Fandomsnews got the chance to interview the author of The Stone Legacy Series, Theresa McClinton!
I (Sasha) got to hang out with Theresa at the RT Booklovers convention in Kansas City in May. She was such a sweetheart and bought me and my friend coffee (also gave me one of her books for free)! While talking with her she told us about her books and let me tell you, they sound fantastic! Theresa was more then willing to do this interview and had such fantastic answers. Take a look 🙂
What inspired you to become a writer?
I have to say it was the authors I love whom inspired me and encouraged me, allowing me to believe that I too can write stories that wrap readers in a world outside of their own. It was imagining their worlds, caring about their characters, and getting lost in their stories. I have always loved to write, but it was other great authors’ work that pushed me over the edge to actually buckle down and write a series.
How did you come up with the titles for your books?
I feel like THE STONE GUARDIAN came fairly easy, since the book was the first of the series, and it was about Ashley—the stone guardian. I wanted to give the readers a title that would introduce them to my story world, and felt that would be the most logical title to choose.
ESCAPING DARKNESS was named after I wrote the first draft of the book, and after consulting with the woman who initially inspired Tara’s character. Her and I both felt the title was multi-faceted, since in this book, Tara is not only struggling to escape a very dark physical world she found herself in, but her own inner demons as well.
LIGHTS OF AURORA came to me when I found a formal name for the bonding ceremony during the winter solstice. It’s no secret the Maya celebrated the solstice, and continue to celebrate the summer and winter solstice religiously. I thought it was only appropriate to bring this into the story, tailoring the holiday to not only cater to the Maya as they celebrate it, but also to the Riyata in my story—the enchanted people of ancient Mesoamerican heritage given abilities by the Maya gods.
The next novella of the series—similar to ESCAPING DARKNESS in length—is yet to be named, but I will announce it as soon as I think of something that best represents Jayden’s story. Yes ladies, it’s all about Jayden.
Is there a message in your books that would want to readers to grasp?
Yes and no. Of course I want every reader to image my story world in their own unique way. That’s half the fun of reading. But I do try to emulate some very important characteristics, morals, and standards in my books.
For example, THE STONE GUARDIAN deals with Ashley’s struggle against mental illness and a lifetime of heartbreak. In ESCAPING DARKNESS, Tara’s past of child abuse and neglect takes front and center, as well as some aspects of human trafficking.
I don’t tell readers how to feel about these issues, as that’s not my place as an author, but I do try to bring these very important issues under the spotlight when they are all too often shoved in the shadows and ignored.
Also, I would like to think of Arwan, my hero, as being a true gentleman—a man who treats Ashley with integrity and respect. My heroes are strong and capable, yet caring and considerate of the heroine. That’s the only kind of hero that exists in my book. The reason is, I believe it’s important to show that nice guys don’t always finish last, and women don’t need to be subjected to emotional abuse before finding the nice guy under the layers of disrespect. It’s all about creating a healthy relationship—one I’d want to be in as a woman, with a man I’d be proud to have by my side.
What gave you the idea about incorporating Mayan mythology into your series?
I have always loved mythology. Admittedly, my passion for it began in high school while reading The Iliad and The Odyssey. But so many books are focused on Greek and Roman mythology, and I wanted to give my readers something new and fresh. It took a lot of research, but after months of reading on various civilizations, I finally settled on the Maya. Their advanced knowledge of astronomy and medicine were what I noticed first, and then the darker side of their culture—Ritualistic sacrifices, bloodletting, and various ceremonies that our modern society considers barbaric and taboo.
How did you come up with your main character in The Stone Guardian, Ashley?
I wanted for my main character to be a girl with great power, and no idea she possessed it. I wanted for her to be a vessel of abilities, stronger than anyone around her, yet subjected to constant abuse, mental torture, and self-doubt. That is how THE STONE GUARDIAN begins, and Ashley’s character progresses to be the person she was born to be. The leader she was born to be. Like a defeated hero rising from the ashes, my main character overcame the most impossible odds and chose to take control of her life. I find that inspiring, since there are so many young women out there who do the same thing under the most difficult circumstances. I have such an admiration for these ladies with lion hearts.
You say you love your secondary characters. Which one are you most like?
That’s a very good question. I think I’m a little Jayden and a little Renato mixed together. I tend to be really analytical, but I also have a deep sarcastic streak. I’m social, but logical. I’m caring and loving, but I also have a bit of a temper.
Book two, Escaping Darkness, takes place in Moscow. Why?
Because that’s where THE STONE GUARDIAN leaves the readers. I wanted the “point five” novellas to be a story about my secondary characters, but I also wanted them to run fluid with the overall plot of THE STONE LEGACY SERIES. So of course that means the story with Tara and Peter in ESCAPING DARKNESS had to pick up in Moscow. I enjoyed writing about Moscow. Though I’ve never been there, it’s on my list, right after Central America.
Have you ever been there?
No, I’ve never been to Moscow. But it would be really cool to go someday. I love to travel, so it’s not out of the question, though I would like to travel to Central America first and visit some of the rain forests.
How many books are you planning to have in the A Stone Legacy series?
At first the series was planned to be a trilogy. Now I think it will be a total of five books, unless I decide to write a prequel of some kind, or another novella after the final full-length novel is released. Anything could happen!
Your books would be called fantasy but do you, yourself believe in Mayan legends?
That’s a very interesting question. I guess it depends on what aspect of their legends you’re talking about. There are so many. Religiously, I have to say there are some aspects I disagree with. I do not believe that a god, or many gods, would be appeased by the sacrifice of an innocent in order to sustain life on earth. Rather, I choose to believe God is merciful and generous. But the Maya also believed in a heaven and a hell, and the fact each realm had different levels, each of them being exceedingly horrifying or more lovely than the last. I find it interesting they developed this concept, and am intrigued with the similarities it holds to the three ‘great’ religions of the world.
Are there any projects your currently working on? If so, can you share a little of what your current work is about?
Yes! I am currently working on the next “point five” novella of the series, title to be determined. It’s centered around Jayden, and his struggle to find his place in the world after the end of LIGHTS OF AURORA. He’s accompanied by another character from the series, and their journey together is both funny and heartbreaking. I’m excited to share this project with my readers, and allow everyone to get to know Jayden and another secondary character even better.
Is there anything you can tell us about your 3rd installment of A Stone Legacy: Lights of Aurora?
Not a whole lot, as I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for the readers. But I can tell you Ashley is a powerhouse in this book. She steps up, takes charge, and shows she can kick butt and take names. We find out more about Arwan, and the secrets he is keeping from Ashley. We meet new characters, get to know others better, and see one character nobody expects to see again. It’s a book of shocking twists, romance, and adventure.
If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you want to play your main characters?
This is a question I could spend hours trying to decide! But one thing I’ve learned is the producers of films sometimes get the characters right on, and sometimes it’s a huge miss on the casting director’s part. I’ve seen it go both ways. I’d just hope that if my series was ever made into a movie, that the casting director would stay true to the nationality of my characters, as many of them are Maya descendants with a heavy Spanish influence.
Who designed your beautiful book covers?
THE STONE GUARDIAN was designed by a graphic designer who works with my publisher. Her name is Mina Carter. She’s fantastic, and does great covers both through my publisher and freelance.
ESCAPING DARKNESS was designed by my graphic designer whom I work closely with, Elle J Rossi. She’s been a blast to work with, is affordable, and I love her style. We e-mailed back and forth quite a bit until we got the cover how we wanted it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice would just be to work really hard, hone your craft, work even harder, and know your readers are smart. If you’re going to self-publish a book, be sure it’s clean and very well edited. Be sure you’ve put the time into creating a work that can contend with books released by other publishers. If you don’t go through this process and your readers take the time to pick up your book out of the millions available, you’re showing them you don’t appreciate them or value their time.
What would you like to say to your readers?
Just that I appreciate each and every one of them, and I’m working really hard to bring them the best series I can possibly write. I do listen to my readers and consider each review I receive. I do care about my readers’ opinions, and I continue to work hard to improve my craft so my readers know each book I release is one I’ve put time, effort, and imagination into. After all, without my readers, I’d have nobody to share my stories with. J
What book/s are you reading now?
I’m not actively reading any book at the moment since I am so involved with writing. I do like to take a break now and then and delve into a nice novella—something I can read in a day or two between the kids and the house, just to take a break from my project. But as of now I have many self-imposed deadlines to meet, so I’m working hard to make those happen.
Will you be at next years RT Booklovers convention in New Orleans?
Yes! I’m so excited because this past RT convention was the first one I attended, and it was a great learning experience. Now I know what to expect, and I can’t wait to attend the RT Booklovers Convention in 2014. I met so many fantastic industry professionals, agents, fellow writers and amazing readers. I believe I’ll a regular attendee for a very long time.
THE STONE GUARDIAN
Probably because they’re not nightmares.
When Ashley’s mysteriously abducted, she finds a reality even less normal than the orphanage. And she discovers something else—she’s no ordinary orphan. Faced with enemies thought to only exist in fairy tales, Ashley discovers she possesses a powerful Maya bloodline. She’s the daughter of an ancient Maya Guardian, whose duty is to protect the Stone of Muuk’ich, an enchanted relic blessed by the gods. But first she must get it back from Sarian, a power-hungry demigod who slaughtered the last guardian—Ashley’s mother. Without the stone, all will be lost.
When she meets Arwan, a hot Belizean time bender, his delicious olive skin and dark eyes make her feel a little less alone. But his gentle whispers and reassuring touch might not be all they seem. How can she balance love and duty when it’s up to her to prevent the rising of the underworld? Especially when the guy she loves might be its crown prince…
Alone with her emotions, Tara finds herself falling into a city of depravity and corruption. And amidst all this evil is a young man with an agenda of his own, who leads her down a road that will either prove she is a hero at heart, or drag her into a world she’s always feared.
He wants revenge, she wants redemption. And in an underground rings of missing girls and bloody sacrifices, only the fearless can survive…
A long time enthusiast of things that go bump in the night, Theresa began her writing career as a journalism intern—possibly the least creative writing field out there. After her first semester at a local newspaper, she washed her hands of press releases and feature articles to delve into the whimsical world of young adult and new adult paranormal and contemporary romance.
Since then, Theresa has been married, had three terrific kids, moved to central Ohio, and was repeatedly guilt tripped into adopting a menagerie of animals that are now members of the family. But don’t be fooled by her domesticated appearance. Her greatest love is travel. Having traveled to over a dozen countries and explored dozens of U.S. states—including an extended seven-year stay in Kodiak, Alaska—she is anything but settled down. But wherever life brings her, Theresa will continue to weave tales of adventure and love with the hope her stories will bring joy and inspiration to her readers.
Check out Theresa McClinton’s webiste
and Goodreads page
You can order her books off of Amazon 🙂 (I very much recommend you do)
Thank you Theresa for doing this interview and I will hope to see you next year at RT!!