Monday, June 4, 2012
Guest post with Carolyn McCullough
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In the Appalachian mountains after World War I, a young woman discovers that dreams might be more than imagination, dragons might still live in the night sky and evil has many faces and many forms.
Mariposa is a story about a young witch whose life changes as she confronts secrets, magic and a hidden world of shifters and dragons and her own past.
What was the inspiration that started you writing this time period?
I got to thinking of my grandmother, who grew up during this time period, and the stories she used to tell. She wasn't born in the Appalachians, but I've lived in the South for almost fifty years, so it's become my default location. The early twentieth century has always fascinated me; it was a major turning point in history for women. And communications were still primitive enough that I thought witchery and strange creatures could survive and even thrive in remote communities.
Did you have to do a lot of research to get the feeling?
Actually, when I stop to think on it, I did. I have another story perculating that takes place in the same time period, so there was research on clothing, electricity, foodstuff sold in stores, even some politics. I wanted to feel comfortable in that time period, to the point where I only needed a mention of a certain something. If a reader was suspicious, they could google and find out I was right. :-)
Why a dragon in the Appalachians?
Why not? All mountains conjure up visions of dragons for me. In Song of Life, there wasn't a real dragon, but Cas dreamed of them and visualized the mountains as dragons petrified by time. It's always been a fantasy of mine.
There's two animals in the story: Grey Malkin a cat and Horace, a stubborn ass. There's a sense of humor with them both. Are you an animal person? How did they come into it and make such an indelible mark?
I guess I just like to be different. Heh. No really, some authors make use of dogs, but since Mari was a witch and cats are the usual witch's familiar, it just happened. Thinking up Grey Malkin's name sealed the deal. He had to stay.
As for Horace, I'm a great believer in comic relief in my stories. Not slapstick necessarily, although Horace came perilously close to it, but something to relieve the tension just a bit. Might be a bit of dialogue, might be a mule taking offence at a bit of magic.
Torrin is an enigma in the story. A dragon who might be a man, might be a dream and might be Mariposa's soul mate. What or who was the inspiration behind him?
Well, he was supposed to be an alpha. I suspect he ended up a beta, but it doesn't matter because I really like him. I have a soft spot for betas. I think Torrin is a combination of both
The evil that comes in this book is multi faceted yet is encompassed in one man. What was your impetus in making the evil embodied in a human?
Don't know that I had one. Didn't want any gods or other superhuman entities and really what can be more evil than a human gone bad? Humanity has dibs on cruelty and sheer evil. Seemed only fit that a human cause all the problems in my story.
What are the dragons that you've read who inspired you?
The first dragons I can remember reading were Ann McCaffrey's, beginning with The Dragonriders of Pern. God, I wanted one for myself! They seemed the perfect companions, although I had trouble at that early age wrapping my mind around the mating process ....
Patricia Briggs' dragons in the Hurog series.
The dragon legend involved with King Arthur fascinated me too. I've always preferred European dragons over the Chinese variety for some reason, but hey, a dragon is a dragon and I wouldn't say no to any of them.