Today we welcome award-winning author Patricia Rice to the lair. In addition to being a three-time RITA finalist and gracing numerous best-seller lists, she has won the Romantic Times Career Achievement and Lifetime Achievement Awards, and her paranormal historical, Merely Magic, was one of the Romantic Times reviewers' 200 all-time favorite books. This month marks the release of Pat's 45th book, Mystic Rider.
Congratulations on the release of Mystic Rider. Please tell us a little about it and the related books.
The Mystic Isle series is based around an invisible island in the English channel in the turbulent 1790’s. As aristocracy crumbles in France, so does the supernatural house of Olympus on the Mystic Isle. In MYSTIC RIDER, the last male Olympus—Ian—is forced to leave the island to find the missing Chalice of Plenty and the woman whose life he Sees as entwined with that of the chalice.
Mystic Rider uses music in an intriguing way. What inspired you to do that?
Chantal, the woman Ian “sees” in his vision, can cause riots, laughter, or tears with her music, even with her voice. I’m not at all certain where the inspiration came from, but I had this image of a woman riding beside a man in a cart, playing a flute, and creating chaos all around her. I never got to actually use that exact image, but she creates plenty of chaos before the story is done!
You've coined a new term for this series, amacara. What is it, and how did you come up with it?
I had fun playing with language in these books, coming up with their names from Celtic, Greek, and Roman lore. An amacara is the mystical love bond granted a favored few, a bond that draws two unlikely people together and bonds them to eternity. My heroines have a habit of calling it sexual slavery. *G* But I have to be very careful in choosing weird names because readers like me have a tendency to skim across unknown words or phrases, dismissing them entirely. And this bond was too important to the first book in the series to be dismissed. So I chose two Latin-based words that most people will recognize as referring to love or endearment "ama" and "cara" and hoped for the best!
This is the second book in the Mystic Isle series. What was the first one, Mystic Guardian, (which you're generously giving away) about?
Trystan l’Enforcer is the guardian of Aelynn, an invisible island in the English channel. Trystan intends to marry a woman whose family will help him guarantee the isle’s isolation. But when a sultry beauty washes up on shore, his plans take a confounding turn. She not only stirs a carnal hunger that risks everything he is but she steals Aelynn’s most sacred object— unleashing chaotic forces that can lead to devastating destruction.
The island of Aelynn seems sort of like a combination of Avalon, Shangri-La, and every tropical paradise. What inspired it?
And a touch of Brigadoon, don't forget! *g* Although I can name any number of legends that lend background to an invisible island, it was pure story logic that created it. I wanted an isolated island of superheroes guarding a sacred treasure, and I wanted it threatened by war between England and France. Given the number of ships sailing through the English Channel, it would be just a trifle preposterous to expect no one to have seen this island over a few gazillion years. So I invented a rocky barrier shrouded in a magical fog. Now fog in the Channel, that I can believe. And should anyone dare the rocks and the fog and hit upon the mystical shield that prevented entrance, they would assume they hit an unseen rock. Besides, they'd drown and no one would know anyway. I'm into grounding my fantasies with nasty realities!
Prior to creating Aelynn, you did a wonderful Georgian-set paranormal series about a family of witches. Could you tell us about the Malcolms and the Iveses?
Those were delightful fun to write—the magical Malcolm women with their various psychic powers, and the scientific logical Ives men who loved them, after quite a struggle, of course.
Forty-five books is an impressive streak. What do you think helps a writer’s career longevity?
Pure ornery-mindedness helps! This business is cylical with wild swings and ups and downs. A writer has to be truly creative to surf the rapidly changing markets and stay abreast of the latest industry news. Great agents and editors help, but a writer has to be provide the right material at the right time, which means having a lot of stories rampaging around in one’s head.
You do a very astute program on the changing market. Could you share some of your insights with us?
Probably not in a paragraph or two.
What was your first sale?
To Zebra Books, LOVE’S FIRST SURRENDER, in the age of appalling titles, the early ‘80s. It was reissued over a decade later as just SURRENDER. About time for it to come out again, maybe as RENDER.
What’s next for you?
We’re working on another contract with Penguin, probably going back to straight historical romance again. The world turns and I keep turning with it…
Pat is giving a copy of the first Mystic Isle book, Mystic Guardian, to one lucky commenter today. For more about Pat and her books, visit her website.
Do you have a favorite of Pat's books? What would your ideal secret island hideaway be like? What kinds of conflict do you like? What changes have you seen in the romance market?