Melinda VanLone writes fantasy and science fiction, freelances as a graphic designer, and dabbles in photography. She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and furbabies. When she's not playing with her imaginary friends you can find her playing World of Warcraft, wandering aimlessly through the streets taking photos, or nursing coffee in Starbucks.
On instinct, Tarian bowed her head in return, shocked. “Dulra. Welcome.” She breathed the words, awed by the presence of creatures she’d only known through legends. What is the Balance Court doing here?
“Tarian A’marie Maitea Xannon, of the House of Xannon, Keeper of the Water Artifact, you are summoned to the Balance Court.”
She’d been summoned, and every particle of her being cried out to answer it.
Despite the advanced stage of her pregnancy, Tarian has some explaining to do. Fulfilling her Agreement with the Carraig was an issue of honor—but it led to complications. The Keeper of the House of Xannon is called to account, and Tarian must embark on a dangerous mission which could cost her the life of her unborn daughter, end in disaster for all planes of existence—or save the world.
Some promises are deadly to keep. Will the promise of magic be one of them?
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
The inspiration for the House of Xannon series originally came from a snippet of a scene I found in an old notebook from college. I nearly threw the thing away, but then thought I should check to be sure there wasn’t anything important in it. I’m so glad I did! The scene I found was only two pages long. It described a woman, sitting at a crowded sidewalk cafe, taking in the city around her and one man in particular. She was hunting him, and she was quite sure he’d be an easy grab. She only had to wait for the right moment. Her main thought was “he has no idea who he’s messing with.” The girl was Tarian, complete with attitude and her bull-in-a-china-shop approach to getting things done. In this scene she was someone sent to hunt down magical criminals.
The idea morphed quite a bit from those humble beginnings, and Tarian turned out to have a lot more to her than mere bounty hunter. But the basic idea is there throughout the series. Tarian’s need to make things right, to bring criminals to justice, and to save the innocent is what moves the series forward. Of course, there are powerful forces that don’t want her to succeed, and Tarian causes a lot of issues for herself along the way. It’s a long, hard battle, fought with multiple players. That’s why it’s taking so many books to tell the story.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
Promise of Magic took approximately a year, give or take a few months. I wrote the first rough draft in about three months, and then spent many more revising, refining, and making sure all the piece parts were represented. This isn’t just Tarian’s story. It’s the story of how magic was ripped away from humans, and then centuries later dumped on their heads, and the outcome of that.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I’m an avid reader, and what I love about reading applies to writing as well. I love getting lost in different worlds, and living vicariously through characters who face challenges I couldn’t even dream of in my own life.
Take the happiness that you feel when you read a good book and multiply that ten times and you’ll have roughly what I feel when I write in a world all my own. I love the creation of the world, the nights spent getting to know the people in it, the days spent watching those people go about their lives.
I love revising, too, because it’s like putting puzzle pieces together. Making sure I have all the bits and baubles in the right place, making sure they fit, and making sure that the story in my head actually ended up on the virtual page is a fun challenge. And that feeling when the story reaches The End? Priceless.
The feeling when someone else reads my story and enjoys it? Beyond priceless. I have no words for that feeling.
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
I’m not a huge fan of the end parts…the get-the-grammar-and-punctuation-right parts. That’s why I hire a team to help me during that stage. I’m also not a huge fan of the dark moments in the middle of the night when I’m trying to get the story out of my head and it just refuses to cooperate. Every story brings that one moment where I think everything is ruined, and that I’ll never be able to fix it and I might as well give up writing and go wash dishes for a living. But with the angst comes an even greater moment of happiness when it all sorts itself out. Usually after a wailing call to my editor, a good cry on the hubby’s shoulder and a few pieces of chocolate. Okay who am I kidding? It’s a truckload of chocolate.
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I think it’d be cool to be Stana Katic for a day. Or two. Or three. What in the world would it be like to be that gorgeous, and to work with Nathon Fillion? *Swoon* I’d love to find out.
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
At the moment, I’d say it’s probably the package of cheese I never finished which turned into a science project sometime in the last month. It stares at me every time I open the fridge. Mocking me. Laughing at me. Daring me to throw it away. I’m pretty sure it comes out of the fridge at night and taunts the cat.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
A lot more books. I have nine books planned for the House of Xannon series, but I suspect it’ll end up eleven by the time I’m done. Beyond that, I have a new series already in the planing stages that will be urban fantasy, but an entirely different story world with a new cast and new way of looking at the world. I can’t wait to get started on the writing for that, but first things first…Tarian and her friends have a lot more story to tell. Book 4 is in revisions now, and due to launch in November. Sign up for the newsletter on my website to get the official news and launch dates of upcoming stories!