Makayla Love is an aspiring Harley Quinn-esque super villain who has decided to spend her time between nefarious schemes by writing paranormal novels in her lair somewhere in the general Kansas area. She enjoys sit-coms and doesn’t have enough shelf space for her ever multiplying collection of books.
How long have you been writing?
Jeeze, so far back I can hardly remember. It goes all the way back to when I was a little kid sitting in my fifth grade class with a notebook writing Harvest Moon fanfictions. I remember once writing a horror story (albiet a terrible one) and binding it together with cardboard I found around the house and some string. I think I tried to illustrate it with a “how to draw anime” book I had at the time but I might be getting two memories mixed up with that one.
I do remember, though, that in sixth and seventh grade I had this red notebook that I wrote (again) Harvest Moon fanfiction in, and all my friends loved it. They passed it around to each other whenever I finished a new chapter and would beg me to write more. That’s one of my fondest memories of my middle school days, and probably one of my best memories in my life so far. I’ll always be grateful to my friends for that early support.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I actually had this conversation with my husband not that long ago. I dabble in a lot of different ones, but I think horror and romance are my favorites. I say horror and romance, instead of just picking one, because those two are so tightly neck-and-neck for the number one spot that I don’t think I could choose only one. All of my stories, no matter the genre, always have romance because I’m a sappy romantic at heart. But I also feel like a story has a hard time holding my interest if there isn’t some viseral horror in there as well. So the more those two work together the happier I usually am with a project.
Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?
I’ve never tried straight-up YA. Not YA fantasy, not YA horror, not YA romance (though, again, knowing me it’ll get in there) but like Young Adult-Young Adult. The trials and tribulations of growing up as a kid. I’ve tried to try it before but never really stuck to it, but I keep wanting to stick to it. I think its because I know virtually nothing about the genre besides what I’ve read in other books, and even then I haven’t read that many YA books. I feel like I have this instinctive urge to talk down to them when I know thats rediculous. It might have something to do with the fact that I don’t think I paid any attention at all during my teenage years.
Please tell us about your book.
“Sanctuary” is the second book in the Titanomachy series, which is a steampunk/post-apocolyptic series I’ve written. It follows Shiloh and Rilei Beaumont through their adventures in a war-ravaged future. The culture of the Victorian Era was never given up and was, instead, incorporated into the war between genetics and technology.
Here is the excerpt for Sanctuary:
“Shiloh isn’t adjusting well to her new life in Ironbridge. Life isn’t how she always imagined it would be, and every day is harder than the last.
Things only get worse when a small family on their way to a settlement called “Sanctuary” shows up on Shiloh’s doorstep looking for an escort the rest of the way.
But Sanctuary isn’t all its supposed to be. When they find themselves trapped, every second becomes a fight for survival. Can they find a way out before one of them falls to a mad tyrant? Or will their little group be broken up forever?”
Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?
Although I know a lot of people probably pick their main character as their favorite, I think my real favorite is Garth. He’s got such emotional depth that I find my heart breaking for him every time I think about his wants and his goals and his hang-ups. Despite how he acts, he’s a beautiful human being and (being the way overly emotional person that I am) I’ve found myself crying for him more than once.
My least favorite is a tie between Hiram Jefferson and Victor Beaumont, which shouldn’t be that surprising given that one of them is the major villain. Neither is completely clean in this story. Neither is really the hero. With them it’s a question of “who is the least at fault here?” because both had a hand in making the world what it is now. They both believe they’re right and won’t give it up, both believe what they’re doing is for the betterment of humanity even as the world collapses around them, and both are willing to sacrifice anything and everything to defeat the other.
What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Keeping things in sequential order. I always have a problem with stories where there’s an overall plan thats kept secret from the main characters, but is fully in the mind of a character I can’t get into the head of. I love them, but they’re a challenge for me to do in a way that I feel is believable. Luckily I managed to make it work in this one, I think.
Another problem I had was Shiloh’s depression. Whether people believe it or not, depression is a real problem child to translate onto paper. Especially when you know that some people might read it who have never felt it before. I had to toe the line between believably depressed and not having her come across as whiny. I feel like that worked too. Otherwise it would still be in the editing phase and not published yet.
What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?
My writing routine is fairly simple. I have to write before I go to my day job or else its just not going to happen that day. Half the time its because I come home exhausted and end up going to bed about an hour or two after I eat dinner. I’ve been trying to fix it so that I wake up earlier in the day and have time to work, since I’ve noticed I write better if I do that anyway (even if I have the whole day to write and don’t have to work.)
I need music to work, and that’s usually a challenge because it has to be the right music. Sometimes it has something to do with getting the atmosphere right, and other times it’s just putting my head in the right space to do something worthwhile. I never know what the song is until I found it and sometimes that can be kind of a challenge.
How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?
“Sanctuary” didn’t take nearly as long as the first book, “The Gilded Cage.” It maybe took a few months to write. I think I finished it in April of last year, and just put off the editing for several months. Truth is I think I halfway forgot I still had to edit it—but once I remembered, I sat down and did it in maybe a couple of months. Maybe less than that. Then I put it out!
Can you tell us about your editing process?
My editing process has gone through something of a metamorphosis since I started publishing again. For a while I did it just reading through the whole thing and using my best judgement, then I tried this app called “Hemmingway App” that goes through and helps you find words that could be better or sentences that sound bad or paragraphs that could be parred down. I liked that app for a while, but it stopped working for me when I had to switch to “OpenOffice” instead of paying for a full subscription to Microsoft WORD (cause at the time we weren’t making the kind of money that would allow something that expensive), so I had to go back to where I started, and that’s where I am now. I just read through the whole thing and pick out things that sound funny to me or that I think I can do better.
Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?
Yes, “Sanctuary” is the second book in my Titanomachy Series. “The Gilded Cage” is the first.
There’s a very specific reason why I chose to call my series the “Titanomachy” series. In Greek mythology, the “Titanomachy” was a ten-year series of battles fought in Thessaly, consisting of most of the Titans fighting against the Olympians and their allies. My books stretch it out to two centuries and the “Titans” are Hiram Jefferson and Victor Beaumont. I just felt like it really captured the essence for what this series is really about.
Jeeze, I have no idea how many books will be in this series. It’ll probably depend on how many of my ideas for it I can pack into how many books. I’ve been able to work several into the third and fourth books, so there will be at least four, but beyond that we’ll both be surprised!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up! No matter what, keep going! I can’t count how many times I’ve almost given up because it was hard, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Write for yourself and no one else. Tell yourself a great story and worry about the other stuff later. Don’t panner to the popular genre at the time because that changes like the winds, and don’t let self-doubt get you down! I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted on self-doubt.
If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Anne Rice
- David Moody
What inspired you to write your book?
This is the second book in my Titanomachy series, and it didn’t occur to me until it was too late that maybe I should’ve done this with the first book (“The Gilded Cage” ) first, but with this book I really wanted to explore the psychological trauma Shiloh experianced thanks to the events of the first book, and how hard it can be to adjust to a new situation when you’ve been sheltered all your life. But, more than anything, I wanted to show someone overcoming that sort of thing.
Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?
I’m working on a lot of somethings right now. A couple of one-shot books that aren’t related to any of my series at all, the third book in both the Lost Angels series and the Titanomachy Series (the book after this one), and just toying around with a few other things that probably will never see the light of day.