It's day 3 of BIR2011. Are you having fun so far? We hope so. Today we're focusing on The Marked Son (Keepers of Life #1) by Shea Berkley. Be sure to check out my review to find out my thoughts on this one.
I want to extend a thank you to Shea for taking the time to answer my questions - while she was ill! That's true dedication to the bookish world. Also, thank you to Entangled Publishing for offering up an eBook copy of The Marked Son to our readers. Be sure to check out information about the book, Shea, and the giveaway at the end of the interview.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Thank you for agreeing to be featured. I loved The Marked Son and couldn't wait to share more information about it with our readers.
Shea: Thank you, Andrea, for picking The Marked Son for Best I’ve Read! You now, when I write, I create stories I want to read. I never, ever think anyone else will like them as much as I do, so I’m always surprised when someone does... and thrilled and honored and flushed with a tiny smidgeon of pride.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: How did you come up with the concept for The Marked Son?
Shea: I know a lot of writers are asked this question, and though it’s interesting, because even I’d like to know how writers think, I find it an odd question to answer. There are so many ways ideas manifest, but the biggest way for me is just sitting around daydreaming. Yep, I’m an idle-brained gadabout with way too much time on my hands. Anybody shocked by that? (sigh) Nope. Didn’t think so.
Anyway, unlike most authors, I have a handful of inspiration in the form of my fallen angels—aka my gorgeous, über-imaginative daughters. We all read a lot, and they can’t stop telling me what they like about certain books and what they don’t like. I, being incredibly nosey by nature, often harass them about the type of books they want to read and from those super long and involved conversations a spark of an idea grew which eventually became The Marked Son.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Is there any real place that served as the inspiration for Teag?
Shea: I lived in England for a while, and I loved the atmosphere – hedgerows and old villages and towns, and the quaintness that you can unearth when you just drive around without a plan in mind. I’ve stumbled onto some really picturesque villages that way, where everything feels almost too perfect, in a Shaun of the Dead kind of way. I’m intrigued by the appearance of perfection and then finding the not-so-perfect reality and seeing the lengths people will go to sustain the illusion.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Who is your favorite character to write in this series?
Shea: I love them all, can’t you tell? I love how Dylan is brave without thinking he’s brave. I love Kera’s innocence laced with her struggle for justice. I love Bodog’s heart. I love the way Navar coddles his nastiness. I love Grandma’s unconditional love. I love the old fire Grandpa keeps in his belly. I love the steps Jason will go to hide his real feelings. I love Leo’s steadiness. I love the drama Lucinda creates just by walking into a room. I could seriously go on and on and on…
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What was the road to publication like for you?
Shea: Long. Convoluted. Exasperating. Illogical at times. Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would want to become a writer. It’s one of the hardest jobs ever, and one with an insane amount of rejection. I’ve been writing fiction for a good while now. Before that I wrote nonfiction. Nonfiction is like riding a bike uphill, seriously hard work getting to the top. Fiction is like riding a bike uphill while dodging falling boulders, deep potholes and angry grizzly bears. You probably have talent, but if you get to the top without getting
squashed, or getting stuck in a hole or getting mauled, then you’re just plain lucky. Honestly, most sane people chuck the bike and hike back home and never tackle the hill again. The view, to them, isn’t worth the struggle.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: I loved Bodog! What made you decide to create him?
Shea: Every story needs a character who’ll give insight. Bodog is my key to the kingdom— a really old, forgotten, dirt key. He knows stuff that Dylan needs to know, but Bodog doesn’t just lay it out there. Dylan has to work for the information. Bodog’s not a dwarf or a troll because he’s not mean tempered per say, he’s more like a mole, wanting to be by himself with his treasures around him and only popping into view when he wants to be seen. He digs. He scavenges. And he listens... always listening.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: If you were in an epic battle like the one that takes place in The Marked Son, would you want Dylan or Kera on your team?
Shea: Plain meanness on your part! How can I choose? Kera has more fighting skills, but Dylan will act without thought to his own safety. He’s a true hero. Of course, that’s not to say Kera isn’t brave. She is, but she has a natural caution that Dylan doesn’t. Plus, she knows spells and how to use magic. But then Dylan has a lot of natural ability. He picks things up quickly. He’s smart and confident.
Okay, seriously this is impossible. Dylan and Kera are a perfect set, and as we all know, sets can’t be separated because when you do, they can’t function (and usually you get the remaining part for half price, so you think you’re getting a deal, but you’re not because it only half works).
So there! I can’t choose because I can’t break up a set. So I keep both of them. Ha! I win!
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Why did you choose to set the human side of your story in Oregon?
Shea: I used to live in the Northwest part of the United States and I’ve been through Oregon more times than I can count. It’s gorgeous with tall trees, rivers, mist and so lush. It has a mysterious quality that makes a person believe in magic. Come on. Who wouldn’t? I’m actually surprised more books aren’t set in Oregon.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Can you share a little about your current project with us?
Shea: I never, ever talk about what I’m writing. It sort of goes like this: If I talk about it, the story is being told so when I go to write it, the magic is gone. I know, it’s totally weird and doesn’t make sense, but that’s just crazy, weird, not-able-to-dwell-in-logic me.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What book(s) are you currently reading?
Shea: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s huge I tell you! Massive in a Patrick Rothfuss kind of way. The man can tell a story, and I mean an epic story. Kvothe’s life is one of legend, and I love it all, the big parts and the little tiny bits and pieces that many editors would’ve made him axe. Pure brilliance.
Andrea @ Reading Lark: Are there any celebrities that look the way you picture Dylan and Kera do in your mind?
Shea: Is there an actor who looks like Dylan in my mind? Hmm. Not really. Maybe Liam Helmsworth... sort of. Dylan is street smart and tough around the edges. He's definitely not soft, but he's not totally hard either. He's broken. (Well monkey poop, that sounds odd. Can someone look broken without anyone picturing a skidrow bum?) Dylan is scarred down to the bone, but he's redeemable.
An actress who looks pretty close to how I pictured Kera is India Eisley. I just stumbled on her picture one day about a year or so after I wrote the book and I thought: Hey. she could be Kera. The funny thing is, I don't write to pictures or think of anyone in particular when I'm writing. I don't like authors painting too specific of a picture about a character because everyone fills in the void differently. My handsome or pretty doesn't necessarily match someone else's view of handsome or pretty. So even though Liam and India sort of fit the images I have in my head, they're not exact.
How's that for a clear as mud answer? (grin)
Andrea @ Reading Lark: What is your favorite bird?
Shea: I admire the understatement of a wren, how it looks so common, but when it sings it shows its beauty. I also admire hummingbirds, they’re agility and how fragile they are. But in all honesty, I’m a bird of prey kind of girl. Falcons. Hawks. Eagles. Owls. They’re wicked hunters and amazing aerialists in their own way. I have a Ferruginous Hawk on the cover of my Epic Fantasy book Torrein: Age of Fear, which is coming out soon, and just looking at it makes me smile.
Connect with Shea
About The Marked Son
KEEPERS OF LIFE - Book One
Seventeen‐year‐old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what.
When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s
seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear. Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.
Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…
Look for The Lost Prince coming in August of 2012 from Entangled Publishing! Get your
About Shea Berkley
Shea Berkley started out writing nonfiction (not so fun) and quickly moved into fiction (totally fun), and knew she’d found her calling. (Her family was thrilled she’d found friends to play with even if they weren’t technically real.) She’s still pleasantly surprised people are willing to pay to read her stories.
Besides writing, her many diversions include kickboxing, reading awesome books and hanging out with her loud and rambunctious family. With five kids (all girls), her biggest job is to make sure the little darlings don’t harass the neighbors and then play dumb when the cops come knocking on her door.
Giveaway Time! Want to win an eBook of The Marked Son? Entangled Publishing is offering our readers one eBook copy of the book.
* You must be 13+ years old
* You must fill out The Marked Son Giveaway form
* You don't have to be a Reading Lark follower to win, but we'd really appreciate it if you were :)
* The giveaway is open to international winners
* Leaving a comment on this post will earn you +3 entries in the giveaway
The winner will be chosen using random.org. The contest runs from December 13-20.