Saturday, November 7, 2015

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Mari Mancusi

As many of you know, we were able to be a part of the media team for the Texas Book Festival on October 17-18, 2015. As media, we had the opportunity to interview some amazing authors and we are finally finishing up transcribing some of the interviews. 

We would like to share our interview with Mari Mancusi, enjoy! 

Interview Conducted by:
Angel

Why did you make the main character, Trinity Foxx, afraid of heights? Why not Scarlett?

I thought it was interesting, the idea for someone who is destined to ride a dragon to have something that would make it prohibited for her to want to ride dragons, and I thought you know I love her to have to get over something you know to meet her destiny…

Right…

Something that would be difficult for her. With Scarlett I didn’t want everyone to be scared of dragons because I thought a lot of people reading the book would be like "no, riding dragons would be awesome!” So I wanted to have someone who would take this experience and run with it and be like This is the best thing ever!” because I feel like, you know, I would feel like it’s the best thing ever and I might be a little scared too, but you know i like a little bit of both. I want to kinda have two opposite experience about riding dragons.

Right, I get it.

In your dedication you mentioned something about a game called “Dungeons and Dragons.” What is that? Did it help you write the Scorch series?

Dungeons and dragons is a game that was very popular when i was growing­ up and is kind of a game you have to use your imagination. You have one guy that is the dungeon master, and they kind of create the adventure and each person has their character… and it’s sort of what you have in a video game now like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy but it was all done with dice and so the dungeon master would talk about, you know, you’re walkin’ in this dungeon you would have to use you imagination to figure it out and then you would encounter a dragon or a war and you would have to fight it. You would roll the dice and as you roll the dice that would, you know, if you got the right score, then you could defeat the dragon or whatever. So it was the first, one of the first exposures to fantasy settings and medieval kingdoms and all that and dragons and it was really using my imagination to create a world and so i think that really helped me later on because there wasn’t any graphic, it wasn’t like a video game we can see it on the screen but you had to think about in your head and so…

didn’t really like dragon books until i read this book. (Shattered) I still haven’t read the first book, but I really want to

Yeah…

But, Shattered really changed the definition of dragons for me and I like them now

And that’s kind of why I did that 3rd book verse the fantasy kingdom you have Eragon, and Game of Thrones, all those more traditional medieval setting with dragons and they're part of that world but I like the idea like those dragons are here right now outside the state house will everyone run away or will grab their phones and put it on YouTube first?

Yeah! HA HA!

Would it be like argued on the scene and on Fox News would it be like “Is this a terrorist attack, is this a biological weapon?” You know, Do they come from another country? Can they help, can they harm us? Having those debates, I like that idea of what it would be really like if they came back to our world.

Yeah, I like the Emmy website and…

Oh Yeah, freeemmy.com, because you would have that right? You would have people trying to find dragon sitting and there would be a lot of bate sightings and even now on YouTube. If you go on YouTube and type in dragon sightings you will see people have uploaded videos of what they think are dragons.

Yeah...Cool

Yeah, pretty cool to look at.

I heard that you have always wanted a pet dragon. What would you name it? Why did you name Trinity's dragon Emberlyn?

I really like the name Emberlyn because I thought it sounded like, you know, Ember, is like a fire related name and I like that as a full name but I really wanted to grab something that I could call her Emmy so I call her Emmy because it’s cute, and she’s cute when she first comes out of the egg. If I had a dragon, of course right now after writing Scorch, I would probably name her Emmy but I might have named her Molly because my favorite dog of all time that, you know, I had when I was going through early adulthood was named Molly...and she was my best friend and I would probably name my dragon after her.

That’s cute:)

Dragons are sort of dog like in a way. They are a little more intelligentobviously, and they have, they can, you know talk to you over your mind and all that but in some ways they are still animals, still protective and loyal, and if you treat them right they will be your best friend but if you treat them wrong, they will turn against you.

Right, I have two golden retrievers…


Ahhh!

And the youngest, he watches T.V. all the time.

My border collie does that too. My dog Mystique, she is the hugest TV watcher and we can’t let her watch Walking Dead because she gets so nervous about the zombies, like she’ll cry and be all stressed out.

Yeah, he would follow this thing that says the music that we are listening to and it would bounce and bounce all over the screen and he would bark and bark. I would be like “what are you looking at” and then the thing would stop and he would lay down.

That means he is a smart dog because that is what I have read. It’s like the smart dogs that really grasp or interact with the TV.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life as a writer?

As a writer, you know, I wrote a book called Gamer Girl and it was about being bullied, it was based on an experience that happened to me.

Yeah, I saw that.

Yeah.. and so i got a lot of letters after I wrote it about girls that said, you know, “After I read your book, now I am going to stand up for myself and not  let the haters win, not going to let them bully me,” and I thought that was so great that something that I went through that I didn’t go through well and was really hard for me and that I was able to give it a happy ending in a book and others can learn from that and get through the rest.

I am going to have to read that. Actually I wanted it for Christmas last year but I didn’t really get it because I got all the other books that I really think are my absolute favorite in fantasy. I absolutely love fantasy stuff so…

This is a contemporary book but it also has a video game aspect, well she goes in this fantasy video game world and so there is a little bit of each. So… yeah. You get it:)

Do you have any other books? What are they about?

I have a lot of books I actually have written 21 books.

Wow!!

I started out doing more adult books, but mostly paranormal, sci­fi fantasy. I did an 8 book teen vampire series called Blood Coven Vampires some of the books are like boys that bite bad girls that growl, they are kind of funny they’re not really dark like Twilight, like they’re more, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you know, humor, and stuff like that.

What was or is your inspiration for writing for a living? Or writing at all?

I think I would say two things, the readers and the fact that I get paid to make things up!

Ohmigosh...yeah!

I don’t know, I have always written even when I was a kid and it was always something that I thought would be amazing, but writers need readers. I want to create these worlds, I want to build theses stories, and create these characters but doing it, I want to make sure that I can share these experiences with other people and so by becoming an author I get to fulfill both those things. I can have these worlds that I created, ­which I love to do­ and then I can share them with someone else so it didn’t feel like I was all alone in these worlds and the cool thing is like when I used to do my vampire series i had a lot of readers that, you know it was 8 books so, it went for a long time but a lot of readers would create fan fiction or would play the characters on Facebook or, you know, draw pictures, make videos, and so you felt like it’s this world I started, but expanded beyond whatever I could imagine by other people’s mind and imagination, I just thought it was really cool.

Yeah, because you get to make­up a book and then help with other people’s imagination…

Yeah!!

And you want to drive them to do something with their mind like you did.

Exactly! My book was a stepping off point and they can run with it and that’s SUPER COOL!

Where do you get most of your ideas?

You know I watch a lot of TV and read. I read a lot of books. I watch a lot of movies and  I live life and I think you get all these experiences and they go into your head and they kind of just get mashed ­up or mixed up like in a blender and then they come out a little different. So like with the Scorched series, you probably read online I started terminators like dragons because I started with the idea of Terminator as a movie. I like that movie because the idea that they come back in time to change the future and I thought that’s really cool, is our future set in stone or you know if we went back and knew what we knew then what would you change, would you be able to change the future? So, I like that idea, and then I like dragons so I took things about dragons and then there is this movie called Reign of Fire, which is like a dragon apocalypse movie and I just thought that was really cool, the idea in the future the dragons destroy us. So, took those two ideas and set it in present day. It’s just a lot of different things coming into one idea.

Yeah, I read the last one Smoked and it was confusing and I was like “is there any other book before it,” and then while later I saw that you were coming to the book festival and I was like “I want to interview her!!!” So eventually I got the second book and I loved it. It’s so great I couldn’t stop reading it at all. I was like don’t bother me!”

Ha Ha Ha. I’m sad that we didn’t get you Scorched. 

I really want to read it.

Well we have to make sure you get a copy. Definitely. In fact I have a panel at 1:00 but if I can swing by I can get you the book that I have. I have to put it up for like show and tell but you can, I mean I can stop by the room and bring it to you.

That would be absolutely great!!

So, you can read them completely out of order backwards to forwards. Ha ha

Yay!! Ha ha!

And then you will be like “ now I understand!”

And then I would read it one more time each.

There you go. I think it would make lots more sense, like some of the characters like Scarlett isn’t in the first one but a lot of the characters are and you’ll see the origin of the story of how it came to pass and how they all met up:)

What is your favorite color?

Red.

I kind of thought it was green, maybe red because  of all of the mix of it. (I was talking about the cover all the book.)

Yeah, we don’t have much say over the covers as authors but I really thought that they did a great job of it. It has really vibrant colors. Yeah, red is the ruby dragon and they’re the most prized in this series.

If you could choosewhich author would be your mentor?

You know, I just watched Margaret Atwood and she’s amazing. She writes lots of dystopian and really prophetic stuff where it’s like you know what our possible future could be, it’s not always very happy, so I just think that she’s so smart and so interesting as a person and as a writer so i think she would be an amazing mentor.

Are there any new authors that you are interested in?

I discover new authors all the time which is great it’s one of the fun things about being in this line of work. I just read a book, a contemporary book by a debut author named Adam Silvera, one of the authors that’s here and it was really good so I think he is definitely one to watch. Julie Murphy, also, another author that is here, from Texas.

I wanted to interview her but sadly her publicist didn’t email us back.

Too bad, they probably keep her pretty busy but she’s really cool and really amazing. I haven’t read her new book yet, but I read her other one and so I think...There is a lot of great contemporary voices coming out. There is also a lot of good fantasy voices that are really...like Sarah Moss is a great, she’s a friend of mine, but she’s a great author.

Okay these are funny questions because I don’t want to be serious all the time.

No problem.

Would you rather have a head the size of a tennis ball OR the size of a watermelon?

Watermelon!!

That’s what a lot of authors have said. Small size with your body and yeah…

Yeah, you would look weird. The bigger your head the smaller your body looks. Ha ha ha!!

Would you rather shoot spaghetti out of your fingers OR sneeze meatballs?

Spaghetti out of my fingers!!! That would be cool.

Yeah, it would probably hurt if meatballs come out of your nose. Hahahaha!!!

Yeah, ewwww!! No, I would not want that.

Would you rather only write one book and it be a best seller OR write multiple books without getting good ratings.

Good rating or like good sales?

Rating like reviews.

One book that’s a bestseller and multiple books with bad reviews, is that your question?

Yes.

I would never want a book with a lot of bad reviews but I don’t think that I would want just one book. I like having or writing many books. I like having a long career and constantly writing good stories and I would hope they would get well reviewed though. Hahaha. The question doesn’t involve sales so if the question was one bestseller out of 8 or a long career with a lot of, you know, they are not all best sellers. Yeah so..

I would want the multiple books too. Thank you so much for letting me interview you.

Of course.

I loved talking to you.

Well thank you!!

Stay tuned for more amazing interviews with some of the best authors we have ever met!