Title: Serena’s Fall
Author: MK Smith
Published: August 4th, 2015
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Content Warning: Minor language
Age Recommendation: 14+
Betrayed by her once-upon-a-naive-time friends, Serena, the last Water Fey, can’t touch any man she would ever want without dooming him to a hero’s brutal death. So she lives outcast among her own kind, caring for orphaned Fey children, casualties of an ancient war that broke magic and doomed the Fey to possible extinction.
Now her friends are back, desperate to use her powers to stop the return of the greatest evil the Fey have ever faced. Prophesy says if she doesn’t magic-up a hero and bond him to a mysterious, mystical sword, the human world will be the next to fall.
Two potential heroes surface—Lance, the free spirited surfer, and the doomed warrior Gramm. Both men want her, both need her, and both have a claim to her heart.
But Serena’s tired of human heroes dying because some Water Fey said so. With her combat boots strung tight and her corset even tighter, maybe it’s time to weave some new lines of destiny. Goth style.
MK Smith writes urban fantasy with attitude, telling stories filled with quirky imperfect characters trying to survive life, friendship, and each other. Part Choctaw, all storyteller, a neighbor taught him to love fantasy when she gave him his first book. Since then he has flown on dragons, carried baleful magic in faraway lands, fought supernatural powers, and lived the melancholy of the eternal elves. But the Fey are closest to his heart. And he loves telling their stories round the fire or at his keyboard late into the night. And he’ll keep telling those stories until he becomes a story himself.
We are really happy to have MK Smith with us today!
1) Describe your relationship with a good book.
You both have expectations. Some of those have to be set aside. A book might want you to care deeply about back story, about the nuances of the magic system, about the choices made in the mythology. But a reader might be more interested in the character’s arc, their inner journey. A truly good book can blend those things so that while a reader is lost in the characters they are moving through a world that feels rich.
For me, a good book makes me want to pay attention, stay close, go deep. On a primal level a good book draws me into the characters so that I experience their life. When the character is hungry, I’m hungry. Tired, I’m tired. And happy or sad or thrilled too. When I finish a book like that I can’t think well. I have to readjust to the world around me. Especially if it is one of those can’t-put-it-down rides where I stay up all night reading.
Because, for a book you truly love, it’s worth the sacrifice.
2) When did you first start writing and what was the first thing that you wrote that you were proud of?
I first started writing for others in college. I was paid to write speeches, and not paid to write the poetry I pretty much donated to some long dead journals. I always knew good writing could move people, but the first time I recall my words truly moving someone was when I wrote and delivered the eulogy for a fallen soldier.
Decorated and home from tour, he served in the local sheriff’s department and was killed stopping an intruder from hurting a family. When I was approached to write the work by a retired sheriff who knew about my poetry, I studied the fallen officer’s life and realized I needed to put into context how many of that man’s friends, brothers and sisters in arms, abroad and at home, had preceded him into death.
I included the names of his fellow soldiers and officers into a single roll call, highlighting how each of the over fifty men and woman had died:
Sergeant Aaron… died in the desserts of… shot while carrying his wounded brother to safety.
Lieutenant Sandra… died, shot pursuing a murder suspect…
In addition to his personal triumphs I wanted to show the assembled soldiers, officers, and family the sheriff was part of a community of warriors across a spectrum of genders and creeds and races who died for their belief in defending others and building a better world.
When I was done, a stony faced major crushed my hand in his and tried, but couldn’t speak. But his stoic silence told me everything I needed to know. I had spoken for the dead, and by doing that, let the feelings of the living free to be expressed. It was one of the proudest writing moments of my life.
3) Please describe your work ethic as an author.
Sadly sequels do not write themselves! Since I left industry to work as an author I treat it like a job. Whether I want to write, feel inspired to write, or care about writing doesn’t matter. My schedule calls for me to spend 4-5 hours a day writing and 1-2 editing, five days a week. Reality sometimes interferes, but those days are becoming rarer as I move down my author’s journey.
4) How do you balance your work as an author with the other aspects of your life?
I am fortunate I do not have to work outside of writing, and that gives me a rare flexibility. My life is balanced such that I can usually manage both my personal life and my writing such that conflicts are rare. Before my retirement, I had to wall off my writing time as precious. Setting specific hours at night or in the early morning. And stick to those times because the rest of my day was filled.
5) Why did you write this book?
To give my girls a book about a trio of strong women who work through imperfect relationships to be the center of their own lives and destinies.
6) What experiences from your past do you find yourself drawing upon repeatedly for inspiration in your work?
I had the privilege of growing up with a mother who loved stories and storytelling. She used to let me sit up late into the night with her in her study. I sat at her feet, smelling the old leather bindings on the books, and drinking Mate, an Argentinean herbal tea, from a gourd handed down from my great grandfather, while she told me stories, fables, and myths.
Hundreds of nights listening gave me a sense of how different types of characters move through stories. In the years after, I also took up the mantle of oral storyteller. While I’m sure my characters are influenced by my study of Anthropology, Psychology, and the courses I have taken on writing, plotting and character development to hone my skills. The single most important part of my writing experience is to read my words aloud so I can hear the cadence. Because words have a rhythm. And even as a writer, I see myself as part musician, working to make the cadence powerful.
7) What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years, both as an author and in your outside life?
I am content. In my outside life I have most of what I desire, and I am very careful not to add on new desires. But within the next three I see myself acquiring a place by the ocean where I can go to escape and write. And in five to seven years I will build my mountain cabin retreat. Once those are done, I will be completely satisfied. More than wealth, I crave peace and creativity.
IN my writing life, I am working on improving my process to produce well edited novels at a faster pace. By five years from now I would like to craft 3-4 novels per year in Urban Fantasy and Romance and be a USA Today best seller.
8) Since you are a storyteller, please tell one good lie about yourself.
When I worked in IT, I was a security consultant heading up a top tier Tiger Team working with some of the largest tech firms in the world. One of my projects involved securing the data stream from the Social Security mainframes. But when we got deep into the data we discovered a covert link allowing one way insertion of information. Its’ purpose, to create fake people on demand in the system. We tracked it back to a source in Stalingrad. But far from a cold war relic, the Soviets had been using it to create fake identities and plant spies.
LOL, so like 90% of that is true…
I have to admit, a great set of questions with my favorite being the first.
I couldn’t stand still. I paced alongside the boxes and ran my nails down the cardboard. If I were a cat, my hair would have stood on end, and my tail would have twitched.
Chloe said nothing. Her eyes darted between Rachel’s and mine but couldn’t find a place to land.
I waited for her to say something brilliant, but I didn’t expect anything would make me want to be part of her Alice in Wonderland insanity. This was Morían. Morían Le Fey. The walking genocide who painted the White Isle in blood, broke the flow of magic, and decimated every Fey clan this side of the veil in a single night—oh, and started a war that killed millions of humans.
Sure, we’ll handle her.
Heat radiated out from my core, and my skin tingled as if I were breaking out in a cold sweat. But Water Fey didn’t sweat. I tugged at my corset and wished I had laced tighter. We didn’t stand a single chance in all the nine hells at fighting one of the most powerful Fey in history.
“Well, I’m listening. But this is beyond crazy. We’re eighteen years old, not one hundred eighty. We’re barely old enough to even have powers by Fey standards. And the Incarnates, the most powerful Fey from each clan, who stopped her last time were thousands of years old.” I hoped I wasn’t sneering too loud.
Rachel ignored me and threw her best you’re wasting my time look at Chloe. “So, where is she staging her comeback?” Her tone said she wasn’t expecting much of an answer.
“The vision’s…complicated.” Chloe focused on Rachel, with less naked hostility, but her voice rose sharply. She chewed her bottom lip. Complicated my ass. She was hiding something.
“So you don’t know.” Rachel went right for the kill. “Was it even your vision?”
Chloe stomped her right foot. “Yes. It was.”
The proximity alarm sounded in my head. Crash imminent, I decided to speed it up so I could go home. Chloe’s moment to take the lead had passed. If she had straight answers she would have spoken up by now. She had to be hoping we could roll back to the days when—details irrelevant—we’d have done anything for each other.
Those days were gone.