Happy Valentine's Day!
What are you doing today?
Kendra told me that she's going to be making breakfast for Aiyana. A throwback breakfast, as it were: homemade waffles.
Here on the blog, we've got a YA author dropping in, Tricia Copeland!
Multi-genre, award-winning young adult author Tricia Copeland believes in finding magic. Whether in nature, art, or technology she holds that magic infuses our universe. Her books show what is possible when one commits to finding their own version of magic. Her titles fall in the new adult inspirational and romance, as well as young adult fantasy and dystopian genres. If she’s not out on the trail you can find her on your favorite social media. Look for all of Tricia’s books at TRICIACOPELAND.COM and her new romances under pen name Maria Jane coming in May 2022. Follow her on your favorite book reading platform and get all the updates delivered to your inbox by signing for her newsletter on linktree or the website.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? My path to becoming a fiction author began with a love of technical writing. Once I became comfortable with and started to enjoy the writing process it opened up a creative outlet for me. One fiction book led to a second and two became a four-book series which spurred me to write another series and yet another.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? My first books series, the new adult Being Me series, is based on my personal experience of overcoming anorexia. With this series under my belt, I began to explore my love for the fantasy genre. I entered an anthology with a young adult paranormal novella, Drops of Sunshine, about a sixteen-year-old who tries to escape her tumultuous home life by taking a job as a camp counselor. Problems ensued when Nina discovered that the campers knew things about her life they couldn’t and shouldn’t know. Following this publication I pursued writing about my favorite fantasy characters, the vampires. I created a half-vampire, half-witch teen, named Alena, who was challenged by having to blend into normal teen life in Kingdom of Embers of the Kingdom Journals series. But this hybrid girl was just no ordinary half-witch, but a prophesied witch of the trinity destined to bring liberation to the souls of the witch lines. And yes, you will note that somehow my vampire series got highjacked by a trinity of witches.
My first true vampire book was created when I wrote a prequel to the Kingdom Journals series, Kingdom of the Damned, that chronicled the life of Alena’s mother from 15th century France to 20th century America.
My most recent series, the Realm Chronicles spinoff to the Kingdom Journals, also began with an entry to an anthology which required a fantasy character to have a mental illness. As an anorexia survivor this anthology appealed to my mental health awareness mission. The anthology promotion material included an image of a faerie which spurred me to create Titania’s character. Titania, a fifteen-year-old fae princess, suffered from anxiety and anxiety attacks. My story wasn’t chosen for the anthology but grew into Titania’s cameo in the final book of the Kingdom Journals series, Kingdom of War, and the spinoff book, To be a Fae Queen, a young adult fantasy.
In To be a Fae Queen, Titania becomes queen at age fifteen. As a young female ruler plagued by anxiety attacks, she faced much opposition to her reign. The story chronicled her efforts to hold onto her position and protect the kingdom from evil beings of Lower Earth.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I don’t like using semi-colons. I feel they create too complicated of a sentence structure. It’s odd and my editor tries to sneak them in on me. I’ve let her leave a couple in my work, but I still don’t love them. Which is kind of sad because the semi-colon in the tattoo world symbolizes that there is more to come and I definitely have more stories to write, they just won’t include more than one, or maybe two, semi-colons. And I definitely won’t be getting a semi-colon tattoo.
When did you write your first book and how old were you? My fiction writing career began on the eve of my 20th high school reunion. I took a look back at my life and felt an overwhelming need to explain my disjointed path. This manuscript of 180,000 words became the first two books in a new adult series which follows the main character from her freshman to senior year in college Her story is a fictionalized version of my struggle with depression and anorexia, a disease that almost killed me. This series, entitled Being Me, mixes a college romance with a girl’s faltering journey in finding direction in her life.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Running and hiking are my two favorite recreational activities. If I’m stuck inside then you’ll definitely find me reading or typing away on my laptop.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? I began my career as a research scientist. A position I wouldn’t have termed creative. But the more I tapped into my creative fiction writing side the more I realized what I liked about that job is figuring out how to get the answer. I didn’t care as much about what the answer was as I did in trying to devise the plan to get the answer.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? I’ve written seventeen books and three novellas. Asking me to name a favorite seems like having to pick a favorite friend or child. My favorite at any moment tends to be the book I am working on as I get very entrenched with the lives of my characters. When I’m writing, I engross myself in the story, constantly coming up with the next plot element or way to get from point A to point B of a story, asking myself what the reader wants to know next, what should happen next, and how I can create unexpected twists in the storyline. So, yes, at the moment my current projects with Titania from the Realm Chronicles and Bree from my Perfect romance series feel front and center in my thoughts.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? I hear from readers quite often either on social media or from replies to my email updates. I love getting messages about what they’re reading or what books they’re planning to read and how they viewed my stories.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? My spirit animal is the swallow. Swallows are symbols of good luck and success, but also hope. They often migrate long distances but return to their original roosts and mate at the same place every year. Each year they raise their families and let them go, but return to their homes to start anew. This symbolizes not only letting go of the past, but a foundation of home and family that you will never lose connection with no matter how far you wander.
What do you have coming next? My newest release is the second book in my young adult fae fantasy series, To be a Fae Guardian. In the first book of the series, To be a Fae Queen, we find fifteen-year-old Princess Titania fighting to hold her place in the line of succession to become monarch. She must prove herself worthy of the throne and find a way to defeat evil monsters invading from below. Titania’s quest for protecting her kingdom continues in To be a Fae Guardian where we find critics lining up to undermine her authority yet again. Can she convince them she may be the only one to save the whole fae realm or will her pleas fall on deaf ears? To be a Fae Guardian released in January of 2022 in paperback and ebook. To be a Fae Queen is now available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook on Amazon and Audible.
I will release a new romance novel under the pen name, Maria Jane in late May and am working with an artist, Matt Maes, that he will illustrate. I hope to release the 3rd book in the Realm Chronicles series by October of 2022.
And now an excerpt from To Be A Fae Queen! You can read it here AND download it!
Morning of the eve of my coronation, I wait with Father, Mother, and Alfreda in front of the castle to greet Mother’s family from Bedham. Their carriage stops in front of the bricked walk, and King Herman, my mother’s brother, and Queen Natasha; along with Prince Jakub, next in line to the throne; and his wife, Annabelle, step out. I note how their coloring matches Mother’s. With light skin and fair hair and wings, one may not even see them crossing the sky. Since no other carriages follow, I wonder where Mother’s sisters are. We were told all three would attend with their families.
I approach King Herman, curtsey, and kiss each of his cheeks. “King Herman, Uncle, I am happy to see you. Thank you for coming.”
He steps back and bows. “Titania. My, you have grown since I last saw you.”
“Herman, you forget your manners. Titania is a queen now, and you should address her as such.” Natasha kisses my cheek.
Taking a step to the right, I dip my chin. “Welcome, Prince Jakub. It has been too long.”
“Yes, Queen.” He bows. “Allow me to introduce my wife, Annabelle.”
Annabelle curtsies and kisses each side of my face. “It is wonderful to meet you. We have heard so much about you.”
I force a smile, hoping the news is not negative. “I am sorry to have missed your wedding.”
“It was a small affair.” Jakub supplies.
I guess his words are meant to ease my guilt at my inability to attend the event. For a year following my brothers’ deaths, being in crowds triggered crippling fits. My heart raced out of control and breathing became labored. Jakub’s wedding represents one of many state events I missed that year. Jakub holds the honor of being the firstborn son, and therefore, he will succeed his father. Four years my elder, I remember playing with Jakub as a child. He took cues from my brothers, treating me as one of them—which I appreciated because most boys tended not to. I am happy he joins us as it may not be long before he succeeds his father, and we will rule neighboring kingdoms.
Watching King Herman and Natasha greet Father then my stoic mother makes my side tick. It saddens me that none of Mother’s sisters have come as they said they would. I thought they might aid in pulling Mother from her shell. But after three years, I should accept that hope on this front may be misplaced.
Alfreda calls for attendants to help with the bags, and we show the four to their chambers, informing them there will be lunch in the garden and lawn games following. I leave our guests to unpack and rest from their journey. Hearing a bugle sound, alerting a guest’s arrival, I weave through the passages to the front entrance.
Father joins me, squinting as the occupants step from the carriage. “I cannot believe they came.”
“Who is it?”
“My distant cousin, Victor, and his son—”
“Quinn.” I swallow. “I did not realize we invited them.”
“I told Alfreda to be all inclusive. But we did not receive a reply to the invitation. I have not seen Victor since we were children.”
I lift my skirt and walk towards the pair as they approach. “Cousins Victor and Quinn, welcome.”
With coloring, warm mahogany hair and dark green wings, matching that of Father’s family, the two stop before me and bow.
Kissing my cheek, Victor steps before Father and wraps both arms around him. “It has been too long, Oberon. Please, meet my son, Quinn.”
Quinn tips his chin and bows to Father. “I am happy to make your acquaintance.” His eyes cut to me and back to Father. “Both of you.”
With broad shoulders and muscled arms, Quinn looks nothing like I pictured him. Especially for one whose family holds no trade. Most royals without title serve as advisors or judges, and Victor holds a judge’s position in a small shire on the western isle of Bedham. I would expect Quinn to hold the same, but he appears to use his muscles often.
Refocusing on Victor, I remember Alfreda’s instructions on welcoming guests. “Please, come this way. We did not expect you, but I believe there are available chambers near your King, Herman. We will be having lunch with them at noon, and it would be nice for you to join us.”
Quinn flanks me as we proceed to the castle entrance. “I have heard much about you, cousin. It is an honor to meet you. You are a legend in Bedham, and I am guessing all through the realm.”
My face flushes. “Legends are not always complimentary. What do they say of me to the north?”
“That you are strong and brave, smart, tactful, thoughtful, just, and above all—and to this I can now attest—most beautiful.”
Cheeks flaming, I fold my hands in front of my waist. “Thank you. You are very kind. I expected there to be rumors of me being some sort of female brute of a giant with arms the size of tree trunks.”