Allow me to introduce M.V. Freeman, debut author of “Incandescent,” recently released by Crimson Romance. A favorite read this year, Incandescent has it all, with enough magic, explosions, and combat to keep me happy − more sophisticated people rave about the complex lifelike characters, the sophisticated, highly emotive voice and unique, exciting plot. All I know is I couldn’t put it down. Thanks for visiting today, M.V.
Moriah Densley: I’ve been dying to ask you about Mikhail Petrov, the deliciously surly protagonist. Tell us about him; what inspired the character, what makes him tick, and how he straddles the line between good guy and bad guy.
M.V. Freeman: He was inspired by watching the movie “Eastern Promises” starring Viggo Mortensen. There is a scene where Viggo’s character is doing a very unsavory task and puts a cigarette out in his mouth—and I was hooked—I started to wonder what made a man like that and Mikhail unfurled in my head.
Mikhail is a man who has been brutalized, his family slowly murdered, and he still fought to come out on top. His drive is freedom for himself and for those he rules at any cost. He’ll use charm, bribery, and if that fails brute force. He doesn’t want to feel or care—because that brings weakness. He doesn’t think he’s a bad guy, but he knows he’s not good. If you ask him, he’d call himself a Pragmatist.
MD: I love “opposites attract” stories, and I can’t imagine two characters more not alike than Mikhail and Laurie. Tell us more about the heroine and her complicated relationship with Mikhail.
MVF: Laurie just wants to get rid of this power she’s wrestled with her whole life. To her Mikhail is dangerous, someone who will bring out the things inside of her she doesn’t want to deal with. As she is forced to interact with Mikhail, who will not take no for an answer, she realizes that she can’t run from herself. To Laurie, she makes a deal with the devil—to work with Mikhail. She learns that he is a lonely as she is, but by no means weak. For the first time, no matter what she does, she doesn’t have to be afraid of herself around him. Mikhail can take anything she has, but can she take him? Yes. J
MD: Describe your paranormal world for Incandescent.
MVF: This is tough—but I am going to try to give you an idea of the races because their relationship with each other is imperative. I created a society behind the human one—they are not as prolific as humans but their presence is necessary. Elementals−they manage the climate and weather for small areas and must work together to maintain a balance. Mages were created from Elementals via experimentations to create new powers. This resulted in a loss of any connection to the elements—and they managed to become the overlords of the Elementals. In the human world they try to direct world events via money, and politics. Darks are the mistakes from Mage experimentations—freaks, monsters. They are tasked as assassins and to do most of the grunt work. They are considered second and third class citizens since most cannot tolerate the light of day.
I made it with a Mob type atmosphere-because I figured when you are operating outside of human law, the rules are far more brutal and different. They have great power—but deal with equally large weaknesses. Some of them are in their nature, others physically, and there are certain substances that can hurt them all. I also made it clear that they can be killed.
I actually have a thirteen page history about these three races that I reference as I write. It’s hard to break it down to two paragraphs—but I think this is the gist of it. The more I write in this world, the more fascinated I get.
MD: I was struck by how well you blended elements of both the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres. As a reader, I wouldn’t have your story any other way, but I wonder, did you encounter some opposition along your path to publication?
MVF: Unfortunately yes. I’ve been informed I can’t write in this cross genre-it is hard to market. I was told that I have not enough world building and it’s too much world building. I still have problems with it—but I decided to write what I love. When I tried to write within the confines of what the “rules” were, it made my story flat—my characters weak, especially the hero, Mikhail. But, when I embraced the love of BOTH genres—and let my characters be who they were—the story started to explode and evolve. So I’m going to continue writing what I love and see where it takes me. Maybe this could be a whole new type of genre….:)
MD: Tell us how you approached the ethnic aspects of your story. The Russian characters seemed 100% genuinely Slavic to me. How does a Southern girl write Russian mafia?
MVF: I think I watched the movie “Eastern Promises” fifty times. Also—I studied Russian for a while when I was younger and for some reason I loved it. I am not fluent in it, but I know where to find people who are. In addition, I have a friend who spoke Russian and was exposed to the culture. She and I discussed at length general beliefs and practices of the Slavic people, not necessarily specifics—because each geographical area has its own idiosyncrasies. I blended them into Mikhail. I had one person comment that they thought he was “stereotypical” but anyone knows that if you have ever met a Russian there is nothing stereotypical about them. It’s like saying every southerner owns a truck. Sure, many do, but that’s not true of all of them.
And finally, literary license. The best part about fiction—make it up as you go along. 😉
MD: Do you have plans to make a series from Incandescent? What’s next for readers?
MVF: Yes, I do. Currently I have at least two more books. I am now in the midst of writing the next book tentatively entitled “Illumination”. This is a story of Mina, a Darkling girl who started a war and the man she’s loved since childhood. This is going to be more emotionally based, because Mina is a different sort of heroine. She doesn’t think things through and the unintended consequences of her actions hurt those she loves.
The third book—will probably be the hardest to write, “Iridescence” because that is a story of two people betrayed who must learn to trust each other.
I like to have all sorts of strange characters—people—and situations. I hope you like them. 😉
MD: What do you do when you’re not writing?
MVF: An insatiable amount of time staring off into space, avoiding laundry, and making sure my family is functioning. I also try to watch or read things that inspire me. In addition, I love to cook and hike.
MD: Any unusual hobbies and interests?
MVF: I love working out (Because I love to eat). But I can’t do the same thing all the time. Currently, I am into Kettle bells. Slinging around a ball of metal is truly stress relieving. I also like yoga. And when I get a chance I go with my family to the local range and shoot. I have a strong belief that self-defense is important for all law-abiding citizens.
MD: Care to tell us about your coffee addiction?
MVF: This started in the military (I was in the reserves). Next to smoking or dipping (I didn’t do either) coffee was a practically an art. It helped with chronic sleep deprivation. As I grew older I found that I like it strong with cream. I drink about 1-3 mugs a day, or I have tea. I just love the taste of it. I did give it up when I was pregnant and gladly, but was happy to drink it again. Everyone has a vice—and this is mine.
MD: Do your family and friends read your work? What do they think?
MVF: My husband and daughters do not. My husband–because he prefers non-fiction, my daughters, because they are too young. My extended family has read a bit. So far I’ve gotten positive feedback, but I’m afraid to ask.
MD: Any writing “rituals” to help you get in the zone?
MVF: I have to revamp my rituals. I used to get online and check my email and so forth, but that is interfering so I am going to stop doing that–but I usually try and put on some music—Baroque or Celtic (metal when I am doing violent scenes), I have something to drink, either water or tea. I re-read the last chapter, make some changes and then start writing. I feel very much like the pooch that circles three or four times before lying down….
MD: What authors/books inspire you?
MVF: Any author that captivates me with their story and characters inspire me—Anne Stuart, Ilona Andrews, Jeanine Frost, Robin Hobb, Moriah Densley (I love your writing), Scott Westerfeld to older writers like S.E. Hinton, J.R.R. Tolkien. Any genre works, so long as the story captures me it will inspire me. (I really wish I could type in more authors, because there are sooo many)
MD: What influences your style and voice?
MVF: You know, that’s a tough question. Much of what I read, listen to and watch all have their influences on me. I am very visual, I want you to see the colors, hear it, be there without having to be too detailed. I am not even sure that answers the question, because voice and style is intrinsic to us. It’s what makes us different from someone else and it’s hard to define.
MD: And lastly, just for fun – if you could have a supernatural power, what would you choose?
MVF: You would think fire right? Me, I’d like to walk through walls. Strange I know. But I always thought that was a cool thing to have. (I was also a fan of X-men comics, and one of the characters had this ability.)
M.V. Freeman is a native of Minnesota, but calls North Alabama her home. She is a member of RWA, and the chapters: Georgia Romance Writers, Southern Magic, and Heart of Dixie. By day her mind is filled with medical jargon at the local health clinic, but at night she finds herself exploring alternate worlds within our own. Heavily influenced by Slavic languages and culture, you will find she weaves these elements into her stories. Her award winning current story INCANDESCENT is the first in a series. She is currently working on the second book in the series while plotting another series. When she is not writing, she’s reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee. Visit: www.mvfreeman.com
Do you like paranormal romance and urban fantasy? Leave a comment, and you’re entered to win a free digital copy of Incandescent. Winner announced here Friday Sept. 7.