Deep underground, an ancient species of mystic healers exist: the malions. Their capabilities are endless. Their strength is colossal. But they are also being hunted and their numbers are dwindling.
One of them has just fallen in love with a human.
On the west coast of Canada, sixteen-year-old Melissa Lawrence’s life is about to take a turn for the worse. It could also be her saving grace.
She just can’t get caught.
Adolescence hasn’t been fun for Liss Lawrence. And after a year in Vancouver, when she’s finally adjusted to her new situation, a freak car accident sends her life spinning out of control and crashing into the world of the malions, a hidden race silently helping humanity from secret enclaves underground.
Liss’s knowledge of the malions endangers her family when Jaredsons Securities takes an interest in her accident. Few know the men of Jaredsons Securities, an international intelligence company specializing in missing persons cases, are actually the Vykhars, ancient malion enemies whose true purpose is the eradication of the malion race. The Vykhars will stop at nothing to discover if Liss is connected with the malions, and if they do, they will exploit her.
Perhaps more dangerous still are Liss’s growing feelings for Rion, a strong-willed malion scarred by his encounters with Vykhars and carrying a secret that could destroy their relationship. But Liss has a secret and scars of her own, and Rion’s fiercely protective nature threatens to tear them back open.
Can this pair of unlikely lovers survive the dangers of the Vykhars? And can their love survive their own misconceptions?
Miranda Rae Carter has lived in British Columbia, Canada, her whole life, and is a self-proclaimed home-bug. She spends most of her time doing what she loves, and that is being a mom and wife–and trying to master the art of cooking. The rest of her time is divided between looking in mouths and writing. For more information on Miranda and her malion novels, visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
1. How did you get the idea for Beneath the Surface?
I apologize ahead of time for the length of this answer, but it takes a bit of explaining. To be completely straightforward, I didn’t come up with the story, the story found me. I never believed, for the longest time, in fate; that things like this happen to people for a reason, but they really do. Here’s how it happened to me:
For years, I wrote strictly in a diary. Every thought, every feeling, every best and worst moment of my childhood went into those pages. I also jotted down poetry into a secret notebook as an adolescent, which I still have, loitering at the back of a drawer in my computer room. Though I wrote about the recurring nightmares of my childhood in my diary, it never occurred to me that there was actually a story behind the creature who chased me through the woods in my sleep. I remember how relieved I was when the recurring monstrous nightmare stopped as I grew into teenagehood, but then something else began to happen: the days where I felt overwhelmed, stressed, or most recently, when I became a new mother, I dreamt of running into the street, finding the nearest manhole and jumping into it to escape from whatever consumed me at the time. One night, the creature who used to chase me through the woods (who we now know as Rion, the hero of Beneath the Surface) was down there waiting for me. He was scarred and beastly, but I was older, so he didn’t scare me. Clearly, he was getting impatient, and must have felt that since he could never catch up with me, he needed to wait for me below, instead. I couldn’t escape with the lid closed above me, so I had no choice but to listen to what he had to say, after I realized he wasn’t going to rip my head off. Indeed, he did have something to say: “I need your help.”
From that night forward in February 2010, Rion would not shut up in my head. All of a sudden, the story was there, characters, plot and all, taking up what little space I had left for consumption during the day (which is not much, as all new moms know). The more time that passed, the more the story developed. A few months later, and with a little pressure from my mother-in-law (who has now since passed away), I sat down and began writing the first draft of Beneath the Surface.
2. How long did it take to write?
The very first draft of BTS took six months, and then another 3 months of self-editing before I sought Jessica Lowdon, my editor, for advice. At that point, there were unanswered questions and details that needed refining, so we both decided it was best to re-write, which took another me eight months. I was reading a lot about scene, structure, plot and story development, so the second draft took a little longer (not to mention I was busy with two toddlers).
3. What was the hardest scene to write? The easiest?
I have the most terrible time with beginnings. For BTS, I must have re-written the first chapter about 60 times. Seriously. Even when it was complete, I still took the first two chapters and combined them after some advice from my critique partners, before Jessica saw the first draft of the re-write. Writing beginnings is just not my strength, and I second guess myself like crazy about where the story should begin.
The easiest scenes for me to write are those with lots of description. I love using metaphors and it’s fun to get to scenes where I’m going to need them because I do something different every time. It really allows my creativity to pour out. In BTS, my favourite scene to write was chapter ten where Liss goes back to the accident scene. Lots of description and lots of metaphors.
4. What message do you want to get across with this novel?
For the most part, I just want people to enjoy being “taken away” for a while. The message I tried to portray was not to judge a person too quickly; walk a mile in someone’s shoes and look beneath the surface before you form an opinion. Be open-minded, follow your heart.
5. Do you have a dream cast in mind for Beneath the Surface?
When I started writing this novel, I always pictured Emma Watson as my Liss, with reddish/auburn hair. The other characters just have their own faces in my head, which don’t really resemble any actors. Mind you, I haven’t searched for any, either. I’m sure as people read it, they will form their own descriptions and dream cast members. I’d love to hear what other people see as their dream cast for BTS.
6. Who designed the cover?
Kim Killion from The Killion Group. I had the picture of what I wanted on the cover in my head, and she, along with her fabulous assistants, put it to screen. They are an amazing team!
7. Are you working on anything currently?
Yes, I am working on book two in this malion series, Beyond the Borders, where Liss and Rion’s story continues.
8. Who is your favorite author?
I have an ongoing author love affair with Ken Follett and his epic novels, but I absolutely adore Jennifer Donnelly and Kelly Creagh; their YA voices and writing never cease to amaze me.
9. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
To be honest, I really wanted to be in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I wanted to catch bad guys. When I graduated, my love of anatomy and health sciences lead me to dentistry, so I became a Certified Dental Assistant. I’m so glad I chose this path because helping bring back people’s smiles is the best feeling in the whole world. It also allows me to write at nighttime because I only work daytime hours.
10. What’s the best way for readers to get in touch with you?
Social media is the best way. Being a mom, I have a limited amount of time to be on the computer, so I’m only on Facebook and Twitter. I have a website, too, which I blog once a month (or every second month) to let people know what’s happening, but it’s all linked to Facebook and Twitter. I can also be reached by email at mirandaraecarter (at) gmail (dot) com.