Muffy Morrigan - The Legacy, The Hunt
Unlike the subjects of my last two inquisitions *cough* er, interviews, I don't actually know too much about you. Since I managed to get you to agree to answer any questions I want (mwhahaha), shall we start there?
1. What is your writing history? What point was it that you picked up a pen and realised people would have to wrestle it out of your hand to get you to stop?
My writing history? I first figured out I could tell stories long before I picked up a pen, I know that, or at least my parents and grandparents have told me that! I do know that I was six when I “penned” my first novel, carefully copying out several copies on lined paper and going door to door selling them to the neighbors for ten cents. I was in my teens when I finished my first actual novel, a science fiction adventure, although I had written many short stories by then. I had the chance to attend an amazing writer's workshop when I was sixteen with some of the major science fiction writers in the country—luckily many of them live in the Northwest. In college I took writing-heavy majors including history and so churned out a lot of words. I knew my academic dreams were nothing but dreams when I was labeled (at an academic conference) as colorful and flamboyant. Oh well. After that, I set off to write—news mostly and covered the gauntlet in the news world from obituaries and news briefs to reporting and finally to the height of reviews and a weekly column. Um, that was a really long answer, sorry...
2. You have two books out currently, and I believe it was with two different publishers? What was the process like for you?
Nerve-wracking! It always is, no matter how sure you are of yourself, there is always that little tick of doubt that is there the whole time. I love working with a good editor, though. They help tighten the writing so much!
3. I noticed a big change of writing style between The Legacy and The Hunt. Do you accredit it to something? Were there things you were watching out for?
It does show doesn't it? The Legacy was a novel I had been poking at for many years, haul it out poke, put it back, and over the years my style has altered. I think The Hunt is much tighter. I am tempted to go back in and rewrite The Legacy, believe me. I can see where I want it to change! It's hard...
4. Do you have a favourite story/novel that you've written so far?
Hmm, that's hard. My favorite novel that is all the way written is The Hunt, although The Berserkers (book three) is shaping up really well. I do have a couple of favorite stories I've written for fanfic, Apocalypse Now! I think is one of my all time favorites.
5. Tell us about your characters. I refuse to accept a short answer on this one ;-) You have so many intriguing characters that I would love to know more about them and what makes them tick.
Okay, I won't answer short! My characters in general are the Custodes Noctis a group of people who fight “the darkness that even the night fears”. Founded back in antiquity they deal with all the things that can throw the world out of balance. Each “Keeper” has personal Gifts as well as sharing a bond with their brother,
Specifically: Galen Emrys, the elder brother of my main characters. He is Gifted with healing. Unlike many Keepers in the past, Galen has more power and is more like the Keepers that fought back in the days when “darkness” walked the earth more frequently. He owns the Emrys Apothecary and had a PhD. He also plays guitar in a local band The Urban Werewolves
Rob Emrys: the younger brother. He is Gifted with the Sight. Rob is also a gifted linguist and researcher. He is more steeped in the Traditions of the Custodes Noctis than Galen and regularly cites the Sagas to prove his point.
Flash Lynch: Galen's best friend and bassist/vocalist for The Urban Werewolves. He started out as a minor character, but he has quite a following and I have to admit, he has really pushed his way to the front of the stories. He will play an even larger roll in The Berserkers.
Parry and Bobby Emrys: Galen and Rob's Father and Uncle. They're technically dead, but deceased Keepers can be called to serve by a living Keeper, and once they were called, they decided to “hang around” a bit.
Other Characters that are regulars are Rhiannon Ross: Galen met her when he was eighteen, her daughter had been killed by the Old One of the Legacy (though they didn't realize that at the time) and after that she became a killer of things that took children. I see her as hunting demonic forces that specifically target children, although she is always willing to join a fight.
Greg Alexander: Kinda of a mystery, but he will play a bigger roll in the next book.
Stephan Blake: A Fae, he helped create the Hunt, and is currently living under the radar as a monk.
6. Time for the difficult question (although I think I might be able to guess the answer): do you have a favourite written character?
Another author? That's easy Elizabeth Peter's Ramses Emerson. I'd marry him if I could.
7. You've developped a good reputation for yourself with your fanfiction, a subject which you discussed very well on your blog post. Do you want to add anything to that? Where do you develop your ideas for characters who have already existed for seven years?
Well this will sound a little crazy, but they tend to tell me “hey, this would make a great story.” My Current fanfic “The Hunting of A Snark, with apologies to Lewis Carroll” has been brewing for a long time and suddenly it was ready. Other times the story just pops out whole, like with Apocalypse Now! Or my two most recent one shots. They just happen.
8. Do you have any other projects in the works?
I actually have two, one is still nebulous, but the other is in the writing stage. It's a fantasy/sci fi crossover called The Sail Weaver and I am very, very excited about it. The character Tristan I mentioned above is part of that story. I almost can't wait to get to that one. As soon as the novella and the Berserkers are finished... Oh! There will be a Custodes Noctis Novella out this month!
9. Finally, in one sentence - what advice would you give to all the aspiring writers out there?
I can do it in one word. Write. That sounds trite, but I don't mean it that way. Writing is like music, and you have to practice every day to move forward. I have pages of things that will never see the light of day that I have written just to write. I set challenges for myself and write. Maybe I do have a sentence: Write from your heart, write for yourself and make sure what you write is what you love.
I'm going to review both of the Custodes Noctis books together, which I feel I can do safely because Muffy fit them together so seamlessly.
The Legacy begins the tale of Galen and Rob Emrys, Keepers who have been prevented from doing their duty because of an attempt on the younger brother's life that has forced the older into hiding. Five years later, events are set into motion that make it imperative the brothers reunite to stop an old god from returning to our world. The Hunt picks up shortly after as the brothers must face the consequences of having denied their role as Keepers while they were separated. Long considered a punishment for Keepers who turn their backs on their duty, the Hunt attempts to claim the brothers, but when millenia old evil try to break through the Between World, Rob and Galen have no choice but to use the Hunt to their advantage.
A simple summary for two novels full of fascinating complexities and a whole spectrum of great characters. In a world that beautifully blends a magical world with our reality, the Custodes Noctis series focuses on the importance of strong partnership, family bonds, and how annoying our friends can be when they go against what we've asked them to do only to get themselves in trouble and as a result end up saving our lives (Flash, I'm looking at you!)
What I really enjoyed about these novels? How well-developped the legends are; how Rob's insatiable desire for knowledge and research, and the sources he quotes, actually seem possible in our mundane world. It's easy to believe that Galen's apothecary shop is right down the corner, that discussing ancient sacrificial rituals really is coffee shop talk among friends. I was sucked into a world similar to mine in every detail, but full of the magic I wish really existed -- and I believed for a time that it did. Isn't that the ultimate sign of a fantastic story?
I am very much waiting for both the novella and the next installment, The Berserkers, to add to my shelves. If they're anything like what I've read so far, it'll be worth the read.