Today is the FROG BLOG INTERVIEW with E M McIntyre! Native to Minnesota, she immersed herself in the worlds of Xanth and Narnia as a child and dreamed of one day creating her own magical world for others to enjoy. After receiving a Master's degree in Biology, E M decided the time was right to pursue her true passion of authorship. Her debut YA fantasy novel, The Phantom of Faerie Mountain, is the first of three in the Red King Trilogy. She is currently working on the second installment, The Secret of Berry Brae Circle. When not daydreaming of magic, mystery, and mischievous characters, E M enjoys gardening and spending time with her crazy pack of five Italian greyhounds. She’s also a fellow SCBWI Book Launch Partyer. Visit her website at redkingtrilogy.com.
THE FROG BLOG especially enjoyed the Scottish setting of The Phantom of Faerie Mountain. THE FROG BLOG proudly descends from several Scottish clans, one of which appears as the, er, bad guys in this story. (To find out which one, you’ll have to read the book, ha ha!) However, despite their differences, E M and THE FROG BLOG have decided they can still be friends.
What made you want to be a writer?
As a child, I was an avid reader of adventure, mystery, and most of all, fantasy. I lost myself to the likes of Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, and The Hardy Boys, and withdrew into the worlds of Narnia and Xanth. I recall early on thinking how "neat" it would be to write a story of my own that would sweep others away to another place.
I was an average student in English throughout my general education; it was not my favorite of required curriculum. I was most interested Biology, which held true through my college career and beyond. However, when given the opportunity to take a creative writing class in high school, I excelled and a dormant seed was planted. Our final project of the course was to hand-make a book and read it to a class of kindergartners. What a terrifying prospect – reading to 6-year-olds! Despite my stage fright, I pushed through and created my first book: Slick the Cool Cat Counts to Ten. The teacher even kept my creation to use as an example for future classes.
Fast forward twenty-some years, a good friend at the time turned me on to a distance-learning writing class through the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL). It was time for my tucked away seed to finally sprout and The Phantom of Faerie Mountain was born.
(THE FROG BLOG also loves Nancy Drew!)
How did you become interested in Scotland and its folklore? How did you get the idea for this story? What kind of research did you do?
I was fortunate to spend eleven days in central Scotland during the summer of 2001. I fell instantly in love with the Highlands and, well, everything about that land so far from my home. I didn’t know it then, but a day-trip I made to climb Ben A’an (a popular miniature mountain) would shape my future goals.
The final assignment for my writing class at the ICL allowed me to begin a novel. There was no thinking about it; my story, my life-long dream, would take place in Scotland. A YA fantasy, aimed toward younger individuals in the spectrum was my goal. I knew I wanted my protagonist to be strong, intelligent, and perhaps a bit stubborn, but she would need an indigenous side-kick as well as a mythical companion.
My research consisted of studying maps of Scotland online and reading about mythical creatures. It was important that the setting include a mountain. I came across one near Kinloch-Rannoch called Schiehallion, or, "Fairy Hill of the Caledonians." When coupled with my discovery of the Cu Sith, a mythical hound inhabiting Scotland, The Phantom of Faerie Mountain planted its feet.
|Schiehallion. Photo credit dunalastair.com|
You're working on the second installment in the Red King Trilogy. How is that going? Do you have an approximate release date?
The second installment, The Secret of Berry Brae Circle, is still in its infancy, but I hope to have a completed draft before the end of 2016. Please hold me to this!
(E M is holding a contest on her website to name one of the characters in The Secret of Berry Brae Circle. Go to redkingtrilogy.com/news-and-events to vote! THE FROG BLOG did!)
Do you have ideas for where you might go as a writer after the Red King Trilogy, or are you thinking that far ahead?
I’ve considered how I might create stand-alone stories that branch off from the Red King Trilogy; lately I’ve felt that perhaps I’ve pigeonholed myself by deeming it a trilogy! The third, and yet unnamed installment, will require 100% world-building. Because of this, there should be plenty of potential for expanding storylines.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Find what works best for you in terms of when you write, where you write, and how you write, and stick with it. For me, I do my best work early in the morning on the weekends (after waking and feeding my belly). I prefer a quite household (all 5 of my Italian greyhounds must be doing what they do best – sleep) and my writing software of choice is Scrivener.
Last , and most importantly: if you were a frog, what kind of frog would you be?
A red-eyed tree frog because they’re just so stinkin’ cute, or, if I was feeling sinister, a blue poison dart frog!
Thanks E M, and we look forward to hearing about all your future endeavors! The Phantom of Faerie Mountain is available at Amazon and Smashwords.
A telepathic dog. An ancient prophecy. Two devious faeries. 14 yr old Abby Fletcher must unravel their connection when she is thrown into a world of unknowns after receiving a mysterious message from a frightening beast: The Red King must set me free. Determined to discover the meaning of this puzzling phrase, Abby sets off to explore a nearby Scottish mountainside in search of clues. What Abby doesn't realize, however, is that it's not a matter of where she will find her answers but when. Whisked back to the early 14th century, Abby must find the courage to solve the mystery of the Red King and save not only herself but a group of powerless captives wrapped up in a faerie plot.