Friday, September 23, 2011

Interview with Rayka Mennen

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Rayka Mennen. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Enchanted Destiny. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

So excited to tell you about this book –it’s a fun, sexy read being released on October 1. Enchanted Destiny is a re-release of the very first paranormal novella I wrote, with expanded chapters and a cool new plot twist. Kat never believed she’d fall victim to her family’s stories about destined soul mates—she makes her own fate, thank you very much. When she walks by a construction site and admires the same sexy architect for the zillionth time in a week, the last thing she expects is to be slammed by a vision of his death.

Which activates the spell that will change their lives forever.

Jake is a single dad with a singular focus—create a stable life for him and his son. His ex-wife cured him of any desire to fall in love, but when an intriguing woman saves him from what should’ve been a deadly accident, he can’t shake his fascination. Too bad she’s crazy, claiming she’s a witch and that they’re soul mates—not exactly the “stable life” he had in mind.

Kat’s destiny comes with a deadline. If they don’t fall in love by her twenty-fifth birthday—a mere three weeks away—Jake will never find the peace he seeks and Kat will lose her magic forever.

Enchanted Destiny is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

OMG – can I just mention how hard it is for me to come up with a title? This was a combo of my editor and I going through several rounds of titles. In the end, I’m not sure who said what, but we all agreed and all was well.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I like the idea that there are things and people and powers we don’t understand or can’t explain away. Dealing with science all day, I work with hypotheses and statistics. Writing about the paranormal world is a great way to escape that. Plus, I can create my own world with my own rules. When I am Queen…you get the idea.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Everywhere. By that I mean I draw inspiration from almost everything I see and read. But this one, I have to admit-- this one just sort of came to me as I was thinking about writing a paranormal. I had decided to start with a witch and I started going what if…and voila. Yeah, my head is a strange place, I admit.

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

It depends on the book I am writing. For Enchanted Destiny, I just read the Witches Almanac for some dates. For my current WIP which integrates Irish and Indian mythology (as in from India), I go to so many different places that describe the myths and stories. For the Indian myths my mom and aunts are great sources too. Despite its limitations, Wikipedia is a great starting point – it gives me links or terminology that I can spring-board from. For my eagle shape-shifter story, I am linked via FB to an Australian group that has a camera placed to follow the birth and development of two baby eagles. One died about a week ago and there I was reading FB, tears streaming down my face. But what a great resource for all things eagle!

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

In this story, it was Kat. She’s tall (and I’m not), gorgeous (hmm, should I admit to it) and has magic (yeah, not so much). What’s not to like? She also didn’t have a lot of hang-ups so she was fun. Usually I tend to create tortured characters who then turn around and torture me.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and/or world affect your character development?

My characters seem to morph as I write which is very challenging. Suddenly, I’m like…you want to do what? Geez! So I do develop character sheets. I have my own template which isn’t anything special – just takes me through the likes/dislikes, habits, temperament, familiar relationships, friendships etc. I also do a color analysis for each character. This is especially helpful when you have a very alpha hero and heroine. The color analysis helps me separate out their reactions. You can be alpha and yet react to situations differently. Since I discovered, in one deep editing pass, that both my major male characters for my current WIP apparently only knew the same curse words and also propped the wall using the exact same body position, I started adding words used, characteristic walk/habits to the character sheet. Whew!

How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I have to use maps and a table of main elements or I’d drive myself crazy second-guessing myself. If it’s an area that is known – for example, for one book set in Devon, England, I printed out the Google map for the area then marked in the buildings I was inventing, and drew in the river (since I changed its course a bit to suit my story). I have an easel in my study, facing my desk, and if I’m creating a town or a setting for a paranormal, I’ll sketch out the basic elements – mountains here, cliffs there, that sort of thing. Since I tend to set my books in places I have been I also have photographs from my trips to help develop the physical setting.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Georgette Heyer for sure. Hers were the first romances I read as a pig-tailed Catholic school girl back in India. Many of the Mills & Boon authors (we didn’t get Harlequin books at home when I was a teenager). More recently, Mercedes Lackey and her Valdemar series; Nalini Singh; JR Ward in her early BDB books; Patricia Briggs.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’ll have to get back to you on that. I took a break from writing for several years so Enchanted Destiny is my first book after the hiatus. It’s a different world from even eight years ago. All the social media we can use is mind-blowing but I’ll be keeping watch to see what works best.

What do we have to look forward next? The sequel to Enchanted Destiny is Enchanted Desire, Gina and Eric’s story. You meet them briefly in Destiny. Gina has never been able to fully activate her magic, and she has no desire for a soul-mate, destined or otherwise.

Thanks, Rayka!

It was a pleasure visiting. I’ll stop back by in case folks have questions. You can also come by home on the web at www.RaykaMennen.com. I’m a talker – I love hearing from folks, even if only by email.

To celebrate her book release, Rayka Mennen is offering a free e-book of Enchanted Destiny to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

Also if you are a Desert Rose chapter member, mention that in your comment and Rayka will do a separate drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card for her fellow chapter members.

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio.

Check out author’s website at www.RaykaMennen.com. Buy beginning October 1 at major e-book sales outlets (http://www.entangledpublishing.com/enchanted-destiny/).

23 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good morning Rayka. Thanks for joining us here today. Chocolate's a bit runny today as my air conditioner broke last night. Sigh. How about some chocolate milk? I love the premise of your book as well as a good witch story. What's not to love? What does your typical writing day look like? Thanks again fro stopping by and enjoy your day.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I loved learning about the machanics of how you write -- did this change from your previous writings? And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover!!

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for the great interview. I also love the cover.

Alexis Walker said...

Hi Rayka,

Great interview. So you are not tall but you are beautiful. I'd say that's not a bad compromise ;-) I wish you many sales on the new book. Very eye catching cover.

Rayka Mennen said...

Kim, it's great to be here. My typical day - wake up at 5, drink lots of espresso, write until I go to work; come home and write again from about 7 to 12, interspersed with a little TV (Big Bang Theory is irresistible) and a little Scotch if its friday or saturday. Boring like of a romance writer - lol
@girlygirlhoosier - thank you - its a beautiful cover, I agree. Are you from Indiana - lived there about 10 years.
Thanks Rebekah - love it too.
Alexis - choke, sputter, laugh. Shouldn't have been eating my cereal when I read your comment. I wish I looked like Kat - not even close as you can see.

R Firasek said...

*waving at Rayka* Hi, gal! So excited for you!!! Lurve the cover, btw. So spicy!

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Rayka, I love the image of your world taking shape on an easel in your office -- what a lovely way to bring the setting to life!

And now I'm rooting for Kat and Jack, surprised that there's any hint of doubt they might achieve their happy ending when normally I take that as a given. Which means you've set up all KINDS of great tension. :)

Patricia Eimer said...

Hi Rayka,

So excited for this book to come out. I can't wait to read it.

Donna Marie Del Grosso said...

Wow Rayka!
What an interesting blog.... I like everything about it. The book sounds absolutely wonderful and I loved reading about your use of color charts. Guess I can something new to my arsenal of writing tools!
Congratulations and good luck!

Rayka Mennen said...

Patricia and Rachel - thank you.
Laurie - coming from you - quite compliment
Donna, I'll send you the color analysis chart if you like. It has really, really helped me.

Lisa Kessler said...

I love your cover Rayka!!! :)

It sounds like a fun read too...

Congratulations on the release and welcome back from your hiatus!!!

Lisa :)

Rayka Mennen said...

Lisa, Thank you - feels good to be back - it was like all these worlds and people in my head just clamoring to be written down. Sounds crazy but as a fellow writer, I know you understand

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Rayka -- and Kim!

I'm at the Denver Airport now. Presenting in Minneapolis this weekend. This will be quick!

Rayka -- You know I loved digging deep into your writing in intense 4-day Immersion classes in my home, twice! Your writing is as smooth as it is strong.

Enjoy your blog tour! Looking forward to featuring you on my Pubbed Margie Grad blog in a couple of weeks!

Rayka Mennen said...

Thanks Margie. When I got smiley faces on a page from Margie I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Rayka! (Waving madly) I completely agree with you about loving "the idea that there are things and people and powers we don’t understand or can’t explain away." I grew up with a psychic mother and a world of people and things I couldn't explain but somehow knew the one's that were good for me.

Love your book. Love your writing style. Most of all I love that you are so comfortable talking about almost anything. :)

Jus Accardo said...

Great interview, Rayka! Your cover is one of my faves :)

Rayka Mennen said...

Thanks Maggie. Although I didn't really experience any such phenomena, I grew up in a culture where myths and superstitions abound so I guess I learned to be open.

Hey Jus - yeah! I can't wait to see what they'll for the sequel cover

Carol Webb said...

Hi, Rayka. I can't wait to read your book when it comes out in October 1st! I hope you have many a sale!

Angela Foster said...

Hi Rayka,
Fabulous cover! And it sounds like an even more fabulous story. I love when magic happens to normal women. Can't wait to read :-)

Jess Macallan said...

Great interview Rayka! I'm excited to read this book. :) I'm not a Desert Rose chapter member, but I'll be at the conference in April. I hope I get to meet you!

Rayka Mennen said...

Whoa - hold them horses - its Carol - that woman who designed me a fabulous website :o; thanks for stopping by Carol.
Angela, my awesome CP to whom I totally owe the ending in this book! Great days in FL, plotting.
Jess, great you'll be at Desert Dreams. Please look me up - we'll drink to EP.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Great interview, Rayka! Thanks for sharing!

Erin Quinn said...

Rayka--love the cover for your wonderful story! I feel very lucky to have been a beta reader. :)