Interview with YA author Makayla Yokley

Today’s guest is YA novelist Makayla Yokley. She’s touring her novel, The Ruby Curse.

Makayla will award a
free digital copy of The Ruby Curse via Smashwords to one commenter at
every stop. For a chance to win, leave an e-mail address with your comment below. For more chances to win, visit other tour stops and comment there.
Yokley is a college student who lives in Kansas with her somewhat evil cat
named Cujo. She likes to write fiction of all genres. Currently she is majoring
in Liberal Arts.
Welcome, Makayla. Please tell us about
your current release.
The Ruby Curse is a steampunk/fantasy novel about Violet
Seymour, an escaped convict who is a link in an ancient bloodline of Heroes.
When mages start disappearing across the steam-and-clockwork powered land of
Arcova, Violet is enlisted to help find them. It’s either that or she goes back
to jail. But what is the price of freedom when death stalks those who dare look
for the mages?
What inspired you to write this book?
Tales. I wanted the Violet Chronicles to have all the necessary elements that
makes stories into fairy tales. Within the story itself I’ve made some of the
characters reflections of their fairy tale selves, but made some changes to fit
my setting. Not all of the characters are fairy tale characters, but quite a
few of them are.
Along with
being filled with fairy tale characters, the “Violet Chronicles” is also filled
with the themes and motifs one might find in a fairy tale if you look deeply
enough at them. I can’t be very specific without ruining it, unfortunately!
The Ruby Curse specifically, though, was sort of my
twist on a Russian fairy tale whose name I can’t find anymore. In its very
early stages it started out as a Tolkien-esque fantasy that just wasn’t
clicking right in my head. I scrapped the idea and decided to recycle it later
and turn it into a steampunk/fantasy. Ethan and Aurora are the only ones who
retained most of their qualities from the first idea, though they’ve been
altered somewhat to fit the new world of course.
next thing I knew was the smell of piss and rotting wood.
dull throb pulsated in the back of my head, moving to the front in an almost
wave-like motion. Through the haze I tried to remember where I was and how I
had gotten there. The last thing I could recall was being bashed on the head
and little black dots peppering my vision, stealing the world away into
darkness. If I tried to remember more, a shock of pain erupted without warning
until I was subdued once again.
are no questions here in the kingdom of concussion.
remember I was doing something bad. Hardly anything to get in a tizzy about
when it’s me doing it, but being able to remember anything at all was an
accomplishment. In the grand scheme of things it didn’t really matter. I was
still in a place where the floor— or at least what I assumed was the floor— was
warm and metallic against my back.
gob of blood sat idle under my tongue. I tried not to swallow it but some
things were easier said than done. Just when I was sure I had no other choice,
I tilted my head askew and spat it out. I could feel the warm, sticky wetness
trailing out of the corner of my mouth and streaking across my cheek. I could
still taste the bitter, coppery sensation on my tongue.
 Somewhere in the darkness that condensed the
entire world into a tiny, limited space, a disembodied voice floated up and
pierced through the dizzy haze.
Look there! She’s awake!”
was a man. I was certain of that much. His voice was rough, irritable, and had
an accent that at first seemed very strange to me, but I soon recognized it as
the kind of vocal slur usually found in the south. The important thing was,
though, he was undeniably Arcovan.
Hey you! You ain’t dead?”
man joined in and his accent matched the other man’s to the syllable. But his
voice was lighter and gave the impression of being off balance.
the deeper-voiced man said. “If she is dead then she’s a zombie, and that’s
rubbish. Don’t be stupid!”
Who you callin’ stupid?” the lighter-pitched man asked.
bloody stupid fool right ‘ere!”
sounds of their voices faded away into obscurity, depriving me of certain bits
and pieces of the conversation until I could no longer follow what they were
going on about. Through the pain I willed my eyes to open. The edges of things
blurred together into a great unintelligible mass that hung around me like a
soupy haze.
then things started to take shape. Artificial light from the gas lamps outside
streamed in through the thick black bars that made up the window at the very
top of the room. Fat copper pipes ran every which way on the ceiling. A puff of
white steam shot out of a loose valve and settled down on my face in little wet
What exciting story are you working on
I’m working on the second book in the Violet Chronicles, Briar Light. It’s slow goings but it’s going none the less. It’s
definitely going to be one the fans like (or at least I hope so!) because we
get to look deeper into the backgrounds of the characters and, to me, that’s
always fun.
Other than
that I don’t have anything that’s far enough along in its progress to be worth
mentioning. Most of what I have are little side projects that may or may not
ever make it out of my piggy flash drive. We’ll just have to see!
When did you first consider yourself a
I’m still coming to terms with it. That sounds bad but all this time I’ve
always considered it as something I just DO, like breathing or walking. It’s
been a part of me and what I do for so long that I don’t think I’ll ever have
that “ah-ha” moment where it becomes a concrete thing. It’ll always just be
something I do compulsively. If I didn’t do it I don’t think I’d know what to
do with myself. Sometimes I open my Word program and start typing on whatever
project that happens to be occupying my mind at the time without ever realizing
I did anything.
Now that
I’m thinking about it I don’t think I’d have it any other way. It’s like
finding yourself in a truly good relationship. It’s comfortable. It’s home.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I don’t
think you’d call me a “Full-Time” writer, exactly. When I’m not writing I go to
school and work in my college’s library, but whenever I find some downtime I usually
write in a notebook I have stored in my backpack. I never like to leave home
without it because I never know when I’m going to get time enough to work, but
I’m always glad I have it even when I end up not being able to use it.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Sometimes I
seem to write better while listening to songs from old Disney musicals like “The
Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Pocahontas”, “Hercules”, movies like that. I can’t
explain it, but something about them helps get the creative juices flowing. My
muse must be a Tinkerbell-esque creature!
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I’ve wanted
to be everything from a writer to a chocolatier (Like Willy Wonka!). I
entertained the idea of being a pirate for like a day and a half, for about
forty-five minutes I wanted to be a game designer, I wanted to be a painter and
an actress— actress lasted the longest, I think. I remember wanting to be a
lawyer when I was little but there was way too much legal jargon involved. Even
now I’m letting my mind dance around being something else, but I’m always going
to come back to this because it allows me the freedom to do all those things
without being diagnosed with anything!
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Just that I
hope that, if they end up sticking with me all through this crazy ride, they
will be prepared to see me throwing my hat into several genres. I’m not the
kind of person who can build a nest in a certain genre and be able to sit there
comfortably. I’ve always got an urge to try new ideas and new things, so
sitting still in one niche is somewhat impossible.

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Thanks, Makayla. 

Readers, don’t forget to leave an e-mail address with a comment if you want a chance to win a copy of the book.

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