I’ve been looking forward to this Q&A for a while now, and I thank Muffy for her patience! Muffy Morrigan is the author of the Custodes Noctis series, which so far consists of The Legacy and The Hunt. She is a fascinating person. with a great sense of humour, a wonderful imagination, and is friends with a Giant Spider who lives in her office. I hope you enjoy reading her answers to my questions as much as I did!
Muffy Morrigan – The Legacy, The Hunt
Unlike thesubjects of my last two inquisitions *cough* er, interviews, I don’t actuallyknow too much about you. Since I managed to get you to agree to answer anyquestions I want (mwhahaha), shall we start there?
1. What is your writing history? What point was it that you picked up a pen andrealised people would have to wrestle it out of your hand to get you to stop?
My writing history? I first figured out I could tell storieslong before I picked up a pen, I know that, or at least my parents and grandparentshave told me that! I do know that I was six when I “penned” my first novel,carefully copying out several copies on lined paper and going door to doorselling them to the neighbors for ten cents. I was in my teens when I finishedmy first actual novel, a science fiction adventure, although I had written manyshort stories by then. I had the chance to attend an amazing writer’s workshopwhen I was sixteen with some of the major science fiction writers in thecountry—luckily many of them live in the Northwest. In college I tookwriting-heavy majors including history and so churned out a lot of words. Iknew my academic dreams were nothing but dreams when I was labeled (at anacademic conference) as colorful and flamboyant. Oh well. After that, I set offto write—news mostly and covered the gauntlet in the news world from obituariesand news briefs to reporting and finally to the height of reviews and a weeklycolumn. Um, that was a really longanswer, sorry…
2. You have two books out currently, and I believe it was with two differentpublishers? What was the process like for you?
Nerve-wracking! It always is, no matter how sure you are ofyourself, there is always that little tick of doubt that is there the wholetime. I love working with a good editor, though. They help tighten the writingso much!
3. I noticed a big change of writing style between The Legacy and The Hunt. Doyou accredit it to something? Were there things you were watching outfor?
It does show doesn’t it? The Legacy was a novel I had beenpoking at for many years, haul it out poke, put it back, and over the years mystyle has altered. I think The Hunt is much tighter. I am tempted to go back inand rewrite The Legacy, believe me. I can see where I want it to change! It’shard…
4. Do you have a favourite story/novel that you’ve written so far?
Hmm, that’s hard. My favorite novel that is all the way writtenis The Hunt, although The Berserkers (book three) is shaping up really well. Ido have a couple of favorite stories I’ve written for fanfic, Apocalypse Now! Ithink is one of my all time favorites.
5. Tell us about your characters. I refuse to accept a short answer on thisone 😉 Youhave so many intriguing characters that I would love to know more about themand what makes them tick.
Okay, I won’t answer short! My characters in general are theCustodes Noctis a group of people who fight “the darkness that even the nightfears”. Founded back in antiquity they deal with all the things that can throwthe world out of balance. Each “Keeper” has personal Gifts as well as sharing abond with their brother,
Specifically: Galen Emrys, the elder brother of my maincharacters. He is Gifted with healing. Unlike many Keepers in the past, Galenhas more power and is more like the Keepers that fought back in the days when“darkness” walked the earth more frequently. He owns the Emrys Apothecary andhad a PhD. He also plays guitar in a local band The Urban Werewolves
Rob Emrys: the younger brother. He is Gifted with the Sight. Robis also a gifted linguist and researcher. He is more steeped in the Traditionsof the Custodes Noctis than Galen and regularly cites the Sagas to prove hispoint.
Flash Lynch: Galen’s best friend and bassist/vocalist for TheUrban Werewolves. He started out as a minor character, but he has quite afollowing and I have to admit, he has really pushed his way to the front of thestories. He will play an even larger roll in The Berserkers.
Parry and Bobby Emrys: Galen and Rob’s Father and Uncle. They’retechnically dead, but deceased Keepers can be called to serve by a livingKeeper, and once they were called, they decided to “hang around” a bit.
Other Characters that are regulars are Rhiannon Ross: Galen mether when he was eighteen, her daughter had been killed by the Old One of theLegacy (though they didn’t realize that at the time) and after that she becamea killer of things that took children. I see her as hunting demonic forces thatspecifically target children, although she is always willing to join a fight.
Mike Silva: An ER doc and close friend of Galen
Greg Alexander: Kinda of a mystery, but he will play a biggerroll in the next book.
Stephan Blake: A Fae, he helped create the Hunt, and iscurrently living under the radar as a monk.
6. Time for the difficult question (although I think I might be able to guessthe answer): do you have a favourite written character?
Of my own? Probably Galen or Rob, but maybe Tristan (upcomingproject)
Another author? That’s easy Elizabeth Peter’s Ramses Emerson.I’d marry him if I could.
7. You’ve developped a good reputation for yourself with your fanfiction, asubject which you discussed very well on your blog post. Do you want to add anything to that? Where do you develop your ideas forcharacters who have already existed for seven years?
Well this will sound a little crazy, but they tend to tell me“hey, this would make a great story.” My Current fanfic “The Hunting of ASnark, with apologies to Lewis Carroll” has been brewing for a long time andsuddenly it was ready. Other times the story just pops out whole, like withApocalypse Now! Or my two most recent one shots. They just happen.
8. Do you have any other projects in the works?
I actually have two, one is still nebulous, but the other is inthe writing stage. It’s a fantasy/sci fi crossover called The Sail Weaver and Iam very, very excited about it. The character Tristan I mentioned above is partof that story. I almost can’t wait to get to that one. As soon as the novellaand the Berserkers are finished… Oh! There will be a Custodes Noctis Novellaout this month!
9. Finally, in one sentence – what advice would you give to all the aspiringwriters out there?
I can do it in one word. Write. That sounds trite, but I don’t meanit that way. Writing is like music, and you have to practice every day to moveforward. I have pages of things that will never see the light of day that Ihave written just to write. I set challenges for myself and write. Maybe I dohave a sentence: Write from your heart, write for yourself and make sure whatyou write is what you love.
I’m going to review both of the Custodes Noctis books together, which I feel I can do safely because Muffy fit them together so seamlessly.
The Legacy begins the tale of Galen and Rob Emrys, Keepers who have been prevented from doing their duty because of an attempt on the younger brother’s life that has forced the older into hiding. Five years later, events are set into motion that make it imperative the brothers reunite to stop an old god from returning to our world. The Hunt picks up shortly after as the brothers must face the consequences of having denied their role as Keepers while they were separated. Long considered a punishment for Keepers who turn their backs on their duty, the Hunt attempts to claim the brothers, but when millenia old evil try to break through the Between World, Rob and Galen have no choice but to use the Hunt to their advantage.
A simple summary for two novels full of fascinating complexities and a whole spectrum of great characters. In a world that beautifully blends a magical world with our reality, the Custodes Noctis series focuses on the importance of strong partnership, family bonds, and how annoying our friends can be when they go against what we’ve asked them to do only to get themselves in trouble and as a result end up saving our lives (Flash, I’m looking at you!)
What I really enjoyed about these novels? How well-developped the legends are; how Rob’s insatiable desire for knowledge and research, and the sources he quotes, actually seem possible in our mundane world. It’s easy to believe that Galen’s apothecary shop is right down the corner, that discussing ancient sacrificial rituals really is coffee shop talk among friends. I was sucked into a world similar to mine in every detail, but full of the magic I wish really existed — and I believed for a time that it did. Isn’t that the ultimate sign of a fantastic story?
I am very much waiting for both the novella and the next installment, The Berserkers, to add to my shelves. If they’re anything like what I’ve read so far, it’ll be worth the read.