To be perfectly honest, it's difficult to imagine life without the world of Eldoran being an important factor. Some people say that they were “born” to be writers, but this was never the case with me. Far before I discovered my love for writing, I hunkered down on the sidelines of a story that I knew only I could tell; between drinking pots (yes, pots) of brunt caffeine and procrastinating my physics homework to jot down that one last paragraph of Aldor and company`s adventures forced myself to love and to appreciate writing. I still have so much to learn, experiment on, and live through, but I realize that if I don`t tell the Cursed story, no one will. Here are few facts about the Cursed series that might surprise you!
#1: 4:00 AM Mornings
I finished my very first draft of Cursed when I was twelve years old; it was sloppily scribbled and barely legible. Back then, it wasn`t even Cursed; it was Aldor`s Destiny! I immediately begun transitioning book 1 (The Hunter Inside) to my mom`s computer, waking up around 4-5 AM to use it before school started. I still get up at 4 to write before homework till this day!
#2: Cursed was (and is) Inspired by Music
Before my laptop, phone, or any other devices, I hoarded up my lemonade stand cash and bought a cheap iPod. Nothing flashy. Being submerged at the height of my Pirates of the Caribbean/The Lord of the Rings phase, I instantly purchased all their soundtracks and would sit, mesmerized on my front porch, listening to their epic melodies. Pretty soon, rather than envisioning Jack Sparrow or Gandalf, I begun to see my own characters. Each song provided background music to a separate scene, Cursed playing like a movie in my mind's eye.
#3: Some Characters are Inspired by Real People
When crafting characters, I typically try and do a 3-split rule; have one streak of a friend, a streak of myself, and a streak of their own special traits. Some characters, however, have a bit more of a friend`s traits than others; Laurence and Gregory in particular actually are based off my two best friends growing up, Lauren and Grace. Laurence and Gregory`s personalities, passions, and relationships to each other a parallel of how they interact in real life!
#4: The Illustrations (Excluding Cover Art) Are Done by my Czech Grandmother
Marie Sobkova, graphic designer and artist, is one of the most talented sketchers I know. Long before Cursed: The Hunter Inside was published, I contacted her and asked if she would be willing to design a world map and sketch a few characters for me! Her being my grandmother was definitely a plus!
#5: I`m Trained in Martial Arts, Making the Composition of Battle Scenes Much Easier
One of the things I personally LOVE about fantasy are action scenes. Being a full-time instructor 2nd degree blackbelts both, the martial arts of Taekwondo and Shinkendo (Samurai sword), writing battle sequences and fight scenes are ones I can picture most vividly. Understanding how it feels to be actually hit and the jitters one feels before engaging in a match strangely improved my fantasy writing!
Cursed, by Casey M. Millette
A war rages between kings and clans for centuries, their nations split and their kingdoms fallen. Caught in the midst of poverty and bedlam, twenty-year-old Aldor faces a choice. Should he leave home and start his life anew, or stay and protect what little he has? Aldor has only made one friend in his life and has never seen a legendary creature before. As soon as he steps beyond his door, he finds himself an outlaw, hunted by creatures of pure fantasy. Forced into joining a team of misfits in a race to recover a sacred, lost stone, Aldor finds unexpected friendships and adventure. But just as things start to look promising, disaster strikes, wielding the unexpected and the terrifying! Aldor's life will never be the same as he struggles with true feelings of fear, loss, love, and suffering for the very first time.