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"Loving her was easier when I thought we were going to die."
Lark Davies sleeps in a gilded palace and eats the finest foods, but he would trade it all to change that one night. Unable to use his talent for mind-reading to prevent a series of murders, Lark’s dreams are ravaged by gruesome memories. Robbed of sleep and slowly losing his sanity, the devoted lover and expectant father can only watch as his life continues to spiral out of control.
Whispers of invasion threaten what little peace their new life might have offered. Khea, the new queen of Nakbe–and his only light in the night–declares human sacrifice to be a necessary component of the island culture, forcing Lark to assert his disapproval. For the first time, the unifying bond he shares with her isn’t enough to keep them together.
With his mentor at his side, Lark’s only hope to stand against the queen and avert a future of death lies in his unexplored ability to manipulate physical elements of the world. The two men search out the spirits that control water, fire, and wind in hopes of ending two thousand years of violent traditions before rival nations invade.
Edited by Joshua Allen Mercier. Cover Art by Cristina McAllister. Fantasy Maps by NS Mangion.
Interview With R.S. McCoy
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
Yes! Though it’s really hard without spoilers! Spirits follows our mind-reading Lark as he struggles to cope with his new life. After witnessing a series of violent crimes and guilt-ridden for his inability to protect those around him, he sets out on a journey to master his Spark once and for all.
What makes your book unique?
Books in the Sparks Saga have characters with special abilities, which is, ironically, not so special anymore. What makes my stories and characters different is the way they come by those abilities. Rather than wake up one day and rule the world, readers get to trudge through the trenches of learning a new skill and all the unpleasantness or humor that sometimes comes with it. Lark’s fledgling ability to read minds seems like an asset until he enters the dating arena. I mean, do you really want to know what girls are thinking?
Where did you get the idea for the book?
From the first book! No, really. I wrote Sparks to get the story out of my head. After it was so well received by readers (which I totally did not expect for a first book!), I knew I had to write a second one. I just couldn’t leave them like that!
Is there any message you want readers to get from reading the book?
I think Spirits really explores how all things in the world are connected. The people you meet and the experiences you have serve to shape you for the future.
How long did it take to write the book?
About six weeks, actually. It was just dying to get out.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
Avis is, and will probably always be, my favorite character in any story I write. He’s dark and moody but soft as a kitten, too.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I try to employ a hybrid approach. My science brain won’t allow me to write without some sort of guidance, but too much outlining stifles my process. It’s best for me to jot down some ideas and main points on a piece of paper and let the rest fill in organically. By the end, that one sheet ends up looking rather full and crazed, but it gets me through to the end.
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
Ooh, that’s a hard one! I think if I went back now, I’d want to change a lot simply because my writing has evolved. Through feedback and editing, I’ve become more cognizant of repeated words, fallback phrases, and ways I can bring better variety to my writing. I’m sure I’ll always want to go back and fix something, but that’s just a part of growing as an author.
How did you come up with the cover?
Books in the Sparks series are inherently spiritual, so I knew I wanted something that brought forth that element. When I found Cristina’s work on Pinterest, I knew I had to have it!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Not that long ago. I’m sure I’m supposed to have some answer like ‘since the day I was born!’ or something, but that just wasn’t the case. I took the long and winding road to writing.
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
A yet unpublished piece! It’s about a planet of men, akin to Huxley’s I’ve been told. Basically, the planet experiences violence and insubordination issues that stem from their all male population, so the powers at be introduce a group of women. It’s a commentary on societies and what they need to function properly, totally different from most of my work!
What is your favorite genre, and why?
I really love fantasy and science fiction, but fantasy wins it for me. Science fiction is bound by certain rules that can enhance, but also sometimes detract. Fantasy books are free from those rules which is why I think they appeal to me more.
Are there any books you are absolutely inspired by?
Tolkien’s I, Robot blew my mind as a kid. So I know I just said I love fantasy, but how can you resist robots? He takes his idea and completely investigates it through a series of short stories, circling round and round until every facet of robotics has been discussed.
What are you working on next?
The sequel! Schism will be the third and final installment in the Sparks Saga and will be released early in 2015. Eeee! I can’t wait!
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Just write. And then write, and write some more. Nothing can hone your skills like some massive amounts of work and practice.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
Pretty terribly, I think! I go through periods where I write all the time and then feel guilty for not spending time with my kids. Then I’ll spend tons of time with my kids but my stories are dying to get out of my head. Round and round we go, but eventually the stories get out.