Today it’s my pleasure to interview Margarita Gakis, author of Trial by Fire, Covencraft- Book One.
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
Publisher: Fable Press
Date of Publication: 6/25/2013
Number of pages: 325
Word Count: 84,000
Cover Artist: Steven Novak
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Jade leads a structured life:
No serious relationships.
And now, she can spontaneously set things on fire with her mind.
Well... perhaps “normal” was never in the cards for her. As she questions her own sanity and spirals out of control, a man appears on her doorstep and tells her that, like him, she’s a witch.
Pulled in all directions, her unbridled magic draws dangerous attention and Jade wonders if she’s made the worst mistake of her life by joining a coven, or if she’ll even live long enough to regret it.
SKY: What inspired you to write this book?
MARGARITA: Wow. That’s a hard one. You know, I played around with these characters for a long time and they’ve gone through a few iterations – different settings and plots and this one finally gelled together and I felt like it ‘worked’. I always knew I’d write this book, I just didn’t know when. There was a particular book that inspired me somewhat for Jade’s characterization but I don’t want to say what it is because it may be a spoiler for the series, and also, it’s by a well-known author and I cringe to think he/she may end up stumbling upon my reference and just be… horrified that his/her book was somehow related to mine!
SKY: How did you come up with the title?
MARGARITA: For a long time, I just called this book “Book 1” in my head as I always knew I wanted to write a series. I’m not sure where the title Covencraft came from, but I started using it to mean the entire series of books. When I sent the book into Fable Press, that’s the title I used. Matt and Mike [Fable Press partners] came back and asked if I wanted that for the series or the book. I said “well, I kind of want it for the series but that leaves me without a title for a book and I hate titling!” Matt came up with a bunch of ideas based on his reading of the book. It was really interesting to see what someone else’s overall impression of the book was – he came up with a lot of great ideas! I really liked ‘Trial by Fire’ as my lead character, Jade, has an affinity for fire in her witchcraft and I also liked the statement it made about the overarching plot of the book, which is her joining and coven and having it not go so well! I thought it was a good fit.
SKY: If you could spend an hour in real life with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
MARGARITA: Henri! He’s a… good soul, if that makes sense. He’s a friend to my main character and I feel like he’s the kind of guy that would be a good friend to anyone. He’s a loyal guy. He’d stick with you through good times and bad. And he’s a coffee aficionado so he’d know the best places to go get it.
SKY: Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story.
MARGARITA: My heroine, Jade, finds out she’s a witch. It takes place in a world where Supernatural people are known about, but Jade has never identified as anything else but human. She starts bleeding out enough power to catch the interest of the supernatural community and a local coven is charged with bringing her into the fold. Jade has to decide if being part of a coven is something that she wants, or maybe even needs. She offers to give it a try and once at the coven, finds out that there may be other beings interested in her power – whether or not it’s still attached to her living body. Jade has to figure out who would be after her power while at the same time, trying to figure out if she belongs.
SKY: If you had to sell your book based on one run of dialogue (start quote to end quote), which would it be?
MARGARITA: “You’re very powerful and I think you could be quite useful to me in the future. And you’re not a screamer. Not that I don’t love a good scream, but when you’re trying to do business, screaming tends to hamper things a little. But, here’s the thing,” he leaned in a little closer and dropped his voice slightly. His lips were disgustingly close to hers, so close that she didn’t really have anywhere else to look. But she couldn’t look at his eyes - they made her stomach roll, made bile rise up in her throat. What the fuck was going on? She forced her eyes sideways, staring at the lamp on the nightstand with its strange pattern of vines and leaves, twisting and turning up the base, a glass lampshade with a leaf pattern on top. She’d thought it was so pretty when she first saw it. She stared at the glass, trying to find the pattern in the graceful twists and turns. “I’m not the only one that noticed how powerful you are. And more unfortunately, I wasn’t even the first.”
SKY: Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
MARGARITA: I’m currently working on the second book in the Covencraft Series, tentatively titled Counter Hex. While I don’t have all the plot details fleshed out, it’s about Jade learning more magic and learning how it all fits into her life. At the same time, it appears that other witches in the Coven are having problems and/or losing their magic and Jade is unaffected. It sort of leaves her as a person of interest or suspicion in a place she already wasn’t sure she really belonged.
SKY: What sort of personality does your heroine have?
MARGARITA: I think she’s a wounded soul that doesn’t quite realize it. She wouldn’t take the time to think about it in those terms but she has had a lot of cards stacked against her in her life. She’s practical and can be a bit emotionally stunted. She doesn’t always ‘get’ people or social interactions simply because the history of her life leading up to now hasn’t shown her any really healthy relationships. I think inherently she wants to fit in, whether or not she knows it. She can be abrupt and it can come across as cold or distant, but I don’t think she sees that yet. She’s growing as a person and I think she’ll get there, she just needs more time and more stability.
SKY: What genre/genres do you prefer to write? Are there other genres you’d like to write in the future?
MARGARITA: I really enjoy paranormal, urban fantasy and romance. I like the imagination aspect of it and the world building. I find that most readers are ready to accept any new world as long as the world building and ‘rules’ are consistent. Inconsistent rules lead to unhappy readers!
I’d love to get more into horror but I feel I need to read a bit more in that genre before I start getting serious. I’ve played around with horror in some shorter work and I find it’s hard not to “over-horror” things too quick! I need to work on building that intensity and the discomfort that sometimes accompanies a good horror story.
SKY: Do you prefer to write short stories, novellas or novels? Why?
MARGARITA: I like them all I find that short stories have been a little harder for me and it’s something I want to develop. In short stories, so much can be about what you don’t say and I do find it hard to let go of that element of control and hope that my reader gets there on his/her own. But short stories can be very powerful and I think they’re a medium we don’t see enough of. I also like plotting longer pieces like novellas or novels simply because I feel more invested as a writer, and I hope the reader feels invested as well.
SKY: Thanks for joining me today, Margarita! Wishing you much success always.
About the Author
Margarita loves the art, creativity and romanticism of storytelling. Sometimes, however, the act of putting pen to paper proves challenging, elusive. She develops genuine, relatable characters which grow in the hearts of her readers. From that foundation, the stories flourish into a warm friend.
She enjoys pursuits which blur the lines between the analytical and creative sides of her brain. This includes her day job in electronic data management, where she uses her creativity to solve logical problems, and also her lessons learning to play the cello, where she finds beauty in the structure of music and the instrument. She believes there is a place for both logic and imagination to work together. When they do, the results are magical.
Margarita has a special spot in her heart for dogs and lives with three of them. It can be a little overwhelming but the quality snuggle time makes up for it.
Margarita lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family.