Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Mirain by Jacon Reifsteck - Guest Post & Spotlight ¦ Tour Stop!


Title: Mirain
Author: Jacob Reifsteck
Published: November 5th, 2016
Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing

A brief synopsis; 
Princess Sofia, just recently turned old enough to have her own personal guards. The guards, Hector, an unproven, yet ambitious young knight and his sarcastic squire, Mark, sees this as an opportunity of a lifetime to guard the noble lady from the safety of her castle...but the lady has other plans. Her home, the land of Mirain, has prospered under years of peace, but the princess becomes alarmed at the news of possibly superstitious events at the outskirts of the kingdom. Even more alarming is that few knights bother to acknowledge them, preferring to instead compete in tournaments for personal glory and recognition. The princess drags her unwilling guards to investigate the reports of monsters in the far off corners of the realm. Soon, they discovers a much bigger problem than anyone anticipated.

I'm just your average guy with his heads in the clouds. Raised in a fairly small town in between Ohio and West Virginia, the things I liked were usually not exactly what my friends and peers enjoyed. With the support of my family, I started my extra curricular writing when I was just out of high school. Things really took off when a group of people fairly similar to me in my third year of college. I've had my writing published in a few small local associations, but being a Ravenswood author is by far my most notable achievement, and Mirain is the work I am most proud of.

I've been a lover of fantasy pretty much my whole life, so works like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings had a huge influence on me, but the first major piece of fantasy that really gripped my attention was the game, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It had everything I wanted, a peaceful medieval fantasy setting, lovable characters, and an evil presence that you felt creeping and getting stronger the farther the story plaid out. This set the ground work for me to discover and completely immerse myself in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it's what I've strived to do in Mirain. The story doesn't immediately start out with a large evil presence, there are rumors of foul creatures in the far off reaches of the kingdom, but in the castle itself, those concerns are far from threatening. Much like the Shire or Kokiri Village, the castle is meant to be a safe haven through most of the story that the characters can return to and unwind for a while.
This is another aspect that I try to implement in my writing. I'm a fan of StiCom's and slice of life animes. I am completely content to watch a dozen episodes of characters performing menial tasks, so long as their personalities come through and they make it entertaining. This is why I made the castle seem sort of like a safe haven, so the reader could see that the characters are actually designed to be people. They're not single minded in their endeavors, all of them have multiple interests and things they want to do with their spare time, read books, talk to their significant other, train, or just sit back and relax.
It's not all sitting around in Mirain, though, as we must mention the various monsters the characters encounter. I briefly considered trying to make a few of my own monsters for the story, but when I considered that every time I see a giant slobbering creature, I'm less inclined to marvel at it's originality, and instead instantly try to compare it to a previously existing monster, like how I constantly tried to find the comparison between the Urgals of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, with the Tolkien's orcs. In addition, it's much easier to get someone to imagine something they've already seen. With that being said, the monsters may be what you're used to, but their behavior might be rather different. I'm quite the fan of mythology and the real science behind the myths, so every one of the monsters in Mirain functions like an actual creature might, or how they appear in traditional myth. For instance, while the trolls are described to be like those of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, in that they're large brutes, they function as they have in certain European legends where the mother troll looks after her offspring, much like a mother bear does, while the father goes off to live in solitude.
So that's what I hope to supply in the story of Mirain, a familiar setting, with familiar monsters, but nontraditional characters. I have a friend who continually claims he'd watch a ninety minute movie about friends walking to a gas station across town if the characters are interesting. And sans the plain story, that's one of my major focus points. I want you to love my characters, from the slightly crude princess, a gallant knight who has trouble talking to beautiful girls, and the squire who frequently speaks his mind in the presence of someone it will likely offend, I want you to be invested in the characters. Root for them, feel the pain of their loses, and to find yourself wishing you knew these people in real life hours after putting down the story.


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