M. K. Theodoratus - Fascinating Fantasy
A northern California gal, Theodoratus has set many of her Andor stories there, including There Be Demons. Fantasy, in one form or other, has fascinated her since she was a kid. Now she lives in Colorado with her old man and two lap cats. The kids have flown the coop. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her latest book, There Be Demons.
Please give us a short introduction to what There Be Demons is about.
Hill of Secrets is the first book in the inspector Hadas Levinger series. In this book we get to know Hadas herself, who is investigating the cause of the Danilowitz family's death. A normative family, almost perfect. It is not clear to the observer from the side what could have caused such a tragic result. The book reveals all the secrets they have hidden.
What inspired you to write about a group of teenagers who become demon hunters?
Several years ago, I was playing around writing short stories. One result was Night for the Gargoyles [now a free short story at many online stores]. In a scene, Gillen watches as a new girl in the projects stops a fight, and he wishes more humans were like her. I began to wonder what would happen if the two interacted together to fight the demons invading his city.
Tell us more about Britt Kelly. What makes her tick?
Britt has just moved to the projects after her parents' divorce, and she decides to focus on getting good grades so she can leave them as soon as possible. She doesn't want to get stuck in them like her half-sister. So, normal teen problems, like coping with poverty, adjusting to a new school, and teen crushes, add complications to her life when she's drafted to fight demons. Her main personality trait is an encompassing anger, but she also has magical abilities through her Granny Nan, a character from my novella, Showdown at Crossings. She's also savvy, smart, and caring. She really wants what's best for those she loves. During the course of There Be Demons, she learns a little patience, too.
Readers say that this book kept them on their toes throughout. How did you pull this off?
I don't have the slightest idea. I'm a "pantser". I have a character firmly in my mind or a situation...and then, I see what my fingers reveal.
What drew you to Fantasy as a genre?
I started out with an imaginary playmate when I was three, a playmate that didn't go away until my mother named my little brother, Jerome. Where I got the name Jerome when I was three is a mystery. Conventionally, I discovered the Oz books which intrigued me with their strong female characters. The boys didn't have all the fun.
Later, when I was a teen mass paperbacks were only 25c...10c used. Writers like Andre Norton, Fritz Lieber, Catherine L. Moore, and A. E. Merritt fascinated me. I bought all the used fantasy paperbacks I could find. Also, our local library had the complete Edgar Rice Burroughs opus. I liked them better than noir mysteries and westerns which were popular at the time. I don't remember any romances at the used hardware store where I bought my books.
In which way is There Be Demons different from other fantasy books?
I don't think it is different from other fantasy books. It's firmly set in the question of "What if...? I really don't think the craft of writing a fantasy is any different from any other genre. Acceptable conventions in style change over time...but not what makes a good book. That's why the classics of literature are still read...though many started out as genre fiction. Frankenstein, anyone?
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I'm not a Greek, and I make a mean baklava.
Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you
Don't know what they are good for, but:
1. I'm a grumpy old lady
2. I'm a political junkie
3. I clean up a lot of cat barf
The plot contains a couple of twists. Did you plan them out before you started writing?
No. As I said, I'm a pantser. I start writing and see what happens. Now you got me wondering what the plot twists were... I think the book is rather straight forward.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I would hope that I wouldn't think I could write any other books or stories other than the ones I write. I don't have the experiences and background to write any other books.
Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?
The characters themselves aren't difficult to write for... Things are happening because of choices other characters made and when you know how another character feels about it...the plot moves forward when another character reacts.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is a typical writing day like for you?
At the moment, I'm on my Christmas break. So, I mainly do chores and play on the computer. My writing schedule is set for the morning...FIRST Thing. On a good day, I'll get 500 to 1000 new words written. It would be more if I wasn't a chronic editor. If I'm in the editing phase, I usually get a chapter done a day, but I also hop around a lot as new ideas pop into my head.
Then, close to lunch time, I switch to emails, social media, and promo. I bounce around between household chores, fun, and writing chores later in the day.
What are you working on right now?
Two things. I'm drafting the third book of the Demon Wars where Britt and Pillar, of Running from Demons, team up to solve Andor's demon problem--Rendezvous with Demons. It's about 45,000 words in.
But in addition, I've decided to go ahead and publish a Far Isles Half-Elven novel that's sitting in my computer--Dark Solstice: Turning Point. I've shopped it to agents without any takers, so I decided to self-publish it. My content editor has it on her schedule for February. I hope to have it out by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
Oh, there's a third project. I did a rewrite of one of the first stories I wrote, Cavern Between Worlds, a Half-Elven story...mainly because the endnotes were totally out of date. I'm in the processing of proofing it.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
At the moment, Facebook is the best place to interact with me, https://www.facebook.com/M-K-Theodoratus-Fantasy-Writer-235376633158175/Sometime in the future I may be setting up a newsletter, but I don't seem to find the time or the energy to learn how to do it. I'm a computer idiot.
I won't go into the reasons why, but I'm in the process of rebuilding my website, www.mktheodoratus.com. I have links to the major online stores there: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords.