Sunday, August 9, 2015

Through the Eyes of Another

Today is one of my favorite days. Book Lovers' Day! In honor of that, I'm allowing a fellow bibliophile to post about Angela J. Townsend's books. Her name is Mariah McGarvey, and she is one of Ms. Townsend's editors.

I suppose I should start off by introducing myself. I'm Mariah, I've worked for Angie for years, and have been a part of the process for editing most of her books. I do everything and anything she needs, from researching to editing, from getting her tea to attempting to keep her focused.

Anywho, let's get to the fun stuff! I don't want to extol her virtues, as I see Tom's beat me to it with his Works of Angela J. Townsend post. Instead, I'm going to cover the works from the other side. What goes into them? What goes into Angie's writing? What other shenanigans do we get up to? All that and more, coming up, next (don't mind me, I watch way too much TV for my own good)!

Let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start. I was introduced to Angie when I was working as a secretary for my grandfather. Angie had published Amarok just recently, and as I am a Theatre/English Major, she asked me to help her with the book trailer.

From there, she heard about my editing abilities. Since then, I've edited all of her books, except the Guide to the World of Amarok.

The first book I worked on with Angie was Angus MacBain and the Island of Sleeping Kings. As Angie's fascinated with her Celtic roots, and with their mythologies, we've always gotten along, and I could certainly see why she chose to set the book where she did. A little fun fact is that Angus MacBain got his name from Angie's ancestors. As she'll proudly tell you, her family motto was "touch not the catt bot a targe," which means "touch not the cat without a shield." She's got the family's feistiness, believe you me. Angie spent her time surrounded with books about mermaids, fairies, magic, witchcraft... If it was mythical, mystical, or magical, you can bet your butt there was a book about it in her writing nook. The first thing she said was, "what kind of tea do you want?" I knew then we'd be fast friends. We would spend hours discussing possible plot points, character building, and laughing about word confusion. I know she's gonna kill me for this, but I have to share one of my favorite word-confusion issues thus far. Instead of "he caressed her face," she put "he corpsed her face." I looked at her and said, "Um, Angie, I don't think this is what you meant?" as I pointed it out to her. We both just about died laughing.

We went on to work on River of Bones together. I helped her with researching the flora and fauna of Louisiana, as she wanted to stay true to the region. That's one facet of Angie's personality that I think is vital to her writing; her dedication and inquisitive spirit. She takes the time and puts in effort to make her stories as vivid and real as possible. I think this is what gives her horror books such an edge. You can really feel the place, as she doesn't just stick convenient plants, etc. in wherever she wants. For the character Sassy, she knew I was a tea/plant use enthusiast, so she asked me to research herbs and plants of the area that Sassy could use. For a while, she actually planned to release Sassy's cookbook. I put together a wide variety of tea recipes that I thought she might find useful, and modified them to use Louisiana's edible flora. Who knows? It could still be in the works. In the meantime, you can be on the lookout for the River of Bones MOVIE! Woot! I will just add that it cracked me up when Tom used a pic of me from the River of Bones Book Trailer in his Fear and the Power of Words post. I feel like the hours I spent in freezing water were worth it now. You know you've made it when someone blogs about you!

Moonflower was next. This was the one Angie says I "saved her" on. She brought me in, sat me down, and started spewing Russian mythology at me. She was fascinated by it, and she had a story she needed to write there, but she wanted to make it realistic to the area (see previous paragraph). I looked around her writing nook, and there were Russian childrens' books, Russian mythology books, and even a guide to some video game characters that were based on Russian mythology. Guess you could say she's hungry for knowledge, wherever she can find it. She set me to work on researching Koschei as well as other minor characters (I'm not going to spoil it for those who haven't read it... yet). She invested much time and effort into research, and in my opinion, every second was worth it. She talked of making it into a series, and I sincerely hope she does. Yes, partly because I'm now invested in the characters, partly because I put much of my time into building her a Book of Temnota, but also because I love her writing style, and her use of a strong lead character. To see a young woman taking a terrible life in stride is... refreshing? Can I say that? To heck with it, I'm saying it. It was refreshing.

Angus MacBain and the Agate Eyeglass... What can I say? I loved this continuation of the series, though I wished it was longer. I guess I'll let the readers in on a secret: there's a third book in the works. I've sat down with Angie, and we're working on making it even better than the first two!

Last, but certainly not least, The Forlorned. This is the most recent (published) book I worked on with Angie, and it won't be the last! I didn't have too much to do with The Forlorned, as it had been previously published. Apparently the publishing company made changes, which we removed, and Angie wanted a new, improved title. So how did she come up with The Forlorned? Funny story, really. Angie was having a hard time coming up with a name for the revised book. I told her to throw some words she wanted to associate with the book, with the island, with the mood of the story. She would give me one, I'd tinker with it (aka look up synonyms) and throw it back. She gave me "desolate" and I gave her "The Forlorn Ones." No, that wasn't quite right. She said, "How about The Forlorned?" And let me tell you, there were shivers down my spine. That was it, that was the title! She renamed the book, gave it a hauntingly beautiful title, and here we are, finishing up the movie! It's odd, seeing it come so far.
Mariah McGarvey, as a Dryad
hanging out at a local bookstore;
Blacktail Books

Now if we could just get the sequel, The Awakened, done!

Mariah McGarvey
Editor for Angela J. Townsend
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