Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.
“Tranquility” is the title, and at first glance this place does look tranquil. The lush green of the landscape, the slowly flowing stream. Could be a nice place to idle on a warm afternoon. Perhaps wade through the cool water…find a few colorful rocks, or watch small fish swimming in the still waters close to the bank.
Yet as I look closer, into undergrowth surrounding the stream, I realize just how thick it is. Is the whole forest so dense, or has it only grown up that way along the water’s edge? What if you had to travel through an entire forest like that, wading through foliage, and stumbling over roots and rocks, never quite knowing what might be watching you through that tangle of green? What if your journey was urgent, requiring haste to reach your ultimate destination? Suddenly this scene seems oppressive, the stream tranquil because it offers the only break in an endless, smothering blanket of green. Perhaps it is not the ideal location for an idyllic afternoon stroll, but is more like the dark place in my book series called the Shadow Wood, full of terrors that torment the body as well as the mind. There…did you hear it? That whisper in your ear. What was it saying? Or was it just the wind after all?
Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have Mackenzie Flohr with her book The Rite of Wands, the first book in her series of the same title. Later I will share an interview I did with Mackenzie, so keep reading.
Mackenzie Flohr grew up in the heartland of America, chasing leprechauns and rainbows and dreaming of angels. Her parents nurtured a love of fantasy and make-believe by introducing her at a very young age to the artistic and cultural opportunities that the city of Cleveland had to offer.
From the time she could hold a pencil, Mackenzie was already creating pictorial interpretations of classic stories, and by the age of nine, she and a childhood friend were authors and reviewers of their own picture books.
While following her love of adventure, Mackenzie found a second home, the Beck Center for the Arts Children’s and Teen Theater School. It was there that a world of wonder was only a script and a performance away.
Yet it wasn’t until she was on a trip to Indiana, viewing a Lord of the Rings exhibit, that the innermost desire of her heart became clear to her. She wanted to write a fantasy of her own, one that could inspire imagination in others and lead them into a magical world of their own making. She hopes The Rite of Wands will do just that.
Wherever we live and wherever we come from is our individual heartland. Anything is possible and everything can happen. Pure imagination is in all of us—we only need to discover it, and sometimes story telling helps.
I’m originally from the Cleveland, OH area, but now reside in Hartland, Michigan.
Does your area have a good writing community?
I am part of a fantastic writing community called the After Hours Group. They meet once a month to share writing and critique each other’s work. They have been extremely helpful to me.
What genres do you write?
Fantasy, Scifi and Horror
What is the oddest thing you’ve ever researched for one of your books?
Slugs. Slugs that go to your brain!
If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?
If he was still alive, definitely it would be J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d want to know more about how he creates his languages.
Do you feel the support of family and friends is helpful to you as an author?
Absolutely! Being an indie author, I depend on the word of mouth from my friends and family to tell others about my book, help me gain sales, and to read and review my book. Without them, I would be destined to remain an unknown in the writing world.
What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Do you prefer ebooks, print or both?
I like both, but there’s something special about being able to hold a book physically in your hands.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I wanted more control over my series rights.
Are you a pantser or outliner?
I’m honestly a bit of both. I did work from an outline, but I found the character Mierta had to be written on the spur of the moment. That actually made writing the book challenging and fun because I never knew where he was going to take the story!
What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?
Honestly, it was figuring out how and when to specifically start the story. I’ve lost count how many re-writes I’ve done!
It’s August in Alaska, and geology professor Jack Oswald prepares for the new school year. But when hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, Jack receives an unexpected phone call. An oil company exec hires Jack to investigate, and he picks his climatologist wife and two of their graduate students as his team. Uncharacteristically, Jack also lets Aileen O’Shannon, a bewitchingly beautiful young photojournalist, talk him into coming along as their photographer. When they arrive in the remote oil town of Deadhorse, the exec and a biologist to protect them from wild animals join the team. Their task: to assess the risk of more holes opening under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the wells and pipelines that feed it. But they discover a far worse danger lurks below. When it emerges, it threatens to shatter Jack’s unshakable faith in science. And destroy us all…