Welcome, one and all, to another author interview! Today, we’re talking teh talented Casey Wolfe!
Hi Casey. For those that aren’t familiar with you or your work, can you give us a quick intro?
Well, my motto isn’t “Everyone deserves a Happily Ever After” for nothing. I believe in happy endings and the power of true love to conquer all. I’m a bit of an idealist/dreamer like that. But, that’s something I think that’s reflective in my writing. Even though there’s drama going on, and I address some darker topics at times, overall things tend to stay on the low angst side, and there’s always lots of fluff and humor to make up for when we have to get serious. At the end of the day, books are an escape for me and I want to write books that I want to read, which is something that is going to leave me feeling good and like I’ve found a new group of friends.
Today, we’re primarily going to be talking about your upcoming paranormal romance novel, A Mages Power. Now, this is a story about a mage named Rowan and an inquisitor named Shaw. It’s also the first book in a trilogy. Did you know that this would be a trilogy when you started the novel, or did that become apparent as it went along?
Excuse me while I go laugh in a corner for about ten minutes. Yeeeeah, this was not the plan. This was supposed to be a novella. Then these little shits took over my life. Basically, it’s Caleb’s fault, because he decided someone else in the group was his mate. Now, we have a trilogy. So, I’d say about a month or so after starting the novella, I started writing all three books at once and have been plugging away ever since. In the end, it was the right call. Between the large world I created and all the characters within it, it was great to be able to dive further into it than just one book would ever allow me to do.
The blurb for the book confirms that Rowan works as an enchanter, dabbles in herbology and also makes use of blood magic, which is seen as fairly controversial in the book’s setting. Were any of the magics in the book based around documented practices? I know that there are a few religions that have their own rituals, so I wondered if there was a cross-over at all?
Oh, I took inspiration for the magic in this book from everywhere. Any fellow geeks out there will certainly recognize the structure from any number of fantasy-style games. I created Schools of Magic that are indicative of the gaming world – tabletop and video games alike – along with spells that wouldn’t feel out of place there or in a fantasy movie.
That said, I also borrowed from the real world as well. While the formal structure of mages was heavily influenced from fiction – like the Schools and the guilds – I did take a lot of ritual from history and even modern day witchcraft practices. I used a lot of Celtic and Nordic traditions – I actually named my alternative universe Eiocha, after the white mare made of sea-foam in the Celtic creation myths, and the major holidays are all based on the Pagan Wheel of the Year. Things like the herbology and runic practices are actual practical magic applications that have been used through history that I weaved into my lore.
Does magic come at a price for mages in the book?
Absolutely. Mages are born with a specialized organ that creates mana, which powers their magic – can you see the gaming influence? Haha. There’s only so much mana they have and it takes time to replenish. Through training, they can use less mana for certain spells and help regulate their systems to make mana faster. There are also marketed mana replacement tablets and the like, but most guilds frown on their casual usage. An alternative to using mana is blood magic, where a mage can use their blood or another’s in place of mana to power their magic. It’s part of the reason why blood magic is such a controversial practice.
Shaw is an inquisitor, who is tasked with keeping magicae in order. With the Inquisition under scrutiny and magicae disappearing, Shaw is stepping in to find out what’s going on. Can readers expect the two character’s jobs to be a natural source of tension between them?
Oh, for sure. A lot of magicae (the races with magical abilities) are naturally leery of the Inquisition. They’re a government sponsored organization with very little oversight that gets to police their kind – what’s not to be suspicious of? Now, Rowan is surrounded by a distrustful Mages Guild and a best friend who Rowan claims is “paranoid” and full of “wild conspiracy theories” but that all tends to rub off, so Rowan isn’t exactly fond of the Inquisition and would prefer to steer far clear of them.
The fact that Shaw isn’t exactly going along with the status quo, however, is really going to work in his favor as far as getting his foot in the door’s concerned. That doesn’t mean that the fact he’s on the “wrong side” isn’t going to come up.
What are the primary differences between the two leads in terms of personality?
Shaw is something of a devilish rogue and quite the charmer. He’s adventurous and daring, with strong protective instincts. On the flip side, Rowan is more comfortable alone or with small group, preferring solitary, quiet activities. His focus is on his studies, having ambition to spare.
Basically, Shaw’s a Chaotic Good Gryffindor and Rowan’s a Neutral Good Ravenclaw.
Rowan has a best friend named Caleb, who’s a werewolf. I love werewolves! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed looking into different incarnations of the shapeshifters. What can you tell us about Caleb? Does he follow any established werewolf lore, or are there some differences here?
Paranormal is my jam – especially vampires and werewolves – so I always enjoy playing around with lore. To that end, my werewolves in this series follow a combo of what you would traditionally expect to see and my own spin.
For example, while they do change on full moons, they’re able to learn how to control the influence of the moon over time so they won’t be forced to. They also have the ability to shift outside of full moons. Another example is the issue of silver, which is a traditional way to kill a werewolf. In my universe, this is made into were-creatures having a severe allergy to silver. But, silver is often infused in smaller doses with tattoos or piercings in order to get them to stay for were-creatures, otherwise their natural accelerated healing would destroy the work.
The official NineStar Press page mentions that the book does contain some graphic violence. Can readers expect the story to get pretty action packed, or are the violent scenes spread out quite a bit?
There aren’t many action scenes in this book, though the number increases as the series goes on. Seriously, what fantasy trilogy does end with all the fighting? I would say the violence is on par with a PG-13 movie, maybe stretching it into R at times? It includes fantasy violence – ie, magic – as well as gun violence. Just to give you an idea without resorting to spoilers.
Do you have a favourite scene you can tell us about with spoiling too much of the plot?
Oh geez, talk about doubly hard – no spoilers and picking a favorite? Honestly, there are so many scenes and moments I love, it’s nearly impossible to pick just one. Since I’m a romantic at heart, if pressed, I might have to go with the post-full moon scene. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Do you have a favourite side character, or one that you would have liked to explore a little more?
Outside of the main group – most of which doesn’t make a true appearance until the next book – there’s a few reoccuring side characters that I love. I think my favorites may be Hale and Rhys, a pair of vampires. I won’t say exactly how they’re related to the main characters though. 😉
The romance here is between two males, and the NineStar Press page lists their orientation as bisexual and gay. How important do you think it is for there to be more LGBTQIA+ representation in genre fiction now? The number of books available has been growing steadily over the last few years, and from a personal standpoint, I’ve enjoyed seeing relatable characters cropping up in the sort of books that I prefer to read.
It’s so important. I don’t want other kids growing up without having the representation I was sadly lacking – be that in books, movies, TV. We’re getting there, but it can always be better.
One of the interesting things about working with a trilogy, and such a large cast, has been having all of them tell me who they were. I didn’t go into this with the intent to make certain characters have certain sexual preferences, or to have specific sexualiaties represented. It all happened very organically. They told me who they were with their personalities and their histories. In doing that, the main group ended up with a pretty diverse palette.
It gave me a great opportunity to write a few characters in #ownvoices: one who is a pansexual, and two that ended up being on the ace spectrum. I know what you’re thinking: wait, ace and pan? How does that work? I’m grey ace, so when I do experience sexual attraction, I’m pan. So, it was kind of nice that some of the main group ended up being so relatable. I even ended up with a genderfluid side character – of a sort – making an appearance in book two.
Not that any of their sexual preferences are ever made into a big deal. Many of them are blink-and-miss-it moments. Because of the nature of my universe, same-sex pairings and all the diversity of sexualities are just a non-issue – thus the characters don’t make anything of it. Hell, Shaw’s bisexuality doesn’t even really come up in any formal context in this book. But, that’s what he is, so that’s the label the book gets.
This is a very different tale to your previous book, One Bullet. What can you tell us about that title?
One Bullet was a real departure from my normal writing – which tends to be paranormal in some shape or form – and yet this contemporary novel ended up being my debut. Even though it’s such a different thing, I think at its heart, it’s me. It’s about love and friendship, with a heavy focus on the characters and their relationships rather than any larger outside forces plotline.
Ethan Brant is a former police officer suffering from PTSD after a shooting. Shawn Greyson is a detective and the one that saved Ethan’s life. The book follows Ethan’s journey of recovery and how Shawn helps him through that. Somewhere along the way, they end up falling in love.
Despite the sometimes heavier moments involving Ethan’s PTSD and some other events – past and present in the characters’ lives – the story itself remains on the lighter side. It’s always going to hold a special place in my heart, not just because it was my debut, but because of how utterly sweet their story was. Eh, leave me alone… I’m a sap.
Did you learn any useful tips while marketing One Bullet that you’ll be able to make use of with A Mages Power?
I learned not to start promoting so early. Everyone gets excited for your book and then forgets about it. Better to announce it and get the buzz going right before launch so everything is fresh in people’s minds.
You are a self-professed geek, with a love of history, film and gaming. So, let’s start with history. What draws you to this as a subject? Is there a particular area that interests you the most?
I guess I just have a fascination with learning about things, including the past. I tend to gravitate towards learning about wars and various cultures.
I did a lot of research on the Civil War in junior high and high school thanks to The Red Badge of Courage and a lifelong love-affair with Gone with the Wind. I focused in on Vietnam in my later high school years after reading Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. For the last, I’d say decade, it’s been World War II as my main focus, and I’ve had a resurging interest in the American Revolution as well.
Cultural wise, I was interested real early on in Ancient Rome and Greece, as well as Medieval Europe and Ancient Egypt (thank you, The Mummy, for that last one). Later, that expanded to include the Old West, Feudal Japan, the Vikings, and more. Learning about different cultures from around the world – particularly warrior cultures or ancient empires – has always been a fascinating topic to me.
What is your favourite film genre, and what would be your top five films from within that?
I don’t have a favorite genre, though I lean heavily towards paranormal/fantasy, sci-fi, and historical. Are we surprised? Honestly, if it has great characters and story, that’s the biggest thing. Humor and action are big bonuses. I was going to college for film, actually, so I have a pretty wide assortment of taste and an appreciation for the classics – hell, I like to say I was watching Gone with the Wind in the womb. But, that means I tend to watch movies a lot differently than others. My husband says I get too into the technical side of things. I think it means I just appreciate everything more.
As for favorites? That’s impossible. I’ll give you five films that I love, watch obsessively, and you can pry from my cold, dead hands, if that helps? In no particular order, and knowing that there are more films that make this list: The Godfather, The Birdcage, The Fifth Element, Jurassic Park, and Tombstone.
Which games are currently taking up your time, and why?
I play RPG’s and shooters, mostly. Give me an open world and let me go. At the moment, I’ve been going back through Fallout 4, because I’ve got the fever for the franchise again after the announcement for the next installment. But, you won’t find me playing it, cause I don’t do multiplayer. So, I’m crying my woes by killing raiders with a certain syth detective. *tips hat*
I just came off of binging both Detroit: Become Human and Vampyr. Both were worth the wait and highly recommended. Now, I somehow have to survive until Cyberpunk 2077 releases.
You are listed as having furry, four-legged children. What can you tell us about them?
Well, there’s the oldest, Elphaba. She’s a cat named after the character in Wicked. I love the book and musical, and she was so unique looking, I thought the name suited her. In case you’re wondering, yes, she loves the music from the show.
Then there’s my Australian Cattle Dog, Kyra. She got named after the character in Chronicles of Riddick. She is nothing like her namesake though – not a badass bone in her body. It complimented her late brother’s name: Ruger B. Riddick, named for the same movie series.
Finally, I wanted to thank you for stopping by today. Did you have any final messages for readers? Where can they go to find out more about you? Feel free to link to anything you want.
Thanks for having me! It’s been a blast!
I would love for you guys to come chat with me on social media. Writing can be a lonely business you know. So, feel free to drop by and chat about anything and everything – be it related to my books, one of my many random interests, or just to geek out over fandom stuff.