What’s your name and where are you from?
Raven J. Demers. I currently reside in Washington state and have lived across the U.S. and parts of Europe.
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
We traveled extensively during my childhood, and when I was five, we had a long layover between flights. Bored, I began writing a story about twins, one of whom had a disability.
Who are some of your influences?
Influences come in all forms—stories, music, the people in our lives—for me, the original influences came from within my family, as my mother and her parents were all writers. As a child, I devoured myths, fantasy, science fiction, and music from multiple genres. Not much has changed since.
What is your book about?
Seal Breaker is fundamentally about making mistakes and shows that no one is entirely a villain or a hero. Eila Corbin returns from a kidnapping by time mages in The Grasp of Time. She knows pieces of what will happen in the future and makes choices—and mistakes—based on that knowledge. She must learn how to live as a being dependent on magic during a magical drought, while still pretending to be human.
Where did you get the idea?
The Amakai series was built between Robin and I over a series of months. Our ideas are taken from the world around us and the fairy tales we grew up on. It’s inspired by what was, what could be, and what we’d rather the world wasn’t.
How long did it take you to finish it?
20 years or 3 weeks, depending on how you look at it. Robin and I created the foundation for the Amakai series in 1998, but we didn’t write the first draft of Seal Breaker until 2008. It’s been through several revisions between other projects since.
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
Seal Breaker is my eighth book and third novel. It’s the second book in the Amakai series.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
David Bowie will always be one of the biggest influences of my creative works. Aspects of him show up in several of my characters, especially in Aithne and Wells. There are people from my life who also appear in the book, some even by name (with permission), like Jasmine. Nathaniel from Perdition is pulled heavily from a past relationship. People who have offered kindness or caused harm may appear as a side character, or at least, their actions may inform those of a character.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
There’s a thread of forbidden romance running through the Amakai series, and at one point, two people who are meant to remain apart come together for a handful of minutes—not entirely under the best circumstances—but it always excited me to re-read that section during revisions.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
- Write. Put words down, because you can’t edit a blank page.
- During the first draft, tie up your editor, shove them in a closet, and pretend you’re the most brilliant writer who ever existed.
- Finish projects.
What’s the worst?
I took a Creative Writing class in college in which the teacher said on day one not to write with a purpose or message in mind. She insisted that fiction, especially genre fiction, should be a fun read and nothing more. I suppose she never read 1984, Animal Farm, any Asimov novel, or most science fiction, in general.
Where can we buy your book?
Seal Breaker, and all of my other works, are available at Amazon in print and on Kindle and Barnes & Noble for Nook. Raven J. Demers lives in a forest outside Seattle with xyr family. Xe is author of The Grasp of Time and Perdition. Xe earned a degree in Anthropology from the University of Washington and is a member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association. Raven teaches literary analysis to local teens and believes the answer to xyr family obsession might be ducks. Visit Raven at the Satyr’s Garden website.