Interview with USA Today Best-Selling Author, Eileen Mueller
Because Authors are more than just their books, we decided at Book Loot to bring you an Author Interviews section; a space where you can get to know the writers a little bit more and find out what drives them to bring their stories to life. And for our second interview, we found no one better than the new USA Today Best-Selling Author Eileen Mueller.
Eileen is not just a fantastic writer, but a beloved author in the Indie world. She is famous for having a big heart and helping younger authors in the community, even if it was through small gestures, such as sending good vibes that encourage them to keep writing.
Eileen is best known for her dragon series, Riders of Fire, set in Dragons’ Realm, a fantastic young adult world that has captivated many readers. She has gracefully agreed to take the time to answer our questions all the way from New Zealand.
But first, we would like to congratulate her on appearing in the USA Today Best-Selling Authors list with her book Snow and Red, as part of the Enchanted Kingdoms box set, a fundraiser for Puzzle Peace United, who support families of children with autism.
And now, it’s time to open with our questions.
Our Interview with Eileen Mueller
What inspired you to start writing? And Have you always wanted to be a writer?
It’s great to be with you today. When people asked me if I’d always wanted to be a writer, I used to tell then, “No.” But then I remembered my childhood.
As young children, my sister and I wrote a play called “The Two Soldiers.” We pulled out the old rustic coffee table my father had made, and used it as a stage to act out our play for our family. We even prepared programs, hand-written by me at the tender age of seven, and insisted that our family buy our handmade tickets. Having my family watch our short play was my first experience of having an audience for my work. We loved the experience.
During my teen years, I wrote a lot of angst-driven short stories. I had an English teacher critique one. She told me to write about something I knew, not realizing that the experience I’d related was one I’d lived though. I gave up writing as a result, although I secretly penned poetry in a journal late at night for many years.
I left New Zealand, travelled on my own through Asia in my mid-20s and had some crazy, hair-raising experiences, and then ended up in Switzerland where I lived for six years. Eventually, I married and came home to New Zealand where we had a family of five children.
Scroll forward to eleven years ago: my children were aged from three years old to thirteen when a friend sent me her fantasy manuscript to read. I was really excited by her story and the world she’d created, but, despite my creative nature, it didn’t occur to me to write a story too.
That same friend, Mandi Ellsworth, then sent to me a link to a self-published author’s site. This author shall remain unnamed because she was a great storyteller, but unfortunately her books weren’t very well edited or well-written—even though they were compelling. Mandi had wanted me to see what was out there and inspire me. I thank her to this day.
It took me an entire year to write Ezaara and the result was a manuscript of 223,000 words. I edited Ezaara, then revised the story eighteen times. The first three chapters won a prize, but I was determined not to self publish because I wanted a publisher’s seal of approval.
And then one day, I realized Ezaara was ready to greet the world, whether traditional publishers wanted her or not. I had a growing group of beta readers who were clamoring for the rest of the series. I decided to take the plunge — so I independently published my own books and never looked back. My books were greeted with enthusiasm and won some awards. I quickly found readers and a fantastic community of fantasy authors who support each other and keep our fans engaged. I love being independently published and my readers’ seal of approval is the only one I need. J
Describe your writing space.
I sign off my newsletter every week with “Cheers from my sunny little office in New Zealand,” and that’s exactly what my writing space is. However, when the winds howl and the freezing-cold southerly zips up toward New Zealand from the Antarctic, this sunny little office is not as warm as you might expect.
I look out over the neighbor’s roof and a handful of houses to a vast forest of pines and native bush that surrounds our beautiful city of Wellington. I count myself very lucky to have a working space where it’s easy to look out the window while I’m typing and imagine dragons soaring above the treetops with their wings dancing on the breeze.
I also dictate my stories while I’m out and about, so sometimes my office is a forest, park or the beach! I’m lucky to be surrounded by many beautiful areas to walk in.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
My readers tell me that reading my books is “like being in a movie.” They say I “engage all five senses.”
I’m an emotional reader. When heroes are in a tight situation, my heartbeat races. When a story is sad, my eyes prick and I have to blink back tears. And when something happy occurs, I’m often grinning or laughing aloud.
I write to invoke similar emotions in my readers. Part of that journey is immersing them in the sights, sounds and sensations of my worlds.
Some readers get frustrated at my characters when they make bad decisions and want to throw their Kindles across the room. Others email me, telling me I made them cry or laugh. Some find themselves talking to my characters or cursing at the enemy.
My beta readers write hilarious comments in the margins of my completed drafts. “Noooo! No! Don’t trust him!” “Yay, I love this. It made me cry.” Or “I never saw that coming. Man, you ripped my heart out.”
It’s my job to engage my readers’ senses and emotions so they feel as if they’re soaring on dragonback with the wind in their hair, their hearts pounding and exhilaration rushing through them.
When you read my books, it’s my job to make you feel as if you’re there.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I get emails from my readers all the time. I love chatting with them. It’s wonderful getting to know them and what’s happening in their lives. I share their joys and comfort them when things are rough. I adore my hanging out with my readers. They’re very cool, positive people.
Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I’m on social media. People can hang out with me in my Riders of Fire Facebook group, a 1700-member community of readers and authors who love dragons, games, giveaways and clean fantasy fun. We have wonderful community full of caring people and I love being with them.
* How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
I’ve been known to laugh and cackle as I walk around parks, dictating my heroes’ adventures.
Yes, I cry, too.
I dictated the death of one heroine with tears streaming down my face, wandering through the Botanical Gardens. I knew it was going to be an emotional scene, so I took a little-used route where I wouldn’t see any people. I’d come to know that heroine over nine years, during all those eighteen revisions of Ezaara, and it was sad to see her go. She had a beautiful death that encompassed her rare heroic qualities. I won’t give you any spoilers, but it’s not Ezaara. I don’t generally cut off my main characters.
My books are an emotional journey and I put my heart and soul into them, which is why they resonate with my readers.
When writing a series how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and yourself? And how do you develop your plot and characters?
Riders of Fire has an enormous cast and readers get to know my characters well because I write from everyone’s point of view. We get a glimpse into the enemy’s thoughts. Even some of the monsters have points of view, so we learn how they think. It makes the reading experience immersive.
When I plot my books, I leave a lot of space for fluidity. My mind works like a spider’s web, so I carry lots of different story threads in my head at the same time, however I also use a massive Excel sheet that allows me to track where everybody is at any given time and what they’re up to. This is an immense plotting aid.
With a cast of 40 to 50 points of view across the series, it’s essential for me to keep track of everything. Switching perspectives and introducing new characters into my series keeps it fresh. I’m amazed at how clear the details are when I’m writing. My readers tell me the transitions are seamless.
Ithsar is a great example of keeping a series fresh. She’s a little-known character who appears in Ezaara, Riders of Fire, book 1. Her own story is told in Sea Dragon which is a fantastic conclusion to the Riders of Fire series that adds rich detail and fleshes out the back story of some very important characters. I saved a lot of secret material for the end of the series, so my readers could be re-immersed and discover hidden layers of story in Sea Dragon.
However, Dragon War, Riders of Fire, book 5, contains a series of epilogues with cool snippets of characters’ lives in the future, so many readers think the series stops there. If they continue on, they discover Sea Dragon (book 6) is a beautiful story. Two young heroines are alone in the world, forgotten or scorned. Through standing up and fighting for their rights, they form a deep bond and discover a beautiful community of family and friends. Sea Dragon is about two underdogs succeeding against all odds and discovering that life is richer than they’d ever imagined. It’s a story of hope and joy—a story that’s inspiring and helps us hang on through dark moments.
Describe your perfect book hero or heroine.
My perfect book heroine would invent a means of getting my thoughts straight into my readers’ minds instantaneously so they can experience my stories immediately. That would save lots of time writing! I could produce a book each day or week, just by imagining it!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Anakisha’s Dragon is my latest release and the first book in the Riders of Fire Dragon Masters series, which contains four books that are prequels to Ezaara, Dragon Hero, Dragon Rift, Dragon Strike, Dragon War and Sea Dragon, the six books in the Riders of Fire series. There are also four novelettes or short stories set in the same world, under the series Riders of Fire Dragons—Bronze Dragon and Ruby Dragon are on Amazon, while Silver Dragon is only on my site and Zens’ Dragon is in the From the Shadows Indie Fantasy Addicts anthology.
I also have multiple short stories published in fantasy, dark fantasy and middle grade anthologies. My works also include several middle grade books, including two set in Dragons’ Realm, the world of Riders of Fire. How many books is that? I’m never sure if my anthologies count, so I don’t know! But my Amazon link is here if you want to count them and let me know!
Book Loot did count and we found 30 published works attached to Eileen’s name on Amazon alone.
Riders of Fire – YA epic fantasy adventure, full of non-stop action and heart:
Book 1: Ezaara
Book 2: Dragon Hero
Book 3: Dragon Rift
Book 4: Dragon Strike
Book 5: Dragon War
Book 6: Sea Dragon
Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?
Every single one of them. I loved writing them all and still enjoy reading them.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers?
Anakisha’s Dragon (Riders of Fire Dragon Masters book 1) is about a naïve street fighter, a dashing dragon rider and a young scammer with the gift of the gab who’s press-ganged by pirates. Giddi, a dragon mage who has the gift of mind-melding with any dragon at will, discovers his talent in this book as a lad.
Giddi’s story is up next in Dragon Mage, book 2 in the series. My readers love Giddi, although they know him as a Master Mage with a tragic, secret-ridden past in Riders of Fire. In Dragon Mage, they’ll discover his rise to power and how he misused his powers… Yes, Giddi is a firm favorite among my readers, so they’re keen to see him as a boy and find out what shaped him.
I’ve plotted two further books in this series: Dragon Spy and Dragon Healer. Hopefully most of the series will be out this year or in early 2022.
Do you have any new series planned?
I have two new series coming out as soon as I can write them. A.J. Ponder and I are writing the sequels to Snow and Red, book 1 in the Dragon Shifters’ Hoard—the novel in the USA Today bestselling Enchanted Kingdoms anthology. We’ll be releasing Draki Twins, the prequel story very soon. The rest of the series will follow in 2022.
I’m really excited about another teen series I’m writing about modern teens with elemental powers being hunted down by geneticists. My teen beta readers loved this book and have been begging for more for the past three years! Book 1 has been waiting on my hard drive, so I’ll be dusting it off and writing two or three sequels. The series and books names are top secret at the moment and fiercely guarded by dragons.
I also have some more Riders of Fire spinoff series planned. My fans are keen on those too. I really wish that book heroine you mentioned would invent a way for me to get my ideas into my fans’ hands faster.
* Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Above, I mentioned my Riders of Fire Facebook group where readers can hang out and have fun with me.
Thank you for interviewing me. It’s been fun to hop over and visit you. I hope to see you on dragonback soaring through the air, hunting down tharuks in Great Spanglewood Forest or battling pirates on the Naobian Sea. Feel free to drop by my Facebook group or hunt down my free stories for dragonback adventures or test my 99c box set.
We would also like to thank Eileen for taking time off her busy schedule and talking to Book Loot so our readers can discover more amazing authors.
Click here to download Eileen Mueller free book.
Eileen Mueller is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of heart-pounding fantasy novels that will keep you turning the page.
Dive into her worlds, full of magic, love, adventure and dragons! Eileen lives in New Zealand, in a cave, with four dragonets and a shape shifter, writing for young adults, children and everyone who loves adventure.