Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes fellow Colorado author Margi Evans and her newest story for MG readers North Mystic. Margi and I are both members of the Colorado Authors' League.
First, a bit about Margi:
I was born in Oregon and graduated from Oregon State University. I married my high school sweetheart and, together, we have raised five wonderful children. I am a life-long equestrian and, once I had time, combined my love for horses with my love for writing. I have published three equestrian trail guide books titled: Riding Colorado, Riding Colorado II, and Riding Colorado III. I also love fantasy and write for middle-grade readers under the pen name M.J. Evans.
Why did you pick to write books for Middle Grade?
After teaching young teenagers and pre-teens in the public schools for five years and raising five children of my own, I realized how very important developing a love of reading is, not only for educational success but also to experience the joy of a life-long hobby. I realized that my love of horse stories and fantasy could be combined in such a way to make reading fun for this age group. I also wanted to write wholesome, values-laden books that enrich lives. After completing The Mist Trilogy, which could be subtitled “The Horse-Lover’s Fantasy,” I decided to write a parody of the Revolutionary War with trolls and leprechauns. The result was North Mystic. While there is not a horse in it, I still had a lot of fun writing this new book.
What types of books do you like to read?
I read a huge variety of books from fantasy to political commentary, from historical fiction to spiritual/scriptural analysis.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
When I am not writing, you will find me on the back of one of my horses or teaching riding lessons.
Tell us about North Mystic and how the story came to be.
As I mentioned, it is a parody of the Revolutionary war. In this fun story, three children who are being raised in a condition of opulent neglect, follow a magical pathway to the leprechaun village of North Mystic. To their surprise, the leprechauns had been awaiting their arrival for hundreds of years. The tiny species had been promised that one day, three children would come to help them fight for their freedom from the trolls that come every fall to tax them of all their gold that they grow in the roots of their shamrock gardens. And so, the adventure begins!
Here's a peek at North Mystic:
A small assemblage of Leprechauns makes their home in a land they name North Mystic. The tiny species are the descendants of immigrants who escaped from Ireland during the siege of Viking pirates in the 900’s by stealing away in one of the Vikings’ own longships.
For several years, they live in peace and prosperity, harvesting their gold from the roots of their shamrock fields. But, alas, all does not remain so idyllic. A band of Vikings crosses the treacherous North Sea and arrives at their shores. The big brutes kidnap their children and demand a tax of all their gold, promising to return the next year with their children if the ransom of the next year’s crop of gold is paid to them.
Meanwhile, living in a condition of opulent neglect, the three Callahan children are, unsuspectingly, preparing to perform a great work. While their parents carry on their busy lives without them, the children are raised under the careful supervision of cameras, microphones and computer screens. On an otherwise ordinary day, the eldest child, Evelynd, discovers a trap door in the floor of the linen closet. Curiosity leads the adolescent and her two younger siblings, Avery and Drew, on an amazing adventure to North Mystic where their arrival had been foretold for hundreds of years.
Will the three children be able to help the Leprechauns secure their freedom?
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
As I mentioned earlier, I began my professional writing career writing equestrian trail guide books for Colorado. What fun doing all the research was! By “research” I mean that I had to ride all of those trails myself! I have also written the three books of The Mist Trilogy: Behind the Mist, Mists of Darkness and The Rising Mist (to be released soon.) These books tell the story of the noble and great horses that are chosen to become members of the Legion of the Unicorn when they die. In the first book, the reader meets the boy who eventually becomes the first unicorn rider when his horse is chosen to receive the training necessary to earn a unicorn horn. Meanwhile, one of the unicorns has become power hungry and desires to conquer and rule the world.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
Riding Colorado III-Over-Night Trips With Your Horse was just published this past spring. Now I'm working hard on a young adult novel titled In the Heart of a Mustang. I am excited about this new book which targets an older age group than my other fiction titles. You will notice that I returned to my love of horses for the subject matter of this book!
What advice do you have for other authors?
I have learned several tricks during my ten year career of writing professionally.
First: It takes a lot of work to get a book written and published. While the publishing process is arduous, you can’t even begin that process until your manuscript is finished. Most people don’t discipline themselves enough to get the book done in the first place. So, if you want to write a book, you will have to set aside the time, daily, to write. Write the whole book and don’t look back! Once the book is done, set it aside for a while. Give it a rest! Then, go back and reread it. Do you like it? Hate it? Are you willing to make changes and revisions? Now is the time to make edits and revisions, not as you are writing initially.
Second: If you are interrupted during your writing time, or your allotted time is up, NEVER stop at the end of a chapter. Stop in the middle of a paragraph or even in the middle of a sentence. That way, when you come back, you already have a start!
Anything else you want readers to know?
I love to talk to aspiring authors about what they are working on. I am willing to try to help in the process!
Where can readers find you and your books?
My fantasies and Riding Colorado III can be found on my website The Writings of M.J. Evans.
I also write a blog for horse lovers: Behind The Mist. You can sign up to follow it.
I love to hear from readers and friends on Facebook under Behind the Mist - book and North Mystic. Go to the sites and “Like” them.
My books are available in stores such as Tattered Cover and Barnes & Noble as well as on all the online sources and ebook format. My trail guide books are available in Tack and Feed stores in the Denver/Colorado Springs area.