Welcome to my blog. Thanks for being here today.
Thanks for having me! It’s really a pleasure to be here.
Other than ‘author’ what are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Well for one, ‘introverted,’ definitely. I love people, but spending time alone or one-on-one with another person is fine with me. I’m one of those people who’re actually quite comfortable on their own. Oh, and I can’t stand crowds. Yikes.
Another would have to be ‘insecure.’ A weird one. I was born in the year of the dog, and don’t I match that personality description! When I get criticized, it’s like taking a bullet. When I get praised, my thoughts are something along the lines of, They’re probably patronizing me. I try to accept praise now and then, but I guess that’s just the person I am. Being a writer, I should have thick skin, but I’m secretly only pretending!
Lastly would be ‘[day]dreamer.’ I’m a person who sees a lot of power in dreams. My favorite activity is riding in the car with a good playlist on my iPod, because I can just let my mind wander. The music guides it in the right direction. A lot of stories have been fleshed out that way, and a lot of potentially productive school hours, too.
Do they influence you as a writer? Or the genre you write?
Yeah, I think they do. On a very basic level, I wonder if I would have had the time to even write out my stories if I didn’t enjoy being alone, or if I would even have any story ideas if I didn’t spend my time daydreaming. Probably not. And of course, you have to have a crazy imagination to write spec-fic, don’t you? Those things made the conditions right for me to become a writer.
What is it about your chosen genre/s that fires up your muse?
I write spec-fic, so I love to read/write everything from sci-fi to fantasy to paranormal and all their subgenres. Setting up the worlds is a really fun process for me. I usually take some creature from mythology and reshape it dramatically. For instance, the word skinwalker is most commonly used for a Navajo witch who shapeshifts with the help of some outer magic or animal pelt. From that, I created these poor souls whose spirit animals curse them with powers they can barely control and a grudge that puts them through emotional hell. Creating worlds and creatures is some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
You are about to be published, what inspired your story?
I live in the Pacific Northwest. Around here, it’s hard to not find some interesting legend to write about. It’s safe to say The Messenger was inspired by the huge tribal influence I see all around this area. I wrote this story years ago, though, and only about a year after the idea came to me, so I couldn’t remember an exact moment that began the whole thing.
Do you have a regime when writing? A special place, time, mood or do you snatch opportunities to pen ideas or write a few lines?
I’ve got to know exactly what happens before I write a single word, but my process for this differs with what I’m writing. Any one process doesn’t work for every story, I guess. Sometimes I write a chapter-by-chapter synopsis like I did for The Messenger. Other times, it’s different. When it comes to the actual writing, I’ve got to be alone at my laptop. The words will come too quick to write them on pad and paper, and I’m hyper-sensitive to sound and need to be alone in the quiet in order to write. I can’t even listen to music when the actual writing occurs.
Does your Muse follow rules and plot lines or does she offer ideas on a whim?
I get key points in the form of daydreams. Sometimes these are inspired by a piece of music, other times just randomly. Hate to be cliché, but I’ve also gotten a few decent ideas from dreams in my sleep. After I have the chronology of these ideas down, I have to sort them out with the usual rules (which I do break sometimes). So I suppose it is a bit of both.
What are the most dramatic changes you have made to a story you have written? What prompted the change?
Oh gosh. Well, in The Messenger, I took out a lot of useless stuff during pre-submission edits. I realized a certain character (who will not be named) unfortunately had no real purpose and won’t ever see the light of day.
But I think the biggest change I’ve made to any story was to the first book I ever wrote. It was about shapeshifters, too, but I wrote it years ago and decided, after a long and emotional journey with it, it just wasn’t publishable. So I scrapped it completely.
A while ago, I had that book/series reincarnated (into a story, funny as it may seem, called ‘Incarnation’). The shapeshifters from the original turned into mages/elementals. A new protagonist was based on an old antagonist, even shares his name. The characters even changed nationality and ethnicity. But there’s so much related to the original and so many parallels in it I’d probably count it as, in some ways, the same story.
Has there been one event in your life that changed/inspired your writing career? For example, meeting an author, finding a publisher, joining a critique group?
Meeting with my uncle. As I said above, I’m pretty insecure, so no one knew about my writing but maybe my dad and my best friend. Well, Dad blabbed to my uncle, who’s also a writer. My uncle was the one who pushed me to stop sitting around and get my work out there already, because, as he said, “you’ll never know if you don’t try.” He gave me the link to an online directory of publishers, and I had a contract a few months later.
Would you like to tell us about the main character of your book and/or the villain? Or would you like to share an excerpt? Either or both… we are keen to learn more about the story.
I’d love to, but I’ll put the excerpt below so it doesn’t get in the way of the questions, if that’s alright. There’s actually two main characters to The Messenger.
The primary is Alexis Forsyth. She’s from Sacramento and moves to Washington, like I did as a child, but her reasons for moving are more unfortunate than mine were. Her mother’s just died, and she’s going to live with her twenty-something cousin, Liam. She’s reluctant to leave that life behind, because she really had a strong connection with her single mother, but things seem to get better when she makes a new friend in a boy from the Puyallup Tribe who goes to her school. At least she thinks things are looking up, but in reality she’s gotten herself into a big mess.
She finds out pretty quickly that her friend Cougar isn’t just a boy with a funny name. He was named for the spirit animal that possesses him, and he’s actually cursed to be her enemy. Cougar has some serious issues with controlling the grudge his totem inflicts on him, even more than other skinwalkers. He really wants to keep Alexis as his friend, while his curse makes him want to kill her simply because of the color of her skin; and he definitely could kill her if he let himself. The worst, though, is that he’s not the only skinwalker, and his “brothers” are dangerously adamant about where they stand on Cougar’s friendship with Alexis.
While I can’t call them “villains,” Dante (the bear) and Caleb (the eagle) are the major forces in the story against Cougar and Alex. As fellow skinwalkers, they share a really strong bond that Cougar seems to have betrayed by becoming friends with Alex. That doesn’t sit well with them. Dante, being the bear, is instinctively protective of his brothers. Since he sees Cougar’s relationship with Alex as something to defend against, he’ll kill if he has to in order to get his friend back. Caleb feels the same betrayal, and his ability to see and deal damage with precision makes the duo a really dangerous team.
Who is publishing your story?
I’m proud to say MuseItUp Publishing has taken on The Messenger for publication! I’ve gotten to work with some really great editors and I’m sure the final product won’t disappoint.
Where can we get this book?
Right now it’s available at the MuseItUp Publishing website, right here: The MESSENGER
How can we follow your career?
You can visit my blog at http://www.enitameadows.blogspot.com or connect with me via twitter (@enitameadows).
To follow The Messenger specifically, you can like the facebook page right here at The MESSENGER FACEBOOK page. or learn more at the official website, OFFICIAL WEB PAGE for THE MESSENGER
Thanks for participating.
Thanks so much again for having me! Here’s that excerpt I promised! It’s the story of how the skinwalkers came to be, told by Benjamin Beran, the badger and “Chief” of the Puyallup skinwalkers.
Ben looked back and forth between Cougar and Dante, Caleb watching quietly on the sidelines. Slowly, Ben’s eyes closed, and he lifted one arm toward the sky, reaching as if the stars would fall into his palm.
“Caged,” Ben said, his voice growing cold, serious; ritualistic, almost. A fire sparked in his eyes, the awkwardness of moments before was suddenly forgotten. The gray burned in his eyes, and the happy old man slowly faded into a wild dog.
“The story begins—a story within another—in the year of eighteen-ninety. The proud Lakota, the strength of the prairies, were worn and weak from an overwhelming force—the ghost-faced people who had come with welcome, and stayed with hostility. The Lakota were said to be the final force—the last to go. Even with such great numbers, even with such a strong history among the tribes and during the wars, the Lakota Nation too was caged, confined to a reservation. Until a new prophecy had come into play, from a man named Wovoka. Wovoka prophesized the land would heal. All the terrible scars upon the land would be covered with the youth it once had. A wave of new health, new life, new soil, would cover the land, burying all the damage that the world had seen. And the Lakota, along with every other tribe, would live the way they chose to. No more cages, and no more reservations.” Ben’s eyes blazed with a passion I couldn’t understand, but my eyes were locked to his as he spoke. “Three days ago was the anniversary of the day Spotted Elk’s band of Lakota were intercepted. It was the anniversary of the day they were escorted to Wounded Knee Creek by the Calvary, and made camp.” Ben looked down, sighing. “Two days ago was the anniversary of the massacre. The regimen of the seventh cavalry surrounded the camp, and went in to disarm the Lakota.
“A deaf man—Black Coyote—hesitated on an order to surrender his rifle. Black Coyote was surrounded as men tried to pry his rifle from him, and his rifle sounded into the air. Black Coyote’s gun shot the first bullet. The second bullet—fired by a soldier—went straight through his heart.” I stared wide-eyed as the boys sat in silence around me, each staring solemnly down at the sand.
“The Lakota fell with over one-hundred-and-fifty dead. The tribe was massacred and told it was fair. Several warriors escaped into the prairies, and all but one froze or bled to death. One warrior cried out, alone, for the family he had lost. Silent as he was, his mind never left the massacre, only able to think of the blood and death of every friend he had.
“No man would hear, and no man would listen. His family was dead or caged, and words no longer meant anything to him. And still, his story played through his mind over and over again, and he would cry to—mourn with—anyone that would listen.
“It was the animals who heard his story. It was the animals that cared. The animals near him kept him safe, and the animals far away kept him in their thoughts. They knew his story, and felt his pain. The animals made a promise solemn as the night that they would remember. They promised they would always remember the crimes the white race had committed, and that the animals would always stay with him. That they would stay with what remained of his people, and they would stay with the other tribes as well.
“The animals stayed by the people. They guided them…or controlled them. Each animal became the guide and instinct of a person, and each person was in possession—or was a possession of—their animal’s spirit, their animal’s energy. Those who were guided by the totems, who remembered—the totems who held that grudge—were stronger than anybody could possibly imagine.
“But people had no way of containing and controlling so much pure life energy. The spirits of the animals would escape. And the animals still remembered. The animals would always remember, and always hold a grudge. The animals’ energy escaped from the bodies of the skinwalker each possessed, and created the fifth stage of the skinwalker’s body. The Animal Totems rampaged through towns and cities, destroying every white face they saw.”
The fifth stage? Cougar had mentioned the first stage, the second stage. If Cougar can do all that in stage one…what happens when he gets to stage five? I glanced anxiously at Cougar, only half-understanding Ben’s story.
“And the Lakota warrior, seeing what he had done, watched as innocent lives were taken. He watched as innocent people were killed for their heritage. The Animal Totems rampaged over the land taken by the foreign settlers. Even with the pain he felt, the man who had made the promise with the animals at Wounded Knee did not want his memories repeated. Innocent people should not die. Trying to fix his wrongs, the warrior gave his own life to stop the destruction. He made necklaces woven of dreamcatchers, and upon his death, the necklaces were given to the Skinwalkers. The webbing captured the corresponding animal within the body of the Skinwalker, and suppressed the Fifth Stage. And now, our animals do not have full control over us.”
I looked from Cougar to Dante to Caleb to Ben. What were they?
“But the animals stayed with the people to make sure we never forgot. And we don’t forget,” Ben said, pulling his necklace out from beneath his torn-up old shirt. “The Ghost Dance was not ours. The Ghost Dance was what we were born from. But the intentions of the Ghost Dance live in us. The grudge—the truth—lives in us. And when the time comes, we will live in the truth.”
Thanks again, Enita Meadows for sharing a glimpse into THE MESSENGER.
Congratulations on your release today. May your books never go out of print. :)