Lytherus is pleased to bring you an exclusive chat with amazing newbie author Leigh Fallon, author of Carrier of the Mark. Leigh was happy to sit down with us and talk about her characters, Irish magic, and her unique publishing experience. Enjoy!
Not sure what Carrier of the Mark is about? Check out the Lytherus review of the book.
Lauren Zurchin: Hi Leigh, and thanks for joining us for an exclusive Lytherus interview!
Leigh Fallon: Woohoo!
Lauren Zurchin: I was captivated by the story of your road to publication. For fans that aren’t familiar with it, can you tell us a little about how you got your book on the shelves?
Leigh: I wrote Carrier of the Mark in six months. I never wrote a book before and had no clue as to how the publishing industry worked, so I bought a copy of the Writers’ Handbook 2010 and started sending out my manuscript to a couple of Irish and British agents and publishers who accepted unsolicited manuscripts, but all I got was rejections. So I started looking for alternatives to getting my book noticed and improving my manuscript as I went. Then I found inkpop.com a website for writers of teen fiction. I uploaded Carrier to the website and within a few weeks it had risen to the top five of the most loved projects.
It was then reviewed by an editor and HarperCollins who gave me some editing advice on the site. I thought that was the end of it but a couple of weeks later I got an email from her telling me that she LOVED my book and it had really stayed with her, and that she wanted to work with me on it.
Lauren Zurchin: Wow!
Leigh: I was so excited. I freaked out a little.
Lauren Zurchin: I can’t blame you!
Leigh: Then three weeks later I got another email out of the blue offering me a publishing deal. This all happened in under a year! Squeee!
Lauren Zurchin: WOW! That is really something amazing. And unusual too.
Leigh: Sometimes I can’t believe it really happened to me. I was the first to be picked up from inkpop, so I really wasn’t expecting it.
Lauren Zurchin: And that in and of itself is special, as you’re the flagship book, paving the way for future stories to get published.
Leigh: Let’s hope so! Another girl did get picked up a couple of months after me.
Lauren Zurchin: So for fans who are unfamiliar with Carrier of the Mark, give us a little rundown on the story.
Leigh: It’s a paranormal romance set in a small village called Kinsale in the South of Ireland. It follows the story of Megan, an American teenager who moves with her dad from MA. In Kinsale she finds the home she’s always wanted and the friends she always hoped for. She also discovers that she is part of an ancient Celtic prophesy and has amazing power.
Lauren Zurchin: I love you say that! Oh, and by the way, you’re part of an ancient Celtic prophecy. No biggie! But it really sort of forms the relationship she has with Adam.
Lauren Zurchin: That was what I loved about their love story; the fact that it might be guided outside of their hands.
Did you have Megan and Adam formed strong in your head when you started writing?
Leigh: When I started writing the characters formed instantly, but they were sort of shadows. It wasn’t until I really got into the story and the characters started interacting with each other that they started to really develop their unique personalities. They actually went in directions I didn’t expect, they developed quirks and preferences, it was really strange, I’ve said before this was a first for me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a very organic process, they became their own person during the writing process.
Lauren Zurchin: I’ve heard that tends to happen to a lot of writers. And it’s great, because it makes them jump off the page and feel real to the reader.
Leigh: Yay! That’s what I was hoping for.
Lauren Zurchin: I personally loved Megan’s down-to-earth voice.
Lauren Zurchin: So let’s talk a little about Ireland and Celtic myths. You grew up there, right?
Leigh: Yes, I grew up in Dublin, then moved to Cork in my 20’s
Lauren Zurchin: When the story formed, you knew you wanted it in Ireland, and that has a certain appeal for the story, since Ireland seems wrapped in ancient myth and mystery in many ways.
Leigh: Yes, Ireland was always going to be an important part of the story, it’s nearly like a character. It lives and breaths. It adds to the magic. It makes it that little bit more special, because you know that in Ireland it just might be possible. There is so much history and historical sites, so many legends and myths. There is a mystical feeling to these places.
Lauren Zurchin: Were you familiar with the Celtic myths before you started, or did that need a little research?
Leigh: I researched. I knew that I wanted to used Danu and the elements, but I needed to deepen the story to give it wings. I researched some of the sites I mention in the book and tied in some of the legends, I brought in the Druids into the mix as they complimented the story of Danu and her children so beautifully.
Lauren Zurchin: And honestly, people think of Druids when they think of Ireland.
It was great though, the way the truth of Megan’s powers came out to her. It was so much bigger than she could have ever known
Leigh: I loved that! I love the fact that Megan is super powerful. And wait until you see what happens next. Megan takes it to the next level!!
Lauren Zurchin: It must have been a blast to get to play with the elements and think of the different things they could do. I especially loved how Aine’s power tied into everything that was related to the earth, not just the physical earth itself.
Leigh: Yes I really enjoyed writing the powers. I wanted to give them limitations though. I wanted them to be not fully in control. Through the book you see them growing and developing. As they learn more about themselves and their elements you get to see just what they can do. Each book has them grow that little bit more, in both power and mentally. It’s a real journey for them.
Lauren Zurchin: If you could choose one of the elemental powers, what would it be?
Leigh: It would be toss-up between Air and Earth. I LOVE Earth! The fun you could have with it. But Air has the most impact; it can be really kick ass.
Lauren Zurchin: Funny, that’s the same for me too! I love animals, and that Earth element is appealing, but I’m obsessed with birds, and to be able to fly with them would be amazing.
Leigh: Oh yes! Amazing.
Lauren Zurchin: So what’s in store for readers in the next book?
Leigh: Well Megan and Adams relationship continues, but their powers are growing and Adam starts to get effected. Strange things are happening with Aine and Rian, and spanners start getting thrown in the works. We also have the arrival of a few new characters that gets some sparks flying.
Lauren Zurchin: Sounds intriguing.
Leigh: Megan has to make some very difficult decisions. We have to say goodbye to a few friends too. *sobs*
Lauren Zurchin: Oh no. That must be so hard to write!
Leigh: I cried and cried writing the last chapter of Carrier 2. But it really drives the story forward.
Lauren Zurchin: Aw! Well, if you’re feeling it, and you know where it’s going, it sounds like it’s going to really get to us, the readers!
Leigh: I hope so. My crit partners felt the same. So fingers crossed the readers will <3 it too.
Lauren Zurchin: Alright! Before we finish the interview, I want to know a little bit about your writing habits. A question I always like to ask the authors I interview is which do you write by: outline or free-writing?
Leigh: On I am a pantser. I don’t outline. But I do fill up journals with ideas for scenes. I sit down to write and could write 20K in one sitting. I don’t like doing this 2K a day thing, I write in bursts. I also write out of sequence. I love writing an exciting scene near the end and then go back and write the scenes leading up to that event. Fun!
Lauren Zurchin: Hey, if it works for you, do it!
Well Leigh, this has been lovely. Anything else you want to say about Carrier, book 2, or writing in general?
Leigh: well, expect lots of action and a few answers and a few more questions. The Marked are in for some changes and some of those changes are not going to be liked.
Lauren Zurchin: Thanks Leigh! This has been a blast! I hope for much success for you and Carrier!
Leigh: Thank you so much, Lauren. It was a pleasure speaking/typing with you.