Sarah Noffke, who wrote the Soul Stone Mage series with Martha and Michael, is releasing the Unstoppable Liv Beaufont series and agreed to answer some questions for you lovely readers.
Which mythological being or type of magic did you most look forward to writing and exploring, and why?
Creating the brands of magic in the Unstoppable Liv Beaufont series was a ton of fun. We decided that rather than witches and wizards, that we’d have magicians. That meant there would be no wands, but lots of fun artifacts and hidden ways of doing magic.
I’ve had the most fun writing about the fae in this series. The Fae Kingdom is the strip in Las Vegas because those magical beauties are the ones who run and encourage the debauchery. I really wanted to make the fae modern in this series while also giving a nod to the garden fae that we see in classic folklore. The fae are gorgeous, seductive and absolutely deadly. After a single, seemingly innocent conversation with one, a person might find themselves with a decade of servitude to the fae. And because the fae live thousands of years, they have little regard for mortals and things they see as minor inconveniences, like being imprisoned for fifty years.
How long have the characters in the book been living in your head?
I think always, in a way. When Michael and I started crafting the idea for this series, he told me we should write something where the main character was a short, sassy blonde who didn’t take shit. I paused and held the phone more firmly to my head. “Ummm, are you referring to me?”
He was. Since then he’s helped me to carve out a character who I relate to easily because she shares many of my traits. Liv Beaufont is way braver than me, more independent and better with tech. However, at the core, she’s a reflection of me. I thought this was an excellent idea since I wanted to create a character who evolved naturally. How better to describe that than from my personal angle?
Also, I modeled many of the other characters after my family, friends and my cat. Therefore, when I write, I feel like I’m just channeling them and the dialogue comes out naturally.
What gave you the ideas for the Unstoppable Liv Beaufont series?
Michael and I came up with this series idea together. I think it was a three-hour conversation where I pretty much destroyed a 20Booksto50K notebook with unreadable notes. Michael throws out ideas rapidly when in the creative process. I ruminate for a while, silently waiting for the string to thread through. Putting our two processes together made for some really interesting world building. We talked through multiple variations of the book until we ended up reverting to our original one.
From the beginning we wanted to do something that dealt with the House of Seven and played on children having roles based on their birth order. Even numbered children become Councilors and odd numbered become Warriors.
I’m sort of a dystopian girl at heart, so there’s usually underlining themes related to government controls and rebels working behind the scenes. In this series, magicians have their magic registered, which means that it can be monitored and locked, creating for tensions among those who don’t want to be controlled. When you throw in all the different magical races, there is a lot of bureaucracy, which lends to a ton of potential conflict.
How have the outside influences in your life, like being a single mom in LA, affected your long career as an author?
I started writing my first novel when my daughter was nine months old. Distinctively I remember watching her crawl around on the floor, the afternoon sunlight streaming through the windows, as the idea for that first series unraveled in my head. I started that first book with one main intention: If one day I want my daughter to follow her dreams, then I better lead through example. I honestly never thought I could make a career out of writing. I dreamed that I could though.
A couple of years later, I found myself a single mother, trying to hold onto living in expensive Los Angeles. The schools are great. The amenities endless. And the cost of living, ridiculous. I didn’t want to put my daughter into daycare and commute every day to an office job. I’d done that before and had felt stifled. And I knew I’d lose precious time with her. People have to do it. I’ve had to do. It just wasn’t right for me then. So I made the decision that I was going to make a go of this author thing, but the fire was roasting under my ass. I firmly believe that if the stakes hadn’t been so high, I never would have succeeded. Put another way, when failure isn’t an option, then we find ourselves doing things we never thought possible.
Before I used to have work and family. They were separate. There was the city and me. Also separate. Now I feel it’s all mixed together. LA is part of the environment that’s shaped my life and choices. It’s the backdrop of five of my series because it constantly fills my life with inspiration. And my daughter constructs forts in my office while I write books. There are no compartments in my life anymore. I don’t work in a job that I want to race out of at five o’clock. I work every day and love it and Lydia is often beside me while I do, naming characters for me or asking if I’ll include an evil brownie (elf) in my books (and no, not this time kiddo).
Anything else you want to share?
I took a break before this series to write sci-fi and chick lit. I’m not sure those two genres have ever been listed like that in a sentence. LOL Who does that? Anyway, I was really grateful to return to my fantasy roots with this one. It took me back to the creative freedoms I had writing the Soul Stone Mage series. Fantasy has more of guidelines, whereas sci-fi has rules. One of my favorite aspects of writing the Oriceran series was including folkloric creatures like pooka and kitsune. The main character in Soul Stone Mage has a pooka, which most consider to be very untrustworthy since they are pranksters. However, she trusts him and he’s quite the helpful character since he can change into a stallion, cat, dog, goat, crow or bunny. I did something similar with the Liv Beaufont series, making her cat the mysterious lynx. Most don’t trust these creatures since they “hide the truth,” but Liv has faith in him. That’s probably one of the best things I love about writing this series: friends trusting each other. At the end of the day, I think we want to read about adventures where friends rely on each other to conquer evil. No matter the genre, the characters and their bond to each other is the best part of any story.