Today's interview features Beck Michaels, whose debut novel Divine Blood will be out on June 3rd. Beck is a true inspiration, who has been working on her series for fifteen years and has managed to create a world (and story) that sounds utterly amazing. She is following in the footsteps of Neil Gaiman, Sarah J. Maas, and the exquisite Holly Black, with a novel that has everything a fantasy lover could want.
L: First thing first, please introduce yourself!
Hi! My name is Beck Michaels, I am a California native living in quiet Indiana. I run an imprint, a graphic design business and I am a fantasy author. On June 3rd, I will publish my debut novel, Divine Blood, the first book in an epic fantasy series.
L: What has your writing journey looked like?
B:Well, I first began writing Divine Blood about fifteen years ago, during my junior year of high school. I didn’t have a computer back then, so I filled these ten, thick spiral notebooks with the story and I have been working on it off and on ever since. Last year I took out those notebooks again, reread them, and when I got to the last page, there was no ending! I had to know what happened which meant I had to write it. So, that is when I seriously decided to draft up the first book.
L: Why did you decide to write YA fantasy?
B: Fantasy is my favorite genre. There is something about an other world setting and adventure that I can’t help but get immersed into. Writing my own fantasy world gives me hope that maybe magic exists in some form.
L: Your book, Divine Blood, will be releasing June 3rd! Can you pitch us this book?
B: Dyna has a mission: destroy the demon that destroyed her life. First, she must find a magical weapon hidden in a place of dark legend, a place of wonder and treasure—a place from which no one returns. Unfortunately, she is not the only one searching for it.
Divine Blood is a dark tale full of action, magic, inner darkness and the courage needed to stand in those moments.
L: As this is a fantasy novel, so can you tell us a little bit about the world it takes place in?
B: It takes place in a medieval setting within the continent of Urn where magic is abundant and it’s normal to see mythical creatures walk among humans. I introduce the Celestials, which is this world’s version of angels, shifters, fae, elves, and mages to name a few.
L: Divine Blood is the first in a series. What are the overarching themes of The Guardians of the Maiden series?
B: Divine Blood centers a lot on darkness vs. light and not always literally. These characters have a tragic past and they need each other to help find their way. Another underlying theme is self-acceptance. Sometimes what we think sets us apart from others could in fact be the very thing that is the best part of who you are.
L: What has your journey to publication looked like?
B:I began working on Divine Blood full time as of March of last year. Once I had a draft, I contacted friends, and family to beta read for me. With their review, I worked on another draft and contacted critique and beta groups and so on. With the critique of every beta reader, I made improvements and revisions. They are writers too and I owe them a big thank you for all they have taught me. This process took about a year. Divine Blood reached its 12th draft before it was finished.
L: What books can this novel be compared to, in terms of style?
B: This is a fantasy told in third person with multiple points of view. As for style, it could be compared to Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.
L: Can you describe the main characters, Dyna and Cassiel?
B: Dyna is an 18-year-old healer from a secluded village who has a lot of fears but works hard to face them. Cassiel is a young, Celestial prince with magical healing blood, and a pessimistic view of the world. Both are stark opposites but they balance each other.
L: Who is one character that you think will be a fan favorite?
B: Cassiel, definitely. I also believe Zev, Dyna’s werewolf cousin, will be a close second favorite. They both are very dark, rich characters with their own sort of dynamic.
L: Do you have a favorite quote from Divine Blood?
B: “The moment your life is in danger, there are only two choices to make: you fight or you die. I have prepared you for both but I’ll tell you one thing—dying is easy.”
I have many favorites but I feel this one sums up the story pretty well.
L: You also have a prequel novella, King’s Oath, in the works. What is this story about and do you know when it will be available?
King’s Oath is a novella that follows Yoel, Cassiel’s father, and it takes place in the Kingdom of Hilos, 20 years before the events of Divine Blood. It’s a tale of a bitter king who must decide between love and duty when either decision will ultimately affect the future of his reign and kingdom.
It’s a little spoilery so I am holding out on releasing King’s Oath until 2021, possibly after book three of the series is out.
L: Do you have anything else you would like to add about Divine Blood?
B: If you’re a fan of fantasy, brooding angels, magic and a sprinkle of romance, please include Divine Blood to your TBR. You can find a sneak peek of the first four chapters on my website, www.beckmichaels.com. Also come join the launch party under Divine Blood’s Facebook Group on June 3rd. I’ll be hosting a fun meet and greet with me, a chance to win bookish merch and your own copy of my debut novel!
L: Do you have any advice for fellow fantasy writers?
B: World building is an important aspect of the fantasy genre. Whether its urban fantasy or epic fantasy that takes place in another dimension, you need to know your world. By this, I mean its history, the rules of magic (if magic is involved), the people or creatures that populate it and even the plant life. Knowing the world you created thoroughly will naturally solidify your story and give your readers the sense that it’s a real place.
Follow Beck on Instagram: beckmichaels_writes
Check out her beautiful website: https://beckmichaels.com/