1. Tell me about your book Indigo Traveler and where you got your inspiration for it?
I currently have two books out: Indigo Traveler Book 1 and Keys to the Shadowlands Book Two. Indigo Traveler is about Xander Veh who wants to meet the Creator of All Worlds to demand why he was made like he was. Before he can have that, he has to meet himself. The inspiration came from my own desire to have a face to face with Spirit.
Keys to the Shadowlands is about Xander going into a dark world full of illusions to find his lost nemesis. He risks losing his sanity. The inspiration came when I realized King Titus, from the first book, still has a story to tell.
2. How do you come up with titles for your books?
I asked my teen focus group to help me name the book because I was rewriting my very first book, Jamie and the Magic Digger. My son didn’t want a fictional character named after him, so the teens renamed the main character and came up with the title of the book. Shadowlands was named because one of the characters steals the keys to the Shadowlands
3. What do you plan to do next?
I am working on the third book in the series, Many Paths to Follow and will be polishing up a short story that has some haunting elements to it. I recently had my short story critiqued at the Indie Author Day in Boise, Idaho and my critiquer wants me to add more horror elements to the ghost story. He enjoyed the story, said the writing was good. I liked his suggestions for improvements and will implement them.
4. If all the worlds a stage, where does the audience sit?
I choose this question because last night I watched the original Westworld where the adults can go to an amusement park to live their fantasy era and interact with automatons. As I watched the humans watching and monitoring each world on monitors, I was struck with the idea, “What if we are in a similar world and there are humans outside of us watching our lives like that?”
I think the audience would be sitting behind a curtain we cannot see or know. They applaud those they can identify with boo the ones they don’t like.
5. Why did you choose to be a writer?
Writing choose me. Growing up, I had a speech impediment and had a hard time communicating. Writing gave me a way to express myself that verbal speech did not. It was also an outlet for my active imagination. After that, it was a strong urge to write, journal and empty my full mind so I could rest. I love writing, daydreaming and imaging a different way to live. After all, we are the creators of ourselves.
6. If you were president what would be the first thing you’d do?
Abolish war, tax the wealthy, create tuition free colleges for everyone and assist all to have health care. I would also have those able in the medical field learn how to educate people to do preventive health care and instead of prescribing pharmaceuticals, find a way to heal the diseases. We need to stop being the policemen to the whole world and start working together with all nations to forge peace, feed the hungry and build houses for the homeless.
7. Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes, I believe in ghosts. We are all souls/spirits in a body. After the body dies, the spirit goes back to where it came from. Sometimes, they still watch their loved ones and find a way to communicate to those who are sensitive.
8. Where is your favourite place to go on a weekday afternoon when you have no plans or obligations?
I would love to go to a lake or river and just sit and dream, write in my journal and watch the seagulls play. When I lived in Spokane, Washington, I would go to Riverfront Park and watch the seagulls, stroll the park and watch people, too. When I lived in the Yakima Valley, Washington, I would go to down the Columbia River and walk around, often pausing to sit on a bench and stare at the Columbia as it rolled along. There aren’t many places where I live now that have peaceful areas like that. I think there may be, I just haven’t found them, yet.
9. How do you motivate yourself to keep writing?
My characters keep screaming at me and telling me what they want to do next. If I go too long from writing, I find a character’s story begins to form in my mind and see the action taking place. The main character for my fourth book keeps urging me to write his story. I want to start working on it, too. I just need to get the third book finished and the short story finished and published, too. The one thing that scares me is finding magazine to pay me for the short story so I am going to do my darnedest to see if I can find one who will accept it.
10. What is your best childhood memory?
I was about four years old playing out in my front yard alone. I paused and looked out across the street and soaked in the view of the Horse Heavens, a group of small mountains in Washington State where I lived. The sky was clear, crystal blue and white, fluffy clouds floated aimlessly across. In that moment, I knew I was a part of something much larger than me. I also knew I wasn’t normal. I have been searching for the answers ever since that day. And yes, I am still learning who I am.
When his cat brings him a griffin encased in stone, a whole new world is opened up to him. A world where an Arimaspian giant is rampaging the lands, and they need someone like him. How can he stand up to a giant when he can’t stand up to the school’s bully?
To save a world from war, Xander must face himself.
Merri Halma grew up with a speech impediment so writing became a way for her express herself and served as an outlet for her active imagination. She's studied writing at Eastern Washington University, Children's Literature and Children's Drama at Central Washington University and graduated from Heritage College in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Social Services and the Humanities. She also holds a Master of Science in Counseling-Psychology. For more information, see her website.