The League of Scribes: Interview With Meredith Mansfield

Welcome to The League of Scribes!

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Each week, The L. Palmer Chronicles unites the Sword and Shield of Shiny Wonderment to open up a portal through the universe to bring you a member of The League of Scribes.

The League of Scribes is a legendary group of authors who write grand adventures in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. They are able to write rich, compelling stories while keeping content in the PG –PG-13 range.

If you have been on a quest to find clean sci-fi and fantasy novels, you have reached the right place.

This week, we present:

Meredith Mansfield

Meredith Mansfield - Author:

Otherwise known by her Code Name: Merry Scribbler

Merry is a childhood nickname, mainly used by her great aunt. Scribbler should be obvious. And, too, writing makes her happy.

About the Author:

Professionally, Meredith Mansfield has been a financial analyst and a visual basic programmer. She also has a paralegal certificate, although she never worked in that field. It’s anybody’s guess what she’ll be when she grows up.

Imagining stories and writing have always been an important part of her life. It’s she finally could get serious about while she cared for her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.

A Sample of Meredith Mansfield’s Work:

The Shaman's Curse:

The Shaman’s Curse

Vatar risked his life to try to save his friend–and failed. Now he has an implacable enemy in the vengeful shaman, who blames Vatar for the death of his only son. In his isolation, Vatar finds some comfort in daydreams. He knows the strange girl he sometimes imagines is just that–a dream. She’d better be.

Because, if she’s real things could get even worse for Vatar. The accepted magic of Vatar’s plains tribe wouldn’t enable him to see or communicate with a girl he doesn’t even know–or know where to find. That would be more like the magic passed down in certain, closely-guarded bloodlines among the ruling class of the coastal cities. And that’s bad. Very bad.

Unlike their own, Vatar’s people think the city magic is evil. If the shaman ever found out, it could be the weapon he needs to destroy Vatar. And yet, finding a way to accept the other side of his heritage may be the only way Vatar can ultimately defeat his enemy.

The two kinds of magic have always been totally separate. Until now.

Interview

What was the inspiration for your latest book/series?

The DUAL MAGICS series goes back so far (all the way to that horrible thing I wrote in college that we don’t talk about) that I don’t actually remember what started it.

I can identify the inspiration of most of my other books, but not this series. My next epic fantasy series will be very loosely inspired by the Greek legend of Hercules (not what Disney did to it), but turned on its head.

Do you use music while writing? If so, what music do you use? Is there a theme song for your book?

I don’t usually listen to music while writing a first draft. I just have white noise, like the television on at the other end of the house. Sometimes I put on music while I revise or edit, though. Always instrumental music, because even though I can’t carry a tune in a basket, when I’m alone (so no one will give me dirty looks) I can’t help myself; I sing along. The dogs, fortunately, don’t care that I can’t sing, but the song lyrics tend to interfere with getting my words down for the story.

What authors or books inspire you most?

J.R.R Tolkein, Lois McMaster Bujold, Anne McCaffrey, Kristin Cashore. I could probably come up with a few more, if I thought about it long enough.

If you were called in as an impartial ambassador in a war between ninjas and pirates, how would you create a peace treaty?

There would be a war. Diplomacy and tact are not high on my list of skills.

Would you rather ride a galactic unicorn or a space dinosaur? Why?

The unicorn probably wouldn’t try to eat me. And I had three years of riding lessons (horses, but unicorns are similar, right?) back in high school. I’m going to have to go with the galactic unicorn.

When did you decide to be a professional writer?

Is that something you decide? It’s more like who I am. I delayed recognition of that for a while, being busy with other things. But there’s never been a time I can remember when I didn’t make up stories. It was only the writing them down that was delayed.

Are you a planner, a discovery writer, or a hybrid?

A hybrid, I guess. I call myself a modified discovery writer. Modified, because I once did manage to write over 100,000 words and—only as I was writing the last scene—realized it didn’t come out to be a story. This was very early in my writer’s journey and it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out why it wasn’t a story, though my instincts told me it wasn’t. (It wasn’t organized around a central conflict.) In my defense, it was a sequel, at the time intended to be the second book in a trilogy—and there are lots of published cases of middle books in a trilogy that are more a bridge between the beginning and the end than they are a complete story in themselves. But I hate that as a reader and had no intention of letting that slide.

The Voice of Prophecy by Meredith Mansfield:

Years later, I rewrote both books and, finally, continued the series, which is now four books (or will be next year). It’s The Voice of Prophecy, the second book of the Dual Magics series.

So now, I try to set myself a few signposts to aim for along the way. Not that the story doesn’t sometimes slide sideways on me anyway. Daughter of the Disgraced King did that. I thought I knew where the story was going. Then again, I thought it was a novella, too. Then this side character showed up and dragged the story off in an entirely different (and better) direction.

As a story idea is maturing, I jot down notes. Nothing so organized as an outline. But sometimes as I write the first draft, I organize those notes for the next few chapters ahead of where I am. (Particularly when I’m stuck on the scene I actually should be writing.) I’ve got that kind of semi-outline for the next seven or eight chapters in my WIP right now.

What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Persistence and Patience. Don’t let yourself be discouraged by the setbacks. There will be setbacks. And getting good at this, like most worthwhile things, takes time and practice. Just keep at it.

Where do your books fall on the Rating Scale of PG to PG-13 Content (1 = How To Train Your Dragon, 8 = The Dark Knight, 10 = Borderline-R-Rating).

On that scale, I guess those listed would be about a 2 or 3. Nothing much more than kissing happens except behind closed doors. But the permanent couples in the Dual Magics series are affectionate enough that readers shouldn’t be too surprised when their children are born. 🙂

If you could make one magical creature or object real, what would you choose and why?

Hiccup and Toothless - Viking and Dragon

Hmm. I have a fondness for dragons—only nice dragons, of course. Closer to Toothless than Smaug.

To explore the worlds Meredith Mansfield has created, check out the books below:

Epic Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery:

The Dual Magics Series:

Young Adult:

To Interact with Meredith Mansfield online, check out the links below:

Readers:

  • Do you have any more questions for Meredith Mansfield?
  • What is your favorite epic fantasy book and/or author?
  • If you could have a magical sword, which would you want and why?
  • Do you prefer from friendly or dangerous dragons?

If you would like to join the League of Scribes, please e-mail lpalmer@lpalmerchronicles.com

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