I'll soon be reading Apprentice, the second book in The Black Mage series by Rachel E. Carter. I need to catch up soon because the third book, Candidate, comes out in just a week! To celebrate her newest release, I just had to sit down with her to have a chat. Check out my review of First Year and see why I've already packed my bags to go off to the Academy!
By the way, book #1, First Year, is on sale for just $0.99 through 10/31. I promise, you don't want to miss your chance to start this series for just a buck. I loved it!
Rachel E. Carter is a young adult author who hoards coffee and books. She has a weakness for villain and bad boy love interests. When not writing, she is usually reading, and when not reading she is usually asleep. To her, the real world is Hogwarts and everything else is a lie.
The Black Mage is Rachel’s first YA fantasy series, with many more to come. She loves to interact with fellow readers & aspiring writers, and here is a list of places you can find her online:
What makes your series The Black Mage different from other YA books centered around magic?
Well I haven’t read on every book with magic so this is just solely based off the ones I have read but I think the biggest difference is that magic in my series is only devoted to war. The kingdom of Jerar is obsessed with having the best army in the realm, and as a result they only authorize training devoted to three factions: Combat (fighting), Restoration (healing), and Alchemy (potions-making devoted solely to ones beneficial in war). Magic is cast through a detailed projection of the mind (no words or fancy gestures or staffs/wands necessary) and not everyone has the same amount of power or even magic at all. I also have something called “pain casting” which is magic derived off of intense emotion and pain, and it’s anything but stable.
Were there any books or films that helped inspire The Black Mage?
Harry Potter (the dueling parts with Malfoy and Harry, and later Harry and Voldemort) as well as Tamora Pierce's three Tortall series (Alanna, Daine, and Kel books) majorly shaped how I thought about magic, strong female characters, and the way I wanted to structure my series in terms of the progression of darkness and plot.
Some of the training the Academy students have to go through is so intense! Was it hard coming up with their rigorous schedule or the "rules" for the magical element in your story?
I think a lot of the rigorous schedule was derived from my lack of sleep in college. I worked full-time with school so I was always fighting to keep up with the rest, and I also took a horrible bootcamp PE class which I drew from for the inspiration for the physical conditioning scenes. And, of course, the Protector of the Small (Kel) series by Tamora Pierce shows a protagonist I admire more than anyone else struggling to keep up.
What's been the hardest part of writing this series?
The hardest part? I'm sure this is obvious but writer's block and word count. Some authors can write a million pages a day and never struggle to write, but I am not one of those fortunate few. I have a hundred bad days for every good day, but somehow those good days create a book.
What's been the best part?
The best part? My fans!!! Getting fan art and music playlists and sweet messages from readers who love m book is the best part. Hearing about other countries' readers who discovered my series just puts me in awes. I feel like people all over the world know about Ryiah and Darren and my seventh grade self who dreamed them up is just in awe!
If you could live in any time period what would it be?
Modern day. I love my modern day appliances and amenities too much, and while I love paperbacks my Kindle is the best thing that ever happened to me. No more driving to the bookstore, whatever I want -the second it releases- even if it's 3am I can start reading a new book.
What advice to you have for aspiring authors?
Don't ever stop writing. Make it a priority to do a little bit a day - a poem, a blog, even a couple of sentences of random dialogue. You only get better with practice, trust me. And find teachers or peers or mentors or whoever you can to help mentor and support you. Also, there is nothing wrong with fanfiction! I started off writing about Julian from The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith for years, and it was all of that practice that helped me take writing more seriously (and a ton of big name authors did this too!)
You're currently writing Last Stand, book #4 in the series. What's happening after that?
After Last Stand I’ve got about 70 competing novel ideas –some barely formed, others brimming with detail. I really want to take a break from a series and do a standalone or two (YA or possibly NA), and then there has been one YA series in particular that I have been dying to write almost as long as The Black Mage and I can’t wait to begin it!
for just 99 cents!
Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1GxmUmH
Amazon (Foreign): http://wp.me/p4g2iJ-48
Book Depository: http://bit.ly/BDBLACKMAGE
Overdrive (library): http://bit.ly/overdrivebm