Yesterday we got to learn more about who Shireen Nemnich is, now let's get to know more about how her series, "Shadows of Myst." Today Shireen talks about her inspiration behind The Royal Assassin.
1. What was your inspiration for "The Royal Assassin?" I have to say the character Reis. I began working on The Forgotten Assassin first. This is written in Shadowen’s POV, which takes place around 1,000 years after The Royal Assassin. I was half way through the book and it’s time to actually introduce Reis. The whole book up to this point has Reis in this bad light. I mean he’s really the bad guy… suddenly I hear his voice in my head just as plain and sexy saying, “Uh… I’m the good guy.” I was like “What?” and he just kept whispering in my head how wonderful he was and sexy and all he wants to do is love and protect Shadowen. It was only a matter of days when I had to just stop writing the Forgotten Assassin and Reis’s story had to be told first.
2. Can you briefly describe the world this book is set in? Valantis is full of magic and since there is magic there really hasn’t been a need for technology as we have in our universe. There are horses, carriages and boats. Magic comes in many different forms as well such as light, dark, life and death. There is a lot about Valantis that is not in this book. Such as dragons, knights and so forth. Not to forget goblins and other such creatures. This is because I have other series that take place in Valantis but for the Shadows of Myst series it focuses more on Myst and some surrounding areas. However in my other series when released you will find that Mystics and Nightelves will pop into them upon occasion.
For the most part, though, the series of Shadows of Myst takes place in Myst. Myst was created by Mysteria and Her Consort Darkness… uhh not going to explain how they did that but I’m sure it was awesome! ;)
Myst itself has hollows under the surface and this is where Mystics live. There is no way to reach the hollows unless you are Mystic because they are so deep underground. The only way is through a shadow and only Mystics can travel through shadows.
3. Shadows are an important theme in this book. How did you decide to use shadows as a basis for magic? Shadows have always been beautiful and frightening to me, yet fascinating. When I was writing the Forgotten Assassin I already had decided to use the name Shadowen for the central character and originally her twin brother was Shadow. However I felt that was a bit too much, so by page two he became Shade. These are the two essential characters through the entire series and if you’ve read TRA you understand why. While writing, the images of shadows and magic just seemed to flow so perfectly together. It just seemed to make sense that to us a shadow is just an absence of light. But to a Mystic who lives under the surface in hollows, it’s real and a tangible object/spirit that they can touch and feel, which continued to grow as I wrote and still does.
4. Can you explain the importance of a young person coming into their magic having someone to help them? The day of reckoning – when magic first begins to flow through a Mystic it’s overwhelming. This usually takes place when a Mystic is at the age of sponsorship (an adult) and is ready to have sexual relations. (Not to be confused with our concept of human puberty.)
The day of reckoning usually is accompanied with burning and fever. Since they’ve never had magic or used it before they have no control. When magic is uncontrolled it’s violent and painful not only to themselves but to others. So they need a “Consort”. A Consort can be anyone who has mastered their own magic and is skilled enough to actually control and join their magic until they are able to control it themselves. Although the joining of bodies sexually is not required to ease the magic. The trust that is involved in joining bodies actually helps teach control on an intuitive level. The merging of magic is actually beautiful and powerful between two people. It gives both parties strength even though it can wear out the Consort who has the control.
5. The two main characters share an interesting relationship that spans many years. can you describe how the relationship changes? Reis loves Shadowen the moment he meets her, but she is far too young to understand or comprehend. Reis has to practically raise her from a child to an adult as her Consort and yet never be able to bed her because she’s not old enough. When she finally is old enough she’s not ready and when she is ready… Reis is all freaked out. Hehe. Isn’t that so much like life. There are many changes as they evolve from adult/child to adult/adult however I hope that it’s obvious that Reis will always be her champion/protector.
6. There are some dark themes in this book. How did you balance the light and dark sides to keep the book from becoming too dark? I honestly did worry that the book was becoming too dark and yet some of those dark issues is what made them stronger. It’s what shaped who they were and who they are still yet to be. On retrospect I believe it’s the love between Reis and Shadowen that keeps the balance. There is strength of love, not just passion/lust, but purity of souls that I think pulls us back from the dark into the light.
7. Can you tell us a little about the surface world and how it impacts the story? The surface can actually be deadly to Mystics. The sun is their enemy. Nightelves do not have this problem because they’re from the surface of Myst. I felt it important for them to have this vulnerability. A species that lives with shadows and moves in shadows will not like large amounts of light. It’s perhaps more apparent in Shadowen’s fear than in Reis, who is part Nightelf. Also the Royal House of Darkness and Shadow is actually corrupt and has been for some time but it’s not until we visit the surface and meet these other races that dwell on the surface does this begin to unfold. It’s not exactly explained how or why in TRA because that wasn’t actually needed to tell Reis’s story. But in the other books, more of the details are explain because it is needed in their story.
8. Who are your favorite authors? Fiction - Christine Feehan and Lisa Kleypas are my two favorites. I have all their books. Non Fiction – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Louise Hayes.
9. Do you have any interesting habits or rituals when you write? I listen to music when I write. It really helps set the tone of my writing when I’m at home. I have my iTunes set up with book titles or character names for my playlist. So for example while writing TRA I listened to – Falling Again by Lacuna Coil, Believe it or Not by Nickelback and Blow me Away by Breaking Benjamin.
10. Can you tell us about the other books in the series and any other projects you're working on? Of course! I’d love to!
The Shadows of Myst series –
The Royal Seer – Scious and Vestrial’s story. This actually takes place prior to TRA in the timeline. I’m almost finished with it. I have cover art all done, but I’m still editing and fleshing out a few details.
The Royal Warrior – Darken’s story. This actually starts during a very tragic moment of Shadowen’s and Reis’s that occurs during TRA. It then continues Darken’s journey that ends with the beginning of the Troll War.
The Royal Conjurer – Shade’s story. This is a very dark story as he has a very troubled and tragic life. This book takes place during the height of the Troll War.
The Royal Chalice – Reis and Shadowen again pick up the gauntlet and their story continues with the Troll War ending.
The Forgotten Assassin – Shadowen’s POV that takes place almost 1,000 years later. It brings all the previous stories to a full circle. Hopefully it also answers unanswered questions these other books hint at or brought up. This book is finished but I was advised to not release it until the others are done and released. (Also a small notation about the ending. It was around 0500 and I was listening to my iPod when the ending came to me in a rush. I actually started crying as the scene and dialogue flowed through me. It was so overwhelming and I thought, I better write this down! I’ve never been brought to tears before over writing anything. So I literally sat on my bed pulled out my laptop and wrote for the next two hours, crying and wiping my tears away as I typed until I was done. I still can’t read it without tears filling my eyes. I really hope that means it’s good.)
I am also working on other books that have nothing to do with Valantis, but nothing quite ready for release. However I do have some vampire series in the works.
You can connect with Shireen on: Twitter, Facebook, The Royal Assassin on Facebook, and her Website.
The Royal Assassin is available now from Amazon.
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