{Interview/Giveaway} Christina Mercer, author of ARROW OF THE MIST

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An interview with 
Christina Mercer

Christina Mercer writes fiction in addition to mothering two young adults, a pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. Her varied interests prompted her to study creative writing, earn her official degree in Accounting, become a CPA, acquire a certificate in Herbal Studies, and keep honeybees. She took Writer’s Best in Show at the 2012 SCBWI CA North/Central Regional Conference and was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest. You can find her at www.christinamercer.com or working as the Reviews Director at www.indie-visible.com

Visit Christina on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!

I'm intrigued by the way horticulture is woven into the story and discovered that you hold a Certificate in Herbal Studies. What led you to this path and inspired you to write ARROW OF THE MIST?

Herbs and alternative healing have interested me from a young age. I spent most of my growing up living in the mountains, and so always had a reverence for nature. I found a way to marry my love of all things fantasy and my fascination with herbs (and trees) in a story where they are showcased.

What's the best herbal lore you've come across?

I wouldn’t call it the best, but definitely the weirdest. It was said whoever pulled a mandrake (mandragora) root would die. (I say, pulling the root won’t kill you, but ingesting any part of this poisonous plant could do the trick!) To avoid death, people would dig a furrow around the root until its lower part was exposed, tie a dog to it, and when the dog attempted to follow the person walking away, the dog would be the one to pull it out instead of the master. Poor dog, I know! Also, the root has a human baby shape, and was said to scream after it got pulled from the ground, which made the roots attractive for all sorts of weirdo rituals.

ARROW OF THE MIST is set in Nemetona, a Celtic-inspired kingdom. In what ways did the Celtic culture inspire you? What will we come across when reading? (Any mythology, perhaps?)

I’ve always loved mythology, and drew much of the magical world I created from it (as I believe many fantasy writers do). The land of Nemetona is like a fictionalized ancient Ireland. I honed in on lots of “tree lore” and let the fables correlating to each tree guide me through the scenes. I draw elements from Norse mythology, too, which I think ties easily with some of the Celtic myths.
I love the way ARROW OF THE MIST features a strong female protagonist. What went into building her character?

I set out from the beginning to create a strong character with a good foundation of knowledge. But I also gave her an impulsive temperament and untapped magic, which required effort and sacrifice in order for her to master. Overall, I believe Lia is a good role model, showing other girls that they can ride horses, shoot bows, and outwit adversaries as much as anyone. Plus, maidens have the added advantage of spotting unicorns.
Your cover is fabulous. Do you have a fun Cover Story to share with us?

I was thrilled to get this cover! I gave some ideas on fog, trees, and color schemes to my artist, the talented Chelsea Starling, and she created something beyond my greatest expectations. I can’t wait for her to create the cover for the sequel.

What were your easiest and hardest writing moments during the creation of ARROW OF THE MIST?

The easiest moments were in the beginning when I was “playing” with ideas and simply having fun with them. As the story progressed and I became serious about transforming it into an actual novel, the real work began. LOTS of it. Writing my first novel was like going back to college for me.

What are you working on now?

I am finishing up the sequel, ARMS OF ANU, and hope to have it released by the end of this year. I also just finished another Young Adult Fantasy, which (as a work in progress) took Writer’s Best in Show at an SCBWI Regional Conference last year.

Thank you so much, Christina!
It was great to see a behind-the-scenes look at all that helped you create ARROW OF THE MIST!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Christina Mercer
Release Date: March 13, 2013
Publisher: Christina Mercer
Received: For Review

Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own. 

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.


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