Spell Casting and Magic Infusion: An Interview with Author Ariella Moon
Serendipity. Happenstance. The Universe, the Creator, and the Great Spirit conspiring to give us an unexpected gift.
Whatever term you prefer to use, there’s just something magical about meeting someone with whom you completely click.
Go get burgers and ice cream and talk for 2 hours.
This lovely and unexpected time produced a wonderful friendship, and now, I’m excited to introduce her to you! Ariella is a person full of generosity, kindness, and magic, and she’s a fantastic author whose insight on the everyday magic behind writing is both uplifting and inspiring.
Read on to learn about the spell casting and magic infusion in her life and work and be sure to comment on this post for a chance to be entered into a drawing for a Kindle version of SPELL CHECK, Ariella’s first book in her Teen Wytche Saga. Comment on this post or sign up for my newsletter by Sunday, October 15! Double entries if you do both!
Ariella, I am so thrilled to interview you and share your work on my website today! For folks who may be unfamiliar with your work, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you write.
Thank you, Brandi. I am thrilled to be here!
I am a shaman, so my life is steeped in otherworldly happenings. I draw upon those experiences to infuse magic into my Teen Wytche Saga, a series of sweet contemporary Young Adult romances, and my Two Realms medival Scotland and Fairy fantasy novels.
Your writing - like your spirit - is full of magic! Tell me a little bit about where you get your inspiration. What you do to "refill the well" if you find that inspiration ever runs low?
Driving carpool for my daughter and her friends when they were in middle school was a great inspiration for The Teen Wytche Saga. It was a sad day when the girls learned to drive, and eventually went off to college. Now my inspiration comes from the girls I mentor through The Ophelia Project.
For THE BELTANE ESCAPE, Book 1, The Two Realms Trilogy, I was inspired by a shocking incident I read about while researching Scottish clan histories. My shaman side added a time twisting, Game of Thrones/Arthurian catalyst that transformed the historical events into a taut paranormal adventure. To replenish the well for The Two Realms, I visit the United Kingdom as often as possible.
I love that carpooling and listening to your daughter and her friends was the inspiration for your Teen Wytche Saga. Toni Morrison has a wonderful quote: "If writing is thinking and discovery and selection and order and meaning, it is also awe and reverence and mystery and magic." I believe this, absolutely, and am always amazed that I can create something from the most mundane details of life. In fact, I think writing is mostly reverence and magic in this sense. I wonder if you could share a little bit about your thoughts on writing and magic.
Writing and magic...I so agree with Toni Morrison! Writing and magic work together on multiple levels. Many authors have a ritual they do each day before they write. When they pour a cup of coffee or tea, or light a candle, they are are setting an intention. Now I will write. In essence, they are spell-casting, waking the Muse, telling it, "Begin the magical flow."
Then there is the alchemy of transforming thoughts and ideas into stories. Once the tale - the magic - is complete, the spell is cast out into the world in the form of a book. If the spell worked, then our writing magically transports the reader to another world (which may be back in time, on another planet, or look like our home town.) But with most magic, there is a wait. The author, like any magician, frets. "Did the spell work? Will my readers be enchanted?" We don't know until we read the reviews and receive our royalty checks.
Ha! Speaking of royalty checks, you are both traditionally published and indie published, something that we're seeing more and more authors do, both out of necessity and preference. What was your journey to traditional publication? Did you always want to be a hybrid author? What advice would you give to new writers deciding what path to pursue?
It is a tough decision.
The rise of Amazon, ebooks, digital reading devices, and small independent publishers offer exciting opportunities for new and established authors. SPELL CHECK and the next three books in my Teen Wytche Saga were contracted with a niche publisher. (In 2016 the rights reverted back to me, and I have been slowly re-releasing the novels.)
Many factors contributed to my decision to become a hybrid author and publish The Two Realms series myself. Foremost were control and money. None of the authors I know who are with small presses make much money, though a few have gone on to sign lucrative movie deals, and others, after leaving the small publisher and signing with a New York house, hit the bestseller lists.
Personality is a huge factor in deciding your publishing path. Do you have self-discipline? Do you have the time management skills, support system, drive, and ability to write, publish, and promote? Hybrid publishing stars Barbara Freethy, Bella Andre, and Marie Force drew upon their name recognition, fan bases, and well edited, popular mid lists to become indie publishing superstars.
When I interview authors, I love to learn about their writing processes because it's fascinating to see how everyone creates their art. Tell us about your writing process, Ariella. What does a typical writing day (or hour) look like for you? How do you get started, and when do you know to put down the pen or turn off the computer? Any tips, tricks, or rituals that keep you writing?
When I had a day job, I used to light a tea candle at night and tell myself I couldn’t stop writing until the candle burned out. Fire represents the Creative Spark.
Now, I am a full-time publisher and writer. During the summer, since I live in the desert, I walk my dogs before the sun comes up. My typical day is: walk 1-2 miles, eat breakfast, quickly check emails and take care of any promotional deadlines, then write until 10:00 AM. Then I walk the dogs, put in another hour of writing, and then take a lunch break. The afternoons get dicey. If I start falling asleep at the computer, I quit, take a nap, and then resume writing. After dinner and the evening walk I try to get in another hour of writing, promo, or publishing before I quit and take the rest of the night off.
You and I share pages in the SECOND CHANCES anthology. Tell readers about your short story, "Covert Hearts!" How was writing your short story different from writing a book? How did the experience help you grow and what lessons did you learn?
In “Covert Hearts” an undercover teen, hiding from a scandal and apparent suicide that devastated her family, discovers unexpected love. I had never before written a short piece of fiction. Luckily, my editor/critique partner, Barbara Millman Cole, is an award-winning short story author. I learned to strip down the story to its essence — two young adults who open their hearts to a second chance at love. Now I want to write linked stories in the “Covert Hearts” world.
Tell us about your latest releases and what readers have to look forward to over the next year!
THE AMBER ELIXIR just launched on Amazon (Kindle and print) and KOBO! A sequel to THE BELTANE ESCAPE, THE AMBER ELIXIR is a Lady of the Lake novella — a Coming of Age tale of forbidden love, shape-shifting fairies, witches, and wizards, and a magical elixir that could change the balance of power in the Two Realms.
THE AMBER ELIXIR Buy Links
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2wvfgd9
Lastly, a fun question: We discovered while preparing for our SECOND CHANCES Launch Party that we had both recently traveled to Scotland and have roots there. How amazing is that?! What was your trip to Scotland like? What was your favorite place / experience? If you could go back again, what would you want to see or do?
It is an amazing connection! I traveled to Scotland to do research for my Two Realms series and to expand my shamanic knowledge. I returned to the Callanish Stones, which play an important role in THE VIKING MIST (January 2018). There, I was asked to co-lead a ritual for 17 people. A longhaired Scotsman (a bard dressed in a belted plaid) stood guard during the ritual. Glancing at him, I felt centuries strip away. It was such a déjà vu moment.
I loved the isle of Iona. So many fairy sightings! At least two otherworldly beings I saw there will appear in future books. I’d like to revisit the Isle of Skye, where rain prevented a hike to the fairy pools. During a walk after the rain, I was pulled toward the pools, but forced myself to turn back because darkness approached. I did not want to be caught between worlds in Scotland, near a fairy ring, close to the summer solstice, at gloaming!
About Ariella Moon
Ariella Moon spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students that mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and a media-shy dragon.
Ariella loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at:
Like this post? Comment below and/or sign up for my newsletter by Sunday, October 15 for a chance to be entered into a drawing for a Kindle version of SPELL CHECK, Ariella’s first book in her Teen Wytche Saga. Double entries if you do both!