JP: This Question doesn't really have a clear or definite answer due to the fact that I began writing back when I was in second grade. Most of my earliest stories featured characters based off the pets I had at the time so my best guess is that my pets, a rabbit called Friendly, and a dog called CeJaye, inspired me to first begin writing and once I started I never stopped.
BBB: How did you come up with the idea for your book series, Mortal Realm Witch?
JP: It all started with TV. From the moment I first watched the TV show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I was hooked on witches, familiars, and magic. Because of this, a few years later, I began reading the book series based off the show. Then I also began watching the animated series. Eventually I had seen all the episodes of the shows and found myself imagining what could have happened if the shows had continued.
Since these imaginings were all based off characters that were already in existence, while the stories would have been new I never wrote any of them down. Although I had seen all the episodes of each show, I hadn't yet read all the books, at this time, so I continued to read them.
As I read the books my imagined adventures began to take on a new twist. This time my mind wasn't on the characters that I knew, it was on myself. I had begun to imagine myself as a witch and what I would probably do if I had witchcraft like Sabrina. It was at this time that my witch character of DWW was born. Through DWW I explored the idea of myself as a witch, with DWW being based almost completely off of myself at the time, and wrote down different things I may have done with magic and how things would most likely have turned out.
DWW's relationship with her familiar, the Golden Retriever known as Trillman, was also based off of my own relationship with my dog CeJaye who was very much into barking an alarm whenever I was doing something I wasn't supposed to. Basically it seemed as if I couldn't do anything fun with him around and DWW has these same feelings about Trillman on occasion which leads to some trouble. This is how the first three stories in Book One of the Mortal Realm Witch series came to be.
Eventually, by the fourth story of the book, DWW began splitting off from myself and started to become her own character which led to my being able to explore even more possibilities and write even more stories with her as the main character which eventually led me to writing a whole series. Although, throughout the series I have other witches, such as Turtle who tells and is the focus of much of Book Two, and Asantra who has control of Book Four, DWW and Trillman are characters in almost every book in the series, DWW of which has an important role to play in each one.
The idea for the main, or larger storyline throughout the series, however, did not came from a different place. Throughout the series DWW is trying to achieve one goal, this is to unite the Realms of both witches and mortals. This idea was inspired by the movie: Halloweentown High.
While this is how the idea for the beginning and the big story of the series came to be, there is much more to the story of howMortal Realm Witch was created. For the full story, if you want to know it, check out my blog post with the beginning title of: Unfinished Projects. The direct link to this blog post can be found in the What's New section of the Mortal Realm Witch website, http://www.mortalrealmwitch.com/.
JP: DWW is 11 years old when her first story takes place. At this time she isn't very responsible but upon learning she is a witch she begins her training to learn how to use her new powers. Trillman, the Golden Retriever, is both DWW's dog and familiar. This means that he can talk and is responsible for teaching DWW which he finds difficult due to the fact that not only does he have to teach her magic, but responsibility as well.
Throughout Book One, DWW finds learning responsibility to be a challenge and only upon learning about herself through the teaching of two magical wolf pups does she finally learn this. From this moment on, DWW begins to get more and more responsible leading up to the biggest event of her life, for Book One anyway, which requires a very responsible witch to handle it.
One unique thing about DWW is that she is 1/3 witch, 1/3 mortal, and 1/3 wolf. With the discovery of being a witch in Book One, also comes the discovery of her wolf abilities. While being part witch and part mortal doesn't make her unique from other witches, her wolf part does.
DWW's wolf part, due to the fact that it is a natural part of her, allows her to change into a white wolf without the use of any magic. Even if DWW were to lose her witchcraft for any reason, she would still be able to become a wolf.
Because she is part witch and part wolf, DWW has a special identity as a protector witch-which is a witch that has the ability to change into an animal without the sue of magic. As a result, protector witches can use this ability to make themselves undetectable to witch hunters. They also have the responsibility to protect the same animal species that protects them, which means that DWW is responsible for taking car of and protecting wolves.
DWW and Trillman are constants throughout the series, but the series has many more characters some such as the witch called Turtle, and the witch called Asantra, tell or are much of the focus in some of the books. Because there are many other characters to meet which would be too long to talk about here, to learn about them you can visit the Meet the Characters section ofhttp://www.mortalrealmwitch.com/. In this section you can meet and get to know and learn which books of the series you can find: the witch who is the series constant, DWW, the Golden Retriever who is DWW's familiar, Trillman, the warlock and first Head of the Witches Council that you meet in Book One, Trom, the Labrador familiar, Max, the witch, Ally and her dragon friend Air Raid, the second Mortal Realm witch, Turtle, the wizard, Taron, the cat familiar, Alaska, the adventurous witch and daughter of DWW, Asantra, Asantra's familiar the Double X Bird, Screetche, Asantra's wizard friend, Sky, Asantra's sorceress friend, Jill, and the series villain who is currently spending time as a Goldfish, Sampson.
BBB: What do you think readers will like most about Mortal Realm Witch?
JP: For my series it will really depend on who the reader is. I think most readers will enjoy the magic and how the series progresses into more and more action in each book of the main series and those who love animals will particularly like how the animals are always a big part of the story.
The more careful readers and those who like the chance to imagine possibilities of what could happen before being told this, as well as people who enjoy a little mystery may notice that with each book some details or story pieces may appear to be missing, but they aren't. I am known to leave out specific details and return to that part of the story later on in one of the next books.
In Book One, for example, there are two things specifically that I only hint at. One is how Trillman became a familiar and another is my villain's plan. Trillman's story is eventually told in a two story eBook exclusive which not only tells how this happened, but also what he was doing in his absence between story three in Book One, and the final story in Book Two. For Sampson's plan I leave readers a hint in Book Two that his plan will eventually be revealed when DWW tells Turtle that it is up to Sampson to tell her what he did to become a familiar if he chooses to do so, not her.
The final example I will give of my leaving clues rather than directly telling things is from Book Four of the series. In it there is a prologue in which the reader meets Asantra while getting caught up on previous events. In this prologue Asantra tells everyone what she looks like; something her mom, DWW, wasn't allowed to do and never reveals in any book of the series.
Throughout the series, rather than directly saying, I often leave clues for the readers to put together to learn about my characters. From what I said about Asantra the reader should be able to tell that Asantra doesn't always follow the rules or keep secrets. The reason I write my books this way is because I want my readers to have something that they may have to think about a bit as well as giving them the opportunity to discover things for themselves as well as giving them chances to imagine, for the things such as where the series is heading or Sampson's plan, the possibilities of what could happen next or what could have happened. Then by the time I reveal the answer, in whichever book I choose to do so in, the reader will get the chance to find out if they guessed right or not.
BBB: How many books are available in the series?
JP: Currently only Book One, Mortal Realm Witch: Learning About Magic, is available as well as a free story featuring characters from the Mortal Realm Witch series, which is featured in a free anthology on Smashwords called: The Battle of Ebulon, which due to the fact that some authors wrote stories that are for mature audiences, my story, Entry Point 12, will soon be available to download and read from http://www.mortalrealmwitch.com/, as a PDF, ePub, or mobi file.
By the time this interview goes live Book Two, Mortal Realm Witch: The Magic Continues, might be out. Hopefully at the latest it will be out by August of 2013. Also, for now until Book Three, Mortal Realm Witch: Realms Unite? is released, the full first story of the eBook I mentioned earlier featuring Trillman called Trillman's Tales is currently available to read as a PDF on my website in the Free to Read section of http://www.mortalrealmwitch.com/.
Overall the series will have five books in the main series, Mortal Realm Witch: Learning About Magic, Mortal Realm Witch: The Magic Continues, Mortal Realm Witch: Realms Unite?, Mortal Realm Witch: The Adventures of DWW2, and the unnamed fifth book, three companion books, Tales of Familiars: The First Mortal Realm Witch Series Companion, Tales of Young Asantra: The Second Mortal Realm Witch Series Companion, and Tales of Other Realm Creatures: The Third Mortal Realm Witch Series Companion, two free eBook exclusive stories, Allura's First Magical Discovery, and Ally & DWW or DWW & Ally, a $0.99 eBook exclusive-Trillman's Tales, and a comic book style video called: Ally & Air Raid in: Book Light, which will be available for viewing/reading on both YouTube and the Mortal Realm Witch website. And as mentioned before there is also a story in The Battle of Ebulon, which I will add to the website for my readers who are younger than 17 years of age.
JP: I mentioned Book Two, Mortal Realm Witch: The Magic Continues, which will be available soon and I am also working on the rest of the series.
Besides the books in the Mortal Realm Witch series I am also working on several fiction short story collections. Currently these collections are: Heroes United, which is a collection of superhero stories, most of which star animals as the heroes, a collection of animal adventure stories, a collection of dog stories, a collection of cat and horse stories, a collection of supernatural and sci-fi stories, a collection of Christmas stories, Back to the Wild, which is a collection of stories about wild animals being returned to the wild after having lived in captivity for various reasons, and a collection of random animal stories which feature the animals that I couldn't fit anywhere else such as a story with an ostrich, one with a kangaroo, a story with a ferret, and others.
I am also working on a few other books that are collection of short interconnecting stories just as Books One and Two in theMortal Realm Witch series are. These books currently include: The Dogs That Saved the World, The Young Animal Psychics,and "Good Luck" Animal Shelter.
Another fiction book that I am currently working on is a comic book/graphic novel inspired by my two crazy dogs called:Spider & Jackal. This book features some true stories, some based on true events, and stories that probably would have happened given time. Both characters are highly exaggerated versions of the two dogs personalities. Some of the bunnies I have owned also have been combined to create characters for this book.
The last fiction books that I am currently working on are a two part book series that will feature over 250 animals within 41 different books. This series will be called Animal World. The first part of the series will be called Animal World, and the second part, or split off series, will be titled Animal World: Endangered. The aim of this series is to educate readers about animals in a fun and entertaining way.
Besides fiction I am working on three nonfiction books. These books include: My Pets and Their Lives, Just Dreaming: The Dreams I Had and the Stories They Created which will feature several new stories, and Animals in the Shelters, which is a book about animal cruelty and animal rescue. The aim of this book is to help promote shelter pets in two ways. First, I have plans on donating profits from the book to animal rescue, and second it will hopefully both entertain and educate readers about animal shelters and rescue pets.
You can find out more about Jennifer Priester and her books by visiting http://www.mortalrealmwitch.com.