The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Stacey McIntosh
Ruschelle: Stacy! It’s great to chat with a fellow Horror Tree Interviewer. I’ll be gentle, I promise. Unless I’m feeling feisty, then all bets are off! Here’s a good question…maybe…do you always have a solid idea of a story or book or does the story or book decide its course as it is being written?
Stacey – No, I don’t always have a solid idea when I start writing. Most of my works are inspired by music or something that I can’t let go of idea wise. I haven’t sat down and actually planned a novel in a long time, my characters are the driving force behind their stories, which is an adventure in and of itself. They definitely like to keep me on my toes.
Ruschelle: Looking at your catalogue of ever-expanding books penned, it seems you are a lover of the magical, fantasy and Arthurian times. What do you believe draws you to delve into those worlds?
Stacey – I am. I discovered fantasy quite late actually. It started with Kate Forsyth’s Dragonclaw, and from there I was hooked. The Arthurian Legends, was quite by accident, really. I’d always known my maternal grandmother was Welsh. She came to Australia (specifically WA) from Maesteg when she was three on board the SS Osterley… almost drowned, believe it or not… but it wasn’t until I watched the TV miniseries Merlin (with Sam Neil) that I fell in love with it. Reading The Mists of Avalon while delving into Wicca cemented my love affair with it.
Ruschelle: How many completed works do you have displayed on your bookshelf? This includes my favorite, the short stories gobbled up by anthologies.
Stacey – I have four. Five including the novella, Solstice, that I self-published back in 2013. There’s a few others sitting on my kindle. They’re the ones I didn’t have money to purchase in paperback at the time when they were printed. Sadly, several of the anthologies my short stories appear in, are out of print.
Ruschelle: Since I’ve been stalking you on Facebook, www.facebook.com/StaceyJaineMcIntosh, I’ve discovered you are in the process of writing Nightshade. Can you give us all a little nibble of what Nightshade is?
Stacey – Nightshade is… Book 6 of a nine-part YA Paranormal Romance series I’ve been writing for what feels like forever. It’s about Scarlett, a half-fey, half werewolf teenage girl who has been through hell and comes out the other side, rather scarred and extremely bitter. She doesn’t fit, in either the human world (because she’s not human, despite being raised to think she was) or the supernatural world (because she’s not just fey and she’s not just a werewolf, she’s both) and she fights against the injustice of it all.
Here’s the opening to Chapter One:
Evanthe is dead.
The words keep going around and around in my head, at such a dizzying speed I can’t concentrate.
I don’t hear the rest. I’m not sure if it’s out of pure shock or something else, but the entire throne room goes silent.
That is until Ash’s loud voice booms over the din, making me aware that this is indeed real and not some nightmare from which I would soon awaken from.
“I want everybody to clear the throne room. This meeting is over. Get out. Now!” I blink. Still in shock. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ash shout this loud before.
Evanthe… how could she be dead? It wasn’t fair. She was the only person in the entire world who was like a sister to me. I’d known her almost my whole life. For her to be dead was unimaginable. How was I to process that? It didn’t make sense. None of it made sense.
Ruschelle: You are a Fey queen in your own right, having explored their mythos and creating your own. Tell us a bit about them and how they affect your works?
Stacey – I’ve always loved Queen Mab and Morgan Le Fay. The Morrighan came later. It doesn’t seem to matter who depicts them, they always possess an inner strength. They are, I find misunderstood and misrepresented. The internet is rife with information about Mab, Morgan and The Morrighan, often unable to tell one apart from the other. After a while of growing frustrated with the fact that they are often confused for one another, I decided to set about separating the threads that wove them together and create three very separate characters.
Queen Mab, the quintessential Faerie Queen. I think she’s most famous due to Shakespeare, but if you delve a little deeper, it appears she is modelled on the Irish Queen Medb (Maeve) said to have been the Warrior Queen of Connacht, and famous for having five husbands and seven sons all named Maine. My version differs a bit from the original.
Morgan le Fay, as most know if the daughter of Igraine and Gorlois, as well as the half sister to the legendary King Arthur. That’s about where the similarities end when it comes to various authors view points. Some say it was Morgause who slept with her brother and begat Mordred, other’s say it was Morgan herself. Personally, I think it was Morgan, as I favour Marion Zimmer Bradley’s take on the tale. My version is similar, with one difference, Morgan and Arthur are step siblings forced into marriage. Mordred is the end result of that marriage. Something Morgan tries to circumvent, but in the end, can’t. So, rather than cast the child from the womb before he is ready, she sends him to Mab to raise as her own.
And… The Morrighan, she is an Irish war Goddess, often said to be a trio of Goddesses actually. Comprised on Nemain, Badb and Macha. As well as being a shape shifter. The raven or crow is also associated with her. There is a lot more to her than that, but it would take pages to share it all. My version is very true to the original, I think. She has her own mind and she won’t always come when called, which is often true, I’ve found when working with her.
Ruschelle: Let’s play make-believe. If you could be a Faerie, tell us the kind of faerie you’d be?
Stacey – That’s an interesting question, because I haven’t actually thought about the kind I’d be. But I guess if I could be fey it would probably be something Welsh, the Tylwyth Teg, for instance. If only because Wales fascinates me. So does Cornwall actually. I often think if I could live anywhere else in the world, other than Australia it would be either Wales or Cornwall, because of the history and myth the two places are steeped in.
Ruschelle: Well, I’ve thought of it for you. You are a badass faerie who wields an axe and takes on fuzzy bunnies from Hell. These bunnies are building an army of small rodents, caterpillars and radishes to ultimately enslave faerie kind and make them their bitches! But you are the faeries warrior. You will rise up against their army and slay each bunny, rodent and radish that plot against the faerie world. Bwhahahahaha! Ehh…it sounded better in my head. Anywho… Rejection is a big part of the writer’s life. It sucks but it’s true. What do you do when something you have gestated, birthed and raised is rejected?
Stacey – Cry? No, I learnt long ago that my writing is not for everyone. But I do get frustrated and disappointed. It takes a day or two for me to shake off those feelings because I do believe the stories I write are worth sharing.
Ruschelle: What was your first foray into writing?
Stacey – My very first foray into writing was bad fanfiction, along with various short stories and a novel. I still have the novel and some of the short stories. The fan fiction is lost to ravages of floppy discs. Time was not kind to them.
Ruschelle: You have kids. FOUR! WOAH! How do you find the time to squeeze precious ‘mind blood’ (what the hell is that? just run with it), out of your fingers and onto the computer screen?
Stacey – Haha! Yes, I have four kids. Alexander, 12; Lilia, 10; Caleb, 9 and Quinn, 7. They can be a handful at times. And yes, I get that reaction a lot, particular when I elaborate and tell people that there is exactly 4 years and 8 months between my eldest son and my youngest son. My husband is forever trying to offload one or two of them to unknowing strangers as a joke. It’s hilarious watching people’s faces. I’d never trade a single one though. As for how I find the time, well, I have to steal it. Suffice to say, I get a lot done on my phone. I’d be lost without it.
Ruschelle: Do you think any of them will pick up the pen? Do you think you’ll ever collaborate with any of them on a project?
Stacey – I think my eldest son might. He actually did write a story in year 1. It’s a short fantasy story that escalates very quickly. I still have it. Illustrations and all. And I think it would be a lot of fun to collaborate, should any one of them want to follow in my footsteps and write.
Ruschelle: Have your children ever appeared in some way, shape or form in your works?
Stacey – My daughter appears in my short story Shadows of Annwyn. Shes the infant faerie who has her wings pulled out as payment to the Crone. She was so tiny when she was born, having been born twelve weeks early, and weighing only 2lbs1, that it seemed fitting to include her in what I was writing at the time. The boys haven’t, at least not in the same way Lilia has. I’ve had a few young male characters that are a blending of each one of my sons. The three of them are all so different, and yet, I can see the similarities, much to their annoyance. Their quirks have made for interesting fictional characters that I couldn’t just focus on just one child specifically, I had to combine them.
Ruschelle: Oh…I love that imagery. That’s a hell of a payment. It’s so creative. And this creativity has also inspired you to create mixed media; pendants, bookmarks, earrings etc. Do you get the same feeling crafting with your hands as you do crafting with your mind? By the way, they’re beautiful.
Stacey – I do actually. I’m working on my time management skills. There really isn’t enough time in the day to focus on everything I want to focus on.
Ruschelle: You have a love of Cartography and hold a diploma in Spatial Information Services. That is amazing. Has that assisted you in your writing?
Stacey – Not exactly. I got into it only because my parents wanted me to do something worthwhile after high school other than write. Writing was not a valid career choice in their eyes. Actually my mum suggested that I be a secretary… of all things. So, rather than put myself through that, I followed in my Dad’s footsteps, or tried too. Cartography seemed more fun than Surveying. My time spend on various mine sites, while educational, left me feeling home sick and while the lure of a hefty paycheck was tempting, I couldn’t stick it out. Of course I finished my Diploma around the same time I found out I was expecting my eldest, so I wasn’t able to really discover if I was cut out for a job in the industry somewhere besides a mine site. I don’t think I’d trade it though. Maps are fun to create, so there’s always the possibility of creating fantasy world maps for people that want them. Being spatially aware has definitely helped in creating the worlds I write in.
Ruschelle: You live in Western Australia, the land of all things that could kill and eat you. Has any of those “nasties” inspired any of your villains in your stories?
Stacey – Nope. Never been inspired by our wildlife or our creepy crawlies. In saying that though, Orb Weaver’s do make rather pretty webs. I still don’t think I could write about them. I’d have to get close to them, and after having a baby spider crawling on the back of my neck fairly recently… I don’t think so. Quokkas on the other hand, I might be tempted to include.
Ruschelle: If you could sit and talk with any monster (without them eating you) what would it be and what would you want to discuss?
Stacey – Any monster, hhmmm? Probably a Kelpie. A Scottish water horse. I love horses and this is one faerie that intrigues me. As for what I’d ask, well that’s simple. What’s the true story behind the Loch Ness Monster? Is it real, or is it just a mere fabrication? Some people say it could be a Kelpie, but I’m not so sure.
Ruschelle: What was your favorite and most influential book or story that put you on this writing journey?
Stacey – My favourite book would have to be Alice in Wonderland but the most influential would have to be The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmerman Bradley.
Ruschelle: Let’s go back to the ‘interviewing you.’ If you could interview one author for The Horror Tree who would it be? And you don’t have to say ME, I mean…I’d be flattered but you don’t have to. LOL
Stacey – Okay, so besides you… cause that’s a given. I’d have to say… probably a friend of mine, Zoey, or Juliet Marillier. Perth can seem very isolated at times, so when you find fellow writers, it’s kind of like hitting the jackpot. Especially if they’ve made it as an author, like Juliet has.
Ruschelle: I know, I’m pretty damn cool. LOL, But it IS s a toughie. There are TONS of fantastic authors out there to choose from. Okay, back to something more serious…Other than Nightshade, what else is filling up your notebooks and computer screen that we should look out for in the ‘soon to be?’
Stacey – Stolen. It’s a dark paranormal romance centering around Skye and her family’s five hundred year long debt to a faerie lord named Teague. It’s a step away from the YA novels I usually write. And set predominately on the Isle of Man.
Stacey, thank you so much for letting us all get to know you and discover your fantastic offerings, both previous and upcoming. And we all look forward to your future Q&A here on The Horror Tree!
If you would like to find out more, you can follow Stacey at the following links!
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