Friday, December 2, 2011
Magic and Mermaids: The Fiction of Marsha A. Moore
This week I welcome Marsha A. Moore to the blog. Marsha writes fiction on a wide variety of subjects.
I notice that you have a mermaid series. Could you tell us what inspired you to choose that subject?
I enjoy reading/researching fantasy written through the ages in folktales, myth, legend, and lore. My library of those is constantly growing. I often blend ideas of folklore from around the world into my works.
During the winter of 2008-9, I moved my mother from NW Ohio to Tampa. It didn’t take much to convince me to stay through the winter to help her get settled before I moved my own household the following summer. When I learned about the annual Tampa Gasparilla Festival, I was enthralled and a pirate captain, a mermaid, and a merman became the characters of my writing. Local legends and folklore of the famed pirate Jose Gaspar inspired me to write my fantasy romance book, Tears on a Tranquil Lake, which released earlier this year. The sequel, Tortuga Treasure: Ciel’s Legacy, will release in January, 2012.
My latest release I'm promoting is an historical fantasy about the big-top circus in the 1920s.
Tell me more about Le Cirque de Magie. What inspired you to write that story?
When we first moved to the Tampa area three years ago, we toured the Ringling Museum in Sarasota—a fascinating trip back into the magic of the circus. The spirit of the circus pervades the community, adding to the local cultural heritage. As a hub of circus activity for over seventy-five years, the city has earned the title, “Home of the American Circus.” No other area in the country has served as home base to as many circuses as Sarasota. I was fascinated by the local history, which inspired me to write this story.
Tell me more about Ravi's magical abilities.
Ravi is a character based upon Sanskrit folklore. He is an Asura god—a human who now possesses magical power or maya. Specifically, Ravi is a Suparna or sun-bird, who receives his powers from the sun. That much is based on Sanskrit legend. In my story, he is a human who can sprout wings and fly when he wishes. The stars give him guidance, and he can channel the sun’s energy through his eyes in various ways.
Add anything you'd like to say about this story.
I enjoy combining topics that interest me in unusual ways. I’ve been a yoga addict for twelve years, and the Indian culture fascinates me, their gods and goddesses. I enjoy studying folklore and legends from this culture. I also love the magical illusion of the circus, as well as nostalgia for the simple pleasures of visiting the traveling big-top show when I was very young. This story combines those interests in a way that explores my new environment in Florida. Those three elements in the story are parts of my regular life.
What books do you have planned for future writing/publication?
In January, I have a fantasy romance novel, Tortuga Treasure: Ciel’s Legacy, releasing from MuseItUp Publishing. This is a sequel to Tears on a Tranquil Lake, in a series about the adventures of a mermaid named Ciel. It involves plenty of fast action and romance, but also allows Ciel to mature through her interactions with the mermaid and pirate communities.
I’m eager to self-publish an epic fantasy romance series, Enchanted Bookstore Legends, I’ve been working on for a year and a half. It is a five-part series, and books one and two are written. The first will release in March, 2012.
As a writer, do you plot extensively, or do you let the story come to you as you write?
I create a detailed outline to make certain I have the correct turning points spaced properly to allow adequate development. I know the major events each chapter must contain. From that, it flows openly with details falling into place. Without some freedom as I write, a lot of the rush of getting swept away by the story would be lost.
What other creative outlets do you explore?
I paint and draw. The cover image for Le Cirque De Magie is my own original watercolor. I’ve wanted to paint my own covers for many years, and with a self-published work I gain the satisfaction of meeting that goal which working with a publisher hasn’t allowed.
Also, I love cycling and ride at least thirty miles each week. During the past year, I’ve been learning kayaking—it’s wonderful! I kayak each week on the big lagoon beyond our backyard which connects to Tampa Bay. I love the beach—can’t possibly be there enough. I write at the beach, longhand in notebooks.
Do you find that having more than one outlet enhances your writing?
Definitely. I draw from all of my interests to feed both my writing content and creative process.
Like I mentioned, it is fun for me to have more control over my cover design. Also, there is a unique satisfaction that the product is more representative of me, my vision and my creativity.
What advice would you give people considering diving into writing (or into any creative endeavor)?
You must enjoy writing for its own intrinsic value, aside from publishing. One of my favorite quotes: "Don't seek to be published, seek to be read." ~Tracy Hickman
This quote helps me take a deep breath and refocus when the publishing industry overwhelms me. Some days it seems like a chaotic mess, expecting me to be capable of the incapable. Maintaining this perspective on a simple, clear goal helps me disregard the muck and consider what is really important--writing for the enjoyment of readers.
This space for anything else you want to say.
The circus is a blur of commotion with last minute preparations for the spring tour. Ravi, the high-wire heart throb, becomes jittery when he meets the company’s newly-hired female dwarf. Hours before departure, his magical perceptions are on fire as he witnesses her involvement in a gory bump off.
The circus manager can’t be found. Ravi is desperate to protect his sweetheart and performing partner, Alice. The train creaks away, beginning the long journey with danger stowed on board. Nicknamed the Great Birdman, Ravi steps forward and exposes his true identity—a real risk during edgy, vigilante times of prohibition. A brave move—but will his Suparna abilities be enough to snuff out this fierce demon?
Le Cirque De Magie Excerpt:
Before the evening show, he dressed early and patrolled the grounds. Nothing appeared suspicious outside, so he stood between sets of bleachers, watching for trouble during the performances. Again, Sadie missed her cue. It seemed too easy for her to give up at his warning—demons liked to fight.
Clowns, trained dogs, unicyclists, and fire-eaters all came and went without issue. Alice was in his sight, in the watchful company of her brother and the manager. Aromas of buttered popcorn and spun cotton candy mixed with animal odors—the typical circus smell. Nothing odd. He looked through the crowd for the dwarf. Instead of finding her, the number of children in the audience impressed him. All those smiling, young faces he must keep safe.
After a deep breath, he refocused, looking for any strange happening in the rings. Clown acts took the right and left rings. In the center, the snake charmer and his assistant wheeled out carts of large rush baskets. Three would contain his Naga friends. Upon the sweet notes of the charmer’s wooden flute, lids of the baskets opened and ropes danced up in response to his calls. Henry, Walter, and Gladys actually controlled those ropes, using their magic to extend them above their bodies. Ravi seldom watched the shows anymore. In full costume, the act came off well, a crowd-pleaser earning lots of cheers.
Tigers growled and pawed the wagon bed of their holding cage as it rolled in behind where Ravi stood. Sensing his magic, they clawed the bars nearest him, creating a spectacle.
Blocked from leaving by the animal wagon and not wanting to walk in front of the crowd, he climbed into the stands. When at last he found a seat, chaos ensued in the center ring.
The Nagas crawled in all directions, writhing and coiling. Above them a white bird with a forked, black tail swooped—a kite. It struck the snake people with both its talons and beak. The charmer, his assistant, and half a dozen other men ran around frantically. Some waved large nets on poles to catch the bird, and others yelled in various languages.
How did the raptor get into the ring?
Ravi jumped to his feet, again wrestling to control his outward appearance.
Soon everyone around him stood, craning to see the ruckus.
The snakes hissed and struck, but the bird soared out of reach. In one ill-fated attempt, Henry missed and bit the shoulder of his trainer.
The men dropped their nets and kneeled beside the wounded man. They slapped his hands and cheeks. It was too late. Few knew the snake people possessed real, deadly venom.
The kite continued to torment Gladys, despite her attempts to slither under a cart. Her snake tail hung limp, wounded. Was that bird another form of the dwarf?
The tigers roared and flung themselves at their cage walls. Spectators screamed and rushed down the steps to leave. The rickety bleachers swayed with the frenzy of motion.
Ravi’s wing tips burst out of the slits in his costume at his shoulder blades. The tangle of people stopped him from getting to the ring, so he climbed atop the handrail and lifted into flight.
Someone high in the stands cried out, “Birdman!”