Så er tiden kommet til et lille interview med Cecilia Tan, og hold da op hvor var det svært, at begrænse mængden af spørgsmål… Herunder får I interviewet, så rigtig god læselyst!
1. I could use many words to describe your Magic University series, but if you should describe your series in five words, what would they be?
Hm, five words? How about “Magic sexual identity discovery quest”? Because discovering your sexual identity is a kind of magic, and magical sex is a discovery, and discovering he’s magical is what leads to all kinds of sexual awakenings for Kyle.
2. The first thing I noticed when reading The siren and the sword was that there were quite a few similarities to the Harry Potter books, and in the afterword you yourself write that the Potterverse was among some of the books that you found inspiration in, when writing this series. Why did you choose the Harry Potter books? And what other books/authors did you look to?
Yes! I am a huge fan of Harry Potter. I was playing in an online Harry Potter role playing game when I came up with some of the ideas in Magic University. I wanted to explore the intersection of sex and magic and that isn’t something that we really know about in the Potterverse, so I had to go my own direction. But I was also strongly influenced by the Amber books of Roger Zelazny, and by the works of Neil Gaiman and Steven Brust.
3. Even though you have let yourself be inspired by the Harry Potter books, your series has a more adult touch to it – the characters are older and there is a very sexual aspect/component to your books as well. How old would you say new readers should be to read your books?
It’s my general feeling that people are ready to READ about sex before they’re ready to start having sex in real life–in fact I think it’s probably important for people to be able to learn through reading and fantasy before they go out to do it with another person!–but that age of readiness is going to differ for each person. I wrote these books with adult readers in mind, but different cultures draw the line for “adult” in different Places.
4. The Magic University series consists of four books in total, and on your website I saw someone asking if there were more books planned, to which you answered: “Well, after we get the series back into print, and after I fulfill my next three book deal to Hachette for BDSM romances, I can try to come back to this universe. 🙂 After all, there’s grad school still to think about, no?”. Is this still something you are considering? And do you have any news about any development in the writing of this/these book(s)?
Good question! I am writing a few short stories in this universe right now–one which readers will get to enjoy on your blog as a special treat! One of the books in the series is a collection of short stories called SPELLBINDING which has some stories by me but also ones by several other writers exploring the world and other characters. So for the new edition of that book, which will come out in July, I am writing a completely new story. And that story opens up more possibilities. It will be a few years before I can get to writing a full novel-length sequel, though.
5. Your Magic University series are just now being released with the most amazing new covers. What do you think makes these covers so special? And what do you yourself like best about them?
I am in love with the new covers! They are being done by an artist I met through our mutual love of Harry Potter. She does fan art under the name Fox Estacado Arts, and she has done some amazing portraits of characters ranging from Luna and Hermione to Draco and Snape. So I knew her style and I knew she would understand what these books were about, what spirit I was trying to capture. So I convinced the publisher, Riverdale, that they should spend the money for these gorgeous custom-created covers instead of buying stock photos. I’m so happy with how they have turned out.
6. Your books have some pretty erotic scenes in them, but do you find it hard to write these scenes? Is it harder than all the other scenes? And being that you have chosen a male main character, is it harder to get inside his head and see it from his point of view?
I don’t seem to have any trouble writing from the male point of view. What gender my character is has never made it harder or easier for me. And sex scenes are my strength. Those scenes are easier than all the other scenes because they are the most fun to write. Writing a sex scene is almost as much fun as having sex itself! The one thing I need to be sure I’m aware of when I’m writing a sex scene from the male point of view is to include sensations that I might not have personally since my body feels different. My male readers tell me I get it right, though.
7. Tarot cards are one of the things that you use a lot in this series, and I think it’s a great idea, and not a very used one. But how come you choose to use tarot cards – what is it that makes them so special in your eyes?
I got interested in tarot cards just as a curiosity many years ago, and I thought they would be a natural thing to include in books like these. So much of what’s going on in Magic University is Kyle figuring out what’s “real” about magic and what’s fake. Like in Harry Potter the magical population didn’t used to be a secret–they lived with and among non-magical people openly. So things like tarot cards that date from before the magical world went into hiding are something both sides are familiar with. I didn’t realize, though, that when I put a tarot reading into the first chapter of the first book–when Alex reads Kyle’s cards for the first time–that it was going to end up being such a huge part of the book and the series! The reading Alex pulls for Kyle, I pulled those cards myself and they fit perfectly. I ended up doing that for EACH book, and discovering that the cards I drew each time fit the plot of the book perfectly. So it just worked out that the cards are a major theme that runs through the books.
8. I can see on your website that you use tarot cards yourself. How much do you use them in your everyday life?
I don’t really use my tarot cards very much for “real life.” I do readings for friends sometimes, especially when they’re trying to get through writers block. And I use them to get past writers block myself. The cards are very good for getting you to figure out what you’re really thinking underneath all the distractions. They are about telling a story, after all. Once in a while it’s good to tell yourself a story about your own life and see what you learn from it. When I do readings for myself, though, the message is almost always “write more.”
9. You write on your website that you are not against fan fiction, and that you think of fanfiction as a way for your fans to engage their imaginations even more with the stories than when just reading them. Having others being inspired by your books must be an amazing thing, but is it also the other way around, where you let yourself be inspired by what your fans write?
When we were working on Spellbinding, a couple of the stories in there are by fans I found through fanfic sites who explored some characters I hadn’t really had time to. Definitely some of the things that happen in the final book in the series (The Poet & the Prophecy, Book 4) were influenced by things they came up with for their stories. For example, Kyle has a roommate named Glendon. It’s a fact of life, people are assigned roommates, so I had created this character but I hadn’t done much with him. My friend Lauren Burka wrote a story with Glendon as the main character that led me to give Glendon a somewhat bigger role in book four than originally planned. He gets to perform a heroic task I might have assigned to someone else!
10. Last, but not least, I will let this last question be one for you… If you put yourself in your fans shoes and could ask yourself any question (not already asked), what would it be? And of course – what would you answer?
Oh, that’s tricky. Hm. I had trouble coming up with a question so I asked fans on Twitter what they would ask me and this one came up: “We all know that characters attack your brain at the worst moments. Could you share one of those times?”
It’s a little hard to answer this without giving spoilers, but I will say both Kyle and Frost made some choices that I was surprised by. Neither of them stuck to the plot that was planned when I started writing the series! I decided to trust them and go with what they were telling me and I couldn’t be happier with how their various choices helped the plot to turn out.
Also in this series, like Harry Potter there is a mystery to be solved in each book. In the first book I thought I had it all set up with who the culprit was, but literally while I was writing the “reveal” scene, I had a thought: what if it was this other character instead? So I tried writing the scene with this character I hadn’t planned for being the culprit, and then I went back to look for where I could insert evidence or foreshadowing pointing to that one instead…and discovered that the book was already packed with clues pointing to that character! So clearly my subconscious knew all along, it just waited to let ME know until the scene where I had to let everyone else know. There’s a kind of magic in that, and in trusting your imagination to take you where you want to go!