Hi, Marcel! It’s great to have you on Highlighted Author with us! Why don’t you give us a little introduction about yourself.
I have always been interested in writing, and reading. I was devouring books at an early age and started writing the dark teenage angst filled poetry during high school. I attended the writing program at the Naropa Institute (otherwise known as the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics) and a few college creative writing courses in Vancouver (Canada). I was distracted by music for a few years, but finally I put down the drumsticks and picked up a pen, and proceeded to push out my first novel — The Devil’s Jukebox.
That book is a little more esoteric, artsy and convoluted, but it was something that I had to get out before I could focus on the real stories I wanted to tell. I had never attempted writing in the young adult genre before, but during my travels through New Orleans I was inspired and got caught on a thought that evolved into this latest offering — Keys To The Sun.
I wanted to take some of the influences of my youth (The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Chronicles of Narnia, and maybe a little Scooby Doo) and write something that I would have loved to read. After the book writing block was removed, the words started to flow. I am currently working on a more adult tale that falls into a similar style, what I like to call Paranormal Pop Fiction, but I am also starting to work on ideas for a sequel to Keys To The Sun. It feels like a story that could have many chapters.
Keys to the Sun
In a city built on legends, the truth is hard to find.
This is a novel-length fantasy based in modern-day New Orleans and inspired by The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, with maybe a little bit of The Goonies and Scooby-Doo.
Keys To The Sun is a mystery tale about three teenagers on vacation in New Orleans who find more than they bargained for when they discover a secret attic in an old mansion.
Lucas and Parker Chance, with their new friend Nicole Wells, find an old map and mysterious clues that promise to lead them to a long lost pirate’s treasure. With the help of their enigmatic Aunt Ruby they begin to search through the French Quarter, but soon realize they are not alone in their quest, and find themselves caught between the forces of good and evil as the treasure turns out to be the location of the legendary House of the Rising Sun.
Marcel Feldmar was born and raised in Vancouver, BC—(That’s Canada, eh?). He studied creative writing at Capilano College and then ended up spending some time in an institution called The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and now he lives in Los Angeles where his words often get caught in traffic.
He has had more bands than girlfriends, but now he is married and not playing music, even though he’s been mistaken for Ric Ocasek on more than one occasion.
Marcel is a regular contributor to the Big Takeover, a music magazine based in New York. His musical journalism has also appeared in columns, reviews, articles, and interviews in a variety of ‘zines and magazines.
The majority of Marcel’s poetic writings have appeared in limited run, self-published chapbooks, but he has had one small book of poetry entitled Memory Bites published by a gleeful press!, and has also been published in Products of Conception (Vancouver, BC), Headveins Graphics (Seattle) and In Our Own Words / A Generation Defining Itself (North Carolina).
A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…
The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.
Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she s not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).
Hi. Elise! We’re so excited to have you with us today! So tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do when you’re not writing?
Thanks for having me! When I’m not writing I can be found outside tending to my garden, hanging out with friends, playing video games, or watching anime. (For more on the last two, see question 11!)
What or who inspired you to become an author?
This is a tricky question… I never thought about becoming an author. It’s like saying that you want to become a painter or singer. It feels like a childhood ambition that you give up when you get older and the world tells you that you have to get a “real job” so it never even felt like a real consideration despite always having enjoyed writing. The people who really inspired me to take this leap were my original FictionPress readers…
When you finally finished writing and revising Air Awakens, what were your initial thoughts? Excited? Nervous?
Honestly, I was confused. I started writing for fun on FictionPress and penned the entire series in eight months spanning 2013-2014. I never thought I’d write a novel, never the less five. Even weirder was that was people were reading and enjoying them! I had a bunch of readers asking me what was next, if I was publishing, working on something new, they wanted more and being an author suddenly became a real possibility for me. That was the first time that I really thought I should try doing something with my writing and see where it could go.
What were your first plans for the novel after you finished it? Did you query agents?
Well, kind of continuing my story from the last question… I reached out to a friend from college, Michelle Madow, who I knew had gone on to become a published author and basically asked, “How do I author?” (For the record, I’m still figuring out the answer to that question) She gave me insight to the publishing industry and told me about the querying process. I queried 111 agents, got a handful of partial requests, some full requests, and ultimately blanket rejections (or no replies) from them all. But the encouragement of my FictionPress readers stuck with me. So I remained determined and independently published.
Tell us a little bit about the MC, Vhalla Yarl, and what inspired the name. I just love it! It has such a nice ring to it! Is she a totally made up person, or maybe she has some of your qualities? Or is she based off someone else entirely?
When I began writing Air Awakens I was utterly obsessed with Marvel’s Thor. The dynamic between Thor and Loki was one I loved and I actually wanted to write a fanfiction. But, I began changing the characters and the world so much that it evolved into its own story that really only has a resemblance in two princes with dark and light hair. Still, I thought it would be fun to “call out” to some of that initial spark of inspiration and Vhalla’s name evolved as a play on Valhalla. Yarl was purely made up, it just sounded “right” when I put it together.
As far as her personality, I have a hard time of basing my characters 100% off people. I want them to belong in their world, not mine. So all my characters are mashups of traits of people I know mixed with the influences of the fantasy world.
I’ve seen that you love Norse Mythology. Who is your favorite amongst the gods and why?
I’m hesitant to say I love “Norse Mythology” because then someone will put me on the spot and I’ll get ALL the facts wrong. I DO love certain Norse Gods played by very attractive men in movies, however 😉
Actually, I would say I’m more familiar with Greek/Roman mythology. I took four years of Latin in high school and learned a lot of mythology through translations and research for projects. It’s not the answer you were looking for… but the story of Hades and Persephone is one of my favorites, along with Orpheus and Eurydice. Both are stories of tragic lovers.
Do you have plans for feature standalones or series?
I’m really excited that I’m finally able to say, “Yes!” This has been in the works for a long time, but I’ve recently signed with Keymaster Press for my next series, the Loom Saga. The first book in the series, The Alchemists of Loom, will be out on January 10th, 2017. I can’t say much about it, still, but I can say that I will continue to write in the high fantasy genre.
Do you think you might return to the world in Air Awakens after you’ve completed the series? That would be pretty sweet, and I’m sure your fans would love that!
All I’ve said on this matter is that the world the Air Awakens Series takes place in is very large. I have a long timeline that stretches in all directions and a lot of notes to go with it. However, for now, for the quality of my stories, I need to step outside the world for a bit and get some distance.
Also, have you ever experienced writer’s block, and if so, what are some of the things that help you combat it?
Before I was published, and even now to some extent, I usually force myself to push through. I put black on white even if I know it’s not good, knowing that I’ll either delete it or edit it into something that’s worthwhile later. But the less glamorous answer now that I’m published is (and I’ve talked to other authors who laugh and say much the same) is that when writing is your job, you just have to do it. “Writer’s Block” isn’t something you can afford because there are deadlines, printing dates, publication expectations to reach. So you have to push through.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a pantser or a plotter?
For Air Awakens I was a lot more of a pantser. I knew where I was starting, some key events, and where I wanted to end up. The series evolved a lot as I wrote and then had to be edited down heavily and rewritten a lot. For The Alchemists of Loom, I couldn’t afford the same amount of rewriting. So before I even started writing I spent months working on the world, magic system, and planning out the entire book expanding into the rest of the series. If my editor’s glowing praises are any indication, I think it paid off.
And finally, what are your favorite video games and anime book series/shows?
One question for this?! Not even close to enough time to answer for all my geeky obsessions! Let me run down the essentials… My two favorite anime of all time are Mawaru Penguindrum and Revolutionary Girl Utena (both directed by Ikuni). From the past year, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) was a masterpiece and one I really recommend. Currently I’m really excited for Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress) that’s airing this season (from the same studio that did Attack on Titan) and I’m basically obsessed.
As for video games, one of my favorite franchises is Dark Souls (and Bloodborne, I’m really hoping for a Bloodborne 2!) and I’m playing through Dark Souls 3 right now (it’s SO GOOD) working on the platinum trophy. I’m also really looking forward to Uncharted 4 (which is next after Dark Souls) and Persona 5, both hopefully coming later this year. One of my favorite franchises of all time is Zelda, and I’m anxiously awaiting the next full Zelda game (that seems like it won’t be out until the Nintendo NX).
I’ll stop there before I start fan gushing too much!
Thanks you, Elise, for gracing us with your presence and for sharing your time and answers with us!
A seraphim angel joins the fallen and uses his abilities to enhance the human race. After re-pledging his allegiance to God, centuries later his mission collides with the lives of three human-angel hybrid teens.
High school outcast Tara Cox hates her career criminal dad. Despite her reluctance she’s as talented at deception and secrecy as him. When new friends, including the guy she has a crush on, shows her kindness, she dreams of a different life that doesn’t involve violence and solitude.
Sixteen year-old Inara Mason desires to break away from her controlling dad. She develops a supernatural bond with a real angel who shows her monstrous mermaids and offers the illusion of love.
Former juvenile delinquent Leo Price struggles with the stigma of being a killer and keeping his love for Inara secret. He takes comfort in his dedication to God and the support of his mentor, Inara’s father. As evil closes in, they will fight for their lives, love, and the future of their souls.
JULIE FUGATE writes young adult fiction where danger, suspense, romance and God collide. Her nicknames include Jay, Juju, Jules, Lizzie and Julio. A tomboy and girly-girl all wrapped into one. Growing up she would spend one hundred percent of her meager allowance on books. You could find her in the library, the porch swing, or in her room reading and listening to music. She fights off two German Shepherds and a snarky Maltese who try to take over her keyboard when she’s writing.