Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Mistral Dawn, author of Taken by the Huntsman and Bound by the Summer Prince, which has just come out. If you love the world of Fairie, you’re in good company here.
Tracy: Thanks for dropping by, Mistral.
Mistral: Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Tracy!! :-) I've read your blog for years, and I'm a huge fan of yours, but I never thought I'd have the opportunity to talk to you here! I'm star-struck! Thank you! :-)
T: Then I’d better not let you hang around for too long. I don’t want you finding out how awfully ordinary I am.
This blog today is all about you. Tell us about yourself and how you got started writing.
M: Me? I'm fairly unoriginal: thirty-something, graduate student/hospital drudge. I have kitties, do a limited amount of cat/kitten rescue out of my home (please spay or neuter your pets! ;-) ), and I've recently started writing adult, fantasy, romance novels.
Taken By The Huntsman came about because I had a dream (I'll leave the details to your imagination ;-) ) after having a debate with an online friend about the nature of consent, and what society should and should not accept in terms of other people's behavior. My friend and I differed rather violently on this matter and I went to bed thinking about it. When I woke up, I had the idea for my first novel. Another friend of mine said the idea sounded interesting, so I wrote the first couple of chapters and sent them to her asking if she was bored yet. She was kind enough to say that she wasn't bored and would like to read the rest of the story, so I wrote it. :-)
T: Your first book Taken by the Huntsman takes place in the world of the Fae, Fairie. What drew you to write in this genre?
M: I've always read sci-fi and fantasy almost exclusively. When I had the debate with my friend, I was in the middle of researching European mythology (because I'm a nerd) and some of those legendary creatures made their way into my dream. Besides, who wouldn't enjoy fantasizing about a gorgeous guy who is utterly devoted to you and can take you somewhere you'll live forever? ;-)
T: I’m firmly in the camp of eternal doting. Tell us a little about Taken by The Huntsman.
M: Taken By The Huntsman is the story of Cassie, a lonely human orphan trying to find her place in the world, and Cadeyrn, the Erlking and Fairie's top cop. Cadeyrn is hunting another Fae who has escaped to Earth after killing a child. While he's searching, he comes across Cassie on her way home from work. She can't see him because he's cast a spell to hide himself from human eyes, but when his eyes meet hers a magical soul-mate bond forms between them. He decides to kidnap her and take her to his fortress in Fairie, because, having been Fairie's Huntsman for hundreds of millennia, he has earned his share of enemies. Knowing that most modern humans know nothing of the Fae beyond children's stories, Cadeyrn doesn't believe he'll be able to convince Cassie of the danger she's in, and the only way he can think of to keep her safe is to kidnap her. He expects her to be angry, and to have to work to earn her trust, but is unprepared for how difficult she finds it to open her heart.
T: It sounds exciting. Swept away by a Fairie cop who is your soulmate? Awesome. Which begs for a hypothetical question here: a tall, handsome Fae appears before you and says, “Mistral Dawn, you are my fated love.” What do you do?
M: Ha! Knowing me? Look for the hidden cameras. ;-)
T: How much of you do you put in your characters?
M: Oh, there's bits and pieces here and there. Like Cassie, I've worked in call centers and at other "menial" jobs. The disagreement with her boss that she's worrying about on her way home is almost word-for-word an argument I once had with a boss. Roni and I share the curse (blessing?) of being a well-padded woman in a society that favors the skinny. But none of my characters are truly a representation of me. :-)
T: Is there any other genre you'd like to write? Or is there one you wouldn't?
M: I'd like to write straight Sci-Fi one day. I actually have an idea I've been kicking around for years, but I don't think I'm ready to write it yet. :-) I try not to close my mind to any possibilities, but I read almost exclusively Sci-Fi and Fantasy, so I think it would be difficult for me to write anything else.
T: What was the most surprising thing about becoming a writer?
M: I really found the fact that it's possible to self-publish anything you like, on multiple platforms, without anyone's by-your-leave. Granted, each platform has their own rules, but they tend to be pretty broad. The internet is wonderful. :-)
T: What are you working on now?
M: I'm working on the second book in the series I started with Taken By The Huntsman, which is the story of Roni, a human con-woman and petty thief, and Uaine, the prince of Fairie's Summer Court. Roni accidentally stumbles into Fairie (and it's against Fae law for humans to be in Fairie unless brought there by a Fae) and is caught by Uaine. To his surprise, the soul-mate bond forms between them and he has to convince her to want to stay. :-) The first chapter and some excerpts are posted on my blog.
After I finish the second novel I'll start writing a short story about Roni and Uaine, and then I have a third book planned which will involve the king of the Winter Court and his fated human. So far I have five novels and two short stories planned, but I keep getting new ideas so the number keeps growing. :-)
T: I know that feeling. The ideas never seem to quit coming, do they? Writers tend to be the most voracious readers. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
M: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Erotica almost exclusively. Occasionally a Historical Romance will slip in there, but rarely anything else. ;-)
T: What writer inspires you most?
M: Honestly? You do, Tracy! If you hadn't spent all that time on your blog talking about how to independently publish a novel and deal with all of the challenges that creep up, Taken By The Huntsman would almost certainly be sitting in a file on my hard drive, unread by anyone but me. Until you wrote about it, I didn't even know it was possible to publish a novel without a publisher, so thank you very much!! :-)
T: My pleasure and thanks! I’m always delighted to help in any small way I can. Outside of writing, who inspires your life?
M: Oh, lots of people. Anyone who can find a way to bring about change in society (large or small) without resorting to violence inspires me. Teachers inspire me, social workers inspire me, animal rescue agency workers inspire me, soup-kitchen/food-pantry workers inspire me; basically, if you've left the world just a little bit better than you found it then you inspire me. :-)
T: Everyday heroes are the best. What is your passion outside of writing?
M: Taking in homeless cats and kittens, getting them healthy and well-socialized, and finding them their forever homes. :-)
T: So you are a hero yourself! I envy you doing that. I wish I could, but the hubs is allergic.
Okay, I’m going to ask a few miscellaneous questions so we can learn more about the woman behind hot and handsome Fairie beefcake. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
M: The Northern Pacific Coast of the US. Perfect weather as far as I'm concerned. :-)
T: Tell me one thing you absolutely cannot live without.
M: Hmm...besides my kitties? Books! I'm a reading junkie and I'm not even interested in rehab. ;-)
T: Favorite quote?
M: “Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”
― Terry Pratchett
T: Nice one. I think that’s an excellent note to wrap this up on. Thanks so much for coming on the blog, Mistral. It’s been a delight to have you!
Keep up with Mistral Dawn and her writing:
Mistral’s first book Taken by the Huntsman is available at the following links:
Bound by the Summer Prince is out too! Get this newest story in the series: