Thursday, June 29, 2017

Megan's new book



We originally considered Catilen’s closest friend (and fellow kook), Damian Cooke, the story’s main character. Until we realized the character most impacted by the book’s events, the character taking the greatest journey, was Catilen. That didn’t diminish Damian in our eyes. If anything, I think it enhanced him. It allowed him to be himself without needing to appear as some kind of hero. As Catilen is so fond of pointing out; her story doesn’t need any white knights!

Of all the characters in the Mystic Island Trilogy, Damian changed most from first draft to final, polished release. He started as a paranormal investigator with a distinctive disdain for the scientific approach. But the deeper we delved into Damian’s personality, the more we realized he was as far from spiritual as it gets. And it’s difficult to embrace a deductive approach if you poo-poo the scientific method. Yet neither my co-author nor I saw any reason why Damian couldn’t embrace both the supernatural and the scientific. And thus Damian’s philosophy of arcane science was born!

Damian starts in a unique position; he’s a fantasy character trapped in a modern, non-fantasy world. That left a lot of options for character development. How does one become a sorcerer in the modern world and still live a normal life? By keeping it a secret (of course). Much of Damian’s history was born out of his secret mastery of an ancient science, long since abandoned by humans. The key then became to make him as interesting and relevant when he suddenly stepped into a fantasy world that functioned on the principles he had so long embraced.

When Damian reaches the island, he transforms from a large fish in a small pond, to a tiny fish in a vast ocean. The thing he wants most is to catch the attention of a bigger fish, who understands the currents of that ocean, who might be willing to show him around. Far from all-powerful, Damian needs to use intelligence and cunning to turn a little into a lot. He’s an underdog with a heart of gold, which makes him far more interesting than the over-powered sorcerer trope.

Perhaps the most fun, and challenging, aspect of writing Damian was the fact that he introduced himself under an assumed name. After all, true names have power, and Damian is used to hiding his abilities from others. Though the alias is largely unnoticeable from Damian’s perspective, it threw Catilen for a loop. Whenever a third character was present in the scene, or a scene took place in a public location, she had to remind herself to use the unfamiliar name. It was often as tricky for the authors as it was for her. It took several passes to ensure that ‘David’ appeared in all the proper places.

Aside from Damian’s mastery of the arcane arts, his relationship with Catilen is central to the plot. One of the biggest problems posed by romantic subplots is how to develop a relationship in a short span of time without making it seem artificial. How many people spill their guts on their first date to someone they just met, outside of romance novels? The easiest solution was to begin with a pair of characters who are already friends. And who better to understand the plight of a secret sorcerer than a woman trying desperately to hide her own supernatural abilities?

While Damian tries his best to be a gentleman, he isn’t without his flaws (because a perfect gentleman just wouldn’t be any fun). He is the kind of person to leap before he looks. His tendency to act on whim kicks off the adventure for our heroes, but it also gets Damian into trouble on numerous occasions. It doesn’t help that he often compounds the trouble by speaking the first thing to come to mind!


Is the island paradise or does a nightmare lurk beneath the surface?

When a mysterious island appears off the coast of San Francisco, two intrepid academics risk everything to discover its secrets. Catilen Taylor has struggled all her life with the ability to sense others' emotions. Damian Cooke studies an ancient art he calls 'magic.'

The island boasts an idyllic retreat, ruled by the enigmatic Sentomoru, who invites them to share the wonders of his bathhouse. But as the travelers strive to unravel the island's secrets, Catilen senses danger stalking their steps.

Neither Catilen nor Damian know how long the island will remain on Earth. If they can't solve its riddles quickly, they may be trapped wherever it goes when it vanishes.


Megan grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania where books offered an easy escape from the mundane life of a rural highway town. In 2003 she married the love of her life and moved to Canada. Megan started writing full-time in 2011 and has since published four novels and several short stories, including the Mystical Island Trilogy. Her characters keep her up late and wake her up early, but she loves them anyway. Learn more at megancutler.net, or connect to Megan via Facebook and Twitter.

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