Saturday is here and I have another author for y’all to meet. Whose excited to learn more about Becca? (raises hand). You all know I like to keep the introduction short and sweet. Let’s get these questions with Becca and have a great weekend.
What inspired you to start writing? *
I have been telling stories since I was a little girl. I had most of a sword & sorcery fantasy novel written in high school. That story has since been trunked, though I will revisit it at some point down the line, I’m sure. My stories these days are contemporary urban fantasy with werewolves and vampires. I think they’re probably most heavily inspired by Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, but there’s a smattering of other bits of lore that inspired things as well (like the Dark Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, and the Underworld movies).
When did you decide that you wanted to publish your first story? *
I think it was sometime in 2016 or 2017 that I realized the handful of stories floating around in my head could be connected in one universe. So that’s when I really started to buckle down and make that happen. The first book came out in July 2019, and I’m hoping to have the next one out by the holiday season this year.
Describe your writing space. *
Simple version? I have a computer desk and chair, and I type my stories on my PC. Oh… You probably would like more details than that. I’m using a glass-top table from IKEA (which has a metal shelf underneath) as my writing desk. I keep my computer accessories on the shelf, along with some go-to writing resources, like my Master Lists for Writers book by Bryn Donovan, my Latin-English dictionary, and a laminated anatomy foldout chart. My monitor is a 40-inch TV, so I can have my research tabs side-by-side with my manuscript (along with my writing music via YouTube in the background). I can’t write unless I have some Dr Pepper on hand, and I usually have a bowl of Goldfish crackers as well.
How do you do research for your books? *
A LOT of my story is just made up, but since I have these characters set in our own world and modern time, I do have to get some history stuff right from time-to-time. For that, I do a LOT of Google searching. I do rely pretty heavily on Wikipedia to get me started on a topic, but usually go to a more reliable source afterward. I find Quora pretty useful too for things that may otherwise seem un-Google-able. There, I usually find anecdotal things that I can tweak to make work for the stories I’m looking to tell. I’m not great at remembering facts and historical events, so anything that I find that’s relevant goes into my master timeline for my world, or becomes a note for whichever book it’s relevant for. I’ve googled everything from “how long does a femur take to heal” and “arteries in the neck” (so I could use something beyond the super-cliche jugular), to “who ran bath houses in the fourth century” and “what animals were around in first century Europe.” Some of the more fun researches have been things like “what do bands do on the tour bus” or “how long does it take a crew to set up a rock band’s stage.”
What motivates you to keep writing? *
My stories are mostly what keep me coming back to the keyboard. When I get a really good idea, I get really frustrated and antsy if my life tries to keep me away from my PC for too long. But I do also find motivation every time one of my friends asks me how my writing’s going, and brainstorming sessions with my husband (who is simply AMAZING at this) usually spur the itch to get back to the manuscript.
Writing can be emotionally draining and sometimes stressful- particularly when stepping into the publishing realm of things. Any tips to share for the aspiring writers out there? *
When it all gets to be too much, just take a step back from as much as you can and breathe. Try to keep writing, though. Even if it’s only a sentence. Even if it’s ugly. Because that sentence can be edited, but you can’t edit a blank page. The only thing that gets a story in front of people is FINISHING it. And if you need to take time away to clear your head, do it. But you have to come back to the chair, you have to finish it if you want it out in the world. Do this even if you’re trying to get a manuscript published. Even if you’re querying. Having another sandbox to play in will do wonders to keep your creativity flowing. And it’ll give you a head start on that next book.
Tell me about the books you write. *
TRIALS OF THE BLOOD is the name of my series of first-person contemporary urban fantasy stories with friendly werewolves and scary vampires. The books are set in this world, with some tweaks, since the werewolves and vampires have been here for over two thousand years. Of course, this means I have some tweaks to history, though pretty much every major event you can think of happened exactly at the time you think it happened, but the reasons for it may have shifted a little to accommodate these paranormal creatures. There’s pretty much always a love story, though it’s not usually the main focus. As I put it on my website, my series is about paranormal individuals trying to find their place in the world. I leave the alpha males out for the most part, and I have a religion-based origin for my werewolves that is different from anything I’ve seen done. The first book, A PLACE TO RUN, follows a newly-turned werewolf as she adjusts to her new life as a pack member. The next book, A PLACE TO STAND, follows a 2000-year-old werebear who realizes that there is some unfinished business still lurking from his past. The third book, A PLACE TO HIDE, is about a wereleopard who is tired of being a test subject and wishes she could just have a normal life away from labs and containment facilities. The fourth book, A PLACE TO CLAIM, is about a werewolf alpha trying to find a mate that can truly be his equal, though what he finds instead is a sassy alpha who’s tired of everyone wanting her for her status. The fifth book, A PLACE TO START, is about a literal guardian angel who is trying to save the soul of her very broken charge. The final book, A PLACE TO FORGET, is about another newly-turned werewolf, only he’s trying to understand his connection to this enigmatic woman who keeps ghosting through his life like she’s known him for ages. This last book breaks the mold of the other books ever-so-slightly, but in a way that I’m hoping readers will enjoy as much as I do. The main character from the first book shows up in all of the other books, and the stories do follow a timeline, but they are generally meant to be relatively stand-alone stories for each of these characters. I do have an idea for a seventh novel in the universe, though it will be more of a fun, off-beat companion story to the ones I’ve listed here. If you’re looking for a new take on the typical series model, and you like the idea of escapist fantasy, these books are for you.
How many books have you written so far? Are you in any anthologies? Which book has been your favorite to write? If you have a one that is. 🙂 *
By the time this goes live, I will have written two books of my TRIALS OF THE BLOOD series, on top of the mostly-finished trunked novel and draft zero of book six in the series. Thus far, my favorite book to write is book two, A PLACE TO STAND, because it has just poured out of me like water from a spigot. I suspect book six will be the same when I get to it and will end up taking the top place on my favorite to write, but that may have something to do with the fact that the story has been with me for over thirteen years at this point already.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written? Why are they your favorite? Are they the main character? Tell us about them.
*I think my favorite character at this point is Kristos, the MC of book two. I love overpowered characters, and he definitely is. But he’s also kinda gruff and done with things, so I get to channel apathy and what I’d really like to say sometimes through him and onto the page. He’s not scared of what people can do to him, he’s not scared to die, and he’s not really tied down to anything. I like him because he has a freedom to be unapologetically himself in pretty much any situation he gets in.
Tell us about your latest writing project *
By the time this goes live, I will be in the editing stages of A PLACE TO STAND, the book about the 2000-year-old werebear. With a simple phone call, he realizes that his purpose is still out there, even though he’s been trying to ignore it for centuries. Worse, he’s got a lot of history that’s trying to catch up to him – history that absolutely will find him if he takes action about his purpose. I’m not gonna give away the ending, but I’m pretty pleased with the way this story has come out. It’s told in alternating time periods: one is his present day part of the story, and the other is the way his past is feeding into everything. I’m having a lot of fun switching chapters back and forth between past Kristos and present Kristos, and I’m hoping my beta readers will like it as much as my CP has.Let’s get to know a bit more about you.
What do you like to do when you are not writing? *I act and fight with the Royal Chessmen, a stage combat acting troupe based in Hollywood, Florida. I also sing with the Royal Chessmen Sirens, the vocal ensemble within the organization. We typically do fight shows and musical performances at renaissance faires and pirate festivals all over the state. The pandemic has changed how we do things, but we’re still putting together shows within reasonable precautions to at least stay active and relevant in these crazy times.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be? *
Chaotic, Fun, Creative
If it were possible to have your favorite season all year long what season would it be? *
Why did you choose that particular season? *
I like warm, sunny days with cooler evenings. My favorite are days where I can open up all the windows and turn off the air conditioning and just let the breeze blow through the house.
What songs/ music are on your playlist? *
For writing, I typically like non-vocal soundtracks like a lot of the stuff from Two Steps From Hell and the curated long-play videos from Pandora Journey and Trailer Music Empire on YouTube. As for the kind of music I typically listen to when I’m NOT actively writing, I have pretty eclectic tastes. I listen to a little bit of everything including modern rock, country, top 40 pop, dubstep, and video game soundtracks. My favorite bands include Shinedown, Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, My Chemical Romance, Icon for Hire, and Disturbed. I also very much enjoy Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Lindsey Stirling, Nothing More, and Shaman’s Harvest. Long story short, I’m pretty big into music in general. I like songs that tell stories and will even find connected stories in otherwise unrelated songs from very different bands/artists.
What is your favorite food? *
I am a meat and potatoes girl, so it’s EASILY a medium-rare steak with a huge baked potato (with all the requisite toppings) for me.
Who is your favorite author and why? *
Hands down it’s Jim Butcher. No other author has made me cry and scream and shout and cheer for their main character nearly as much as Jim has for Harry. I am just fascinated by the way Jim weaves his plot lines together and keeps everything flowing so that nothing seems to come out of left field, no power-up feels unearned, and no consequence seems trivial.
What are you reading right now? *
I usually don’t try to read when I’m writing so I don’t subconsciously add bits from what I’m reading into my writing. But my TBR pile for when I’m done with this draft includes River by Ryen Leslie, The Lost Tayamu by Ben Cass, Waking the Burning Valley by Christina Dickinson, and A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill.
What is one thing your readers don’t know about you? *
Uh. I’m kind of an open book, so I’m not sure there’s much they don’t know that isn’t just entirely TMI. I really love fast cars and know more about cars than my husband (and most women do) thanks to spending a lot of time in the garage with my dad growing up. One of these days, I’ll own a Dodge Viper, and maybe even have an old Civic Del Sol that I can take apart simply to put it back together. OH! And I’m a big fan of Beat Saber for the PSVR. I post videos from the game to my YouTube channel anytime I full clear a song on Hard difficulty or better. So far, I’m only just breaking into Expert mode, though most of those songs are laughably too hard for me right now.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books? *
My website is http://beccalynnmathis.com/ There, you’ll find up-to-date information on all that is me and my series.
I’m on Twitter, too: https://twitter.com/DR34MR This is where I tweet all sorts of random things, usually late at night.
I’m also on Instagram (of course): @BeccaLynnMathis This is where you can see random pics of my dog and my life, along with glimpses into my stage combat troupe and other assorted geekery.
Here’s my YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCutM4d5aaC1B-w02RjRpxdw This is where you can keep up with my Beat Saber accomplishments, hear me read the first book aloud (with special guest appearances by my husband), and listen to my old Sing Along Driving videos.
And to make it simple, here’s my author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Becca-Lynn-Mathis/e/B07SW9K2HT
Thank you for joining me on my blog today. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we head on out? *
Thank you so much for hosting these and inviting me to join you! You had some great questions, and I’m glad for the opportunity to share my stories with the readers of your blog!
Thank you for being here Becca. It has been a pleasure.