Today I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.
Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:
Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.
Today I have a great interview with fantasy/sci-fi author Rebecca P. McCray.
Interview With Author Rebecca P. McCray
Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
I’m something of an anomaly. I built a career (a job that pays the bills) in an analytical, detailed focused field, despite being a creative, big-picture person. What was I thinking? Since my imagination is generally in overdrive, I returned to writing after a hiatus and have thoroughly enjoyed creating a new world, developing my own species, and crafting a compelling storyline.
While I grew up in a mid-sized, southern US city, I developed a deep appreciation for differences in cultures, places, and people. My story adapted that interest into a melting pot for refugee species and that’s really how it all started.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
My published book, The Journey of the Marked, is the first in an epic series. The genre is a hybrid between gritty sci-fi and fantasy. Most of the species and world are grounded in sci-fi norms, but there are a few distinctly fantasy elements and the overall “feel” of the story tends toward fantasy.
The story has a number of plots that separate and then intersect throughout the book. However, these can loosely fall into two main categories: 1) the adventure of five sixteen-year olds trying to reach a training camp and 2) the resulting experiences of their family and friends. The difficulties stem from the fact that these five teenagers are now being hunted by opponents attempting to stop them before they reach their goal.
What do you enjoy most about writing in the fantasy/sci-fi genre?
I enjoy the freedom. As I mentioned above, I have a very active imagination and the fantasy / sci-fi platform allows me to create so many new things: species, plants, creatures, etc. As well, I love removing myself from our own world and being thrown into something not completely different, but separate from our everyday life.
Who is your intended readership?
I wrote the story to include fantasy / sci-fi influences that appeal to readers of those genres, but at the same time, I kept it grounded enough that non-avid readers of those genres can still enjoy it. My initial goal was to write something for the YA reader group that would pique the interest of both genders. I’ve been delighted to find that the book appeals broadly across age groups.
Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?
If I’m being honest, I wrote the book for me. I was looking for a way to take the crazy stories and characters in my head and mold them into a cohesive story. Not everyone will understand this, but I needed to write it. It was only after spending a few years working on and off the story that I realized others might very well enjoy it, too. Then, I got serious.
My inspiration results from the many stories we hear of bullying and persecution because of someone or a group being different. I wanted to create a world where there was an abundance of differences, but where each individual can add value in his or her own way.
Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?
One of my biggest focus areas has been writing a cohesive story. I don’t like loose ends. I like complex storylines. What surprised me is how much harder it is to keep track of all those little details than I thought it would be. I’m not much of a plotter, so I don’t outline or map out the details of the story ahead, though I have resorted to tracking details in arrears to be as certain as I can that I don’t leave an unintentionally unanswered question. Readers may be surprised by this, but I love when one of them says “I can’t wait to hear why X happened” or “I’m looking forward to knowing why X character did something.” The vast majority of the time, I’ve already anticipated the question and have an answer built into later books, but on occasion, one of them catches me off-guard because it’s something that I didn’t consider important. If it’s important to a reader, then it’s important to me.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing poetry as either a pre-teen or early teen. Short stories followed shortly thereafter. I knew very early that I loved writing. Unfortunately, an unexpected event threw me off track and it was only after a number of years that I returned to writing. In many ways, I think my writing is stronger than it would have been otherwise because of my experiences in those intervening years. Experience shapes who you are and what you believe and my background is clearly evident in my writing.
Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?
If Google has been monitoring my search habits, someone might be a little worried. Since I started writing, I’ve become an avid researcher of bladed weapons, as well as other devices. I was delighted the day I found a video on how to throw bolas.
What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?
I’m writing the last few chapters of book two, The Training Camp. After that, it’s on to editing, but my goal is to publish it this year. Book two focuses on the development of characters from book one. You begin to see strengths of their species, as well as some unique abilities. Despite being at the camp, you might be surprised to find that they still face dangers.
Rebecca McCray is a financial consultant by day and fantasy world-builder by night. Her debut novel, The Journey of the Marked, was a finalist in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. She enjoys building out a world that is a cross between high-fantasy and gritty sci-fi and plans to publish the second novel in the series in 2016.
As well, she contributed a Miyran Heir short story to a compilation, Awethology Light. Besides being an avid reader, she loves to travel and experience new cultures.
The Journey of the Marked by Rebecca P. McCray
The mark means honor. The mark invites death.
On a distant planet, Eros thrives in the Human settlement he calls home. Raised to follow his grandfather’s noble footsteps, he studies the details of each species that co-exist here. But when the mark appears, he’s called to fight, which changes his life forever.
Forced to abandon his home, the mark makes him the hunted. He’s attacked the night he arrives in the city. A tough, street fighter named Kenrya saves his life. When they join others on the same journey, her cynical attitude drives a wedge between the group.
Given the perils facing them, can they put aside their differences and trust each other long enough to survive?
Discover this epic adventure where an individual’s unique abilities can change the course of the future.
Find it on Amazon: www.smarturl.it/journeyofthemarked
I'd like to thank Rebecca P. McCray for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.