Happy, happy Monday, everyone! Today, I have the lovely Christina Mercer on the blog. Can I get a shout out of love for this awesome lady, please? I met Christina at the Friday night signing event at UtopYA Con 2014. I was lucky enough to get to sit right next to her (we were arranged alphabetically); and, me being me, I struck up a conversation. Her first image below is her at the signing. Awesome display, huh? She's one amazing person. If you don't have tickets to UtopYA 2015 yet, they go back on sale in November. You can get one here. Grab your pajamas and a cup of coffee, relax, and read on to the end where you'll have a shot at winning a book!
Jo: Welcome to my little piece of Heaven, Christina! I’m so excited to have you on my blog today. I loved researching you for this interview; you’re quite the interesting lady! Ready to get into it?
Christina: I am so ready and sooo happy to be here!
Jo: Awesome! Let's jump in there. I'll start with a book question. *grin* Your books have gotten some serious attention in the competition world. Arrow of the Mist has two significant awards (Semi-Finalist in the ABNA, and an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Indie competition), and Honey Queen was awarded one (Best-in-show at a California SCBWI Regional Con) so far. Congratulations on those huge achievements. I have to ask you how it felt when you were notified.
Christina: The ABNA contest was my first novel award and it really helped give me the validation I needed to keep going, keep writing, keep persevering toward author-dome. Positive acknowledgement in any form is huge for writers because we are constantly wondering if our stuff is “good enough,” so I was/am utterly grateful to have had my work honored in these competitions.
Jo: Yup, I've felt the exact same way you do about validation. Sometimes, it's just awesome to hear someone say how much your work moved them, eh? I know you’re a beekeeper, and I ran across some interesting tidbits about them on your website, but I have to know the exact moment you formulated the idea for Honey Queen.
Christina: Honey Queen came to me the beginning of the summer in 2011. I was tossing the idea around with my teenage son and he actually came up with the title before I’d written a word of the story. The book is a mix of my passion for writing young adult stories and my love of honey bees. And I’d never read anything else like it!
Jo: I've never heard of anything like it, either. I already bought it, and it's on my early 2015 TBR list! *grin* Why are you driven toward Celtic lore? Irish roots?
Christina: My mother’s side is Irish, but more than that is a life-long fascination with mythology. Celtic countries in particular revered nature, trees, herbs and also the unicorn (my child-hood obsession). Many of our nature-based paths today stem from Celtic traditions that speak to me on a deep level. I will also say that Greek mythology provided my imagination with visions of Pegasus and beautiful oceanic goddesses, and so where my first two books honor my love of Celtic mythology, Honey Queen showcases inspiration from Greek myths.
Jo: Um, what little girl doesn't dream of having a unicorn? *giggles* Guilty! I love mythology. Took a class in college for the heck of it. We should talk about it sometime because I'm not as familiar with the Celtic lore. Your books all have awesome reviews on Amazon. That rocks! Are you nervous about what every author dreads (the low rating)? What do you think you’ll do?
Christina: LOL. I’ve already had that first “bad” review (though not on Amazon), and it put me in a total funk for a day. Then I realized that every author gets them, even the big players. It’s bound to happen because our stories simply won’t appeal to everyone the same and everyone has a right to their opinions. Constructive criticism is good because it helps us grow, and I appreciate a well-thought-out review, even if it’s a “low-rated” one. But I do take comfort in the fact my books have received mostly great feedback! :)
Jo: Explains why I didn't see it. I love that outlook. I remember the first low review I got for I, Zombie, and it was well thought out and concise. I appreciated the reviewer taking the time. Plus, she was super sweet about it. Let’s talk about your brain child, Indie Visible, for a moment. What’s the goal of IV, where did the idea come from, and what are some of your future plans for the group?
Christina: Indie-Visible 1.0 actually began in the fall of 2012. I joined the group a couple of months after its inception and worked alongside some super dynamic women. We had a good routine for blog posts and book reviews, with our overall aim to eventually provide a site where Indie authors could gain advice and referrals to Indie publish their books. A variety of factors contributed to the re-launch of Indie-Visible 2.0 (watch for it on February 1, 2015!) with three of us from the original group plus a few other awesome additions to comprise the core crew, along with a list of bloggers and freelance experts to make up our larger membership. Our greatest mission is to provide a one-stop, extremely interactive site where Indies can build their publishing teams and where readers can find quality Indie books while having fun with the authors they love.
Jo: I'm super excited about it. IBGW is so honored to be part of your group. Indies banding together? We may take over the world. *grin* So, you say you’re naturally shy, so how do you force yourself to open up and meet people? Do you put that shyness trait into any of your characters?
Christina: Boy, it has been a slow process overcoming my shyness. Publishing my first book and having my first signing was a big step (it helped that lots of family and friends were there). The more I actually put myself “out there” with signings and interviews, the easier it became. Public speaking is perhaps the truest test and when I had my first speaking gig at a high school, I surprised myself in how calm I felt. I believe the camaraderie I have found within the writing community and the support given from those who enjoy what I write has done wonders for this once painfully-shy girl to overcome her fear.
Jo: I would've never guessed you were shy! So, you're doing a great job. Time for some rapid fire questions! Circles or squares (you can’t say hexagons! LOL)?
Christina: No hexagons? Okay, then Circles :)
Jo: Disposable or reusable?
Jo: Vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry?
Christina: ALL! Oh, all right, Vanilla
Jo: Time travel question! I love these. So much fun to see what people say. Here we go: If you could go back and change one major event in history, what would it be and what impact do you think it would have on the world? I know, I’m tricky. *innocent grin*
Christina: Oooh, that question could generate an entire essay from me! Everything in history has had a domino effect in causing the next big event, and the next after that, so that the true roots of events causing devastation actually stem from things set in motion way, way before the events take place, so choosing one thing, one root thing is HARD! I mean I could go back as far as the time of Christ or Constantine or when the Black Death hit or less far back to Slavery in America or the Stock Market Crash or when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany or the Vietnam War or 9/11 . . . And I’m not even going into the fact that out of many horrific events, great things have also been born (inventions and human interactions that might not have happened otherwise). So, changing history is VERY TRICKY indeed!
BUT in keeping with the question, I’ll stick to the 20th Century and go back and abolish WW I as the major precursor to events (the biggest one being WW II) that caused massive devastation and forever changed our modern world.
Jo: Sweet answer. I'm a tricky type of person. *evil-laugh* I know you and Chelsea Starling are very close. How did you guys meet, and what makes you work so well together?
Christina: We actually met right after the launch of Indie-Visible 1.0 in 2012 when I jumped on board with the group. We really got to know each other soon after that when Chelsea created my web site and the cover for my first book. We “clicked” right away, as if we’d known each other forever, and when I learned her birthday was the same day as my husband of 27 years, it made perfect sense :)
Jo: She does some awesome website work. I love her designs! Isn't it funny how there are those people you just mesh with? Well, before this post gets too dang long, I’ll have to end it here. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wish I had, or any little nuggets of shame you’d like to share with my readers?
Christina: I’m honored to be here amid such a fantastic audience!
Jo: We're honored to have you! Thanks so much for joining me today. I can’t wait to see you at UtopYA Con 2015!
Christina: Thank YOU for having me!! And I am counting down the days until UtopYA 2015 :)
Jo: Aren't we all?
Now, it’s time to reveal the featured book of the week!
Title: Honey Queen
Author: Christina Mercer
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Length (print): ~185 pages
Buy links: Amazon Kindle $2.99 ~ B&N $2.99 ~ Kobo $2.99 ~ iBooks $2.99
Synopsis: Love is honey sweet, but it comes with a fatal sting . . .
Melaina Maris needs wings to fly the gap between loving Sam and her family’s ancient curse that forces carnal love and then kills the male lovers. She won’t let the same fate that killed her father befall another. She refuses to allow her goddess-created bloodline to continue. But there’s no easy way out, especially after the curse turns her into the Honey Queen—savior to honey bees—intensifying her charms.
To help her fulfill the curse’s demands in the least harmful way, her grandmother takes her to mate with terminally ill Boyd. But Boyd’s gay. And an expert in mythology. Instead of having sex, Melaina learns how she might summon the goddess who created the ancestor bee-charmer and cursed her bloodline. Melaina's magic—tears to save honey bees from endangerment—could be enough to persuade the goddess to end the curse. But an unexpected discovery soon changes that hope, spinning Melaina into a swarm of love, friendship and death.
While your fingers are in the clicking mode, why not give this lovely lady a follow on every social media platform I could think of when writing up the template for these interviews (plus some)?
Facebook: Christina Mercer Writes
Pinterest: Christina Mercer
Website: Christina Mercer
Blog: Christina Mercer
Goodreads: Christina Mercer
Google +: Christina Mercer
LinkedIN: Christina Mercer
Christina has been so kind as to grace us with a GIVEAWAY! Holla! Enter with the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have any questions, pop them into the comments below! Christina will be happy to interact with you.
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!