I’ve been receiving amazing feedback for the Lost Souls series, and seeing as many of the comments and questions I’m getting are very similar, I thought I’d start a FAQ page. (Some of these answers were originally posted on a review written by Steph over at Fangs, Wands and Fairydust. Further questions/answers can also be found over at Manga Maniac Cafe. Many thanks to Steph and Julie for being willing to ask questions, post answers, and of course, for their reviews.)
- Are Rodachs and wraiths part of the ghost lexicon, or did you make them up?
In my research I found that wraiths are indeed an accepted form of aggressive spirit, but there is no set description for them. In fact, ‘wraith’ is used by some people as a generic term for any old ghost. I took the ‘aggressive spirit’ definition and I laid down specific ground rules for my universe as to what wraiths are and what they’re capable of.
Rodachs – a line of men cursed with the ability to shift between human and wraith form – are my own creation.
- Why did you give the Order a sigil tattoo?/ How did you come up with the sigil for the Order of Rescue Mediums?
I’m not 100% sure why I decided to give the Order their own sigil (writing this series has been a very organic process, and I sometimes loose track of details like that). As for how I came up with the design for the sigil, I first looked at various religious and arcane/magical symbols to get a rough idea of how they were put together. Then I started sketching and playing around with shapes and designs/patterns, trying to be very conscious of the fact that the design had to make sense for the story – not just look cool. I came up with the final design (barring some tweeking to neaten things up and ensure it could fit on a wrist as a tattoo) during a RWA meeting (I tend to doodle while listening to speakers). 🙂
- What do each of the segments in the OoRM sigil mean?
The central segment (the cross) represents the medium. This is also the first segment activated when the medium calls the Presences. The other four segments represent the Four Presences, and are activated in this order – The bottom segment (looks like a ‘G’) calls the First Presence; the right segment (looks like an open ‘O’) calls the Second Presence; the left segment (looks like a lazy ‘S’) calls the Third Presence; the top segment (looks like a crescent on top of an inverted ‘V’) calls the Fourth Presence. The Fourth Presence segment must always point towards the hand (traditonally a tattoo artist would flip the design around so that the tattoo made sense to anyone looking at it. However, a medium’s tattoo is for his own use/protection, and is not there as a decoration. If a medium lifts her hand up in front of her face, the tattoo should resemble how the design is laid out on the cover for The Stubborn Dead).
- Why did you set the series in Vancouver? It’s not a particularly scary city/Victoria is way more haunted!
1) Logistics. I live close to Vancouver, and having easy access to it means I can walk around and pick up interesting details to use in my books.
2) I like Vancouver! It’s a thriving multicultural city that has something interesting around practically every corner. If I happen to have a bad day and don’t feel inspired by her current inhabitants, she also has an extremely rich history to draw from.
3) Of course Vancouver has its scary bits! Well, yes, Victoria is one of the most haunted cities in Canada, but Vancouver still has plenty of spirit in it (alright, sorry, couldn’t resist that one). The Gastown district and heritage buildings like the one that houses the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver have tales a-plenty. Stanley Park is meant to have some unusual activity. The Vancouver Police Museum (which used to house the city morgue) may or may not be haunted (depends on who you talk to). Every city has a spooky tale to tell, if you’re willing to dig a bit.
- Why did you choose such a short format to introduce this complex world?
I had been toying around with an idea to write a series of short novels (or as it’s turning out to be, novellas) that resembled the layout of a good TV series – intense ‘episodes’ that all tie together in an overreaching story arch, culminating in a kick-ass finale. I even looked to shows like ‘Supernatural’ (and later on ‘Firefly’ and ‘Lost Girl’) to see how much character development and back-story revelation they allowed per episode without creating a slow-down in pacing (especially in their first episodes).
That said, while The Stubborn Dead was certainly written with this idea in mind, I simply could not add any more to it than I did – it didn’t feel right. My gut told me this story was the perfect length, just the right introduction. It would have been impossible to sell to a NY publisher. Which is why I feel very blessed to be with Carina Press, as they’re willing to take a chance on this style of short, punchy fiction.
- The Stubborn Dead was so short – it has to be a prequel, right?
No – The Stubborn Dead is the first book in the Lost Souls series. It is not a prequel. Trust me – I’m the Author. 😉
- a) Will the next book be longer? and b) When will the next story be out?
a) Yes, The Ravenous Dead is 27,000 words. Not sure where the third story will end up, though from the looks of things it’ll be a little longer than Ravenous
b) The third story is still in production, so there’s no ETA yet.
- Any tips for aspiring writers?
I’ll direct you to my guest post on author Lisa Voisin’s blog for that.
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂