Magic and crime. Agatha Christie meets J.R.R. Tolkien in “Shadow Path,” the first book in the new Portals series by author P.L. Blair.
An Ogre murdered with a rune-inscribed sword is just the beginning as Kat Morales, a very human detective on the Corpus Christi, Texas, police force, and her Elf partner Tevis McLeod follow a blood trail that leads to Pixies, necromancy and Magic of the Blackest kind ... to its climax in a stronghold Between worlds, where Tevis must duel spell for spell with a former lover who wants to see her old flame extinguished permanently.
'PL Blair has created a world where doorways (or portals) have opened between our world and the world of magic. Now, pixies, trolls, ogres, and elves (to name only a few) rub shoulders with humans; which makes solving crimes even more of a challenge for Corpus Cristie detectives, Kat Morales, and Tevis Mcleod.'
'A magical invasion of legendary creatures makes this a great read'
'Dragons, elves, pixies, and many other creatures I haven't heard of make an appearance in this book. If you are a teen or older, interested in fantasy and its fantastical creatures, myths, and whodunit mysteries, then Shadow Path is for you.'
~INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR~
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Probably from the time I was 6 or 7. My grandparents raised me, and Daddy - my grandfather read to me starting before I was even old enough to talk. I was reading by the time I was 4 or 5, and ... I couldn't get enough of the stories. I started making up stories for myself, then to amuse friends, and things just went from there.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Sometimes. My background is in newspaper work, so I got used to writing in the midst of chaos in a news room - phones ringing, people talking, interviews at the next desk, the sound of typing, that kind of stuff. So I do need a certain amount of background noise, TV, street noises. When I do play music, it's usually movie soundtracks. Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Pirates of the Caribbean - that sort of stuff.
Where do you find inspiration for story ideas?
Everywhere. Everything is grist for the writer's mill. My Portals books are based on the idea that all the creatures of our myths and folklore are real - and that, after a long absence from our human world, they're returning, bringing their magic with them, and some of them use that magic to commit crimes. So I play with the thoughts of these beings, who they are, what they are, and what kind of crimes might they commit? Also ... how would non-magical humans deal with criminals who can kill with a touch - or a look?
Can you tell us about your writing process?
Basically, when I get an idea, I sit down and start writing. I fly by the seat of my pants. At heart, I'm not so much writer as storyteller, and the first person I tell my story to is ... me. To outline the story first would ruin the spontaneity for me. It's a messy process, and it involves a certain amount of going back to earlier chapters to change or delete or add stuff, but it works for me.
Should writers break the rules?
It depends on the rule, but ... I have no problem breaking a rule now and then if it helps move the story along. For me there are two basic guidelines: First, know the rules. If you're going to break a rule, it should be by design, not accident. Second, I think you shouldn't break a rule just because it's a rule. Break rules when that will enhance the story you're telling.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
Watching the words coming together onto the paper or computer screen to form thoughts or paint a picture. I've always loved words - not in themselves but for the ability to communicate. Whether it's telling a story or reporting the news, the purpose of words is to communicate. That's the binding that holds us together as a society.
What's the best advice on writing that you've ever been given?
To write the story before you edit it. My inner editor is always on to some degree, but I've learned to keep her under control until the initial draft is done. The thing is, and I've seen it happen, you can spend so much time polishing that first page - or first couple of paragraphs - of your work that it never goes anywhere. True story: years ago, a coworker of mine on a newspaper told me he was writing a book. He'd been working on it for two years. "That's awesome!" I said. "How far along are you?" "Three paragraphs," he said. "I want them perfect before I write any more."
What is your greatest fear?
The same with each book I write: That I will run out of ideas. Aside from fear as a writer? Probably my biggest fear is heights. I can't even climb on a stepladder without getting heart palpitations. Changing an overhead lightbulb is agony.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I honestly can't think of any. Being a writer lets me dabble in all kinds of other stuff, from history to archaelogy and geology to government and politics. I became a writer in part because I didn't really know what I wanted to be when I "grew up." There's too much fun stuff out there.
If you choose to come back as something else, what would it be?
An elf. Definitely an elf. I've been enamored of elves since childhood, and JRR Tolkien cemented the relationship. I adore his elves. I want to be one of those - a wise and graceful being of starlight and the natural world. However, more realistically, I'm probably more of a hobbit: short, inclined toward "plumpness," and with a fondness for food and the comforts of home. I love sending Kat and Tevis - the protagonists in my books - off on adventures, but I don't "do" adventures myself. Maybe I already am a hobbit, but without the furry feet ...
Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions.
Where readers can find P.L.Blair :