Today, please help me extend a warm welcome to fellow Southern author Marsha A. Moore. Marsha is stopping by as part of her virtual Enchanted Bookstore Legends tour celebrating the release of the fifth and final book in the series, Quintessence, which came out on December 7.
Marsha A. Moore is an author of fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales. The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical! She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and recently completed a year-long Kripalu-affiliated yoga teacher training program. The spiritual quest of her yoga studies helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy. You can learn more about Marsh by visiting her website, on facebook or by following her on twitter.
ABOUT QUINTESSENCE: Barbaric Dark Realm warfare threatens to overtake all Dragonspeir lands, including the Alliance. Lyra McCauley, the fifth Scribe of the Alliance, finds herself in a desperate competition to gather four missing keystones. Those amulets of the four natural elements guarantee victory for the side possessing them. The Dark Realm’s alchemist, Eburscon, beats her to finding the water gem, the Pearl of Pendola. Three more keystones remain: the fluorite containing earth energy, the moonstone of the sky, and the fiery, dangerous Emtori Ruby. The powerful gems, stolen centuries ago, channel astral energies and can restore much-needed Alliance power—the last hope. The wizard, Cullen, who is Lyra’s beloved, relies on Alliance magic for his immortality and will perish if the land falls to the Dark Realm. Lyra uses her rare magical energies of quintessence and the Staurolite, governor of the four natural elements, to guide her to the hidden keystones. However, greed and power drive opponents, who challenge her in close pursuit, planning to destroy the Alliance, or to claim the power of quintessence for themselves. The Dark Realm captures the ten-year-old Alliance seer, Kessa. Her abilities can give them information about the locations of the keystones, complicating Lyra’s plans. Will her love, allegiance, and quintessence allow her to save Cullen, Kessa, and the Alliance before the Dark Realm claims all of Dragonspeir?
And now, let’s hear from Marsha…
Give us the “elevator pitch” for your latest work?
In Quintessence, the final Enchanted Bookstore Legend, Dark Realm warfare threatens to overtake all of Dragonspeir, including the Alliance, and Lyra McCauley, the 5th Scribe of the Alliance, finds herself in a desperate competition with the Dark Realm to gather four missing keystones which will guarantee victory for the side possessing them. The wizard, Cullen, who is Lyra’s beloved, relies on Alliance magic for his immortality. Will her love, allegiance, and quintessence save Cullen and the Alliance in time?
Describe your favorite scene in the book? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite scene or scenes is tied to a unique secondary character—a child seer named Kessa. While writing, I’ve often have minor characters do some surprising and wonderful things. This happened to an extreme degree while I wrote the fourth Enchanted Bookstore Legend, Staurolite. As planned, a ten-year-old crippled girl, Kessa, was sneaked into hiding in the Imperial lair of the Alliance during Dark Realm attacks on their village by her mother. Kessa’s role in Staurolite was merely to bring my heroine, Lyra, a jewel case containing ancient, magical trinkets that would help her learn about the discoveries of her scribal ancestors.
However, Kessa commanded a far greater role than I’d intended. She lit up while touching those items, and her own magic sparked my heart. I empowered the girl as a seer, the only one present in all of Dragonspeir for centuries. Lyra identifies with the child, much like herself at that age, unsure of how to use her magic and fearful of the consequences. No wonder…using Kessa’s powers as a seer led to an attack that permanently crippled her.
The girl even became a pivotal character to end the series in my latest release, Quintessence. Once her insightful magical abilities were known, both the good Alliance and the evil Dark Realm fought as much for her as for the powerful keystones. She directed Lyra to find the Pearl of Pendola, the water keystone, at the end of Staurolite. Both sides believed Kessa could supply valuable information about the locations of the three remaining lost gems. The Dark Realm stole the Pearl away from Lyra and took Kessa prisoner.
In Quintessence, Lyra’s heart is tied to the girl, and the Alliance desperately needs the keystones to restore its magical strength. In a race with her opponents, Lyra faces a dilemma—should she first save Kessa or find the powerful gems? Learn what she decides in Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five.
Hardest scene you’ve ever written:
I’ve invested over three years writing this epic tale. During the last year, I’d been eager to realize the culmination of the twisted, interwoven storylines. However, while writing the final book, Quintessence, when I approached the last five or six chapters, I hesitated and had to force myself to go on. That’s not my normal rhythm, usually ending a novel like it’s burning my fingers. And I well knew what the plot required. I just didn’t want to part with my characters and that incredible fantasy land.
With the series now complete, I feel proud of my work. Looking back, it seems a huge accomplishment. But it was an effort of love, without hardship, so completing the path feels like only a small milestone. What I’m more proud of are my characters—the strength, compassion, loyalty, and love they shared. I feel like a happy parent seeing children leave the nest, sad for my characters to leave my daily life, but thrilled they will now share their endearing qualities with new readers.
What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
Lost Lakes, the new release by Sarah Addison Allen
Favorite book when you were a child:
I still have my much-loved and well-thumbed copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. In addition to those tales, a story that sticks with me is a verbal tale my father and I made up over years, adding new adventures—called The Land of Wickee Wackee. I loved creating new stories in that world!
Your five favorite authors:
Alice Hoffman; Sarah Addison Allen; Natasha Mostert; Erin Morgenstern; James Fenimore Cooper
Book you’ve faked reading (Moby Dick is the most frequently given answer!)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I found myself skimming a lot, which I hate to do in order to pick out the plot.
Book other than your own for which you’re an evangelist:
It would be a toss-up between Natasha Mostert’s Season of the Witch and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. In both of those, magic caused mental effects for both the giver and receiver. I enjoy the complexity of that theme and employ it myself in a very different way. My heroine, Lyra, must learn to mentally control her vast inherited powers as the new Scribe. That is something she struggles to master through the series.
Book that changed your life:
In college, I loved reading Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. The symbolism is amazing; the more you read, the more layers you find. Inspired by that, I like to hide things in my stories.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I could reread Season of the Witch again and enjoy picking up more hidden bits.
Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
A first book in a series ended without tying up any of the major problems. I learned to never do that to my readers.
Favorite book about books or writing:
The Breakout Novel by Donald Maas
After the super-interwoven plot of a five-part, high fantasy epic series, I’m looking forward to shifting gears a bit. I’m excited to be working on a few magical realism books, a slightly different fantasy subgenre. The next release will be a paranormal mystery set in a yoga studio. I’m eager to work with new parameters of magical realism—a more character driven plot than I’ve done before.
Thank you, Suzanne, for interviewing me today!
Thank you for being here, Marsha! Leave a comment and then enter below for your chance to win some great tourwide prizes, which include:
1 ebook set of Enchanted Bookstore Legends, a 5-part epic fantasy romance series
5 ebook copies of Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five