Mandi Oyster lives in Southwest Iowa on her very own forest reserve with her husband, two kids, four cats, and two chinchillas. She is sure that fairies, unicorns, goblins, dragons, and other mythological creatures live in those woods, and she hopes to one day see them. By day, she works for a local print shop. At night, she dreams up worlds and adventures to share with her readers. Mandi writes YA Fantasy, and her latest novel, Book 7 of the Dacia Wolf series, Dacia Wolf & the Phouka’s Curse, is coming soon.
My books are all in the same series. The latest is Dacia Wolf & the Wings of Change. I was inspired to write the first book, Dacia Wolf & the Prophecy, after reading the first three Harry Potter books in one weekend. After reading them, I kept having a scene play in my head, over and over again until I wrote it down. Once I did, the rest of the book came out. That original scene was wiped out in edits, but I’m glad it came to me. If it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be working on book 7, Dacia Wolf & the Phouka’s Curse now.
Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?
I don’t know why, but questions like this are always really hard for me to answer.
Impromptu. Daily. Chaotic. Important. Satisfying.
Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?
J.K. Rowling’s books made me want to write after years of not wanting to. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the best world-building ever. Becca Fitzpatrick writes exceptional body language. John Flanagan is great at writing a long series. Janet Evanovich’s books for their humor. Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Melissa Marr, and Sarah J. Maas for memorable characters. M.H. Woodscourt, C.T. Ortega, Alexis Johnson, Ava Cates, and Kristin Ward for writing outstanding indie books.
Either a computer or a pen and paper. Sometimes, it will look like I’m not focused, but I’m a pantser, so I stare off into space a lot.
Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
You have to have a plot, but no matter how great your plot is, if your characters aren’t well-written, your story will fail. It’s also important that you find your own voice. There are so many “rules” to writing, but if everyone followed them, books would sound like they were written by robots.
Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write every day. You can’t edit a blank page.
Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?
Fantasy. I like to deal with problems that don’t really exist. You can learn something from what the characters are going through, but you don’t have to worry about coming across them in your own life. I prefer young adult because I listen to people talk like sailors all day at work. I don’t need to read it, too.
Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Like I said before, if your characters aren’t realistic, it doesn’t matter how great the plot is. People won’t get behind it.
Q9: What are you working on now?
I’m close to 60,000 words into book 7 in the Dacia Wolf series, and I need to hurry up and finish it because I have readers waiting to see what happens next.
Q10: What are you currently reading?
Legends of Astraea, by Sophia Alessandrini.Keep reading for a sneak preview of Dacia Wolf & the Phouka’s Curse:
Nathan sauntered across the rocky outcrop toward me. There was something about him that, despite his size, made him seem friendly instead of intimidating. He took in my measure, smiling when his cornflower blue eyes met mine. “I can see why Liam stayed.”
Heat burned my cheeks, and I imagined my whole face was scarlet.
Before I could think of anything to say in response, Nathan was continuing, “A beautiful girl who hangs with demons and dragons”—he held out his hand, waiting for me to take it—“the excitement must be unending.”
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