Yasmine Galenorn e-interviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto (October, 2006)
Yasmine Galenorn (aka India Ink) writes the Chintz 'N China, the Bath and Body, and now the Sisters of the Moon series. Born in 1961, she's married to Samwise Galenorn, is the 'mother of four cats', and resides in Bellevue WA. She took her B.A. in Theatre & Creative Writing. On her website, Yasmine tells us that 'I am a shamanic Witch and Pagan. No, I'm not a Satanist. No, I'm not Wiccan. And no, I'm not a flake ... I collect teacups, teapots, books, tattoos (on me), and Gund bears.'
Q: Of all the supernatural creatures available, why did you choose to make the sisters in Witchling a witch, a werecat, and a vampire?
A: This is going to sound like an easy answer, but when the characters sprang into my mind, that's what they were. They'd already taken shape in my subconscious.
However, to expand: I'm a shamanic witch. Yet I didn't want to write about modern magic as practiced today - I already did that in my nonfiction. However, the archetype of the enchantress/sorceress has always bewitched me (okay, so bad pun!), and I'm a fairy-tale fanatic, so I'm not surprised that Camille turned out to be a witch.
As far as Delilah, I'm an ailurophile, and four cats share my life at this point, the oldest of whom is 19. I know cats - I've lived with them all my life, and I respect them and love them, for all of their quirky and sometimes-bizarre traits. So that Delilah should end up a werecat isn't a surprise either.
And vampires ... well, there's nothing better than a good vampire novel, but I wanted to explore what it's like from the other side - to actually be the vampire. Since the majority of vamps I've read about tend to be male, I thought writing about a female would be a nice change. Menolly has a lot of internal struggles. I refuse to call it angst, I get bored with angsty characters, but she does have trouble reconciling who she was with who she is, and with her anger toward the Elwing Blood Clan for what they did to her. So she's a challenge.
Q: Is there one sister you identify more with than the others?
A: Oh yeah, Camille is a lot like me (except I'm happily married and don't quite have her wonderful measurements ~grins~). Camille and I are both snarky, more than a little warped, we both love magic, fashion, caffeine, and cosmetics. We're both practical even in the middle of a crisis. And I'm a witch, though I can't shoot lightning out of my hands.
However, when I was writing Changeling, which is from Delilah's POV, I managed to find enough aspects to link us, too, though in totally different ways than Camille. At first it was hard to get my head around Delilah, but then I realized I was viewing her from the outside - from Camille's perceptions of her. Once I pushed that to the side and worked my way into Delilah's head, I discovered a whole new world. Delilah sure doesn't see herself the way her sisters see her.
And I'm sure that in Darkling - which I'm about to start writing - I'll discover qualities in Menolly that connect us. It's been quite an experience moving from Camille's head into Delilah's, and now into Menolly's world-view. I like the fact that I'm able to see each sister from her own perception of herself, and from her sisters' viewpoints. I think this allows my readers to understand them in a way that is more well-rounded and balanced.
Q: Are there any similarities between this Sisters of the Moon series and your other (Chintz 'N China and Bath and Body) series?
A: Other than they're both paranormal and both main characters (well, Camille - neither Delilah nor Menolly drink coffee) are hooked on caffeine, not really. Emerald's world is far more connected to our own reality than the parallel world of the Sisters, and Emerald's magic is more akin to the folk magic that I practice than the fantasy-magic Camille can wield. What connects both series is, I suppose, my own fascination and love for writing about the paranormal. The Bath and Body series really doesn't have that aspect, not nearly as much, though Persia and Aunt Florence do have a ghost in the house who makes himself known on occasion!
Q: What was your inspiration for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency and the Sisters of the Moon?
A: I've never been one to idolize the world of Faerie, though I think it would be a blast to go play there.
Even monarchies have their bureaucracy, as we can easily see in our own world. Y'Elestrial is only one city-state within Otherworld, and they happen to be one of the most corrupt. As power structures become more tangled and laborious, the chance for corruption and deadwood grows. Since the governing powers of Y'Elestrial are corrupt, then I can't help but see the structures set up within that governance - including the Guard Des'Estar and the OIA - as following suit. The concept of bureaucracies within other worlds or dimensions is a common one when you really examine mythology and folklore. And of course, movies and books play on this - look at Beetlejuice for a terrifying - albeit funny - picture of red-tape in the afterlife.
As far as the inspiration for the whole series - I honestly don't remember a single point where I said, "Oh yeah, that's a great idea." It evolved ... first came the sisters, then came the world, then came the story arc. My metaphysical background and knowledge of mythology played into the formation of the series, of course, as did my never-ending media fandom - I love movies and books and TV.
I am trying to avoid making the series too somber because after awhile writing dark and dour can make you, well, dark and dour. And yet, I want the books to have substance, to go beyond light entertainment. So I'm trying to create a world that's absurd enough to laugh at, and yet serious enough to avoid sounding farcical. Some of the books will be darker and edgier - Darkling will have to be. Menolly has a lot of pent up anger and I can't ignore that, but I want to have the option to play with the characters in lighter situations, too.
Q: Is the Sisters of the Moon series going to be a trilogy, ending after each sister has had her own book or will it continue for nine novels, each involving one of the nine spirit seals?
A: I'm hoping that enough people will come to love the Sisters like I do so that I can continue writing about them. I can easily see exploring situations that aren't necessarily related to the spirit seals in books set between chapters of the world story arc. My goal is to create a world where I - as an author - and you - as the reader - won't get bored. I'd love to dance around the Sisters' playground for several years at the least!
Q: Are any of the supernatural character-types in Witchling entirely your own invention or do they all have a basis in folklore?
A: Oh, some are my creations, others are found in mythology and folklore. That's part of the fun - integrating the two! Since you can find similarities between creatures in most mythologies and legends, I've decided that nobody's going to tell me I can't mix them up in the same world!
Think of Otherworld as an international gathering point for creatures from all walks of legend and lore. And where I can't find what I want, I create my own - such as the Corpse Talkers. I'm still not sure what they are - they're a very elusive race, dark and somewhat dangerous, though I imagine in future books they'll reveal more about themselves to me.
And then, I've taken some creatures from mythology and extrapolated on them. The Svartans come to mind immediately. They're essentially like the dark elves from Norse mythology with my own twist on them. As an author, I think we need to put our own stamp on whatever mythological elements we work with, or we run the risk of sounding like encyclopedia entries.
Q: Can you tell us anything about your next project(s)?
A: Well, I'm starting on Darkling this week. Changeling will be out in June of 2007. Glossed and Found - my third India Ink book that explores the world of Persia Vanderbilt - will be out in January, 2007. Darkling is slated for a December 2007 release. And I've got a lot of ideas for future SOTM books, if things go as I hope they will. I've also got a never-ending well of other projects percolating in the back of my mind.Find out more about Yasmine Galenorn, read bio and blogs, as well as generous advice on writing at Galenorn.com.
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