine how a simple shard of metal could destroy a demon, but I watched in fascinated horror as he swelled and changed.
The screeching wail that ensued did not issue forth from a twelve-year-old’s throat. It climbed in timbre until the roar was a train running through the bathroom, echoing off the shiny, wet tiles. The demon, no longer able to hold the image of the child, displayed his usual golden scaly skin and horned head with large toothy maw. Claws with long nails scraped at the tiles, shredding them to dust as he thrashed madly, trying to pull the glowing sword from his chest. I wondered why the sword glowed. It hadn’t been doing that when I held it. His barbed tail lashed back and forth knocking down walls between the bathroom and utility where he struck and overturned the washing machine and water began gushing everywhere.
It seemed to take forever, but eventually the evil creature stopped thrashing and lay still on the floor. I hesitantly stepped forward to retrieve my sword. I was sure at any moment he would grab my ankle. I tugged and pulled on the handle of the now normal-looking sword until it yanked free with a sickening glurg. Black acidic blood oozed from the wound, puddling on the tile floor as it bubbled and ate its way through to the ground.
“Lop off the head before he disappears,” Michael called from the doorway.
I raised the sword over my head, ignoring the few drips of black blood that fell onto my hands and brought it down hard on what should have been the demon’s neck. But as the sword dropped he poofed into thin air. The blood began bubbling on my skin and I ran to the kitchen to wash it off before it burned me any further.
“Well. I guess you’re officially a demon slayer.” Michael sidled up beside me as I stood crying into the lather on my hands. “You’ll have some cool scars as proof, too.” He rinsed my hands with warm water and gently dried them with the towel. “Let me put something on those burns so they don’t get infected.”
As he applied antibiotic cream and gauze he asked, “Did your sword tell you her name yet?”
“Her?” I asked. I glanced at the black blood encrusted blade which I had been shining recently. “It’s Tyrannoctonus.”
“Tyrant Slayer,” he rolled the name around his tongue, “I like it. Now don’t tell anyone else, ever. It gives them power you don’t want anyone else to wield.”
Photos courtesy of Rebecca Ryals Russell and MuseItUp Publishing.