Y’all, I am so excited to bring you this week’s special Blog Post! Not only did I find a new book series to love while on my drafting break – The Skazka Chronicles by Indie Author Valia Lind – but Miss Lind was amazing enough to agree to an interview while in the chaos of Launch Week for the second book in the series!
Author of The Titanium Series and Falling by Design, among others, Valia Lind is a former St. Petersburg native with a natural talent for writing gripping conflict, heart-grabbing romance, and high-stakes plots that leave her readers dying for the next book! Her most recent foray into the YA genre is in a Supernatural-meets-Once Upon A Time fantasy series titled The Skazka Chronicles.
The Skazka Chronicles follows Calista Faulkner, a 17-year-old who never believed in fairy tales…until she is thrust into one. While attending a college party, she’s attacked by terrifying creatures straight out of a modern day Dr. Frankenstein’s handbook. Fleeing for her life, she discovers that her human memories are a lie and nothing is what it seems. Book 1, Remembering Majyk, follows Calista on her journey to uncover her true memories while fighting for her survival. Book 2, Majyk Reborn, centers around Calista’s return to her home realm as she continues to regain her memories and faces dark secrets, her own rising power, and the worsening threats on all sides.
I fell in love with Remembering Majyk from the beginning, especially with Calista and Brendan, the two leads. It was such an honor to interview Miss Lind about the series. Read on for insight into this lore-rich, love-laced story, and check out the end of the post for links where you can purchase and dive into The Skazka Chronicles too!
1) This may be a pretty cliché opening question, but bear with me – where did the idea for the Skazka Chronicles come from?
If I’m to be honest, I don’t remember the exact moment I decided to write Remembering Majyk or where specifically that story came from. I can tell you that I love magic books and I love books that deal with self-discovery and sword wielding heroes and slow burn love stories. Remembering Majyk is all of those things for me. But most of all, it is my heritage.
You see, I grew up in the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia. Born and raised, and proud to be from such a beautiful and historic city. I’ve always had a particular love for stories and I remember my mom and I reading and watching these Russian folk tales. Baba Yaga, The Firebird, the siblings, Alyonushka and Ivanushka. Russia has some awesome cartoons, which have adopted these stories and beautiful books, full of illustrations that have stayed with me through the years.
So when I decided to write a book about a girl with a history she couldn’t quite remember, set in a world full of magic, it only seemed appropriate to bring that side of my heritage into it. These stories and the lessons they teach were a big part of my upbringing, thanks to my wonderful mother, and as a writer, I wanted the rest of the world to experience them as well.
Remembering Majyk is not really a retelling of any particular story. It is a mixture of all the beautiful parts of my childhood wrapped into one. While it may still have the aspect of a young adult novel (because how could I ever get away from that, it’s my favorite) the story brings little parts of the fairytales into it.
2) I love the personal touch to the background of the Skazka Chronicles! You’ve now got two books in the series available for sale (readers, see links below to order these books!) Do you have a set number of books planned in Calista’s series, or are the Chronicles still expanding?
I had a set number of books planned, and then it changed…and changed again. Now, drafting book 3, I think Cali’s story might come to an end. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t explore other aspects in the Skazka universe with maybe a novella or two… 😉
3) Novellas! SQUEE! I am all about that, especially because I won’t be ready to let these characters go anytime soon. Some more than others! No spoilers, but we all know there’s a certain ship we’re rooting for in Majyk Reborn. Can we expect some juicy tension between our favorite Protector and her lifelong friend?
Oh there is ALWAYS tension! Tension is my favorite (*evil author laugh*) There are a few scenes that made me cry while I was writing them, if that tells you anything.
4) Knowing your talent, these scenes are going to make me cry, too! 😉 Remembering Majyk deals in some poignant themes of what makes us who we are, and whether we get to choose our destiny or if it’s born within us. What made you choose these themes? Or did they develop on their own as Calista’s arc progressed?
When I started telling Calista’s story, I didn’t start out with any particular theme in mind. But she quickly brought her own themes into the story, because that’s my girl for ya! I think why these themes stood out so strongly with me personally is because it’s something we all go through. While I didn’t plan on it, Calista is most like me (even with her more undesirable qualities) and choosing for herself who she is meant to be and how she fits in the world, well it’s something I had to do.
5) No argument here—Calista was a protagonist I quickly bonded with too, even, like you said, her undesirable traits! On the other hand, one of the unexpected character favorites from Remembering Majyk for me was Maxwell. I fell in love from his first line! Will he feature more prominently in subsequent books?
Oh that makes me so happy, because I love Maxwell as well! He’s my precious platonic best friend/brother from another mother that just makes my heart happy. He is definitely more present in Majyk Reborn, and will be even more so in book 3 😀
6) SILENTLY CHEERING! Speaking of what’s to come, Majyk Reborn hit Amazon Bestseller status before it was even released, which is AWESOME, by the way! Congrats! Do you have any tips for readers who might be considering the self-publishing route, too? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned through this process?
Thank you so much! I am still in shock over that, to be honest.
One of my biggest tips for self-publishing, or really anything that you want to do in life, is to surround yourself with the right people. Writing can and is such a lonely sport. There are times you completely disappear from life because you are so engrossed in your characters. Having the right people, the right kind of support, will make the biggest difference. Get yourself a critique partner or a few who will tell you when you suck, but who will also tell you when you’re doing great. They won’t sugar coat it, but they will also be your greatest cheerleaders. I started out all alone, and I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone.
And the biggest lesson I learned, and I’ve learned so many, is that it all comes down to how much you love it and how much you want it. You’re going to have bad days, you’re going to have terrible days, but if you write what you LOVE, then it will be worth it in the end. Trying to please everyone else will only make you fail. I mean, sure, some people hit success by pleasing others, but personally, that has never been the case for me. I write what I love, for the love of the stories and the characters who live in them.
7) Powerful words, and it’s something I think every writer needs to hear: do what you LOVE, and fight for it! I love that! How about a snapshot of your drafting process! Do you outline ahead of time, or go on the fly? Edit during or after drafting? Has your process changed at all from the start of the Skazka Chronicles until now?
I’m terrible at drafting *hides* because I am a complete pantser. I also never start at the beginning. It’s always a scene somewhere in the middle of the book that comes to me first. I write that out and from that, I get to know my characters. I have to name them before I start, but that’s basically as much planning as I do. When I do have to brainstorm, I brainstorm on paper, because computers just throw me off.
I write scenes out of order sometimes and put them together at the end of the day. Then I read over what I wrote and make slight changes, but usually I leave my editing for the editing stage.
Majyk Reborn was a bit different because while drafting book one, I made notes on some of the things that I needed and wanted to happen. So I had a small outline. With book three, I’m outlining a lot. I need to make sure I hit all the points. So I guess it’s a progression.
This makes me so excited for Book 3, just getting a glimpse of how you’ve been planning to pull the threads together! Last but not least: I know parents don’t play favorites, but if you HAD to choose, who’s your favorite character to write in The Skazka Chronicles, and why?
Oh man. This is a hard one. But I think if I had to choose, it would be Brendan. He’s SO complex, because he’s a soldier first, but still the sweetest person you would meet. While Calista is all hard lines and edges, he’s a cuddly teddy bear, who can cut you down with one swipe of his sword. Even with all of Calista’s self-discovery, she is very straightforward. Brendan on the other hand, knows exactly who he is and it’s fascinating to me.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions in the chaos of Launch Week, Valia! Best of luck to you with Majyk Reborn’s release and the drafting of Book 3!
To order Remembering Majyk, click below!
To order Majyk Reborn, click below!