We’d like to thank Courtney for taking the time to be interviewed by Meg!
Q. Was there any particular inspiration for Macy’s character in Every Last Kiss, and her role in history?
A. Every Last Kiss was inspired one day while I was washing dishes. I know, glamorous, right? I was thinking about tragic figures in history and which of them might change their fate if they could. Cleopatra was the first figure who jumped into my head. She’s always fascinated me. So, honestly, I knew that Cleopatra would be in the first book from the very beginning.
Q. At the end of Every Last Kiss, the readers don’t know how mythology will ultimately tie into the series, which I feel resulted in the first book in the series being slightly different than the remaining books (in an amazingly good way). Did you originally intend for the second book to hold such a distinct turning point into the entire series.
A. Yes, I did. I always knew that the first book would be different. I wanted it to be like a prequel, of sorts. I really wanted the reader to get a glimpse of what Harmonia had been put through for the past several millennia before they actually figured out her story.
I knew that Fated would be when she began to discover who she was. I know that as a reader, I hate having everything revealed to me in the very beginning of a book. I really wanted to write a series where it was filled with mystery from the beginning until the end.
Q. It seems like, with all of the historical references within the Bloodstone Saga, this series had a great deal of research and thought going into the plot lines. What exactly was your method of planning and writing out the Bloodstone Saga and how long did it take you to write the entire series?
A. It’s a good thing that I like to research. I researched each setting for hours and hours and hours. I researched much more than I even used in my books- but I had to in order to truly get a feel for each setting. I have a giant storyboard in my office where I post pictures of each setting and time period, quotes by relevant characters, so on and so forth. I really had to immerse myself in each period and place. The entire series took me around a year or so to write. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I was sort of consumed by it.
Q. I absolutely love all of your characters, especially Hades. Out of all of the secondary characters within the Saga, which would you say is your favorite and why?
A. Ares. He’s easily my favorite secondary character. I knew from the beginning that I wanted my god of war to be different from the one usually portrayed in mythology. I wanted mine to be funny and loyal and loving with the ability to become deadly and bloodthirsty in a moment, if need be. I actually based quite a few of his personality traits on a friend of mine.
Q. While reading, I felt like I completely lost myself in some of the imagery as Harmonia ventures through the various mythical realms (especially the Underworld, I never imagined it being so complex. There’s definitely a few places there I wouldn’t mind visiting.) How did you come up with such a variety of places for Harmonia to encounter in her adventures?
A. Ancient Egypt was a given since I wanted to write about Cleopatra. I adore tales of Camelot and so I turned Zeus’ lightning bolt into a sword specifically so that I could send my characters to Camelot to retrieve it. I mean seriously- what is more romantic than Camelot? And the Underworld. Sigh. I loved (and I mean LOVED) writing about the Underworld. I didn’t make its different levels up- they’ve already been written about in myths. I just expanded upon the visions that I saw in my head when I imagined it.
Q. It seems like you’re very gifted in being able to twist fiction with actual history and well known legend, into something that becomes totally believable. I would love to know more about what lives Harmonia has lived, have you ever considered writing out some of her other lives for your readers to enjoy?
A. I’ve thought about it. In fact, I do have a file with notes about creating a book detailing some of their past lives in short stories. If I ever have any downtime, I might do that. :)
Q. Your other books (Princess and Guardian) are so vastly different from the Bloodstone Saga, what inspired you to write them and do you see yourself writing more books in the future like Princess or Guardian?
A. I actually wrote Guardian first- it was my very first book and I wrote it after my own dad died (the main character’s dad had just died in the book). It was really cathartic for me to write. Princess… I’m not sure what inspired me to write it. I had just written Guardian and I guess I wanted to write something darker and edgier. And boy did I!
I’m actually working on a sequel right now for Princess… called Glass Castles. I’m excited about it.
Q. What can we look forward to in the Moonstone Saga? The first book was so intriguing, yet so different from it’s companion series, the Bloodstone Saga. Will we see more historical references in the Moonstone Saga?
A. I meant for the Moonstone Saga to have a different feel than the Bloodstone Saga. I wanted it to be a little darker with a slightly more dangerous feel. I loved Empusa’s backstory and couldn’t wait to dig into it. You’re going to see devastation and blood, but you’re also going to see my favorite human traits- love, dignity and honor.
I don’t have a release date for Soul Bound yet. But I am currently working on it- I’m working on two sequels in tandem, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ll either emerge productive and victorious or I’ll come out on the other end completely crazy. Soul Bound is set in a really awesome place- or at least, I think so.
Q. What originally inspired you to publish your writing and what kind of advice can you offer aspiring authors?
A. I’ve always loved reading- so I knew that I wanted to be a writer. My advice would be to pursue it even if it seems unlikely. I came from a tiny speck of dust in Kansas- a little rural town. If someone had told me when I was a kid that I would be a published author someday, I’d have thought they were having a sun stroke. But if you want it, be persistent. Write everyday until you are the best you can be.
Q. What are some of your favorite books that you would highly recommend to your readers?
A. My all-time favorite book is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I love the idea that after we die, we meet all of the people that we’ve touched throughout our lives and never even knew it.
Q. Your characters are very mature and well developed, and often deal with mature themes, yet you write them in a way that is highly relatable for young adults and older adults as well. Is there any reason you chose to classify yourself as a YA author and would you every branch out to write for a more mature audience?
A. I chose YA because that’s the voice that seems to suit me the most. I also love writing for YA readers- they’re so passionate about the books that they love. It’s refreshing.
I actually have considered writing some fiction for women. I might try my hand at it someday.
Q. And do you have a favorite scene from any of your books and if so, what is it?
A. I think my favorite scene would have to be at the end of My Tattered Bonds when Harmonia finally prevails. She struggled so much throughout the series and experienced so much pain. It was really satisfying to give her a happily ever after.
Q. Thank you so much, I’m really glad I’m finally able to ask the questions I’ve been wanting to ask for so long!
A. Thanks for having me, Megan. I’m so happy that you like my books. It completely makes my day!!