Please welcome Mia Marshall to The Qwillery. Lost Causes, the 4th novel in the Elements series, was published on September 22, 2015.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
Mia: Thanks! It’s great to be here. As for writing, I’m pretty sure I was telling stories as soon as I learned to read. I suspect they were terrible, though at the time I thought I was a genius. It was so easy then. No need for critiques or editing or even plot! I often killed people in those early stories, and there were a lot of orphans. Perhaps I haven’t changed all that much over the last few decades (though now there is editing and hopefully a plot).
TQ: Are you a plotter, pantser or hybrid? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Mia: Pantser for life, though I occasionally delude myself that this time, for real, I’ll plot. Then I get distracted by a new shiny idea somewhere around chapter two and all my outline can do is whimper in pain. I like discovering the story and the characters as I go, and it’s amazing how it all comes together in the end. I’ve come to trust that my subconscious has a plan—it just rarely bothers to share it with me before the third act. I always know what the ending will be, in terms of setting up the characters and overall arc for the next book, but that’s about it.
TQ: Describe Lost Causes in 140 characters or less.
Mia: A group of elementals & shifters band together to save the day—except when they mess it all up. A mix of mystery, magic, snark, & friendship.
TQ: Tell us something about Lost Causes that is not found in the book description.
Mia: This book contains my favorite ending of all the books I’ve written. And I can’t say what it is without spoilers, but trust me. It’s a good ending. I might be a little biased, though.
TQ: In the Elements series so far who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Mia: Simon has always been the easiest to write. He’s a cat shifter—a house cat shifter. I’ve lived with cats my whole life and have spent too much time imagining what they’re thinking. Now I get to transcribe it.
The hardest one was Vivian, though that was way back in book 1. Most of my characters appear to me in a pretty advanced state, but she wasn’t so accommodating. Prior to being the nerdy, quiet computer genius she is now, she spent some time as an L.A. club kid and a hippie-esque earth goddess. Trust me, she’s much better as a nerdy hacker. Four books later, it’s hard to believe I ever saw her as anyone else.
TQ: Which question about the Elements series do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
Mia: No one’s ever asked why I chose the elemental/shifter combo. It was never really a question for me, so maybe it’s just been equally obvious to everyone else! Despite being categorized as urban fantasy, this series is set in the natural world and relies on an earth-based mythology, and these were the only magical races that felt believable as ones that could be born from the earth’s original creation magic. Vampires, demons, the fae, etc. always felt too "other", whereas I could imagine shifters & elementals always being part of this world.
TQ: What's next?
Mia: I’m about to start editing an adventure fantasy set in a very alternate version of this world. There’s lots of action and romance and a dog called Rabbit, which are three things that probably won’t change in edits. That won’t come out till late 2016 at the earliest. Afterwards, I’ll write the fifth and final Elements book, which will come out sometime next year.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Mia: Thank you for having me!
The Elements Series
Mia Marshall's Elements series is all about magic and mayhem among the supernatural races of Lake Tahoe. Aidan Brook is the heroine, but the series also focuses on a group of friends that doubles as her makeshift family. These series is named after elementals, which were born from the very first magic and are a union between humans and the forces that created the planet. In addition to water, fire, and earth, there’s stone, desert, and ice (but no air). There are also shifters and a whole lot more going on in this world! If you haven't already gotten into the Element series, start with the first book, Broken Elements--currently free on Kindle.
Match Books, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 354 pages
Aidan Brook has spent months living with the horror of what happened when she lost control of her magic. Now she’s searching for a way to manage her immense power, but she only hits one dead end after another.
On the run from a council intent on her death, Aidan, the bear shifter Mac, and the rest of her friends find themselves on a desperate chase across deserts and oceans in search of answers. Along the way, they encounter a living myth and a dual magic with secrets of his own—and they learn that the cure may be more deadly than the disease.
To save her own life, Aidan will need to confront the most dangerous foe she’s ever faced…herself.
Match Books, February 26, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 338 pages
Magic, murder, and mayhem on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
For Aidan Brook, manipulating the power of water is as easy as breathing—until the awful night her magic fails, with deadly consequences.
Though Aidan tries to outrun her past, the grisly murder of an old friend draws her back to the scene of her crimes. In Lake Tahoe, she only finds more trouble. An estranged best friend, a dangerously attractive landlord, and a couple of FBI agents are determined to complicate her life…and for the first time in years, she doesn’t mind a few complications.
As the killer grows increasingly fixated on Aidan, her past and present begin to collide. To defeat the killer, she must learn to control her power—before her broken magic fails her for the final time.
BROKEN ELEMENTS is the first book in the award-winning Elements urban fantasy series.
Match Books, April 15, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 351 pages
Aidan Brook’s world was shattered when she uncovered long-buried secrets about her past. Secrets that could cost her sanity—or even her life.
Now, she craves peace and quiet, but that’s not an option when local children start vanishing. Soon, Aidan is drawn deep into the shifter world…a place where elementals like herself are decidedly unwelcome. To track the missing children, these longtime enemies must work together without too many claw marks or too much fur flying. Throw in a stalled romance with an enigmatic shifter, and Aidan’s life is anything but peaceful.
As Aidan and her friends zero in on the kidnapper, they discover Aidan isn’t the only one with secrets—or the only one who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets hidden…
SHIFTING SELVES won the RT Award for best indie urban fantasy!
Match Books, May 6, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 344 pages
Aidan Brook committed one too many magical crimes. Now, the water council insists she answer for them. Before they can deliver a verdict that will change her life, one of theirs is gruesomely murdered—and Aidan’s best friend is accused of the crime.
Before the body cools, Aidan is racing against the clock to prove Sera’s innocence. To make matters worse, her favorite bear shifter is struggling with the dangerous bond they now share. Aidan will do whatever it takes to save her friends…but the cost may be higher than she can pay.
A little murder, a little magic, and family and friends to help her through it all. On the outside, it looks like a typical Aidan Brook day, but she’s about to discover, when the tides start to turn, even a water elemental can’t control what happens next.
Mia Marshall is the award-winning author of the Elements urban fantasy series. Before she started writing about imaginary worlds, she worked as a high school teacher, script supervisor, story editor, legal secretary, and day care worker. She has lived all along the US west coast and throughout the UK, where she collected an unnecessary number of degrees in literature, education, and film.
These days, she lives somewhere in the Sierra Nevadas, where she is surrounded by a small but deadly feline army.