Christie Meierz, the best-selling author of The Marann, is joining me on my blog today to talk about her work, including the highly anticipated Daughters of Suralia

It will be released on Tuesday, April 23rd, so mark your calendars, folks!

To learn more, please check out Christie's blog at http://christiemeierz.blogspot.com

What inspired you to write The Marann?

I’ve been writing since I was about 7 years old, but I stopped for 25 years while I was raising my children. Then last year I decided to brush up on my Spanish and took a class at Pitt (University of Pittsburgh). I had to write a lot of essays in Spanish from the point of view of a character I’d invented for the purpose.

It got my creative juices flowing. A few days after finals, I was itching to write, so I sat down and just started. What I wrote over the next couple of weeks became chapters 10 and on of The Marann.

Do you consider it to be more of a romance novel or a sci-fi story? What is your target audience?

Oh, that’s a hard question. My romance readers think it’s more sci-fi, and my sci-fi readers think it’s more romance. Me, I’d be hard-pressed to decide which it is, but since you can’t deny it takes place on an alien planet, which is the domain of science fiction, and some of my readers deny it’s a romance because there’s no explicit sex – maybe you could say it’s science fiction more than romance.

I didn’t set out to write a romance, by the way. The story was originally going to be about Kyza, but Marianne and the Sural sort of took over.

What is your typical writing process? Do you start with an outline, or do you just let the book “flow”?

Neither, exactly. What I start with is a “what if” and a direction I want it to go. I head that way and let it spin out. Often enough, it begins with the middle of the story, and then I have to go back and write the beginning.

This isn’t the most efficient way to write, and I realize that. But writing to an outline doesn’t allow my subconscious room to stir things up. Sometimes my characters want to do things that even I don’t understand at first – and often enough I tell them, “No you don’t!” But once in a while, it’s brilliant.

The Jorann showing up in Daughters is a case in point. She shows up for a reason, though I can’t tell you what that is without spoiling future stories, as well as a major plotline in the current novel.

Tell us a little bit about your upcoming works. Does Daughters of Suralia feature the same characters?

Yes! I do introduce new characters, but the favorites from The Marann are back – the Sural and Marianne, of course, and Storaas has a larger part to play late in the book (he’s one of my personal favorites, based on a dear friend of mine who died of cancer last year), as does the Sural’s apothecary. Kyza’s around, and on the human side there are cameos by the Admiral and Adeline Russell, as well as a few others.

Book 3 (working title The Fall) is basically written, so hopefully there won’t be another six month wait for the next release. It takes place in the province of Parania, with characters introduced in Daughters. Marianne and the Sural do put in appearances, though.

I have some scenes and chapters written of Book 4 (working title Brialar). It goes even farther afield, beginning in Parania and heading off into Brialar.

In between, I’m working on a YA adventure based in Tolari Space that began life as  a 100-word story-starter I came up with for a writer’s workshop. It grew, and now it’s up to about 9,000 words. I think it’ll end up as a novella. I call it Book 1.5, since it takes place during the 3 months between The Marann and Daughters of Suralia. The working title is Stranded.

At some point, possibly this year, I’m going to finish and release the Sural’s back story, but I need to get better at writing fight scenes first. I also have a short story about some shenanigans that take place 25 Tolari years down the road, but I can’t even give a hint about that story before Daughters comes out.

Wow, somebody's a busy bee! If you don't mind me asking, what is your favorite book of all time?

Ouch, you ask hard questions!

I can’t narrow it down to just one. Books that I’ve read more than once and would read again include Dune by Frank Herbert, The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and Anne McCaffrey’s first three Dragonriders of Pern novels as well as her Harper Hall trilogy. I could maybe add Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain, which I first read when I was in 6th grade. Science fiction, high fantasy, and space opera.

Can you please share with us one interesting fact about yourself? Preferably something that’s not public knowledge just yet.

I have a scuba license, and I’ve dived wrecks in the St. Lawrence River. I don’t think most of my personal friends even know that (and I bet you didn’t know there are wrecks to dive in the St. Lawrence River). My gear has been moldering in the attic for a while though. It’s hard to maintain a dive ticket when you live too far away from large bodies of water.

Awesome! Scuba-diving has always been on my list of things to learn. Maybe someday I will actually do so :).


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