Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Interview with author Madhuri Blaylock

Today let's get to know author Madhuri Blaylock a bit better.

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure thing. My parents are from south India, I was born in Vancouver, Canada, lived in Seattle, Washington until I was five and then moved to a small town called Snellville, Georgia, where I lived until I left for New York City to attend Barnard College. I have a younger brother and sister, a sister-in-law and a brother-in-law.

I’ve been married to my husband, Henry, for fifteen years (wow!), we have a son together, the insanely cool Dash, and he has a daughter, my brilliant and awesome step daughter, Sydney. These three are my crew and I love them fiercly. We have loads of fun together, laugh constantly, bicker a bit, and Wii bowl like it’s no one’s business. Holla.

Some randoms about me: I used to have a nose ring, during law school my hair was dyed platinum blonde, Nightmare on Elm Street gave me nightmares for months on end, I’m a stubborn taurus, I have six tattoos with two more in the works, I drive a convertible Mini, I had guinea pigs named Fran and Fred, I love Coach and Tami, Thelma and Louise is one of my top five favorite films, New Orleans is my favorite US city, I’m totally superstitious, my son’s name is from The Incredibles, fish hate me (trust me, they do), Glenlivet is my poison after 5pm, my dad pierced my ears and my girl crushes are Beatrix Kiddo, Zoe Saldana and Rashida Jones.

Q ~ If you could go anywhere, real or imagined, where would it be and why?

I would like to go to Rinshun Palace, the Ramyan palace briefly mentioned in THE GIRL, where Dev begins her Ramyan Warrior training, and is explored in more detail in Book Two: The Boy.

It’s so beautiful and magical that I simply want to see it with my own eyes, explore the many hallways and possibly spend some time in one of the numerous meditation gardens. And hang with Qi, but that goes without saying.

I would also like to visit Hogworts and Diagon Alley for all the reasons anyone would want to visit them: the moving picture frames, the chamber of secrets, Moaning Myrtle, Hagrid’s hut, The Leaky Cauldron, butterbeer, and Ollivanders Wand Shop just to name a few.

Q ~ Are you a dog person, a cat person, or does some other critter strike your fancy?

I have been a dog person my whole life, having been raised with dogs since I was a baby and then having my own dogs after college. Intertestingly though, after having a kid and being followed around the house 24/7, I’ve come to appreciate the independence of cats. I don’t think I would call myself a cat person by any means, but in my old age, I can see their appeal. Unfortunately, my husband despises them so it’s either a dog or nothing.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?

I tried my hand at writing a novel when I was unemployed and for the first time in a long while, had time to focus on something besides being a lawyer. I’d had an idea for a series I wanted to develop, so I started writing and before I knew it, I had a few chapters. I emailed those to my girlfriend, she read them and emailed me back, saying it was great and she wished she had something like it to read growing up and so was born The Coco Butta Kids (presently called Ayesha’s Teenage Survival Files).

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?

The best thing is that I am genuinely happy. I feel so good about myself when I’m writing. It’s a real high and I think it shows in how I carry myself these days. I grew up with a dad who is a surgeon and truly loves what he does and to me, that’s always been the difference between having a career and having a job. My dad has a career in medicine; I have a job in law. But these days, I feel like I’m finally on my career path and it’s pretty freaking sweet.

Hmmm...the worst? Not yet hitting that sweet spot where everything clicks and THE GIRL is suddenly in thousands of people’s hands every week, gaining more and more fans every day. I don’t know how people do it, but I think the book is good enough that it could happen, I just have to keep at it.

Q ~ Who are your biggest supporters?

My family and my friends are huge support, helping me in any way possible with this baby I’m creating. But now, after putting on my marketing hat and getting THE GIRL out there and into people’s hands, I’ve also met some very cool authors/bloggers who have become good friends and we all support each other any way we can. This Indie author game is tough, so a good support system is key to surviving with your sanity intact.

Q ~ When you write, do you lay out a solid outline before beginning, or start writing and iron out the kinks later?

For The Sanctum Trilogy, I’ve loosely outlined each of the three books, so I know where each starts and ends. But in all honesty, once I start writing, the process and the details take over and then, anything can happen, regardless of what the outline says. So long as I have the beginning and ending of each book worked out, the rest seems to fall into place as it happens.

Q ~ What inspired you to develop the Sanctum?

I’d been reading lots of fantasy and paranormal fiction and felt like I was devouring book after book about girls with unrealized powers who needed a boy to clue them into whatever those powers might be. And not that there’s anything wrong with getting a little help from folks here and there, but seriously? You need a boy to tell you what is the what every time? Come on. I decided I wanted to create a girl who knew her own worth and power, was aware of her capabilities and was extremely confident, and thus came Dev.

I spent quite a bit of time taking notes on Dev and the other characters, creating them, fleshing them out, developing The Sanctum and how it worked, but what finally got me writing was Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”. She created such a beautiful novel, that was so interesting and unique, and I wanted to see if I could take all of my notes on Dev and the crew and do the same.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite character (or two) in your series? What is it that draws you to them?

I do. I love Wyatt and Dev is a close second, if not often tied with him.

I think with Wyatt, I can relate to his fierce loyalty and sympathize with his need to appear as if all if perfect when, in fact, there is quite a lot of crap going on behind the scenes. Also, who doesn’t love a guy who shows up on your doorstep, offers you his hand and proceeds to show you the night of your life?

Then there’s Dev, my number one homegirl. She’s the reason I created the trilogy and I love her madly. She’s so strong and determined and presents this incredibly fierce face, because she can really back it up, she’s seriously no joke, but she’s also playful and tender and sexy.

And vulnerable. I enjoy exploring her few weaknesses, which make her somewhat human and very relatable. You root for her on so many different levels.

Q ~ Can we expect anything further in the Sanctum?

Definitely. I’m currently working on Book Two: The Boy and am about halfway finished with the first draft. I hope to have it ready to publish this spring. Then will finish the trilogy with Book Three: The Prophecy.

By then, either I’ll be completely exhausted or so very, very sad to say bye-bye to Dev, Wyatt and the crew.

Q ~ Are you working on anything outside of this series?

Right now, no. I’m in a good writing space currently and am thoroughly focused on all things The Sanctum, so am just kind of going with that vibe.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?

Keep on keeping on with your bad self - write, write, write.

About the author:

Madhuri Blaylock is a lawyer by day, writer and avid shoe and dress buyer at all other times. She lives in Jersey City, but her heart remains firmly planted in Brooklyn via Snellville, Georgia. Her husband, Henry, is also a lawyer, and only a lawyer because he actually likes being a lawyer (go figure), probably always wanted to be a lawyer and is really, really good at all things lawyerly. He's also pretty hot.

She’s got a big kid, Miss Sydney, and a little kid, the one and only Dash. They're awesome and fierce and supremely cool and able to make her laugh at the strangest things. She would love to add a dog, some chickens, a goat and a burro to this crew. Everyone needs a burro.

Some of her favorites, in no particular order: ice cream, Kill Bill, four-inch heels, Matt Damon, tattoos, Laini Taylor, scotch on the rocks, The Sanctum trilogy, random office supplies, Martha's Vineyard, "The Girl" aka my Mini, Rihanna, Doc Martens, tulips, photo booths and dancing like a fool.

One day she plans to grow up. Right now, she’s enjoying the adventure.
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A bit about The Girl:

Date Published: 11/11/2013

The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.
A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.

Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.

All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum. His abdication of his duties and his outright rejection of his responsibilities to The Sanctum create a maelstrom of events beyond anyone’s imagination.

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  1. Thanks for THE GIRL tour stop and interview, Jonel. It was great fun. Rock on!