Author Chat with Morgan L. Busse on her Ravenwood Saga

Last year, I discovered Morgan as an author when both our novels were finalists in the 2019 Selah Awards for Speculative Fiction. Her Mark of the Raven later took first place (so well-deserved). The Ravenwood Saga has made her my new favorite fantasy author, and today, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome her as a guest to the blog! In this interview, you can catch her heart for writing, for her readers, and for “the Light.”

Q: What prompted you to write this fantasy series?

All of my books start with a scene that I see in my head. For The Ravenwood series, I saw a young woman assassin standing over the bed of young man. I knew he was important, and I could tell she was hesitating to fulfill her mission. So I started asking who was she? How did she get to this point? Who was the young man? Why was he important? Why was there a target on his life? From that scene Selene’s story grew into what it is today: The Ravenwood Saga.

Q: Selene’s dreamwalking ability is such a creative twist on special powers. Did something inspire you to invent her skill, and if so, what was it?

There are a lot of assassin stories out there, so I wanted to make this one different. Then I thought, what if she had some other power? One of my favorite cartoons to watch with my kids is My Little Pony. The job of one of the royal sisters is to watch over the dreams of the other ponies at night. The moment I saw that episode, I knew what Selene’s power was: to walk in dreams. But it had been corrupted, and her story would be her journey to bring her family’s power back to what it was supposed to be: protecting the dreams of people.

Q: Who is your favorite character from the Ravenwood Saga and why?

Ooo, that is a hard one. Of course I love Selene: her struggle with figuring out who she is and if there is anything redeemable about her abilities. I also love Damien’s quiet but fierce love for both his people and eventually Selene. And of course I love Lady Bryren, the leader of the wyvern riders. She’s a firecracker and a fun character to write about!

Q: Selene and Damien have to grow up quickly due to their circumstances and their life or death decision at the end of book one (no spoiler). Why do you think it is important for young adult fiction to present strong, vulnerable characters who must make hard choices?

Becoming an adult means facing hard choices, and the path we choose many times determines the adults we become. I wanted to show through Selene that we always have a choice in who we become, that we are not bound to the choices our family has made. And by choosing to walk away from the wrong choices our family has made can change not only ourselves, but eventually our family, and our world. Damien is an example that there are strong young adults who are selfless leaders.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this saga?

Hope and strength. That each step toward the light is worth it. That when we give up ourselves, we save not only ourselves but those around us.

Q: How did you first discover your writing ability, and how have you seen God use it in unexpected ways?

I never wanted to be a writer. I loved reading and that’s it. But my husband continued to encourage me to write. So I finally gave in (he’s quite the persistent cheerleader!). When I write a book, I pray for the person who needs to read it and that God would help me write the message that person needs to hear. And with every book, I get at least one email from someone who needed that story at that time. Last week, there was a young woman who received an advance copy of Cry of the Raven (the last book), and the day she finished the book, her grandmother passed away. One of the themes of Cry of the Raven is dealing with the death of loved ones, and she wrote about how much this book is already helping her with the death of her grandmother.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring young writers?

One: study the craft of writing. Read books, go to the conferences, follow the newsletters of those who teach. Two: write, write, write! You only become good by practicing. A friend of mine once said that most people need to write a million words before they start writing something worth reading. Third: live life. Don’t forget to spend time with your family, go for a walk, enjoy life. The writing is always there, but if you aren’t living, you will have nothing to write about.

Q: Can you hint about what next project you have in the works?

Yes! I’m currently working on a new steampunk series and am already halfway through the first book. The series is currently dubbed The Plague Wars. Here is a quick blurb:

In a world covered in a deadly mist that forces humanity to live in the sky, Cass escapes the purges and survives by her wits until she stumbles onto the airship Daedalus and finds a job as a diver. As a diver, she explores the ruined cities within the mist, searching for treasure and family heirlooms for the rich. But everything changes when a young man hires her to find the very thing that will turn their world upside down: a way to eradicate the mist.

Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the five powerful families that rule the sky over the mist. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the deadly mist that turns people in the undead and hopes to stop the purges used to control over-population. But what he finds are secrets and ambition, and with each question comes horrifying answers. If he continues his search, not only will he encounter opposition, but perhaps even his own death.

But the mist is rising, and if a remedy isn’t found soon, the entire world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning all of humankind into monsters.

Ready to find your next favorite fantasy series? Meet author Morgan L. Busse who shares about her award-winning Ravenwood Saga.

About the Author

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She writes fantasy and steampunk novels and sometimes dabbles in science fiction. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Follower of the Word series, The Soul Chronicles, and award-winning Ravenwood Saga. When she’s not writing, she loves to play games, take long walks, and dream about her next novel.

About Cry of the Raven, Book 3 in the Ravenwood Saga

Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins. Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands. At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire’s attacks.

The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband’s power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power.

Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?

Two YA Authors to Read this Spring PLUS a Giveaway!

Spring weather in Florida is blissful and hints that summer is just around the corner! Maybe you have an official spring break, or maybe, you’re in my camp and don’t technically get one. Regardless, you can still hop in to some spring reading. If you’re a sunshine girl like me, I suggest grabbing a beach towel, some sun protection, and a book you’ve been wanting to read to enjoy the best of both worlds (in my case, Florida and fiction).

Perhaps you’ve finished your current read and are looking for something new. If you enjoy young adult fiction, here are two authors worth adding to your list. Also, be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post, because there’s a chance to enter a spring giveaway of 30 books (including one of my own) and a grand prize!

Emily Golus

Today, Golus’ sequel to Escape to Vindor releases, and I’m excited to share my review of Mists of Paracosmia with you. When Golus invited me to be an advance reader, I said yes, even though I was in the middle of wedding planning.

Golus spins another page-turning fantasy adventure in this sequel. This time, instead of Megan translating to Vindor, her younger brother finds himself there. Arden has been bullied at school, and when he hears there are Samurai in Vindor, he thinks he’s found his chance to train and teach the bullies a lesson when he returns home. However, though his journey, he learns the qualities that make a real warrior and hero are sacrificial, not selfish. Plus, Vindor’s problems are much larger than his own, and somehow, he must find a way to help.

I loved how Golus developed the sibling relationship between Megan and Arden. While Arden is trapped in Vindor, Megan is desperate to find a way to get him back—and risks everything in the process. We also see a more mature Megan in this story as she is now in college and learning what true friendship, and perhaps romance, looks like.

The ending was well-foreshadowed and still offered a delightful surprise. Why do the mists destroy memories in Vindor, and who controls them? This fantasy, with its well-crafted world building and lovable characters, offers a clean, thought-provoking, and memorable story readers of all ages will enjoy.

Lisa Mayer

Mayer’s first book in the Aletheian Journeys, The Arrow Bringer, released in March, which happened to be my wedding month. I had planned to read the book during my honeymoon travels but finished before I left because I had to find out what happened to the characters!

From the opening sentence, I was invested in Evie’s story. She’s dying of leukemia yet about to embark on the most important quest of her life, one that will decide the fate of her people and her soul.

Mayer’s descriptions are so vivid that the scenes spring to life in my imagination. Her world-building is masterful, and she makes me genuinely care about the characters. This story very much reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia with its redemptive theme. From what I hear, there’s a sequel, and I’ll be watching for it.

Spring Giveaway

Now through May 4, you have the chance to win thirty books and a $100 Amazon gift card! I’ve partnered with other Christian fiction authors in this event, hosted by Celebrate Lit, and am offering one of my own books, a Kindle copy of The Revisionary, as one of the prizes. I’d love for you to take home some good reads and the grand prize!

Click the image below to enter the giveaway or learn more at the Facebook event.

Do you already have books lined up for your spring reading? If so, please share in the comments!

Kristen

 

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Fighting Fear through Fantasy

At the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I met author Emily Golus, whose young adult fantasy, Escape to Vindor, won the Selah Award for its category. I was instantly drawn to her sincere, winsome personality and looked forward to reading her novel.

Last week, I read it. Yes, the story is incredible, but beyond that, I was moved by how much it personally challenged me.

Summary

Megan Bradshaw can defeat a sphynx when she’s imagining her alter-ego Selena in the fantasy world of Vindor, but in real life, she bombs oral speeches and dreads the idea of moving to a new school. If only she could be Selena all the time!

But when Megan gets her wish and finds herself transported to Vindor, she’s in over her head. Vindor faces a growing threat from a mysterious Shadow, and unless she can find the real guardian Selena, Vindor might perish. She, Megan Bradshaw, is a sham, and it’s only a matter of time until everyone finds out.

When reality hits that there is no other Selena to rescue Vindor, Megan must confront the Shadow and her own fears to save the world and creatures she loves.

Review and Take-Away

Golus’ writing, world building, and characterization are masterful, but what I loved even more was the theme for readers to apply to their own lives. When Megan discovers that the Shadow feeds on fear, she sees how fear controls her life and the lives of others. She develops self-awareness for the root cause of her fears and the lies they tell her.

We readers have seen the theme that love conquers fear before, but the way Golus develops Megan’s journey of discovery, climaxing with her understanding of the ultimate Love, truly touched me. It challenged me to identify and confront my own fears and take them to my God who is so much greater than them.

The spiritual thread runs seamlessly through the story in a quiet but confident way. Middle school and older readers will enjoy this book. I’m adding Golus to my favorite author list.

Return to Vindor

Perhaps the best Instagram news from last week was Golus’ post that there’s going to be a sequel. Readers can return to Vindor in 2019! You can follow the author for updates and more at worldofvindor.com.

What’s your latest favorite read and why did you love it? Share your thoughts in the comments. Happy reading!

~ Kristen

 

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