Today I have the wonderful Shea Berkley here today to answer some questions for me. Her young adult fantasy book, The Marked Son, was just released this month and was fantastic! You can find my review for it here. Now, onto the interview.
A Bookworm’s Haven (ABWH): First, thank you Shea for being here today! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions.
Shea Berkely (SB): Thank you for inviting me to A Bookworm’s Haven, Meaghan. I’m a bookworm, so I feel right at home here. I’ll try to keep my enthusiasm to a low roar.
ABWH: Can you start out by telling us a little bit about The Marked Son for those who might not have read it yet?
SB: I’d love to tell you about The Marked Son. Here’s a quick blurb.
Seventeen‐year‐old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear– Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…
ABWH: Do you have a favorite scene from The Marked Son?
SB: A favorite scene? You want me to choose? (gasp) I don’t know if I can. It’s like asking me to choose between a red peanut M&M and a blue peanut M&M.
Let me think. I love the beginning when Dylan is in the car with his mom. It sets up his dilemma perfectly. Here’s this really normal guy being put through yet another move because his mom is going nutty. He responds in a normal, teenage way, and I love that about him. His responses to situations are very real. I’m not afraid to show a little ugly along with the beautiful.
ABWH: Haha, sorry to make you choose between M&M’s they are quite tasty aren’t they? If you could describe Dylan and Kera in just three words (each), what would they be?
SB: Dylan: Loyal, honest, driven Kera: patient, trustworthy, exacting
Yet they each fight to keep these virtues intact as they go along the journey together to save Teag.
ABWH: Dylan always knows he’s different but does not know how until he meets Kera. If you could discover that you were something other than human what kind of paranormal being would you like to be and why?
SB: Oooo, I like this question. There are so many types of things that are cool and have awesome potential to amuse me for a long time. I’d probably pick to be a woodland elf with some sort of special magical ability. I know, an elf is so common, but if you add on that magic, I could pop in and out of places, fight like no other and bend nature to my will. I’m down with all those things.
SB: I wanted the land of Teag to be a place where the customs were restrictive, but I didn’t want the feel of the land to be too alien. I wanted instant recognition for the reader, so I chose the feel of the Victorian era because a lot was changing back then, and they were fighting that change as much as embracing it. Science was expanding fast and I thought wouldn’t it be fun to freeze Teag in that era because the people of Teag figured out how to combine science and magic and didn’t feel the need to grow any further.
ABWH: On your website you talk about the interesting road to how you became a writer, now that you are published author are you happy you took a chance on writing?
SB: Immensely happy. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing. Even though it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I love it, and I feel blessed that I’ve been given the opportunity to tell my stories. I’m not looking to be a literary sensation. I’m an entertainer, and I just want to have fun. If my stories entertain others, and they have fun reading them, alls the better!
ABWH: What types of books do you like to read in your free time? Are there any authors/series that you must have when they come out?
SB: Are you daring me to write a list? That’s a dangerous dare. It could go on forever. I read a lot and from a wide range of genres. I love reading new authors and seeing how they reveal their story.
An automatic buy for me is Dean Koontz. He’s amazing. Sarah Addison Allen is a sure bet. I sink into her stories so easily, and I love that. Darynda Jones is just plain fun. Her wit is unstoppable. Jim Butcher. Suzanne Collins. Lesley Kagen.
To be honest, I’m more into stories than authors. If the story sounds appealing I’ll pick it up. I’m willing to give anyone a chance to enchant me, whether that entails taking me on a true-to-life, spooky ride or a fantastical journey, I’m in.
Honestly, I could go on, but I’ll stop there.
ABWH: Are you a plotter or a panster? Do you plot your stories ahead of writing? Or do you write and see what happens? (Writing “by the seat of your pants”.)
SB: I’m a pantser. I can’t know what’s coming up or I won’t want to write about it. Plotting for me is like someone explaining how the trick is done… all the magic disappears, and the fun is snatched away. I do know the basic high points in my story, but it’s the “not knowing” how my characters are going to get to those high points that is fun for me.
ABWH: Can you share what you are working on right now?
SB: I’m working on the second and third books in TheKeepers of Life series. I have a dozen other projects whirling around in my head (it’s very crowded in there), and I’m anxious to see them get their moment in the sun, so I’m not hurting for ideas, just enough time to write them all down. (grin)
ABWH: Do you have anything you would like to add?
SB: I’d like to thank all the readers who’ve been so kind thus far to go out and buy my book. I know you took a chance on The Marked Son. For those who haven’t yet read my book, I hope you decide to try it. If you like fantasy and adventure, you should love The Marked Son.
For those of you who like epic fantasy (um, yeah, like who doesn’t?) I have a book coming out in November of this year (2011) called Torrein: Age of Fear from Variance Publishing. It’s a great adventure story appropriate for those 10-110. When my agent submitted the story, the publisher’s son read it in one sitting and told his dad he had to buy the book and asked if I’d written the next book yet. (I love that kid) You can’t get any better recommendation than that. (grin)
ABWH: Thank you again Shea for being here today! Make sure you go check out Shea’s book The Marked Son, which is in stores now and be on the lookout for her work in the future!