posted by Nancy
Eilis Flynn joins us in the lair today. A Cerridwen Press author and investment publication editor, Eilis brings some unusual personal slants, which we’ll discuss today, to her work. Before Eilis joins us, we’ll chat briefly with the hero and heroine of her newest release, Introducing Sonika.
Sonika--or would you rather be called Sonya?
This isn’t going into The Morrissey Herald, right? I’d prefer my secret identity not be blown this early in my career! Call me … uh … oh heck, call me anything you like. Sorry, I’m still new at this, even though I trained for it when I was a kid.
Yours is an unusual family business. Would you like to tell our readers a little about it and about your history with it?
Sure. Mom and Dad were super-heroes, local protectors of Morrissey and Hamilton, twin cities, basically. I was just a little kid when they figured out I couldn’t get away from the family business, when my ability to temporarily solidify sound manifested itself. My powers are clearly from both of them, but an amalgam. Like Mom, I can move at speeds too fast to be seen by the naked eye, but in my case, only for a few seconds at a time. Like Dad, I can manipulate sound, but unlike him, I can shape it. And from then on, I trained to fight crime alongside them. But then they died, and … I gave it up. Until I met John.
What drew you to John, and how did that attraction become something more profound?
He was determined to do what he had sworn to do, even though he wasn’t physically capable. He couldn’t even walk without crutches, but he was going to avenge his father’s murder. I was impressed by that. I mean, I trained to do that, so for me that wasn’t a big deal. He hadn’t, but that wasn’t going to stop him. And he was really cute in a geeky way.
Oh, and here’s John. What did you think when this woman broke into your home?
Well, the first thing I thought was I was going to fire that security firm, since they were clearly not doing the job. The cameras were always broken, and something else was always going on but I couldn’t prove it and the security firm just figured it was my imagination. And then she said she was the physical therapist I was trying to avoid, and she wouldn’t let me avoid her the way I avoided her predecessor. She was just as set as I was to avoid her, not to let me. And the second thing I thought was, you and who else?
What attracted you to her?
She was a knockout. And I also could tell she could knock me out if I crossed her.
What did you think the first time you saw her powers manifest?
From what I understand, I first saw her powers manifest in front of me and I didn’t know it, when she got me out of the way of a speeding car trying to hit me. But the first time I actually saw it and remembered it … it was like something from Industrial Light & Magic, the special-effects movie people. How could this petite woman be doing this? I thought I was hallucinating. But then I realized I was not.
Sonika (or Sonya) and John just received an emergency alert, so they have to leave now. Eilis is here, though.
Welcome, Eilis! What inspired you to write a super-hero romance?
I come from a comic book background! I read ‘em, wrote numerous letters to the editor critiquing the stories (32 letters published), then wrote stories for DC Comics when I was in college, married a comic book fan (whom I met when I tried to join his Legion of Super-Heroes Fan Club), and then worked at DC for a short stint. When I was younger, I wondered why there were so few super-heroines and when there were some, so many were lame. I wrote Introducing Sonika for those girls.
You have another book, Festival of Stars, that also has a very personal connection. Could you tell us a little about that book and what inspired it?
My mother was Japanese, and if there’s one thing that the Japanese love, it’s their legends and stories. There’s one story in particular about two stars up in the sky, a pair of lovers, who are only allowed to meet once a year. But that’s only if the weather is clear. Otherwise, the torrential rains you get in the summer are their tears when they lose their chance for the year. There’s an entire festival based on this story, called -- yes! the festival of stars. The story can also be found in China, where I think it’s called the festival of the weaving maiden, or the weaving princess (in that version of the story, it’s the princess and the cowherder). I always loved that story, and since the Japanese are also known for their relatively depressing endings to their faery tales, I wanted to give the star lovers a shot a happiness. But in my case, I set the story in the modern-day US.
Your first book, which I understand is still very popular, was The Sleeper Awakes. What’s that about?
Sleeper is a good example of how boredom can work for you. I started to write it when I was taking a Series 7 course for a brokerage firm I worked at. It was ordinarily a boring class, but one night the instructor was really late. I’d had a dream about torii, the vermilion-colored Japanese gate you see at the entrance to shrines, the night before. Except there was more than one in my dream -- there were seven. Now, at the shrines that’s not unusual. In fact, there’s a shrine near where my grandmother lived that has a dozen.
In my dream, I realized that going through each of the torii signified something, and doing so would give the answer to something. When I woke up, I knew I had to use that somehow, and the instructor being late to class was just the opening I was waiting for.
Did you finish the class?
Sure, but it was never the same. I knew I had to write the story behind those gates!
In The Sleeper Awakes, my heroine, terminally ill, finds herself in a land not her own. The gates she finds there are somehow key to controlling a naturally occurring devastating weather phenomenon called waterfire, and she is told she has a role in doing so as well. What is it? She doesn’t know … and knows that her days are numbered, whether she fulfills her role or not. But to make sure her life, cut short, means something, she starts out on a journey to find out, accompanied by someone who looks just like her manipulative, scheming boyfriend at home, but who is definitely not.
What do you see as the upsides and downsides of small press or e-press publishing versus the larger print houses?
Lack of distribution. Lack of marketing. The lack of marketing is both an upside and a downside, though, because you really learn to be a media hound. It’s good to know these things, but it cuts into my writing time.
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up my book in a sci-fi continuity series that I started with a few other Cerridwen authors, and writing sequels to Sleeper and Sonika. I was just at a comic convention a few days ago, and someone who had read about Sonika and bought it (bless his heart!) asked when I was writing the sequel. Geez, you can’t get more direct encouragement than that!
Eilis is giving away a choice of one of her books, The Sleeper Awakes, Festival of Stars, or Introducing Sonika, to one commenter chosen at random today. Thanks for stopping by, Eilis!
To learn more about Eilis and her work, visit the website she and fellow Cerridwen Press author Heather Hiestand share: http://www.coffeeonsundays.info/. You can also reach it at http://www.eilisflynn.com/.
How far beyond the bounds of reality do you like your books to go? Did you ever have a favorite super-hero? Is there something in your background you draw on for your work?
If you didn't already check for yesterday's anniversary prize winners, you might want to scroll down a couple of clicks and do that, but be sure to come back and comment to be entered for this week's drawing!