GMB: Welcome Mandy Eve-Barnett from Strathcona .... Welcome to the 'Anything But a Tired Barn'. Being a Fellow Member of the 'Writers Foundation of Strathcona County' I wanted to congratulate you regarding the recent and most successful Writers' Conference put on by the Foundation... Tell us about yourself... about this recent effort...
MEB: The hard question first, I see. Yes, with another successful Conference under our belts we can breath a sigh of relief…for a short while anyway! I was born in South Africa to parents working as pathologists for a mining company. We returned to England where I lived most of my childhood and adult life. In 2007 I hopped over the ‘pond’ to come and live in Alberta. I have always been creative, partaking in painting, sculpture, drawing and textiles, you name it I’ve tried it. With a promise to myself to find a new creative outlet once my family and I were settled in our new country, I visited the local library. With a handful of leaflets I spied a white board detailing a writers group meeting and as they say there was no looking back. In less than four years I have published two books, created other three novels, written for online websites and newspapers, participated in three NaNoWriMo challenges and became the secretary of The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. In short I am totally obsessed with my writing.
GMB: Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration?
MEB: Inspiration comes from everywhere - an overheard conversation, people watching, a photograph or even a sentence.
GMB: You seem to be writing Fantasy, some Adult Fantasy what has you choosing to write in genre in particular?
MEB: I don’t limit myself to one genre. If possible I would like to explore each one if only once to say I’ve done that! So far I have written children’s stories, an adult fantasy, speculative fiction and a romance.
GMB: Is there any other genre more than others, if so, why?
MEB: At the moment I am toying with creating a horror but as yet my muse hasn’t ‘spoken’. My only reservation is, will it be good enough. As a Stephen King fan I know I have big boots to fill.
GMB: Toying with horror ... Now there is a bit of imagery working there... Which appears first when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot or the title?
MEB: When I really thought about this I realized the plot is primarily my starting point. A ‘what if’ scenario I place my characters into and then see what they do with it.
GMB: So you already have characters made, and then seek to place them in a plot ... I've never thought of having an inventory of characters on stand-by ... That is very interesting. Tells us, what’s the hardest part of a novel for you to write: The beginning, middle or end? Tell us why?
MEB: Honestly I don’t suffer with this phenomenon, as my writing is free flow. Once an idea emerges I just go with it. The muse speaks, my fingers type. It is in the editing process that I have more of a problem.
GMB: Has your own life influenced your novels? If so, how?
MEB: Another interesting question and one I pondered for a while. My speculative fiction, 'Life in Slake Patch' was the result of a rant about family life, which morphed into the novel. 'The Twesome Loop' contains a reincarnation theme, which is an interest of mine. My current WIP, Ockleberries to the Rescue, is fundamentally generated from a lifelong love of all animal life. So in short the answer is yes there are certainly ‘elements’ of me in my work.
GMB: Who is your favorite character, which you’ve created? And, why?
MEB: The easy answer would be to say they all have elements I enjoyed but if pushed I would say Elviva from The Rython Kingdom. She has a great strength as well as hidden depths. I love how she manipulates (in a kind way) the troubadour Guillem.
GMB: If you could be anyone in the world, space, and designated realm, who would it be? And why?
MEB: Joanne Woodward in 1958 when she met Paul Newman. I could love and live with my ‘perfect’ man for over 50 years.
GMB: Tell us about your newest release.
MEB: My e-book adult fantasy, The Rython Kingdom is set in medieval England and follows a famed troubadour, Guillem Ruet to the King’s court. He is unaware he has been bewitchment by a vengeful witch, whose tale he will relay in all innocence and release her from her confinement. Once at the King's court Guillem discovers the true nature of a servant and is aided by an old crone and her beautiful granddaughter, both of whom have their own secrets. Guillem worried if his tried and tested tales would be worthy of the King’s court. As he succumbed to sleep an image of his campfire on that particular night appeared. He remembered looking deep into the flames as a rabbit cooked – his eyes transfixed by the flickering orange flames, but now, while semi conscious, he recalled that they had turned blue in hue and he had been lost in a far away land. He had dreamt of blue flames rising, which twisted and spiraled into images of a witch and a horrendous beast. Strange and bewitching but a marvelous tale had been revealed to him as so many pictures in his mind that night.
GMB: So Guillem is an unwitting pawn in a witch’s vengeful plan, reciting a tale, which will unleash the witch, Malgraf and her son resulting in havoc and murder.
MEB: Yes, the creative tension derives from whether Guillem can be stopped in time...
GMB: If I was a publisher, I believe my first question would be, “Why were you chosen to write this story?” How would you respond to the inquisitive publisher?
MEB: I believe everyone wishes to escape real life from time to time. Surrounding ourselves in an imaginary world enables our subconscious mind to solve our own problems. The conflicts within The Rython Kingdom are metaphors for many instances we find ourselves in. I feel my story can entertain but also aid resolution for my readers.
GMB: Can you read an excerpt for us:
MEB: Sure, I'll read from the scene where Guillem plays his audience as the fine troubadour he was, Guillem changed the story’s location to have them hear of Lord Elros’ adventure far away from his ladylove in the mountains.
While his lady considered fabrics, Lord Elros and his troop made good time across the plain to the forest edge. As the light faded under a crescent moon, he commanded they set up camp. With their horse’s fed and tethered and a hot stew filling their bellies, the men talked around the campfire. Elros walked to the edge of the tree line, carrying a lantern. With a glance about him to ensure he was alone he pulled an aged parchment from his tunic and studied it by the dim light. Eleanor had told him she was certain the map showed a route to the witch’s lair. It revealed many traps along the path but with Eleanor’s instructions, Elros was certain they would reach their destination. He would have to be precise in his directions to his men to ensure they followed the trail in line with the seer’s commands. The sorceress had charmed parts of the forest flora and fauna and many travelers had succumbed to the enchantments with the loss of their life. Elros studied the twisting trails and made mental notes of the many hazards marked with black spots.
As questioning glances were traded in the great hall, Stephen huddled close to his mother comforted by her coldness.
“Your concealing spell has kept my true identity disguised but, at times, I sense the intensity of my eyes break through.”
“Keep your head low and pretend to ingratiate yourself. Our time is almost upon us. Temper your anxiousness, my son.”
“Yes, mother – magnificence is ours in a few short hours - a century of waiting over.”
Blue threads emitted from the witch’s fingers and encased the beast – it twisted and reformed into the human form it so despised, whimpering as it was enclosed in the restrictive shape.
“You are truly hideous…”
The witch cackled as her spawn screeched, filling the air around them. Crawling, slithering creatures fled in every direction as the noise sent waves of malevolence outward. The thing called Stephen hobbled back through the veil. Panic gripped the beast as it noticed the twilight. Too long spent within his mother’s lands – time slowed when contained therein. He would have to travel swiftly to the castle. Glancing back and forth to ensure he was unobserved, Stephen floated several inches above the ground through the copse and gardens to the castle walls. Another sly peek confirmed he was alone. He pushed a protruding flint inward. A grinding of stone upon stone echoed along a hidden passage. Free to fly within its confines, Stephen travelled swiftly to a concealed panel in the servant’s quarters.
After making a few adjustments to his tunic and breeches, he made his way to the great hall where he found the troubadour regaling the tale in front of an engaged audience. Stephen stood in the shadows momentarily then, aware of eyes upon him, he went about his tasks.
GMB: Marvelous, Thank You for the Read ... Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?MEB: If I can keep up the momentum of the past three years I will be more than happy! In such a short time, I have had a children’s print book and an e-book published. Written three novels and one novella, written numerous articles for online websites, magazines and the local newspaper. As well as collaborated to create the local council’s Vision Statement. Successfully completed three NaNoWriMo challenges and become the secretary of The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. My current projects include building my freelance portfolio and completing another novel. If I can support my creative writing completely by paying freelance work in ten years I will have my dream.
GMB: Which do you prefer a great hero or a great villain? Why don’t you name one of each…
MEB: I love great villains. Darth Vader is a favorite with absolute power over other beings physical and mental capacities. Yes I loved JR Ewing as well. Sickly sweet good guys just don’t appeal. My favorite hero was Harper, played by Paul Newman (swoon) he was not your classic hero type but did his utmost to resolve the situation he found himself embroiled in.
GMB: What is your favorite movie? And why? What is NOT your favorite movie?
MEB: Wow – hard question, yet again. I have an eclectic taste in movies from Thelma & Louise to Lord of the Rings to Toy Story. I loved The Goodbye Girl with Richard Dreyfuss but Same Time Next Year with Alan Alda has to be top. The worse movie has to be The Shining – NOT because of the story, a Stephen King novel or Jack Nicholson’s performance but because Shelley Duvall was absolutely dreadful in it and spoilt the whole thing.
GMB: So where do we find you, you purchase links?
MEB: My Website is: http://mandyevebarnett.com/ and my Purchase Links include:
Publisher Link: http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/
GMB: And we can find you Blog at...?
GMB: Well Thank You for visiting with us here in the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' ... We certainly enjoyed having you here and to learn more about you and your recent projects and releases...
MEB: And thank you for hosting me Mitch... We hope to see you at the next Writer's Foundation meeting ...
GMB: Take Care, Be Well... Cheers to Mandy from Strathcona...
Amazon Author Page for G. Mitchell Baker
G. Mitchell Baker, Author