A Dragon, a Rat, and a Unicorn walk into a juice bar…
Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones recently sat down for an interview with three of their characters from their new series, Keyholders. The characters wanted to know how the authors write together. It was all new to them, considering Dracula is a dragon, Kirin a unicorn, and Buttercup a rat from the Other Side of Magic.
Dracula: Tell me about turkberries?
Debbie Dadey/Marcia Thornton Jones (DD/MTJ): What would you like to know?
Dracula: Where to get them? How to grow them? Can I smush them up and make turkberry juice slush?
Kirin: Cool it, dragon-breath. This isn’t about you.
Buttercup: Kirin’s right. Let me start.
DD/MTJ (waving away a cloud of dragon smoke): We’d be happy to talk about our new series. We had great fun writing it.
Buttercup (pulling on her whiskers): How did you find out about us? After all, we’ve been hiding safely on the Other Side of Magic for centuries.
DD/MTJ: Well, like all good stories, we started with two important words.
Dracula: Turkberry juice?
Kirin: Oh, for crying out loud. Would you forget about turkberries?
DD/MTJ: A-hem. The two words we always start with are, “What if?”
Kirin: That’s it? Two little words and you end up with a magical realm that includes an evil boggart queen who’s determined to take over the real world?
DD/MTJ: Exactly. We started by asking, “What if there really was magic? What if magical animals could link with normal everyday kids? What if an evil queen was trying to take over the world?
Buttercup: What do you mean, “what if?” Of course there is magic. If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here.
DD/MTJ: Good point. It was such great fun when you appeared at the end of the first book, This Side of Magic. Of course, Natalie isn’t very thrilled about having a rat for a lifelong link.
Kirin: Natalie is a bit of a . . .
DD/MTJ: Dracula! Natalie is a Keyholder, along with Penny and Luke! They’re very important.
Kirin: Dragon-breath is right. Natalie is a bit of a diva. I mean, who does she think she is? She wanted to use my tail as a dishrag!
DD/MTJ: Sounds like we may have two divas in our story.
Buttercup: Ahem. May I remind you and the readers that Natalie is my link, and I’ll thank you to talk nicely about her.
DD/MTJ: Sorry, Buttercup. You’re absolutely right. After all, it’s up to Natalie, Penny, and Luke to save the world from being taken over by the evil boggart queen in This Side of Magic and The Other Side of Magic. Their adventures continue this fall with Inside the Magic and The Wrong Side of Magic. You can find out more by visiting us at DebbieDadey.com and MarciaTJones.com.
Kirin: The Keyholders do have help, you know.
DD/MTJ: Of course they do! The Keyholders series tells the story of three kids who find out that they have been chosen to keep magic out of the real world with the help of three very magical links. A dragon . . .
Dracula: Me! Me! Me!
DD/MTJ: A unicorn. . .
Kirin: That would be me.
DD/MTJ: And a rat . . .
Buttercup: Yours truly.
Dracula: You know what would be good with those books? A big bowl of turkberries.
Everyone: Will you please stop talking about turkberries?
Debbie Dadey’s and Marcia Thornton Jones’ new Keyholders series launched on April 28 with This Side of Magic (978-0-7653-5982-7; $3.99) and The Other Side of Magic (978-0-7653-5983-4; $4.99). See the trailer here.
What if? Two little words that created the world of S. J. Day’s Eve of Darkness
That’s the core question that sparks story premises. In the case of the Marked series, that simple question blossomed into hundreds more that all together created a heroine and world that continually surprise and delight me.
What if an ordinary person was suddenly sucked into a heretofore unknown preternatural underground? What if she was completely mortal, with no fangs or claws or magical tricks? What if she had a close family unit, a great job, and an upscale condo on the beach in Orange County, CA—all of which would be jeopardized by her new life—but which she wasn’t willing to give up? What if she wasn’t trained in combat techniques, was terrible with knives, and had no clue about the skills of her new supernatural entities? What if everything was stacked against her—she’s an agnostic forced to work for God, a woman mentored by two former lovers, and a newbie with a big target stuck to her back because she’s important to important people?
The what ifs also enabled me to explore different perspectives on familiar Biblical stories. What if Cain wasn’t really all bad? What if Abel wasn’t totally good? What if the archangels are as famous and powerful in their mortal guises as they are in their celestial lives? The more I researched, the more it all fell into place. The more questions I had, the more answers I found. Some projects seem to take on a life of their own and the Marked series definitely did that for me.
The books were so much fun to write. The process was an experience unlike anything I’ve known before. Though Evangeline Hollis is an ordinary person in an extraordinary world, she is a force to be reckoned with because she makes her liabilities work as strengths—for instance, her agnosticism gives her a unique take on her new world. As a writer who considers herself more of a narrator than a creator, I have been amazed by her resourcefulness in getting out of the amazing amount of trouble she runs into. She manages to come out on top every time using mulish determination and keen intelligence. It’s easy for me to say that Eve is my favorite of all my heroines.
So... now it’s your turn to answer a question. What if you picked up Eve of Darkness on your next trip to the bookstore? Would you enjoy Eve’s adventures as much as I enjoyed writing them? I’d love for you to stop by my website and let me know!
Eve of Darkness (978-0-7653-6041-0; $6.99) by S.J. Day was released from Tor on April 28. The Marked series continues this summer with Eve of Destruction (978-0-7653-6042-7; $6.99) and Eve of Chaos (978-0-7653-6043-4; $6.99).
Secret Artifacts and Truly Haunting Museums
By John Schuster
What is it about museums that send tens of thousands of people through their doors every year? Is it the “touch me” kiddie-centric exhibits? Is it the chance to look at someone else’s valuables, or the opportunity to stand before the odd and unsettling? Or are we tantalized by a supernatural pull that draws us to certain special and, sometimes, cursed artifacts? While books and movies, from Preston and Child’s Relic to the blockbuster Night at the Museum and the forthcoming sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, have offered glimpses of these little-known mysteries, Haunting Museums reveals the secrets behind many of the world’s most memorable artifacts, those whose legacies refuse to die.
In the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Museum lie the heads of two dinosaurs who, if they could talk, would tell you that they have been given the wrong bodies. In the Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford Museum rests the captured final breath of arguably America’s most prolific inventor, Thomas Alva Edison. In a wing of the Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Museum of American History sits a surviving piece of a Mormon temple originally seen in a vision by Joseph Smith—a building which survived several man-made and natural disasters. In the Chicago, Illinois, Field Museum stand the remains of two immense lions, called demons and named The Ghost and The Darkness for their almost preternatural skills at hunting humans in 1898 East Africa.
Other objects deal with things science can not easily explain away. John Dee’s occult tools and the “cursed” remains of an ancient Egyptian mummy hold a special place in the British Museum’s collection in London. In other instances, the museums themselves are focal points of mysteries, including the Fall River, Massachusetts, house where Lizzie Borden’s parents met their untimely ends under their daughter’s axe and the deck-plates of United States aircraft carrier Hornet, anchored off Alameda Point, California, which, some say, are still haunted by crew members lost in long-ago battles.
From the contents of Smithsonian Institution in the nation’s capitol to the Voodoo Museum of New Orleans, Haunting Museums is fun reading for tourists, families, and all students of the mysteries of the world.
Haunting Museums (978-0-7653-2292-0; $14.95) by John Schuster was released from Forge on April 28.