***NOTE: This interview does contains spoilers about the entire series***
Click to Read My Review on “A Hidden Fire” (Book 1)
Click to Read My Review on “This Same Earth” (Book 2)
Click to Read My Review on “The Force of Wind” (Book 3)
Click to Read My Review on “A Fall of Water” (Book 4)
*See below for GIVEAWAY information*
There was a lot of details, timelines, historical accuracies, specifics and so on that was involved in this series. Did you plan out the entire series before you started writing or did you come up with things as you wrote?
When I first started writing A Hidden Fire, I had most of my research ready and the outline fairly complete, but the more I wrote, the more I realized that the story was much bigger than one book. So, I stopped writing for a couple of months, reworked the larger story, outlined the four books in the Elemental Mysteries, then started to write again. So, by end of writing A Hidden Fire, I knew the arc of the whole series, had all four books plotted, and knew how everything would end.
A pretty lengthy time period passes between the start of “A Hidden Fire” and the end of “A Fall of Water”. What made you decide to space everything out as you did?
I wanted to make it as realistic as possible. Despite the Elemental Mysteries being fantasy, I wanted to make the characters and their relationships authentic. For an immortal character like Giovanni, the idea of five years apart (the time he left Beatrice) would be very little. But to her, those were very important years, which I think a lot of people can identify with! I was a very different person at age twenty-two than I was at twenty-eight.
And (slight spoiler alert) I wasn’t going to give Beatrice magical control over her bloodlust after she turned into a vampire. That’s not the way it works in my world; she needed a full year in isolation. I didn’t want to gloss over the challenge that was. So both those things definitely added to the overall timeline.
How much research did you do on the different locations, books, history while writing these?
A lot! But I love research. I’m in the middle of researching a new series right now and it’s very invigorating for me. I think I might be going on a research trip to Istanbul and Jerusalem later this year. (If the schedule permits.) I’ve traveled to many of the places in the books, but not all. So I had to rely on research for that. I read biographies and good historical fiction from different time periods. I listened to music from different eras and researched different philosophies and religions. Everything from Italian politics to Central Asian burial practices. But all that is fun for me. I’m a huge nerd.
How come the vampire aversion to electronics? It makes it harder for them to maintain inconspicuous in the real world as time goes on, no?
If you think about amnis, the energy that animates vampires in my mythology, as a supernatural extension of the natural electricity our own bodies produce, it makes sense. Amnis (which is the Latin word for current) runs under immortal skin, almost like a shield, so that makes interacting with electronics very difficult. More so for fire vampires, whose energy is more volatile. So things like mobile phones and computers would be out of the question for them to use normally. New cars with all their computer technology are difficult, but older cars are not. And this does make it harder. Much harder! It became a plot complication that really added to the story in unexpected ways.
It was a surprise when Gio admitted that he and B got married in Chile. How come readers did not get to “see” Gio and Beatrice get married? Do you ever plan on sharing that with readers?
Ha! My first reader, Kristy, teases me about my wedding aversion. I don’t like writing weddings. Never have. So, I figure out all sorts of convenient ways around them. I like characters getting married, I just don’t like writing the actual wedding. I think Caspar and Isadora is the only wedding I actually wrote. (Carwyn and Brigid’s was… unconventional.) So no, I doubt I’ll ever write out Gio and Beatrice’s wedding. Sorry, wedding fans!
The relationships Gio had with Lorenzo and his sire, Andros, were complicated ones. Sometimes you would think he hated them, while other times he seemed to have an affinity for them. I think the same went for how Lorenzo felt about Gio. What was your thought process in creating these complicated relationships? Was it just because they had the bond of sire and “child”?
I think complicated is a good word for them! Try compounding regular family dynamics over hundreds of years and adding politics to the mix. Gio says at one point that he loved his sire and he hated him, too. The blood tie between all of them compounded that. I think, as much as Gio hated what Lorenzo became, he had an understanding of who he was that didn’t allow him to hate his son completely. I think, as much as he hated his own sire, Gio also had an affection for Andros for giving him immortality and granting him a life he wouldn’t have otherwise. There’s not an easy answer to that question.
I think I’m still a little confused by the relationship between Tenzin and Beatrice’s father, Stephen. Were they true mates like Gio and Beatrice? Were they lovers? What about Nima? Was it purely for necessity?
Hmmm. I think I’m not going to add to what I wrote in the books for that question. Sorry! Suffice to say that all of Tenzin’s relationships are complex and she remains deliberately vague about them. Gio told Beatrice in The Force of Wind that Tenzin doesn’t see any kind of relationship the way others do. Part of that is her age and part of it is simply who she is. I also don’t think she feels the need to classify how she cares about people.
If you could be a vampire in the Elemental Mysteries world, which element would you want to come from?
That’s a tough one! I think either Earth, because I have a very large, crazy, and wonderful family, and that’s very important to me. Or Wind, because I love to travel so much. (And let’s face it, flying would be super-cool.) I like to wander around but always have a place and people to come home to.
What was your favorite scene to write? Least favorite? Hardest one?
Another tough question! Mmm, I have a lot of favorite scenes, but the first scene where Gio and Beatrice exchange blood as immortals and the scene in the library at the end of A Fall of Water were favorites, for sure.
The least favorite? Ahh! Beatrice and Mano’s break-up! I love Gio, of course, but I loved Mano, too. And he was really a good guy. I felt like I was the one breaking up with him. (Not going to lie, I cried like a baby.)
As for the hardest scene, it would have to be Ioan’s death in This Same Earth, then the subsequent experience of going BACK and writing more of his life in Building From Ashes, particularly Ioan’s relationship with Brigid. Stephen died once for me (which was hard enough), but I felt like Ioan died over and over. It was gut-wrenching.
I know you are planning on doing a series with Tenzin and Ben (YAY!!). Can you give us any small tidbit on what to expect? Have you mapped that series out yet? What about how far after the end of “A Fall of Water” will Tenzin/Ben series start? (Do you see I’m fishing for SOMETHING – ANYTHING!)
Hahahaha! I can only answer a tiny part of this question! Hmmm, what can I tell you about Ben and Tenzin’s books?
They won’t be for a while. Ben still has to grow up in my mind. He’s sixteen at the end of A Fall of Water, and his series will start about six years after that (though I don’t anticipate taking six years to write the first of their books).
I have mapped most of that series out, though not in detail. But I know what the overall arc will be. There will be five books, and I think people will be surprised. I don’t see that series being like the Elemental Mysteries. They’ll definitely have their own flavor. While Gio and Beatrice both crave a peaceful life, I think Ben and Tenzin both like adrenaline more. And there is a lot about both characters I haven’t revealed. I haven’t written much about Ben’s life before he met Gio, but that stuff is important. And Tenzin, obviously, has had a huge life. There are more similarities between them than people might see at first.
In the meantime, they’ll show up in other books. I’m writing Blood and Sand, Baojia’s story, right now, and both Ben and Tenzin are in it.
There seemed to be something going between Deirdre and Gavin. Is there a story brewing there or is it just my wishful thinking?
I’ll be honest, I haven’t decided about Deirdre and Gavin yet. If you picked up on chemistry between them in A Fall of Water, you’d be correct. There is definite chemistry and I love both characters, but I don’t know if it’s more than chemistry right now. Going back to my answer for the hardest scene, imagine Deirdre losing a mate of five hundred years. I’m not sure you get over that. At least you don’t quickly. We’ll have to wait and see.
Additional Scenes from Elemental Mysteries:
Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy and romance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College in the Department of English (Linguistics) and a former English teacher. She once taught a kindergarten class, but decided middle school was less frightening.
She lives in Central California with a seven-year-old ninja who claims to be her child. She enjoys reading, writing, travel, and bowling (despite the fact that she’s not very good at it.) Someday, she plans to learn how to scuba dive. And maybe hang glide. But that looks like a lot of running.
She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, and other works of fiction.
I’m giving away an eBook copy of Elizabeth Hunter’s new book, Shifting Dreams (Book 1, Cambio Springs), when it is released on March 5th, AND an eBook copy of her contemporary romance book, The Genius and The Muse.
To win, just follow my blog and leave a comment on this blog post down below. I will randomly pick a winner at the end of this week. Good Luck!