About the book...
Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.
Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.
As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord's sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.
1. What was your inspiration for this book?
I’ve always been fascinated by mythology and I have a background in psychology. In grad school, I studied Jung’s theories about the collective unconscious and archetypes. As I thought about similarities in the myths of human societies, I began to imagine a common origin for them, a place where all our legendary creatures come from. That place, for me, is Cai Terenmare.
2. Would you classify your writing as plot driven or character driven?
Both, but more character driven. While writing, certain scenes play out in my head like a movie and I scramble to write down everything I see. I don’t necessarily work from an outline—I have a basic idea of the plot and make notes as I go, adapting the story as I discover more about the characters and what drives them, what they fear, what they desire. Some characters are easier for me to relate to than others, but I need to understand their points of view, even the sociopathic ones. I have more in common with some characters than others. None of the characters are autobiographical, although sometimes I’ll weave things I’ve experienced into a story. The nightmarish thing that comes out of Abby’s closet? Yeah, that pleasant little dream was one of mine.
3. Can you tell us a little about your main character?
Sign of the Throne, the first book in The Solas Beir Trilogy, is written primarily from Abby Brown’s perspective as she discovers the world of Cai Terenmare and her role in helping the lost heir to the throne find his way home. She is a bit of an outsider because she is empathic and is very sensitive to others’ feelings—sometimes she has to take a step back to process the things she discovers about people and to recover from the intense emotional effect people can have on her. She has a special bond with animals and her dreams have a tendency to come true.
4. Without giving away too much, tell us a little about the main conflict in this book.
After the assassination of the Solas Beir, the king of Cai Terenmare, his heir is kidnapped and taken from that magical realm to our world. The prince grows up with no idea about his heritage or the danger he would be in if his father’s enemies found out he was still alive. His life has been a lie, and if Abby can’t help him see the truth, his father’s rival will be set free and gain the throne.
My books explore the nature of evil. I use the term well-meaning sociopath in the book. Not everyone is a sociopath, but everyone does bad things, and sometimes we do bad things with the best of intentions, for the greater good. What does that mean for the people who are hurt by our actions? Is the negative impact of our behavior eased by the thought that our intentions are good? If you do bad things, are you evil? And can you ever be redeemed? These are questions asked throughout The Solas Beir Trilogy.
6. What song best describes your writing style?
Empire In My Mind by the Wallflowers. Although I listen to a lot of different artists while writing, the Wallflowers are my favorite—I have several worn out t-shirts to prove it. Their new songs are just as relevant and timeless as their older material. Their lyrics are rich and multi-faceted, and the more you listen to them, the more you get out of them, just like some poems or books you read over and over.
7. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Night owl…I get my best ideas at night…or when I’m swimming (those quiet times when it’s easy to shut out the rest of the world). I’m sometimes an insomniac; if I get an idea I have capture it in writing or my brain will keep working on it and I’ll never get to sleep.
8. Skittle or M&Ms?
M&Ms all the way. I’m a chocoholic. There’s always a stash of Ghirardelli chocolate chips in the bottom drawer of my fridge.
9. Who are your favorite authors?
My top three would have to be Stephen King, Christopher Moore, and Neil Gaiman. I also like Isaac Marion and Kendare Blake.
10. Can you tell us about any future projects?
Currently I’m working with my publisher on final edits for the second book in The Solas Beir Trilogy. The Rabbit and the Raven will be released in spring 2014. I’m also writing the third book, The Sower Comes, which will probably be available in the fall of 2014.
Meet the Author
Melissa Eskue Ousley lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found hiking, swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.
Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping road kill off a molten desert highway, to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona. Her interests in psychology, culture, and mythology have influenced her writing of The Solas Beir Trilogy.
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