#SwoonWorthy Virtual Book Club & Podcast

S1 E2: Interview with Author Miri Stone of Pyro, Pyro, Burning Bright

October 15, 2019 Host: Krista Harper / Guest: Miri Stone Season 1 Episode 2
#SwoonWorthy Virtual Book Club & Podcast
S1 E2: Interview with Author Miri Stone of Pyro, Pyro, Burning Bright
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#SwoonWorthy Virtual Book Club & Podcast
S1 E2: Interview with Author Miri Stone of Pyro, Pyro, Burning Bright
Oct 15, 2019 Season 1 Episode 2
Host: Krista Harper / Guest: Miri Stone

Join us as we chat with debut indie author, Miri Stone. **Please note this interview does contain spoilers for her new book Pyro, Pyro, Burning Bright.**

Show Notes Transcript

Join us as we chat with debut indie author, Miri Stone. **Please note this interview does contain spoilers for her new book Pyro, Pyro, Burning Bright.**

Support the show (https://www.kristaharperwrites.com/newsletters)

Speaker 1:

Hey guys, this is Krista Harper and you're listening to the spoon where the podcast. All right, we are here today with our indie author, MIRI, like Merck save [inaudible] like okay, Mary Stone. Um, she is the author of this month's book selection. We are reading pyro, pyro, burning bright, and we have her here today to talk about the book. Thank you so much for joining me.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for having me. I'm so excited that you guys have put it as part of your swim worthy book club. It's really awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. So I have heard nothing but awesome feedback. You know, I already read the whole book, like I said, um, stayed up all night, two nights getting it done and yeah, I was really, really excited to read it. So, um, the first thing I kind of want to talk a little bit about, you know, your, your background in writing and stuff and then we'll kind of move on, you know, to the nitty gritty spoilers of the, of the book. So this is your debut. Yes. Yeah. So what made you decide to start publishing? So you know, so many people, right. But they don't necessarily decide to publish. What made you decide to, you know, to put your work out there?

Speaker 2:

Okay. Well, um, you may or may not know, but I was a filmmaker and screenwriter for about 10 to 15 years before I came across to becoming, um, an author. And I was always interested in telling fantastical stories and stories with supernatural creatures and special effects. Budgets are so expensive. So, um, I, I sort of came to this point as crux, both with having young children at home and that made doing production hours really difficult, um, and raising the investment to be able to put it up on a big screen. Um, and those two things kind of came to a climax with my last project and I just knew that I needed to find a new way to tell my stories, at least for now. Um, I would love to go back to film one day, but like I, once I had my children and I was breastfeeding, I actually got to written like fall back in love with reading.

Speaker 2:

I'd kind of put it on the, on the slow burn because I'd been so intensely focused on film and, and staying up with the industry. So I suddenly started reading, I got a Kindle unlimited subscription and I was just reading voraciously, kind of [inaudible] that like if you have all this time when you're breastfeeding exactly like it's an enforced extended holiday sorta, except it's also not cause you're exhausted and you're not getting any sleep and cause a human that's relying on you for everything. It's a fantastic and crazy time. Uh, and yeah, it just had me reconnect with my passion for reading and there was just this point where my husband and I were talking and we knew I needed to find a new way to tell stories such that I would just be able to start getting out all these stories that are in my head and not wait for like five to 10 years cycles to get a feature out.

Speaker 2:

Um, and I, and so I just, I started reading some particular authors that inspired me and I saw a picture of Jane Washington when she had her books so far. On a shelf and like it just, it hit me in the heart, in the soul between the eyes. It was like, Oh, I don't think I'd ever recognized I'd really like to be an author, but I'd never like committed. I'd been too nervous to write long form on in a novel form. And so I just started working on pyro, pyro, burning bright slowly. The first draft was a dog like so long I had to abandon it starred on potential potential, but it just was, it was like someone who didn't know how to write a novel, get the structure yet, you know. Whereas I knew what a feature film needed to be very specific structure, very specific beats at what point in the story.

Speaker 2:

And so I took a break and I started doing uh, reading up on novel form and um, and then I didn't enter IMO and wrote a whole, whole different series. Started over that time. And then I took what I had with pyro power burning bright and I paired it right back to its essence. So strangely, plea at 133 K book is paired back now. When did you start, where did you get this idea for this book? Pyro. Pyro? Well, I read a lot of shit. I've always been fascinated with anyone that has a connection to animals. Our wounds were like really important to me growing up and had been in my dream sequences and all sorts of things. So I, um, I read every book that had a magical connection with walls or animals that I could find both fantasy and paranormal romance. Once I discovered that Shondra and shifter remnants by just, um, I read voraciously and some writers I just fell in love with because they felt like they're really told to satisfy a story that was full of conflict and, and people having to work out how they fit.

Speaker 2:

Like, they might be soulmates, but they also had to work through their, the in, uh, conflicts in their external conflicts and really fight for what they believed in and fight for being able to have their happily for now or they're heavily ever after ending instead of just though we love each other, everything's perfect. Yeah. I met myself, my soulmate. Awesome. We're done. It doesn't take a novel. So yeah, that was one thing I wanted to do and I also wanted to look at, um, the cost of a mythological creature because I'm, I also from reading a lot of fantasy, I really love it when books have a cost to your magical powers. So you might be supernatural, but like, you know, even not man as kryptonite, you know? Yeah. You've got to have, you've got to have barriers to being, otherwise you'd take over the world and probably like it's just too corrupting and also so, yeah. That I started thinking about what would it mean if you were a creature that was reborn after death? And that's what led me towards thinking about pirate pyro. Wow.

Speaker 1:

That is fascinating. Yeah, it's, it's so true because you can tell by reading the book, just the layers and layers and every character instead of, you know, just these one dimensional and there's all these sex scenes and

Speaker 2:

no [inaudible] yeah. But there's debt

Speaker 1:

do it, you know, and these are real characters, so, and I love that. So, um, as you decided to start publishing and to tell stories, what made you go the indie route?

Speaker 2:

Oh my God, that's easy. So I have done, I've written a number of children's book and been submitting it to traditional publishers and I know that, I know that process and it's pretty much as long and drawn out as trying to raise money for a film. So for me there were two reasons. One, I wanted to have creative control to tell the stories I really love and I was still going to hire professionals to be my editors and my cover designers. And that's something I learned from film work with the best people that you can afford to bring into your circle and they will lift your work so much. And I was very lucky with the people I got to work with in the series so far. So, um, that's important to me and, and but I could also, um, uh, I lost my train of thought cause Oh is the audience, that's the other thing in film I always craved actually I was writing it for like the people that are the fans that I work for, the people that I loved and they wanted to connect with my audience.

Speaker 2:

But in film it's really hard to get a genuine connection with your audience ongoingly. You've made a few at festivals and that's about it. Um, sometimes we create crowdfunding, uh, communities and those are really strong. But that's about the only way. Uh, whereas in indie authors I was, once I started realizing I wanted to do that, I was following all these wonderful authors who are like unicorns and magical beings who suddenly have to go and meet them and I could get a signed book from them and like I could talk to other people who love their stories. That was just like my brain was just exploding and my heart was really happy because I could share my love of the stories. And I wanted to do that with the people who read my books. So,

Speaker 1:

Oh, I love it. It is so true because you know, you look at these other books in it, everything just seems so, you know, at arm's length and so out there and unattainable or unachievable and they don't seem real. But to get to know other authors that are working their butts off and doing, you know, all of this and in creating a fandom and to know like you're a real person and you've got kids and so do I. And we're, you know, it's, it's, I mean, yes, everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time. I understand.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. We're [inaudible]

Speaker 1:

it's really refreshing to see other people that are so real. Right. So, but kind of going off of that, I love where you touched on, um, you know, being as professional as possible. I know the big thing, um, you know, the reasons so many in the indie industry get knocked is because of this, you know, quote, lack of professionalism. People say, well, I'm not gonna make any money and it's really just a hobby, so I'm not going to invest in an editor and you know, I can make my own cover or I have a friend that's gonna read it to tell me what they think. And then you don't kind of, that's it. Like what do you, what recommendations do you have for other indie authors, you know, established or just starting out or, cause she's like I said, cause your book is extremely professional. It's a beautiful cover. It's so well done. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. I really appreciate you saying that. Um, it was very important to me to present it in a way that felt like the reader would be in good hands. That's why I wanted them to know that. And you know, I hadn't best, I may not have been doing novel for writing, but I'd invested 10 to 15 years of developing myself as a screenwriter. So, and a filmmaker like I was directing actors. I also trained as an actor way back when. Um, so I'm, I've been keyed into storytelling for a very long time and I wanted people to know that although I was a debut, I was serious about this. I wanted them to build trust with them and to have a longterm relationship with them. My dream, like my dream of this whole thing would be at eight and nine still to be furiously typing away stories and trying to get this movie out, readers would feel wonderful.

Speaker 2:

Um, thinking about that. Like, we never have to retire. We know you want to do this for. Yeah. And you know, the other thing about the indie industry is there's a real, at the moment there's been, um, a lot of, uh, authors have getting to a burnout point. And for me, one of the reasons I came across to being an author was I needed to have something that could be flexible with my family and so that I could be there for my kids. Um, cause my husband's a breadwinner in our family and I wanted to still be able to go on the field trips when they invited one of us and be with them when there was sick and you know, do, do the things and go to the park after school, you know, like have us have a life that didn't only revolve around my career.

Speaker 2:

That's a balancing act. But I'm still sometimes working on, I have to admit. But I can feel that my, because my intention is there, I'm getting better and more muscle. It's saying, well this is family time. I'll deal with that tonight once the kids are sleep. So, um, yeah, I think the best advice I got was have a professional cover. Um, unless you're a designer, if you, if you already were a digital designer by trade then absolutely you could cross through yourself but get a professional cover. Um, and there are some very reasonable, if you can't afford a, a created like one that's created from your vision directly. There are some really great cover designers that are constantly creating pre-meds. So there is very, very much, and I actually need to get professionally done. Cutters covers 49 us dollars dollars. Yeah. And so you, you absolutely can find a great cupboard.

Speaker 2:

It may not be exactly what you had in your mind, but that was something I knew from film. My job as a director and a screenwriter was to create the emotion in the reader or from my brief, create an experience for the person who was going to then lift it off the page. And that is how I arrived. Um, and it's also how I create briefs for the people I work with. So I know that it will never look like what's in my head. I do not expect it to, if my films as my books are ever lucky enough to be made into a TV show or a movie one one day, I know it won't be anything like what's in my head. It's just one, it's not possible. And if I'm attached to that, I'm only going to be disappointed and heartbroken. But if I can see the, the incredible like opportunity of having other people come in and like put something of their own soul into creating a whole new thing, then you can celebrate it for what it is.

Speaker 2:

Right. And this is the same with a cover. Your brief will never be, it can't be the exact person in your head. It can't be human being does not exist. They are created however they have someone in mind. Does the cover of Ryan really look like Ryan too? I mean, yeah, you work with your artists and you find the best cost possible fit. Um, and there are certain tricks that a really good cover designers know how to do, uh, to create the closest image. But like what I was trying to say was even with a premade cover, you can get something that catches the essence of your story, even if it's not the specific details you would have gone for. And I feel like that, and the other piece of advice wasn't gay. I have an editor, I sat down with one of my favorite authors and she gave me just an amazing download and insight into the industry and she said, get a professional cover and make sure you have one to two editors.

Speaker 2:

Um, if you can't afford to make sure you have some very strong beta readers. Uh, and so, uh, she was like that. I do that for every single book, April for when I started, because even though of course my first book is not the same as my tip book. Like you need to have the, the best shape story from what you can currently do and what your level of skill and mastery is. Yeah, yeah. Those were the, Oh, and the last one was Jaman he said when I met her at [inaudible] con, she's like, this is a marathon. It doesn't matter how each individual book, like you need to, you need to trust putting your best workout, do the best release you can, and then move on, keep moving on. Because it's about backlist and it's about the long term relationship with the reader.

Speaker 1:

Isn't that the craziest thing that you finally, you know, you've been working so hard on a book and you finally release it out and the whole world is excited and you're supposed to be like, okay, next I'm going to start on the next thing. It's just [inaudible]

Speaker 2:

it does it just keep swimming just keeps, it's like true.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So we're going to move into some spoiler territory. And so if you did not read the book, that is shameful. [inaudible] yes, exactly. Go read it and come back. Um, the first thing I want to talk about, I thought Mackenzie's character was so fascinating. I've said this a million times. I've never really, I love paranormal romance. I've never really ever read shifter before. Um, so the whole mating and claiming and the crew and all of that was just fascinating to me. But I want to focus on explain why McKinsey has no memory when she shifts.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So this was what I think I mentioned a little earlier, which is from a, the fantasy side of things and magic to feel satisfying to me as a storyteller, as a reader. Um, I believe in there being a cost to having these great, awesome powers, psychological or physical or both, um, because otherwise there's no end point. Um, and there's no, um, it's hard to tell a story with drama and conflict if the person's just all powerful and it never impacts them. So I was thinking, okay, so the regular shifters are bears and wolves and there are certain, within that trope, there are definitely usually certain, um, costs that are considered part of that trope, um, that, uh, for example, if you don't, if you don't, you're not aligned with your animal. It can cause a lot of integration and turmoil. And that's something that I touch on in the book.

Speaker 2:

I go a little probably a little further into that then maybe some books do and some series do because I believe that if we're not aligned inside ourselves, there is, there's a lot of pain that is gonna come for us. Um, yeah. You don't have to be a shifter for that to be the truth. Yeah. Right. Yeah, totally. Oh my God. I mean, one of the reasons I read so heavily into romance was I had to heal my own trauma from sexual experiences in the past. And that's why it's so important to me to create a relationships that allow the reader to put together the pieces of their souls that might've been broken a bit from life as it goes through. And that is something that reading did for me. So I'm very grateful and I want it to be like that for other people to heal and also to explore, um, new territory that they may never do in their real life, but it gives them a chance to imagine, um, and be brave and courageous.

Speaker 2:

So, uh, anyway, coming back to the costume McKinsey, so I was like, okay, well if have, if you've got all those costs as a big massive bear shifter or uh, or a Wolf shutter and there are a number of all kinds of shippers that are around. Um, I was like, well, then if you're a mythological creature, and often people read a lot of, there are a lot of dragon, um, in shipped a series, which I love. And I read those. I adore them. But often there's not that much of a cost. It's not really that different to having a grizzly or a wall for a cat. Um, so I was like, but if you're a mythological creature, surely the cost should be higher because your power is so much stronger. True. Um, so I started thinking about, uh, what it would be like if you were a Firebird or a Phoenix, like you would, the awesome power that you have.

Speaker 2:

Well, one of them is that you can be reborn, but in order to be reborn, what kind of psychological impact would that have in having died through all the trauma of one life and then like have to wake up and start all over again? So that was what I wanted, um, McKinsey to be, to be grappling with because, um, great, she can live forever, essentially if she wants to. But, um, that have, must not be easy on your psyche. So was the party to leave? We'll live forever, but her mind she could, but she has no hoods. Memory. I do have a way that she, um, w you asked me, um, you mentioned about whether or not, um, Godzilla, the Phoenix fire bird had had other bodies. Yes. And my answer is yes, she's had other vessels. That's why she talks about this being her current vessel and she's had past vessels, which is why when McKinsey is getting the visions at the end, she's seeing different lives, not just her own past lives, but she's seeing also historic and environment.

Speaker 2:

No one's ever been strong enough. Yeah, exactly. So McKinsey is very unique, um, in that way. Um, and there are a few ways to kill the in in my head. Um, the Phoenix is, is now a very rare shifter, but in my head, the mythology that I've built behind it is that they will, once the warrior birds, um, of the gods, so there was battalions and now there's very few. And there are reasons for that which we will touch on later in the series for why they have become so in dangers as a species. And so, um, yeah, uh, yeah. And you know, like, I dunno, I'm one of those people who like to create a world and I can see all these other like series. I could write off it, but I know I will also take a break and then I might come back and write something more inside the the world as well. So, um, I leave you, you'll see that I will leave a lot of hooks, open

Speaker 3:

potential future stories. Just tell him. Oh, I do. But yeah, so is the major thing was she has such an incredible [inaudible]

Speaker 2:

Paula I was like, but how does that impact the brain and the soul? And so, uh, the amnesia was like a protection mechanism that going Sylar, um, wipes her clean in order to try and give her the best chance at the next life. I love that. It seems like a really antagonistic thing to do.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, true experience. She's like, yeah, I gotta remember anything wasn't happening.

Speaker 1:

I know. But then as you see, you know, as you read the book, like she does start getting memories and they're so torturous. And so it's like, no, I did this to protect you but you don't know what you don't know. So then you just crave that information and yeah, it's this fine balance of destroying yourself, trying to throw. So you know, aside from groomzilla CPC crazy. So is she a second

Speaker 3:

animal? She is jumping up and down people. I am, I love flop world builder.

Speaker 2:

So that will be answered in the future. But what I can say is that, here's how it originally started out. Originally I had it be that gong Zillow was the pure eternal being and CPC was like this vessels, um, bare CPC. It was supposed to be almost like the one that was most attuned to the current now and it was two parts of the same, but they couldn't co-exist inside her mind at the same time. However, as I developed the series and took feedback from beta readers and just new started to develop what the longer term timeline was, I realized that, and I'd read a couple of other really cool books, um, where the person had more than one animal in them. Uh, and uh, how did that impact them? And so it, and it ended up evolving into, um, into being a separate entity. So we haven't met her in a physical form. Um, but yeah. Yeah. She is now a separate entity in my head.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. The beginning of the book, it's, you know, I'm reading it and I'm like, am I missing something? Is this because I'm not familiar with shifters, how many people are in there?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So there's not the little flush shifter robots. Usually you have one entity that's the animal and one that is the human. And depending on the author, some of them are very basic primal IDs. They're not, they don't have a conversation like bear and Ryan can have a conversation. McKinsey and gum Siller or Mackenzie and have a conversation. It'll be really crazy if I ever really have a conversation between CPC and through those. But like, um, yeah, that's something that people have either really loved and a few people have been not like have felt like it was a very dialogue heavy, but because there were so many characters and side people's selves as well as signals, you know, but that's, that's challenging for Rita to hold.

Speaker 1:

It's, it's this, you cannot skim this book. You can not [inaudible] staying up all night, you know, two in the morning and I'm starting to nod, but I'm like, I have to keep going. I want to know what happens. But then I'm like reading the same sentence and I'm like, who said that is that bear? I got to go to sleep. But yeah, no, I think it's amazing to see because it's almost like their ego or almost like their inner thoughts. And that's what I, I love reading character-driven stories and I love hearing those internal thoughts. And so you get like the sneak peek and no, I loved it. I loved that. So shame on those people that did it.

Speaker 2:

I mean, some do. And some just some skim it a little, but that's fine. I mean there are some that purely have an animal shape and when they're in the animal shape, they are purely animal. They have no humanity left in them. I kind of, for me, I was like, if I'm going to share my body with another being, I want to have a relationship with at big share your life. And I've always been fascinated. I mean, Anne McCaffrey was one of my first huge, uh, between her and Cheryl Jordan. Um, I, those were my two loves in terms of first fantasy, um, authors that I fell in love with this I was growing up. And her connection with the dragons of Pern is a telepathic connection and although they don't change into one another, they're bonded for life. And so you have to learn to live with each other and share a life and there's conflict and beauty in that, both good and bad. Um, so, uh, I just, I've always loved the idea that you could have someone in your mind like aware of your inner most feelings and thoughts, things that you couldn't hide from anyone else.

Speaker 1:

So kind of touching on that, do you want to talk a little bit about, um, the joker? Because talk about not getting along with your inner [inaudible].

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like that's a really traumatic, uh, that, that, so again, I wanted to look at what happens when it all goes so horribly wrong that it's not redeemable because I do love redeemable bad people. I love the idea that bad guys are not bad guys. I talk about this with my young sons all the time and like the bad guys are taking bad actions right now. But like, and same with us people, the people who are the good guys, we can totally do horrible things in certain circumstances. So it's like about each choice is what we should be looking at. And so this character, Nick is just, I just, I love him to bits. It's like he's got all the tragedy. He did not cope with it. He did not get the help he needed and it just got worse and worse. He's hot. It's so funny that you think he's thought it.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Like I'm fine with Nick [inaudible] Nero, BU Nick. Yeah, Nick. I was like the whole section in the school. I'm like, no, clutching my sequence. And even like Kenzie says that she's like, don't make me feel sorry for you. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I wanted to see whether I could redeem such a terrible character after every, and he's not redeemed yet. I don't believe he has an all, he's got such a long way to go out far enough to get a second chance. Like could I show enough humanity and enough goodness inside of our villain that we would cheer on the difficult choice that McKinsey and gone Cilla made? Do you know?

Speaker 1:

It was a huge, huge spoiler. So if you guys want to spoiler you guys, but the scene in the woods, I gasped out loud when he was, you know, basically begging him, just destroy me, kill me and me and Ryan instead. I didn't even think of that as an option to send him out rogue and to be like, you're not part of us anymore. You have to leave. And I was sobbing. I think everything, I mean, you could hear it, you know, that audible gasp of, of everyone in the crew. Like, Oh, I mean that is, that's worse than death. That it was cool.

Speaker 2:

It's the part that Ryan was responsible for in terms of causing the final sequence. Like he set the joker free. Nick no longer had an anchor. He no longer had the part, the last bit of his humanity that was giving him the strength as much as such as it was because he'd already done something pretty heinous. But like many things actually, um, you know, like it was keeping him just on the fire, the sanity that he had some control. He thought it turns out he didn't. So I dunno, it was, it's a really interesting, it's complex. It's complex. And I love books that make me draw me back in. So I have to keep thinking about it and wondering about it and thinking what if and what would I do? Or if I had that power, how would it impact me? And so I, I, yeah, I like that. We don't really have a lot of answers. We just have an experience of it. Well, I can't wait to see what happens with them. Yeah. Wait, maybe I don't want to, I mean, I will warn you that Nick can take a while and he's not part of the crew anymore. So it's one of those things where, um, he, yeah, he has a lot to redeem. Let me put it that way. He has to work hard for it and there's some stuff that's going to have to happen before he's ready for his mating happily ending.

Speaker 1:

So going back to the Phoenix, going back to groomzilla and I mean, I guess an CPC, what are their abilities related to fire? You know, they, they sense them. They have these visions. They keep, you know, especially at the beginning of the book, um, you know, McKenzie's woken up during the night, she's brought to these fires and then she's like, Oh my gosh, am I going to hurt somebody? Did I accidentally set this? Did I, you know, all those different things. Can you just kind of clarify that a little bit?

Speaker 2:

Um, so she is, she has like a finite amount of Austin power because she, it's like her soul is a battery for the power that Godzilla can draw into this body. Oh wow. And there's only a certain amount she can take. Otherwise she would, it would destroy the body, right? Yeah. So that's what McKinsey felt that first time gone sell a fin on the famous to refuel them was the experience of, Oh, this could be too much. And I know I, I would die if this was, if too much of this was taken into me.

Speaker 1:

He uses the fire to recharge.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. She gets to, she is a pyro kinetic beings. So she and a PO like actually made of partial physical and partial fire energy. So magical energy. That's when she's in her Phoenix form. That's why I describe it like a comment. She's almost too bright to look at. She would absolutely burn the hell out of anything she's too close to. Yeah, she's protecting it. Um, so she is like, almost like, like a bird form of a fireball or a comment. And so she draws that energy from the S from the fire, but it also means it's finite. Um, it will, she can run down her powers by using them and therefore she needs to feed from another fire source. Um, she, uh, so she's drawn to fire because it's also survival for her. It's like, Oh, that makes sense. Like camels know where to find the water.

Speaker 2:

So she has a psychic connection to those flames because that's how she keeps for self and her vessels. Um, and essentially if she completely ran out of her fire, she would die. Like there is an end point to a being that needs something to recharge itself. So, um, that's that side of it. Then. Um, uh, so she, she has a kinetic power and, uh, pyro kinetic power so she can burn things. Um, and she can, um, move things. Those are the two powers that I see. And then she has the psychic connection to the flames, including the sort of like hinted like a larger mythological world. Wish she and McKinsey are aware of the sprites that are part of the fire and the fire being almost the, almost a connection to the gods. But I don't know how much I'll really go into that. I just know that, that for me, that's a part of the mythology behind it, that the, there are different kinds of gods and she's connected to a certain type of God.

Speaker 1:

Oh, well, it is fascinating. Her character is so fascinating. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and like I said, I love that I get to read this book, fall in love with it, and then pick your brain. So I think kind of the last question, and I kind of touched on this earlier, is Sarah and Nero,

Speaker 2:

I'm just so

Speaker 1:

on narrow a little bit. Um, as far as, so he, you know, he just seems like a sleazeball the entire time. But then towards the end, you know, bloody kitty, you know, they're drawn to Sarah, who is this amazing bad-ass and I would love to have her as my best friend. And I was like, Oh, seriously, she got the short straw man with. Um,

Speaker 2:

but you know, so he,

Speaker 1:

you know, he himself never actually does anything. He just, it sounds like you've worked for the, you know, they call him the Hunter the entire time, but actually he is the Hunter, but really he's hunting for somebody else.

Speaker 2:

Was it a tracker? Yeah, actually. So in, in the greatest shift or world, there are people who are like, if not everyone's in crews, but they often are in some kind of hierarchy. Um, they might be in a pack and full wolves, they might be in a pride Alliance, um, shifters. And in this case, the collector is like an alpha, but, um, he, I can't say too much about him, but he basically wields power over the shifters, the broken shifters that he has carefully groomed, um, uh, and sends them out into the world to do his bidding. Um, and Nero is caught in his clutches. There are pain points that are very specific that I didn't, of course I could look, it's already 130.

Speaker 2:

I have reasons I have, I have turmoil, I have conflicts. I have character redemption in mind for him. Um, they are not, he or he moves from the beginning of the book and not giving a fuck these people because he's just got a job to do and he has become. So, um, he's become so numb to what he does because he has his own reasoning for why it's justified in the, in the long end for himself that he has his, I even created that way and groomed very carefully to be that way. Like that kind of mercenary who just doesn't have a connection anymore to his empathy or has his connection to his, his humanity. It's gone. He's just a tool right then. And it's being around McKinsey, being around Sarah, seeing a crew like, okay, they're fuck ups. But they're also still creating like positive value in their communities.

Speaker 2:

They know that they've got issues, but they're also still trying to be good people. And that is what he's, that's what he starts to be infected by his, his, his monster is very, very broken. His pamphlet is broken. But at the same time when he started, when the Panther starts to realize what the, the draw is to sorrow and you know what I feel like you say it's the short end of the stick. But actually, um, actually this, she believes one person who could really help him turn himself around cause she will, she will not ever give up. She will not ever give him the easy out. True. She will not. But I mean does she believe that they are truly mates or can you tell she knows it and what's interesting is she's been in a fake meeting before. Um, she got convinced that she was, she was the mate of a guy, a rogue Basha who then left her with her Cubs.

Speaker 2:

She's like, and so she's like, what the hell? Like your feelings are exactly Sarus feelings. You are absolutely in the right place. Like she's like, no, no fake, whatever. Changing all of this. She still lets him stay that, you know, he comes, you know, he's staying in the cabins and so I'm like, Oh God, you're her cabin. Not in her cabin. She's, she's created, she looks, she laid, she laid down the ultimatum and she, she hasn't accepted him yet. Like he is always saying is the potential of what could be if he all sought his shit out, but it's not gonna be easy. Um, and she's not going to accept them unless, unless he does. Like it's, she will live a Loveless life rather than take him on if she has to. But she also, I mean the thing is, uh, once she, and we, um, understand how he came to this point and we will, you redeem every other parent like every

Speaker 3:

really, I mean, Oh my God, Nick is not redeemed. Come on. He burned down her house. I'm more pissed off with him. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is a good guy. He, yeah. Look, I think there are a lot, there's a lot of gray in both of these guys. I guess. I know what the pain point is for Nero.

Speaker 2:

You don't yet. And it will get explained in his book. We don't, you don't know why he would let himself be under the thumb of someone like the collector

Speaker 3:

tourists. No. Redeemable. By the way, there's no retaining factor about this monstrous. That's true story. No. I have one other question

Speaker 1:

and this is just kind of a general shifter question. So what happens if a shifter does not like, can you choose to deny your mate if you don't go through the mating, sir, if you don't claim them, are you just like miserable unrequited love forever or,

Speaker 2:

yeah, there's a cost. Um, I, I also personally, I love, I've, I've said read some really great second chances. Novels where a person's had to make that the makers died for some reason, but they managed to survive. Not everyone does, but they managed to survive living alone. They find a new mate. I, here's my belief around um, faded mates are soulmates, all of that, I believe. I believe that there are certain humans or certain beings that we come across in our time who, who there is such an intense connection between your souls that you feel so drawn to that person and you can create a life. Now does that mean that's the only person ever know, but they're not that many of the people who you're going to meet that you feel such a deep connection with. So in terms of the shift or the way I'm, I'm imagining it, um, you could deny your mate, but it's kinda like denying your animal. You'll, it'll be hard. She's a humans. She doesn't feel it at the same level as a person who has an animal inside them saying, I need this person to survive. She's not going to feel it quite at that level. Um, so she would be fine. She's been fine so far. She's got an amazing life. However, she's also denying herself a very special part of being human, which is to love someone so deeply that you can trust them with anything. Um, and um, and she deserves that. And you know what? Sodas narrow. Just, you don't,

Speaker 3:

I got him like, Oh, should I drop this toilet? No, don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it. Don't do it. Okay. So then you know what, come back to me to read it. I can tell you about one. You bet. So, so

Speaker 1:

wrapping up this story, you know, you keep saying how, you know, this is a series and what do you have in for your readers? Do you have an idea of how long this series is going to be? Is there a, is there a one overarching, you know, there's books like Janet Bonovitch who, you know, there's 25 books and it's kind of rough, you know, things like that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it's not never ending. Um, so I have, I definitely have a book, um, plan. And the only caveat is, of course, once I'm writing it, if some of the storylines need a little more time, it might mean that my final battle when we returned. So the way this, this, this is structured in many shifted, um, universes it go through and you mate off each of the crew. And I love that. However, I've also read some fantastic ones where we revisit one or two of the characters in a new book, um, at a new time of conflict. And that is the way I'm structuring this. So Mack and Ryan are inciting, and it's called the Phoenix crew. So we start with this story. Um, then we, uh, we go through and we do, we find pairings for Brock and, um, Sarah and the twins. And then we have a major battle. And then in between those, we have a couple of 0.5 books, which are supposed to be origin of Ellis. But you know, for me there are certain developers, but for anywhere else there are novels. So I could check my copper already.

Speaker 2:

Oh dear. I mean my other series and other bloggers this, but this one is got a little more complex. Um, anyways, it's, it's fun. And, uh, so yeah, I have the next book that's coming out is actually an origin novel, um, where it's from Ryan's point of view, it's called becoming the chief. And that hopefully will be out before Christmas or, um, somewhere in that time. Yeah, that's my hope. And that's an original, so it's nowhere near as long, but it does, it can use on in our current timeline and we see a little bit of their evolving relationship and things that are happening in the crew. And we also cut back to how did they become a crew. Like considering I'm like, I am struggles with being the alpha. Um, how did he even agree to be the alpha? What happened? Cause he had such a traumatic time with the death of his dad.

Speaker 2:

So, uh, we jumped back to that three years ago time when they first started forming the crew and we, and we, between those two timelines and that's why it became a, a novel rather than a novella. Cause I wanted to have the current as well as the past to tie them together. So that's going to be fun. And that'll be up before Christmas for sure. Um, and then then we do Brock's book and boxes and Denaj. So I'll be moving between um, pairings and threesomes, threesome pairings. So yeah, well, threesome meetings. Personally, I love [inaudible] and I also love reverse harem. So I, my other series are reverse Hiram that I'm developing. So I love, again, it's just another way to explore what it means to be in relationship with someone and to be deeply connected. I, I love looking at the dynamics of multiple people for them, so, Oh, hope that is exciting. Yeah. So Brock is going to have his hands full, put it that way.

Speaker 1:

So he already struggles slightly. I mean he's such a good beta.

Speaker 2:

Could really be an outfit too. I really liked that he, if, if he so chose, he could break off and create his own, his own crew, which was why I knew I had to give him, I needed to give him a challenge. And so he gets a feisty lioness who's about to give birth to triplets or twins, um, a self and she's aligned shift shifter. Uh, and then, uh, she, he also has an a maker wall. Um, and Omega are a very special thing that I developed over the series as well. They often have a special power, but they're often abused inside of not positive role models and not positive crews for their power. So he is a very rare rogue, um, Amiga with a power that's managed to stay away from crews and ends up in this. Yeah. Yes. It's very fun. My gosh, I am so excited. I'm hoping that it'll be, you're out in sort of spring to late spring next year, but like these ones, it's funny, there are some books I can write really fast, but these ones tend to have to because they're just a little more complex. I feel like I have to give them the time and development so that I'm not leaving us with like frustratingly announcing things or cobbled together, you know, cause they've just got so many elements so they're a little slower. I that

Speaker 1:

to me that's not slow. I feel like so often especially, well, I mean mostly indie authors that are really impatient and just pump stuff out every single month. And you know, going back to what we were talking about before, they're, they're not necessarily getting things edited. They're not necessarily polishing up. It's that, you know, like factory of just getting it out and getting it out and getting it out. And so I feel like you're doing a fantastic job. It's everything is incredibly professional. You're doing an amazing job and still, that's such a short timeline. How, what is your writing schedule look like?

Speaker 2:

But last like three weeks I have gotten grumpier and grumpier hardly any writing time. I tried to do a bit of a base. That was the thing that we realized once we realized I wanted to move away from Phil. I say, what's the one thing I can't live without as an artist? And it was to write, like if I'm not writing the stories then I feel like in just a little part of me is like crumpling up. So, um, I am back now on the page, uh, doing this revised, um, draft of becoming the chief. So that's really fun and I'm loving it. Um, and I'm creating the current timeline to balance out the path. So it's really fun in of writing process, I, since I managed to get the kids off to Montessori school, um, I have had to change myself from a night owl type writer to a daytime morning to afternoon type writer. And that's when I get most of my time done is when I have that free time in a day. Oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

Fantastic. That is a huge shift. Um, because I used to be a nighttime writer also and stay up so, so late and yeah, now it's like the kids are in school, um, certain times of the day and I'm like watching the clock and trying to get everything done and I'd want to write, write, write and yeah. So it is a balancing act.

Speaker 2:

It is. Oh my gosh. It really is. How, um, did you want me to read a little bit for you or [inaudible]?

Speaker 1:

No, we are not at a time. Absolutely.

Speaker 4:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Um, this is frog an extract from chapter 38. Hell no. To shifting. I do like my chapter titles so much fun. I love the chapter title. I like, Oh my God. I'm like, how ridiculous can I make this big as well? Um, so yeah, this is between, um, Mack and Ryan, but we're in McKinsey's perspective at the moment. He reached out and this time I couldn't make myself move away. A trader is Saab escaped as you slipped his arms around me from behind, rocking me gently in place. I can't let her out, Ryan. I can't ever let her out again. The world won't survive. I won't survive. McKinsey, you're a shifted. It's not healthy too. I asked her, Ryan [inaudible] a little trip down memory lane. I asked Zilla how many died in that apartment? Do you know what she told me? Zero innocence. Oh, love.

Speaker 2:

You've got to stop looking at life like you're human. Your shifter, life and death as a part of who we are. We don't have to go looking for it, but we can't shy away from a fight that won't stop coming. This was it. This was the moment I had to let him in. I forced the words out that they cut my throat like razorblades. I'm a monster and wants to come protect spots. Hers. Look at what you did tonight. You saved them. Gone Villa saved them. I shut my eyes. He didn't get it. I don't know why I was so disappointed. Of course he didn't. He was a natural born off the alpha in the prime of his life. Shifting was as natural to him as breathing, as if he could hear my thoughts. He flipped me around in his arms so fast. I lost my stomach to stare intently into my eyes. He kept my cheeks and his colors. Honest hands. Has it ever occurred to you, Mackenzie, that some of us are given monsters because we are strong enough to ride them? Oh yeah.

Speaker 3:

Oh my God. I had some people jumping on me about audio books the other day. I was like, Oh my God, I can't be up. Today's second fandoms. People go crazy. They're like, get this out and get that out. And I want it on this and I want, yeah. So I mean, I know I was thinking

Speaker 1:

doing the same thing, like, Oh, I'd love to re listen to this

Speaker 3:

or can it be too, by the way,

Speaker 1:

released this is ebook format. Do you plan to release this in paperback hard?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. My paperbacks hopefully will come out at the end of this month, um, in October. Um, and then I'm actually doing a signing my first signing in Sydney because they have a fantasy and book Glover's event called um, all gowns and books, event short babe. Um, and they are doing it in February on the first, it's being hosted by Tate, James and Jane and Eve. Um, and so I'm going back to see family and it's going to be my festival for signing. So I want to have at least those two out so the people have some type of X to grab. Oh absolutely. Oh that is so exciting. Yeah, it's a great one cause it's all fantasy and romance and urban fantasy and paranormal room and like heaps of really great authors going. So, Oh that's fine. I'm pretty much gonna want to run around

Speaker 3:

somebody watch my table. Oh well

Speaker 1:

okay. So we're going to wrap this up that we are, gosh, we've been talking for almost an hour of this. I could go on and John, it's so exciting. So everything is so interesting. I'm like this born again, shifter reader

Speaker 3:

everything I can now. So

Speaker 1:

we are going to wrap things up. But thank you so much for joining us. And yes, and next week we will be doing the live chat on Instagram, uh, on the, I believe it's the 24th at 8:00 PM Eastern time. And then, uh, Kristen Morgan, my cohost and I will also be doing an entire podcast of discussing the book in depth

Speaker 2:

also. That's a separate thing. The live chat. Oh, how does the live chat work? By the way? I was wondering about some of the live chat.

Speaker 1:

We basically go, um, we do live on Instagram and people can just log on and post their questions or make comments or you know, do whatever. And Kristen and I talk about it. So yeah. So this will be our first. We've done, you know, every month we do the live chat, but this'll be our first time to really talk, you know, off the cuff like screaming fan girls

Speaker 3:

with wine. The wine must flow.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So before we go down that rabbit hole of wine and books, we're going to wrap things up and I hope you guys enjoyed and we look forward to you following us next week where we discuss the book and we'll see you again soon. Thanks so much.