Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Tour Guest Post: The Firelight of Maalda by Melissa Douthit

Welcome back to the second day of my participation in the Book Tour for 
The Firelight of Maalda by Melissa Douthit!

Today I have a guest post from the author.

Melissa Douthit grew up in North County of San Diego, California. After graduating with a Computer Science degree in Southern California, and working for a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to work at NASA Ames Research Center for a year and then at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for another four years. From there, she moved to Monterey, California, to work at the Naval Postgraduate School on a government project for two years. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working with the Army Corps of Engineers on another government project. Since high school, she has been a voracious reader of books of all genres, with an emphasis in fantasy and science fiction. Her literary work is strongly influenced by her professional experience and includes many elements of her scientific background. She is the author of The Raie' Chaelia, The Firelight of Maalda, The Vanishing, and The Journey Begins.

Her hobbies include skiing, cooking, writing, reading, swimming, reviewing, and drinking wine. She also likes to take her Editor-in-Chief, Copper to the park. He's a 3-year-old Coonhound.

Excerpt from: The Firelight of Maalda, chapter: The Secret of Portalis, pages 82-83:

They both backed away to let her pass.  Before them, stretched another long corridor that led to yet another set of doors.  As they walked in, Ben waited until the doors shut behind them before turning to Chalice.
   “Chalice,” he said.  “Before we go in, I need to tell you something.  There is a reason the members of our family are called the Protectors of the Realm.  You two will see today what it is exactly that we are protecting and why it is important, not just for us but for every living thing in our world.”
   Chalice narrowed her eyes.  “What do you mean?”
   “You’ll see,” he said and they continued until they reached the doors.  Chalice let her stone pulse again and the ground shuddered at the rumble of the massive marble slabs as they slowly opened, revealing what lay behind.  Chalice stood frozen.  What she saw before her not only glued her to the spot, but also stopped her breath and before she could even open her mouth, Jeremiah uttered the exact words that lay upon her lips.
   “What … is … that?”

I asked Melissa who she was influenced by and where she got her stories.
Writers who influenced me as a kid were John Steinbeck, Jack London, Tolkien, and Robert Jordan.  Today, there are so many authors who influence me and inspire me to keep writing stories.  Some of them I met at the Superstars Writing Seminar that I attend each year - authors like Kevin Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, Dave Farland, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, as well as Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.

The themes of my trilogy, The Legend of the Raie’Chaelia, came from my professional experience, first working at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, which is a nuclear weapons lab, and then working at the Naval Postgraduate School, where I worked down in the basement in a vault, sifting through and analyzing secret data.  It had HUGE influence on this trilogy.

The story of Chalice and Jeremiah - part of it came from the experience of my own life and my own relationships and part of the story, the plot itself, just came really out of nowhere.  I knew I wanted to write about a strong heroine and I also wanted to write a trilogy, so one day, I sat down and started writing notes of different ideas.  The notes eventually became an outline and then the outline eventually became book one, and so on.

Those who have read the first book, The Raie’Chaelia, have been calling the story an epic fantasy, or a high fantasy, comparing it to Jordan’s or Tolkien’s world, but it is neither.  It is not an epic fantasy but rather a futuristic fantasy set in this world.  This becomes apparent in The Firelight of Maalda when Chalice and Jeremiah visit the Archive in the chapter called, The Secret of Portalis.  The second book touches upon themes that are really related to our world and the problems in it.  These themes are the reason why I began writing the trilogy in the first place.  I wanted to see if it was possible to take the harsh realities of our world and juxtapose them with problems in a fantastical world.  I wondered: How would the heroine and hero react to problems and dangers that are real for us today?  How would it compare with their own problems in their world?  Would it be just as frightening?

The futuristic aspect of the story plays an integral part of the plot and in the end ties everything together.  The themes the story explores are: nuclear warfare, environmental issues, racial and gender injustices, and political corruption.  I am interested to see how readers react to this - if they like it, if they don’t like it, or if they just think it’s okay.  What I’m hoping, though, is that they will find it different from other fantasies they’ve read.

The Firelight of Maalda on Amazon and B&N:

Book One and the Prequels are free on Smashwords and Amazon:
Book One:


My contact links:
My website:

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