Wild in the woods with Anna Mayle
I’m thrilled to welcome Anna Mayle, author of the Stolen Child series, a deliciously dark tale of fae and changelings that feels very close to my heart. And there’s many good reasons the wild worlds of her books are so authentic, and her prose so vivid…
Q. Anna, you “grew up in the woods and wild, in a place almost forgotten by time…” Sounds amazing. Tell us a little more about where you come from and how this informs your writing?
I was born in Petosky, in the upper peninsula of Michigan (that piece above the mitten that looks kind of like a cross between a dragon and a fish on the map), but we lived on Drummond Island. I’ve heard it’s changed a lot since we left, but when I was little it was all green and growing. The trees went on forever. We had a clearing around the house and a saw mill. Mom cut the boards and built the house with her family and her bare hands. Before that she’d lived in a loft in our sugar shack where she made syrup from the sap of the maple trees in the forest. When she realized that I was on the way, she and my granddad agreed that plumbing and a wood stove to heat the place would make baby care easier. We had goats (one slept in my bed with me, no matter how many times mom put her outside, she’d find her way in), and dogs and cats we rescued, and bats we could never quite chase out of the porch.
We used to have rendezvous in the summer. In a clearing deep in the woods we would live in a teepee with a fire pit cut out and dug in the center of it. Mom made that too, and decorated it with tribal animals pictures like a turtle and a deer, and a moon and star (she was the moon, I was the star, we added another star for each of my brothers and my sister as they were born). Trappers, traders and craftsmen would gather to live in a communal setting for a while, to keep in touch with simpler times. There were shooting contests and hatchet throwing, music, and games for us kids like searching for pennies in huge sawdust piles and scavenger hunts. My mom made me a black powder musket and I could shoot before most kids could read and read before many could talk. According to my mom I was born with a head full of hair and eyes wide open, she says a turned my head and looked up at the doctor and he almost dropped me in surprise. From there on, every day was about nature and life and adventures and what could be learned from the three of them. There was a small town, a group of close friends and family, water and wildlife all around us and through it all was love.
When we moved to the mainland I had culture shock. I’d thought everyone lived like we did! ^_^
All in all, I was a very lucky kid.
Q. As a fan of fairies and folklore, your first story, Bedtime Story for a Stolen Child, completely blew me away. What inspired you explore the very darkest side of the fae?
I always thought the darker side of legends were fascinating and that we did a disservice in only focusing on the happy bits of Faerie Tales. The darkness was always a comfort to me. The horror is what sweetens the happiness, after all.
When it comes to Fae, more often than not the legends are warnings, full of worry and fear. The happy and kind Faeries are fun, but even they can do us mischief. That is one of the reasons they’re so fun to write about.
Q. Please tell us about the sequels in the ‘Stolen Child’ series.
The Stolen Child series is what my first editor referred to as a ‘Bookend Series’. The first and last books are strongly connected while the middle two are set in the same world but stand almost completely alone. This worked out well for me since it gave me two books worth of time in which to wonder how in the world I was going to come up with a HEA for two characters heading toward mutual destruction.
In the second book, Lullaby for a Stolen Child, I went darker, exploring the differences between Fae and human. I also greatly enjoyed writing about Redcap (he’s my favorite Fae). He really took over that book. Originally I was going to write two original Fae and a human, but the more I wrote Tiche (that was the name I started with for him), the more I realized I was writing Redcap. Finally I gave in, changed the name and added a few bits here and there and just went with it. He hi-jacked the story completely, half the time, I didn’t even know what he was going to do. …a guilty secret about “Lullaby” is that the music I listened to, to find my way into the Vale, was Ke$ha’s “Take it Off”. My sister was watching the music video while I was typing and instead of the literal meaning, I think because of the way the video was filmed, I read take-it-off as a command for the shedding of the skin, the pretty lie covering dangerous truths. …My sister thought it was hilarious.
In the third book Dreams of a Stolen Child I wanted to change it up. Lullaby had been so dark and visceral in such a straight forward way, that I wanted to put a new spin on things; get more into the mind than the skin. Gentle Carver was Stolen in a completely different way and also. Also, in this book the humans are the ones doing the harm, not the Fae. …This was a difficult book to write because one of the two main characters, the Fae named Ronan, was most often in the form of a child. It made the small cage he was kept in more tolerable for him but it gave me trouble trying to balance the budding feelings and relationship between he and Gentle without coming across as inappropriate. Regardless of the fact that Ronan was hundreds of years Old, he looked like a child and Gentle looked like an adult. In the end it didn’t come across badly, and it produced a very twisted result, but not a disappointing one. I’d also say this is the closest of the series to a true and honest romance, until Daybreak came out.
Q. It’s war between vampires and the fae of your stories. Who would win?
Vamp vs Fae…my Fae in particular…that’s tough. There have been so many interpretations of vampires in books, movies and games.
Both have their banes, but I think in the end, the Fae would win. Vampires have a lot of strengths but many of their strengths are shared or surpassed by the Fae. Vampires are strong, fast, and manipulative to a supernatural level. They can, in some lore, transform into animals or mist. Fae can do all of this and have the advantage of a plethora of wild magics at their fingertips. Beyond that, the Vampires have too many limitations. They are vulnerable during the day, they have a very specific dietary need, and most importantly they are still limited by a very human mind, no matter how changed they become. Fae on the other hand, have no such restriction to their creativity. While Fae have the weaknesses of Cold Iron, in fighting amongst their kind, and the fact that they do eventually age, they also have variety and can step in and out of this world with little effort making them very hard to pin down. They would also be too smart to go toe to toe with a vampire army. They’d play with them, cause some chaos and then start the slaughter.
Besides which, many of my Fae (Tache, Redcap, Ronan) were or are warriors, raised and weaned on battle. While it is more of an Art to Tache and a cause to Ronan, Redcap just likes killing. It’s his shtick ^_^
I’d like to see that battle, but unless the vampires were of the multi-powered roleplaying variety (think World of Darkness Ancient Elders) the ending is pretty easily guessed.
But then again, I might be biased.
Q. What’s next from Anna Mayle?
Well I have a ghost story in the making. I’m about 10,000 words in. The book is about a young musician who was badly injured in a bus accident. Robbed of his confidence he is living, hiding really, in the back of an old used book shop. When an old, handwritten journal captures his eye he’s pulled into the story of a nameless soldier from WWII. As he reads, he begins to see the war, and then the soldier. The more he reads, the more real it is, until he starts to see things even when he’s awake. He can’t run from it, or hide, and he can’t bring himself to close the journal. What does this specter want from him? How can he possibly escape its reach…and does he even want to?
After that is done I have a vague outline for a post-apocalyptic story about a reclusive mechanic who’s a bit more and less than human at the same time, and a clean cut city dweller who just might be able to see past the walls between them (Wow, I didn’t realize how Beauty and the Beast it sounded until I wrote it ^_^)
After that, maybe a zombie romance, I always wanted to see if I could make zombies sexy hahaha.
And in the midst of all of this I’m 20,000 words into the Prequel to In The Shadow of a Hero. It’s the story of Dee and Nate (Maxwell’s parents) and will probably be a free read when it’s done. Although I strongly urge people to read In The Shadow of a Hero first, since the prequel will spoil a lot of twists for you if you start with it.
There’s also the possibility of a YA serial soap opera type freebie… but we’ll have to see on that one.
And until those come out…
Here is Daybreak for a Stolen Child
Nearly a year since the nightmare at the cabin. Life for Daniel and Leinad hasn’t gotten easier, but at least there is something to say for familiarity. They fight, they threaten, but they love each other and in the end, that should be enough.
When the shadows start stealing closer, and the past begins catching up to them, how long will the two lovers have before the Fae in Daniel emerges, and before Leinad has to face his own demons once again? Until the harsh light of reality engulfs the fragile world they’ve built for themselves?
How long will it be until daybreak?
“Daniel.” The soft, trilling voice sent shocks of agony straight to his temples.
A thick band of tension tightened around his head. He closed his strange new eyes and begged silently for it to stop.
“Daniel,” Leinad whispered again. The words were barely there, breathy. The soft, downy inside of his lover’s wings folded around him from behind, and he sighed as Leinad lowered both of them carefully to the bed. “Do not fight it. Don’t try to understand it. Whatever it is you see, it is not something humans are meant to process. You do not think like a Fae. Trying to grasp their worlds and ways will hurt you.”
“My head is killing me,” Daniel mumbled.
Leinad nodded against his shoulder and rested his face in the curve of Daniel’s neck. “I know.”
“Reading my mind now?”
Leinad chuckled. “You squint when you get headaches.”
Daniel tried to smile, but it felt brittle and impossible upon his lips. “I can’t… I’m terrified, Leinad.”
A soft mouth moved against Daniel’s neck, softer feathers caressed his chest, belly, thighs. “I am here.”
Long, tapered fingers slid slowly around his sides, teased their way to brush over Daniel’s chest and pulled him back harder against his partner. Daniel could feel Leinad’s interest pressed insistently against his tailbone. One talon tipped finger flicked the delicate nub of a nipple. Daniel gasped, Leinad moaned and nipped at the tender skin of Daniel’s neck.
“What are you doing?” Daniel asked stupidly. When did my mind and mouth lose their connection?
“I’m making you forget,” Leinad said calmly, and rolled his hips into Daniel’s ass. “I’ll make you forget your own name.”
“I already have.” Daniel choked.
Leinad’s motions stilled. “Damn you Daniel. The other Fae weren’t nearly as difficult to interest.”
“I don’t remember being Fae.”
The wings opened and Daniel yelped in surprise. Leinad grabbed, twisted, and straddled him all in quick succession until Daniel stared up at Leinad from his back. The cruel curve of his beak, wide golden eyes, round and knowing in a pale white face, filled his vision. Feathers flowed over his head and shoulders like hair. The hands holding him down were talon tipped and deadly.
Daniel’s cock danced at the proximity of the dangerous creature. It thickened, lengthened, the blood rushed into it in an attempt to make it hard enough to tear through the linen slacks the creature wore. Again, one taloned hand flexed, a deadly claw teased his nipple. Daniel squirmed and moaned. He needed pressure, friction, flesh. He needed Leinad, in all his terrifying glory.
“You feel it too, don’t you.” It was a statement, not a question. “The consuming pull, the want, your body craves mine as if you were made for me, of me. No matter what happens, you belong to me, my creature. So lie back and give yourself up to me. Fear me, need me, only focus upon me.” Leinad punctuated his command by rolling his hips and opening his fly to free his rapidly hardening need from the confinement of his pants.
Daniel trembled, a familiar yet strange moistness seeped from his puckered entrance as his body prepared itself. His anus opened and closed again and again, begged to be filled, to be brutalized, to be taken, owned, claimed. It knew its master just as his dancing cock did, just as Daniel himself did. Leinad glowed gloriously and Daniel wanted nothing more than to be the vessel to his need. He arched his hips up, and closed his eyes at even the slight friction that earned him. Without the strange visual world to distract him, the sensations were doubled and then some, and he keened at their strength.
“There, now you are ready for me, aren’t you.”
“Yes,” he whimpered. “Oh yes, please.”
“Please?” Leinad cooed. “You want me to please you, do you not?” He took Daniel’s hand and brought it to his huge, thick cock. The veins stood in stark relief against the magnificent shaft and the mushroom head leaked a thick, clear liquid that coated its length and pooled between them, made them slide smoothly against one another. “You want me to tear you open and live inside you, move in and out until you aren’t sure which you want more, the pleasure or the pain.”
“Yes!” Daniel begged and writhed for more, for the action those words promised. “Please fuck me.”
“I’ll fuck you into forgetting. Then I’ll go deeper. I’ll penetrate straight to your soul and saturate it with my seed. Body. Mind. Soul, all mine. You hear me? You’re mine!”
“Yes, sir.” Daniel trembled. Leinad stood and stripped quickly. Daniel didn’t even have time to feel guilt over the multitude of bandages revealed before Leinad was back. He tore Daniel’s pants from his body, scooped Daniel’s legs up to rest on his shoulders and surged forward until Daniel was bent nearly in half, begging in shallow, panting breaths, his opening wide and wanting. “Please Leinad. Please don’t be cruel to me, not now.”
“Never,” the creature promised and thrust with one hard jab, burying himself deeply into Daniel’s core.
Daniel cried out in perfect, blissful agony. “More!”
Leinad thrust again, and lights danced in the blackness behind Daniel’s eyelids.
“Mine. Say it,” Leinad ordered.
“Yours, I am yours. I am yours!” he sang brokenly while Leinad plowed into him again and again. Daniel might as well have been praying, for the worship he could hear in his own voice. The thickness inside of him was unrelenting, claiming, unyielding. He had no time to relax, to calm or think, barely time to breathe.
The speed behind those deep thrusts increased, and he was bent so far that his knees met his ears while Leinad blanketed him with his weight and rode him hard, wet and wonderful. A scream built inside of him, but he had no breath to give voice to it. Leinad pounded into him so hard that he slammed into the bed. It still wasn’t enough. Daniel reached down to grasp his own cock, but the force inside of him shook. Leinad’s cock rattled like a snake against his prostrate and before his fingers even closed around himself he was coming, twisted and covered and owned. It wasn’t romantic, but it was love, thick and hot inside of him. It bent him, twisted his soul to its bidding. “I love you,” he breathed.
Leinad came and pulled out at the same time. His semen coated Daniel’s legs and crotch as he retreated to the far side of the room and stared at him with those wide, inhuman eyes.
“Damn you, Daniel.” He choked. “You weren’t supposed to say it.”
Thank you so much for dropping by, Anna. I, for one, am a massive fan of the wonderful, dark words you create.
You can learn more about Anna and her books at her goodreads page.
All of her previous books are available for purchase at Resplendence Publishing just click on the cover to the right of the screen.