The Literary Vixen presents…
Joining us today is Kala Merseal! Her upcoming release, The Dark Realm (The Guardians of Atlanta Book 4) releases on June 29th 2021.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always loved stories (as I think is every writer’s go-to answer) but I started writing when I was in third grade. I also enjoyed drawing, so I illustrated a little book for my class to read about a dragon that could only blow bubbles in a family of fire-breathers, and in the end saved their home from fire-proof but water-vulnerable goblins! My childhood was filled with trips between my divorced parents, and my mother often moved. I wasn’t able to settle into a home and make permanent friends until my early teens, so I think that came out with my stories as a child. They were often about the hero/heroine finding a way to fit into the world despite some kind of disability or different-ness. Through my teens and into early adulthood, writing and drawing had always been a hobby for me, and I often said that I would find the time or motivation to publish eventually. I didn’t follow through until after my mom passed away in 2019, and I discovered that she had been reading the little journals I used to scribble in as a kid. We were fighting beforehand for about a year, so we weren’t in contact—my stories were the only way to reach me, even if that was the me from years ago. I published first so that I could tell her (or the heavens, whoever was listening, wherever they were) that I did, like I told her I would. I told my husband that I would just be happy to see how readers react to my stories, so that I could imagine how my mother would. Then it became a mission to make it a career.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure if it’s interesting, but I have to listen to music while I’m writing! I get the emotions and scenes painted by the mood of the songs, so I often put very specific songs on repeat. Also, coffee. All the time. Though I think this only speaks to my habits while writing. I also struggle writing out of the chronology of the story or multitasking between writing more than one story.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
Writing is an emotional relief for me, actually. I don’t walk away from the story with their emotions piled up in the corner of my mind—it’s more like they’re dumped with mine. So, when I’m dealing with some particularly dark scene or thoughts of a character, we’re sharing those burdens together. Often, I’m rolling around afterward just thinking about what they’re feeling or experiencing, and I’m always drawn back to the document to continue to spill out more hell. I feel much better afterward and even though my characters might not get relief in the immediate events, I consolidate it with the fact that I’ll resolve their issues in the end. As I love to quote Ron from Prisoner of Azkaban: “You’re gonna suffer, but you’re gonna be happy about it.”
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have tons of journals that have stories; some not finished, others not worthy for eyes at all. I’ve probably written near twenty stories. But novels or full-length books, I think only within ten. Most were just ramblings that happened on the fly with no clear ending but they definitely became more coherent as I continued to write (and as I grew up). I think my most favorite (thus far) is The Shadow Curse. I’ve been developing that story for about four years now and only finished the first book last year. It started from a mash-up of a dream and an amalgamation of some story I wrote when I was a kid and evolved from there. The characters are all deep aspects of my inner turmoil.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Cassandra Clare, and (dare I say it) Stephanie Meyer were all huge influences on me in my teens. I used to obsessively read Twilight as a tween (now can’t stand the books or the movies) and that led me to wanting to write my own. Before I hit twelve though, movies like Eragon and Harry Potter influenced my stories and drawings. I think most recently, I’m more influenced by Tolkien and Elder Scrolls lore (a game franchise but they’ve developed the hell out of their stories).
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I do! I have some hardcore fans that are in frequent contact with me. I’ve been lucky to make a few friends from my readers and I’m so thankful for them. I have such a great response from my readers that I think without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far in publishing. I think readers really underestimate how much power they have in influencing their authors. It’s hard to create if we don’t have feedback on how well the creation is looking.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
I’ve had Six of Crows sitting beside my bed for a while! I mostly read on my phone though. The last book I read earlier this week was Heat by Aprilynne Pike. She was always an influence on my writing, though lesser known to some readers.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
That would be cool, but I’d rather my book be made into an animation or a comic! That would be amazing. I love illustration and animation and seeing my stories come to life the way I imagine it in my head would be perfect. A dream come true.
What advice would you give to other authors?
Have a thicker skin, keep your pen to the page, and keep writing. I’ve had to remind myself of this often. I think out of all the advice someone could give about the craft of writing, endurance is key. No matter where you’re starting out or how great (or not) you are with writing, if you have the passion for it, you can get better. No one should give up on a passion just because someone else says they suck. People are fickle and careless, and most don’t understand the impact of their words. Most walk away and forget they even said anything to you. If there’s something wrong with your story, dissect it, find the problem, hit ctrl+alt+delete, then move on. Life’s too temporary to get hung up and stuck on minor details.
What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?
I get so invested in my books. Looking back on The Guardians of Altana, my first finished series as of late this coming June, I think Ara really embodies me. She is every emotion and tragedy I’ve experienced the last few years, so if you want to get to know me, meet Ara. I also learned how to write longer fiction with this first series. I know it’s a little rocky in the beginning. I developed the world as I wrote The Guardians of Altana, so even after Ara’s and Raethin’s story is finished, there will be more to come. I’ve Silmarillion-ed the world and I plan to have many prequel and sequel series to this one.
Thank you Kala Merseal for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out and pre-order her newest release, The Dark Realm today!
They must destroy the last gate—no matter the cost.
Separated after the destruction of the second gate, Ara, Raethin, Cirith, and Zira must find their way back to one another before Aeskrius can cut them down one by one.
The will of the primordial gods lead Raethin to Ara and together, they trek the vast Kava Sil landscape to find the rest of their team. With the help of the foreign guardian of the god of fire, Cirith and Zira regroup with the princess and her commander
The final hours draw near as they race against the Void King’s champion to the final gate. The fate of Thraes depends on them to stop Aeskrius before he rips open the realms.
Kala Merseal is an author of High and Urban Fantasy. Since her childhood, she’s loved writing about fantastical worlds, deep mythologies, epic adventures, and star-crossed love.