Author Interview (Readers): Michelle Muto

Today we’re interviewing Michelle Muto, the author of The Book of Souls and Don’t Fear the Reaper. If you’d like to read my review on the fantastic Book of Souls book, please check that out here. And now without further ado!

What was your inspiration behind The Book of Souls?

I wanted something fun to read. I recall that the great Toni Morrison once said, “If you want to read something that hasn’t yet been written, you must write it.”

Who would play Ivy? Nick? Raven and Shayde? And especially Spike the lizard turned human?
Maybe Scarlett Johansen for Ivy.

I’m not too sure who’d play everyone else. I’d LOVE to hear who readers think would play Spike. I need some gorgeous guy who’s a bit off the wall funny in a naïve sort of way.

(Blogger’s Note: Because Spike is cute and blonde and because I watched a cute, blonde kid in a movie last night, my vote’s on “X-Men: First Class” actor, Lucas Till, who played Havok. He’s adorable and by my research (and by that I mean Google), he seems like a fun kid who can show off a silly side. Let’s show a photo:)

What do you think makes Ivy different from other teen witches?

I’d say that the whole story has a lighter, more fun feel to it. So much YA is dark these days. I wanted Ivy’s story to be unusual, a little crazy.

Please, oh please, explain Devlin (the cutest supernatural pet ever)—your inspiration, your favorite passage he’s in, if you can include him in all your other books…

He’s going to be in ALL of Ivy’s stories. The inspiration is actually my own dog, Ronan. Well, except for the fire breathing part, he’s darn close to Devlin himself. I had already dubbed Ronan a Beezlepup years ago. He’s always into mischief. Favorite passage? I think my favorite is when Devlin is hiding under the bed when Spike first disappeared from the guest bedroom. Or, maybe the scene where he’s trying to get Midnight down from the tree.

Without giving anything away, what’s your favorite passage from the book?

The scene at the end when Ivy and Nick’s walk out of the building together.

Do you have more plans for Ivy and her friends?

I do! Things have gotten a little more serious in Northwick, but don’t worry. There is still a lot of craziness from the crew.

Where can readers find their own copy?

Currently, they can find it on Amazon (who has it on exclusive until the end of April. Then, Ivy and company will be available on B&N and even iTunes!

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Lost-Souls-ebook/dp/B004QWZ8LO
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Souls-MacTavish-Novels-ebook/dp/B004QWZ8LO
Print versions outside the US – CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3711611

Readers can always connect with me on:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichelleMuto
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Muto-Author-Page/154882381238003
My Blog: http://michellemuto.wordpress.com/

(She’s also on Goodreads here)

Michelle, thanks for agreeing to be on my blog! I can’t wait to read the next installment for the Ivy MacTavish series, in addition to “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and all your other great books. Don’t forget, we’ll have her author interview for writers up on Friday so check back for Michelle’s indie publishing tips as well as her advice to every aspiring author.

Book Review: The Book of Lost Souls, Michelle Muto

What a fun, enjoyable read! I sat down to read a chapter or two and wound up finishing the whole thing in a couple hours. Michelle Muto does a fantastic job of writing us into a world that’s both believable and fantastical. Ivy and her friends live in Northwick, a magical area that serves for both Kindreds (magical beings) and Regulars (humans) who coexist peacefully within the community (well, for the most part). I loved the relationship between the two groups–Regulars put up with Kindreds because it keeps their community smoothly-run while Kindreds don’t gnaw on them and are discreet with their magic. While we don’t meet many Regulars, I appreciated that Muto wrote it out that way–we know how their world works without meeting too many characters (because there are already a bunch of great ones to remember anyways!)

We open to page 1 to immediately find magic–I love where Muto introduces us. It’s clear Ivy MacTavish, our 16 year old–well, almost 17 in the spring–protagonist, is used to a little adventure with her magic. We get to meet Shayde and Raven, Ivy’s two best friends (and a werewolf and vampire, respectively), who I really come to love as the story continues. Shayde is the level-headed, logical one, while Raven is impetuous and adventurous, making it very balanced on each side of Ivy’s shoulders. (Shayde’s also the one you want to smack you back into reality when you’re being a ridiculous teenage girl.) Anywho. We first meet Ivy, who is desperate for a date to make the popular, cute boy at school notice her. Her plan? Change a lizard into her date for a Halloween dance, put him in tights, and make everyone jealous. Yeah, right! Naturally, it implodes in an epic way. The dance falls apart and Spike the lizard-turned-human, escapes dressed as Romeo.

No one is powerful enough to transform Spike the lizard back except Ivy, which sparks the rumor: Like father, like daughter. Ivy’s father, who left when she was seven, was involved in extremely dark magic. Ivy, who has spent her life avoiding comparisons to her father to no avail, is now faced with even bigger problems: someone is using an evil spell book to bring back history’s most dangerous killers–and Ivy’s got Book 1 of 2 from the set. A creepy, black magic tool, this book beckons to her, appealing to the dark magic within her. Ivy’s plan to set things right: find the real dark spell caster, steal the book, and reverse the spell. The cherry on top of her supernatural sundae? Nick, the school’s hottest bad boy and resident demon, offers both help and a date for Ivy. She must figure out whom to trust and how to save herself and her town before the week’s up. Oh, and turn that damn Romeo back into a lizard plus figure out her boy situation. There’s a bit on her plate, but the best laid plans turned hijinks make for excellent giggles for the readers.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I think Muto really did a great job of saving the story from becoming too cute or where it felt too young for me. There were hilarious moments between the group chasing Spike the lizard-turned-man and the mischievous hijinks that ensue around Ivy, but Muto helped keep it grounded when Ivy is reminded of the pain over her father leaving her family. Having that bit of reality in Ivy’s life, I think, grounds her into a believable character. Ivy is also spunky and clever; she uses a few tricks on Tara, her nemesis, which I wish I could do in real life to some people I know 😉

Her group of friends is fantastic. She’s got vampires and werewolves for best friends (who truly look out for her and would never dream of betrayal) and her love interest (well, one of them anyways) is a demon. The scenes between Nick and Ivy were great–believable, frustrating, and to the point where I wanted to hop in the story and tell them both that they’re dummies and need to kiss and make up! I loved Nick’s cool demeanor, yet Muto does a great job of showing his vulnerabilities as well as his emotions toward Ivy.

I will note that Muto writes this book as “An Ivy MacTavish novel, Book 1” which means there is at least one (but hopefully several) more books to come for our young protaganist and her group of misfit friends. We have a pretty open ending that, if Muto chooses, should reveal more of Ivy’s father and his past, Ivy’s future, as well as any shenanigans that are bound to entertain. I can’t wait to get my copy!

You can buy your own copy of The Book of Lost Souls on Amazon here.

Michelle Muto fans, check back here on Wednesday and Friday of this week to check out Muto’s author interviews!

Author Interview (Writers): Courtney Cole

Our Part 2 interview with Courtney Cole is geared towards aspiring writers, whether you wanna be indie or mainstream bestsellers. Hopefully we all take a little something out of these for our publishing plans!

If you want to read Part 1 with Courtney on her answers about Every Last Kiss in the Bloodstone Saga, check it out here. And as always, you can buy Courtney’s book on Amazon (because I’m not letting anyone have my copy. Nuh uh.)

What was your process for your book from creation to publication?
I started out by querying to agents for traditional publishers. I was actually in talks with a couple of agents, but they felt that the market was soon going to be over-run with mythology books and that there wouldn’t be a market for it. They wanted me to revise Every Last Kiss into a straight historical, which would have changed the outline that I had for the entire series. I didn’t want to do that.

So, a good friend, Wren Emerson, talked me into going indie with it. It’s the best decision that I ever made. In this particular situation, those agents were wrong. There’s still a market for mythological paranormal books. I have a big fanbase that loves them.

Would you recommend self-publishing to aspiring indie authors?
It really depends on the person. Do you have a business head? Can you multi-task? Can you market? Are you a self-motivator? Being an indie is NOT EASY. You might think that because you get to skip the querying process that it is, but it isn’t. While all of the control rests within you, all of the control rests within you. You have to make the hard decisions and hope that they are the right ones… pricepoint, cover art, editing, distribution, sales channels… if you don’t have a business head or have a business advisor, it would be easy to fail.

How the hell do you balance everything? Family, friends, everyday activities, work, AND a book? Spill the secret, Wonder Woman.
It’s no secret. I’m insane. The entire juggling process has turned me into a laughing-like-a-hyena- crazy-woman. Seriously, the secret to multi-tasking is being organized. I have lists, I set reminders for myself both in Outlook and on my phone. I keep my calendar (with due dates) up to date. Or else I would be total FAIL.

You’ve said it took you about 5 months to write this book, but a lot of that was research. How many hours would you guess went into it? What was your process (internet, library, previous term papers, etc.)?
Five months give or take. I was so infatuated with the story and Cleopatra herself that I just immersed myself in writing. I can’t even tell you how much research I did for Every Last Kiss. So. Much. Research. Luckily, I like research, particularly on topics that interest me. I really wanted to know as much as I could about ancient Egyptian culture so that I could nail it when I described Cleopatra’s palace. Because no one really knows what her palace really looked like. The ruins were found deep beneath the sea in the harbor off of Alexandria in 2010. But obviously there are no pictures from when it was still intact and on land. So, it was really fun to open up my imagination and picture what it was like.

Tell us about your gorgeous book cover—the process, how much input you had, how you went about deciding that was JUST right?
I had a vision in my head—and my cover artist brought it to life—it turned out even better than my vision. I knew it was just right when she sent me the final version and I opened it up- and it was so beautiful that I couldn’t breathe for a second. It was just amazing- to see that beautiful thing and to see my NAME on that beautiful thing. It was a really great moment.

What are the next big plans for you in regards to your writing?
I loved writing mythology so much that I am writing a spin-off series to the Bloodstone Saga called The Moonstone Saga. I’m in the middle of the second book now. I haven’t decided yet if there will be three books or four. And I have a list of ideas for future projects so I won’t be lacking for projects any time soon. If only I had eight hands instead of two. I’d be a lot more productive….

Thanks for having me on your blog, Liz. You’re just hilarious. I heart you. (Blogger’s Note: I LOOOOOVE Courtney Cole–her books, her personality, her patience to deal with my enthusiasm/stalkerism. I heart YOU!)

Thank you so much for answering all my questions from both interviews, Courtney! You’re pretty much the best!

Author Interview (Readers): Courtney Cole

With each book review, my hope is to also interview the author to get an idea of their method behind the madness. I’ll try to do a 2 part interview–one part for readers (such as the book plot and its details), and a writer interview (for aspiring writers like myself to hopefully gain a little inside wisdom). Today’s author interview is with the phenomenal Courtney Cole, author of several books including The Bloodstone Saga, the Moonstone Saga, Princess, and Guardian (I’d say she stays busy). In case you want to read my review on Every Last Kiss, the first book in the Bloodstone Saga, you can go read here.

Without further ado, our Q&A with author Courtney Cole! Today’s post is for her readers, while her writer post will be up on Friday.

What was your inspiration behind the Bloodstone Saga?
I knew that I wanted to write a series about reincarnated gods and goddesses. So I was noodling on that- it was always in the back of my mind as I tried to formulate a plot. Then one day while I was doing dishes, I started thinking about tragic figures in history- and who would change their fate if they could.

I immediately thought of Cleopatra and I KNEW that I had to use her in the first book. It was so obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tied it together before. Duh. So, while Every Last Kiss is different than the other books in the series, it’s that way for a reason. I really wanted to show the torment that Harmonia suffered in so many lives because of the Fates.

Who would play Macy if the book were made into a movie? More importantly, who is perfect enough for Hasani?!
Oh, my. This is a really hard question. I’ve been asked before, but it’s so hard to decide. The closest real-life person that I can find to the Macy /Charmian that lives in my head is Aishwarya Rai Bachman. I think she’s breathtakingly gorgeous. (I waffle between being infatuated with her, hating her and being incredibly green with jealousy…)

Hasani… he’s soooooo hard. The closest that I can think of is Joe Manganiello. He plays Alcide in True Blood. Of course, Hasani is clean-shaven. So just picture Joe without a beard. Holy cow. Did it just get really, really hot in here?? (Blogger’s note: Please, oh please god, let there be a movie for Joe to be constantly shirtless and beautiful. Please. Also, I want to touch his abs.)

You’ve been transported back to ancient Egypt—what do you (or Macy, even) most miss about the modern world?
Modern medicine. Think about that—one toothache could kill you. I’d also miss Del Taco. And probably tennis shoes. And pink nail polish. And my iPhone. Definitely my iPhone.

I’ve seen that you fear buoys and seagulls. While those are a literal fear, do you have any irrational fears that just sound ridiculous? (For example, mine is zombies.)
You don’t think my fear of buoys is ridiculous? It’s pretty stupid. I figure I must have drowned in a prior life. My daughter (who is 9) is afraid of sharks at night. While she is lying safely in her bed in the second story of our house. I guess that’s more ridiculous than mine- at least buoys are actually in the water. And buoys are fierce, fierce things.

Um. More irrational than that? I don’t think so. I mean, the buoy thing extends to all things floating in the water. So, a floating log, a pop bottle, an intertube… Oh, and I’m kind of afraid of things that float in the bath-tub too… like my daughter’s bath toys.

Great- and now I sound crazy….

Without giving anything away, what’s your favorite passage from the book?
This one is hard, too. Geez, Liz. You ask hard, hard questions. I think the most emotional one for me to write was when it was time for Macy to leave Egypt. I literally cried as I was writing.

What was your inspiration for the soul mate relationship between Charmian and Hasani?
The soul mate myth as it relates to Zeus. It is said that once upon a time, Zeus was so suspicious that everyone was going to try and overthrow his throne that he created soul mates as a distraction. He split everyone’s soul into two and put them into separate bodies. That way, those two people would spend their lives searching for their other half, rather than focused on stealing Zeus’ crown. I started thinking about that… how close would two people be if they were literally two halves of the same soul? I mean, my husband is an identical twin- he and his brother were literally the same embryo and then for whatever reason, they split into two. It would have to be something like that. And that was my inspiration.

Where can readers find their own copy of your amazing series?
My author page on Amazon has a list of all of my books. You can find it here: Courtney Cole on Amazon

You can also find me on my website: http://courtneycolewrites.com/