HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
I'm a terrible coffee snob, and prefer coffees from Africa or Asia best. My favorite is an Arabian Sanani--it's rich and sweet, and reminds me of good black rum. But I'm also a lifelong fan of milk. Whole, skim, I love it all, In the last few months, my family has been drinking raw milk purchased locally. Raw milk is exactly what it sounds like--milk that goes from cow to me without all that chemical treatment in between. It isn't for everyone. If you're immuno-compromised, for example, you'd want to talk to your doctor first. But we love it!
4. What else can you do besides write?
I dance! I've been studying Middle Eastern dance since 2003. At first, I was too shy to dance even a second in front of anyone, but in 2005 I screwed my courage to the sticking place and tried out for a local troupe, the Beledi Beat Dancers. I've been dancing with them ever since. We've performed at cultural events all over the Charlotte, NC area and the upstate of SC. I also dance as a member of the Jewels of the Caravan, an award-winning troupe from the Carolina Renaissance Festival every autumn. Dancing frees my mind from day-to-day worries, and lets my creativity flow without hindrance. Some days, when I realize I've been staring at the computer screen forever without producing actual words, I pop the iPod onto the speakers and dance until the words start flowing again. I don't claim to be any sort of master at it, but dancing makes me feel awfully good about myself, even when there's no one watching.
5. Who are you reading right now?
At the moment, I'm enjoying Richard Kadrey's second Sandman Slim novel, Kill the Dead. It's a noir fantasy thriller featuring James Stark, a magician who spent eleven years fighting horrible creatures in Hell's arenas, but who has clawed his way back to Los Angeles to hunt down the people who sent him to Hell in the first place. It's dark, gritty and profane, and I love it. But of course, there are other books in the pile waiting their turn at my attention - Kalayna Price's Grave Witch, Tim Akers' Horns of Ruin and Matthew Sturges' Midwinter, to name a few.
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
Recently I had to write a scene for the sequel to Mad Kestrel, in which a character I was extremely fond of died. It was grueling, because not only did I like the character, but he was important to Kestrel, and his death shook her world to its foundations. I honestly sat at my desk crying while I wrote it, and it felt as if part of me was trying to avoid writing the final sentence, as if I was killing off a real, living person. Of course, our characters become so real to us, I suppose that's exactly what I was doing.
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
13. Celebrity crush.
Right now, I'm working on a steampunk/Weird Western fantasy, and the character in my head looks like actor and singer Christian Kane. Since that character's story is always on my mind, I'd say Christian's my celebrity crush at the moment. A delightful friend of mine went to LeverageCon last year and had Christian pose for a picture with a sign that said "Hi Misty!" That picture sits on my desk where I can glance at it if I need to. I wish I could have met him myself, but having the picture is pretty nice, too.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I'm a huge fan of Tim Powers, and I've always harbored a secret desire to write densely layered, historically based fantasy like the stories he creates. His work is stunning, and I hope some day to produce art as marvelous as his. But my strongest influence has to be Faith Hunter, author of the NYT bestselling Jane Yellowrock series. We met in 1995, when I attended a meeting of the South Carolina Writers' Workshop. Faith was already a published thriller writer then, and she took me under her wing, encouraging me to write and rewrite my work until it was good enough to get a publisher's attention. She's still one of my closest friends, who keeps me moving and focused. I often tell people I never would have even started a novel without Faith pushing me along.
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Misty Massey has always been a voracious reader. It was no surprise to anyone when she began writing. Her first attempt was a story based in the world of her favorite television show, The Wild Wild West (they call that sort of thing "fanfic" nowadays. She had no idea she was starting a trend.) She dabbled with short stories for years, even publishing a few in small press magazines, until she found and joined a writing critique group, and tried her hand at writing novels. The rest is history. Misty is the author of Mad Kestrel (Tor Books), a rollicking adventure of magic on the high seas which was nominated for the 2010 SCASL Book Award, and is one of the featured writers on the Magical Words blog (www.magicalwords.net).
A number of Misty's blog posts from the first two years of Magical Words appear in the recently released How To Write Magical Words (BellaRosa Books). Her short fiction has appeared in Rum and Runestones (Dragon Moon Press) and Dragon's Lure (Dark Quest Books). A sequel to Mad Kestrel, Kestrel's Dance, is in the works.