Crossing Paths: On Meeting Christina Mercer, Breast pumps and healing wisdom

JordanBlog Tours, Fiction Writing, Interviews, Profiles

Editing clients come to me from all different sources–many online, lots who’ve read my book Make a Scene, but on rare occasion, I meet a client in person. I’ll never forget where I met the subject of today’s special post, the lovely Christina Mercer, author of the forthcoming Arrow of the Mist, at the East of Eden Conference in 2008, for several reasons. For one, I was a first-time mother with a three-month old baby, and this was my first full day away from him. As I was also a breastfeeding mother whose voracious and chubby infant ate every 2-3 hours, this posed a certain challenge, namely: I had to bring a breast pump with me to an enormous writing conference with only two small bathrooms for several hundred people.

It was also an unseasonably warm day in Salinas, California, and if there are two things that don’t go well together it’s breast pumps and sweating. Not only that, but my baby was not exactly sleeping through the night, so I was there to deliver two hour-long presentations through a fog of sleep-deprivation and hormone bursts. I was, to say the least, terrified. I will not soon forget the way someone pounded on my bathroom stall after ten minutes and then muttered a grumpy, “Jeez, some of us really have to pee!” while I stayed mute in my stall, hand paused on the handle of my manual pump, biting my lip against the pain hopeful that they would not figure out that it was the lady scheduled to present in a half hour hogging the toilet.

But fate was kind to me that day: it brought into my circle Christina and her beautiful book, Arrow of the Mist, about a land poisoned by a strange vine that is attacking and making its people ill. Her  determined young heroine, Lia, with her powerful knowledge and intuition of herbs, must set out to save the day. I instantly connected with Christina’s voice and sensibility, her work full of symbols and mythology, of arcane knowledge that our ancestors must all have possessed once upon a time, and her lyrical prose.

And I’m so grateful that my disheveled and harried state of new motherhood didn’t scare her away, because our paths would cross again when we formed We are so excited to be part of Arrow of the Mist’s publishing journey.

Here are Christina’s answers from The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

ARROW OF THE MIST. Publication date, March 21, 2013.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The seed-thought for this book took root a little over seven years ago, though elements of the story have lived within me since childhood. It started out as a short story meant for a much younger audience, but kept on growing and developing into the novel for teens it is today. My formal studies in alternative healing and my informal studies in mythology inspired the world and facets of magic woven throughout the story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult “YA” Fantasy

Which actors would you use to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Bella Thorne as Lia
Alex Pettyfer as Wynn
Steven R McQueen as Kelven
Ian McKellen as Granda Luis
Bryce Dallas Howard as Ma

See all their pics on my Pinterest site

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Enchanted, barbed roots attack 15-year-old Lia’s father and other woodsmen in the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona, impelling Lia to trek into the forbidden land from where the roots originate and seek out the cure.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I worked on the novel off and on for three years before I got serious and joined my first critique group. And then the massive rewrites began. Fast forward another year and a half and I entered it into the Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest where it made the semi-finals!

What other stories would you compare this book to in your genre?

This is a hard one. The story is set in a sort of “fairy tale” ancient Ireland, and the magic at play draws from both Celtic and Norse mythology. The medieval-fantasy world could perhaps be compared to the worlds of the Ropemaker and Graceling.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A lifetime love for all things fantasy, a passion to write, an inner child that won’t quit daydreaming, a solid belief in unicorns, and the magic my sons bring to my life each and every day.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In addition to a few ever-cool tropes us fantasy nerds are familiar with, my story delves into Celtic tree lore in a way I’ve not yet seen done. The pages are steeped in ancient tree magic and herb crafts. Lia’s journey actually parallels the Old Irish Ogham alphabet where each letter pertains to a tree, starting with the Birch or Beth which signifies the beginning of a quest and ending with the Yew or Idho which denotes death and rebirth.

Christina’s book launches on the Spring Equinox: March 21st. 

JordanCrossing Paths: On Meeting Christina Mercer, Breast pumps and healing wisdom