Feel free to share a little about yourself in your own words.
I have spent most of my life waiting to meet a witch, vampire, or at least get haunted by a ghost. In between failed seances and many questionable outfit choices, I’ve developed a keen eye for the extra-ordinary.
Since chasing the supernatural does not pay the bills, I chose to dabble in creative entrepreneurship, marketing and retail management. Most of my free time is spent reading thrillers and binge-watching television shows in my pajamas.
Currently, I reside in Toronto, Canada with my partner who is not a creature of the night.
I’m Scorpio and a massive advocate of leggings for pants.
How did you get into writing?
I have been dabbling in the creative writing field since I was a child. In fact, my first (quite terrible) novel was written when I was about thirteen and followed the story of a girl that moves to a new city, meets a boy, falls in love, then finds out that the boy has been dead for many years. I read a lot of R.L. Stine back then in case that isn’t clear from the story.
After the short-lived circulation of the story amongst friends and family, I held off on novel writing until later in life, concentrating mostly on poetry and short fiction throughout high-school and university. It wasn’t until much later in life that I gathered the courage to try again and have not looked back since!
What can you tell us about your daily routines that help you focus and your creative habits? So, for example how do you come up with some of your ideas and inspiration for your book?
When it comes to routines, I am dead set in my ways. I’ve always loved planning and having a schedule in place so my days follow the same beat for the most part. I wake up and check social media and follow up on emails. After breakfast I head to the office (I am currently a Creative Director leading a large team of creatives in the marketing field). I make sure my lunch times are dedicated entirely to writing sprints in which I find I can put down about 1000 words. When I get home in the evening I aim for another sprint, this time doubling the word count. The rest of the night I spend checking social media one more time and reading until I fall asleep.
I find having a schedule in place that forces me to write every day helps continue to push my creative ideas and while most people might find it tiresome working full time and publishing, I get most of my ideas and inspirations from the people I meet daily.
Is this book very personal for you? If so, how?
AetherBorn is a massive undertaking for me. It is part of a six books series that I am aiming to complete by mid 2020. It is also the book that helped launch and propel my writing career in the YA genre which is makes it a baby of sorts in our family. I’ve become so entwined in the series that the characters are essentially family members and a massive topic of conversation in our house.
I actually didn’t if you can believe it! All the credit for the title must go to my partner. We were bouncing ideas of what to call the book in a manner that would keep it open for the rest of the series to follow and he blurted it out one day. I immediately loved it!
Plot and Synopsis
AetherBorn follows the story of a young photography student, Ruby Black, in the fictional city of Westerlake. While on a delayed subway train, Ruby witnesses what she is convinced is a mystical murder that is deemed an accident by everyone else around. She struggles with what she believes she has seen but soon discovers that there is a world of Elemental beings that live hidden from society that only she is able to see.
Questions arise as to why Ruby has the ability she has and she is quickly thrust into the middle of an underground rebellion, led by two of the Elemental houses, to take control of what they believe is rightfully theirs.
As we follow the story, we get to know more about Ruby’s own past and her involvement with the Elementals. Suddenly, an average girl with a fairly normal life becomes the hero in a story that has been brewing for generations, hidden from reality and more mysterious than anything Ruby has ever hoped to encounter.
Is there any movie, book, or television series that you can somewhat liken your story to? So for example, some books you can say are like Game of Thrones or Star Wars, what mainstream and popular movie do you think your book somewhat “feels” like? Did you want this to be the case?
When I pitch the series, I often say that it is a bit like Percy Jackson meets The Mortal Instruments with a touch of Thor. A massive mashup of mythological fantasy set in an urban setting.
Themes or Messages
What themes and deeper meanings or messages can we expect to find in this book if any? Is there any deep meanings or philosophical questions being explored in the book?
When I started writing the book and later the series, my main interest lay in the mythology of Primordial Deities. I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind that if the stories were really true, there was a very good chance that our current society would have a deep-rooted ancestry and lineage that would be part deity and part human. With that, most of the book dabbles greatly with how one would cope with finding out that they are different from everyone else. How a normal person, in this case Ruby, would work with change, especially the type of change that comes with added responsibility. It is really a story of a girl growing up and learning to deal with adulthood and first loves, with magic and powers of course!
Off the wall question, but would some of the issues being explored in the book relate to us here in the real world?
Definitely! When writing, I try to put myself in the shoes of each character to make sure their ARC makes sense and that their personalities are relatable and realistic. When I wrote Ruby, I became her in a way and so every issue became an issue I had to be able to relate to. Facing the world on your own for the first time, playing the role of an adult for the first time, falling in love, these are moments of life we all go through. I wanted Ruby to experience those moments throughout the book and be reactive in a way that made sense to today’s world.
What can you tell us about the setting that we will be seeing in this book?
Westerlake is a fictional metropolis not too dissimilar to other large cities in the Western hemisphere. It is located close to a waterfront and is the largest city and most densely populated city in the general area where Ruby’s life is set. With that, the majority of Elemental activity and politics takes place here. We do get to visit other settings in the series (some of which are outside of our modern world) but AetherBorn is mainly set in Westerlake. Since we follow Ruby’s life, I wanted to keep the world building strictly to areas she would herself visit and be comfortable in.
What cultures or societies can we expect to see and can you tell us about how you came up with creating these societies? Was it difficult to get deep into how the societies function?
The world of the Elementals (half human half deity beings) is the main culture that we explore in AetherBorn. Being direct descendants of four of the Primordial Deities, the Elementals are divided into four houses; Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Each house is ruled by an elder that is responsible for its people and has its own unique ability to control the earth’s elements. For many generations, the houses of Air and Water held the majority of the power and processed control over the Fire and Earth houses, forcing them to have minimal access to their powers and policing their way of life. Within the last two generations, Fire and Earth started an underground rebellion set on restoring their power and rule.
When I was working on the division of the houses, I wanted to keep it contained to the four main elements, allowing me to create a heritage based on only four Primordial Deities. Since the entire series is so intricately based on real mythology, I needed to keep the Elemental structure simple enough that I can expand to other Deities and creatures in later books. Ruby herself belongs to an ancestry that is rooted in the mythology but outside of the Elemental house structure.
The original building of the houses was fairly straight forward (with the exception of dividing the powers in a balanced manner). It was after they were introduced into modern life that things got a bit trickier. Each Elemental had to fit into an urban mold and with such their jobs and personalities had to correspond to their specific house. With that many people to think about, I had to divvy up not just power systems but career choices as well and each choice had to make sense to the progression of the series. In later books, when I’ve opened the world to other characters and deities, it added another layer of intertwined back story that without proper planning would be impossible to keep on track.
I keep a lot of notebooks!
Tell us about the history of the land or world or worlds that we will be exploring through out the book?
After the original four Elemental House elders forged the Sword of Enuma, they called for help from the Primordial Deity Aether (the deity of the other realm). With the help of the deity, they create the first AetherBorn, Eirene. A woman that is part Aether and part all 4 Elementals. Eirene is created to guard the sword and keep peace between the 4 houses. After many years of peace, Eirene falls in love with Tartarus and bears him a daughter. The child is kept hidden from the Elementals as it is against the rules for an AetherBorn to have any ties to anything other than the sword.
The royal son of the house of Air is also in love with Eirene and finds out about her affair with Tartarus. After the Deities banish Tartarus to the underworld, Eirene believes that he has abandoned her and their child and confides her sadness in the royal son as she trusts in his friendship. Out of jealousy, he murders her on her 21st birthday and leaves her child with a random family in the village.
Eirene’s daughter grows up an orphan and the memory of the AetherBorn background is forgotten over generations. The only memory of the AetherBorns comes to light on the 21st birthday of girls in the lineage when the sword calls upon them to continue the legacy. It provides them with the power of sight to show them the way to the sword.
What can you tell us about some of the main characters and villains in this book?
Our MC is Ruby Black, a twenty-one-year-old photography student who is quite shy and does not make friends easily. Ruby has spent most of her life pining after her best friend Jake without having her feelings returned.
In the span of the book, Ruby meets a mysterious and decidedly handsome love interest by the name of Liam who opens up a world to her that she never knew existed.
Throughout the book, we see Ruby grow from an awkward introvert to a powerful leader who is able to make decisions not just for herself but others.
Unfortunately, to avoid spoilers, I cannot say much about the villains in this book. Small hint, some of them will surprise you!