Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Author Interview: RJ Gonzales (Mundahlia)

Hi everyone! I was extremely fortunate enough to have RJ Gonzales, author of Mundahlia, agree to an interview! 

Mundahlia (The Mundahlian Era, #1)When our era ends, theirs begins.

Rini thought going to live with her cousins in the city of Austin, Texas while her parents rekindled their marriage on a four month long cruise, was a step in the right direction. When she makes a new quirky friend, and stumbles upon a handsome young man named Jett in the enveloping forest surrounding her cabin, she thought she was only moving forward. Well, she was wrong.

Jett and his clan appear human, just like anyone else. But take a closer look, and you will see that indeed they are Mundahlians. Legendary hybrid beings with both human and animal qualities that have been kept a heavily guarded secret throughout time - until now. They are taking refuge in our world, fleeing from their hidden homeland of Mundahlia and it's aging power-hungry King, who has set up a game between his many children. Whoever can bring them back to their world so they can be tried and executed shall receive the crown once he passes.

Upon finding their hideout, Bane, one of the King's sons, and on the hunt to win the crown, sees an opportunity to shatter the blossoming relationship, lure the family back to Mundahlia, and frame Rini for the murder of a Mundahlian - thus, breaking the pact signed long ago with the humans, and reigniting an ancient war for the majority of land and control. A triple deed that will surely earn him the power he craves.

Click this link here to view my 5 star review of Mundahlia


1. Who or what inspired you to write?

When I was a child my parents say I used to draw pictures and then go on for half an hour about the story behind it. I always loved drawing/writings stories about monsters, creatures, and fairy tales the most. Little one or five page stories that never went anywhere but the trash or to the confines of a box I keep in my closet. There are so many inspirational people and things out there it’s hard to only select a few. My biggest influence is life itself. Many little things that are often overlooked are inspirational. A bottle cap. An ant carrying a leaf back home. Really anything gets my mind going. It’s crazy to hear, I know, but that’s really what’s inspiring to me.  Mundahlia, however, started out as a dream that then became a short five paged story. The last few scenes of the novel were that dream I had. Taking something small like that and turning it into a full novel is amazing. In fact once I typed the last words of the manuscript, I smiled as wide as ever, then groaned when the revision process began.

2. What motivated you to set Mundahlia in Austin, Texas?

I was inspired to set the story in Texas because really when’s the last time anything Supernatural/Paranormal happened in Texas? Haha. That and, well, I AM from Texas and all… 

3. How did you come up with the concept for Mundahlia?

As stated above Mundahlia originally started out as a dream. The actual history and world itself was inspired by history and my imagination. And I don’t mean the Benjamin Franklin and his kite discovering electricity type of history. Mundahlia was lightly inspired by Greek and Roman Mythology, Egyptian Deities and Science. I was interested in these hybrid creatures that were present in myths and inked all over walls and temples. Centaurs, Minotaurs, Gorgons, Sirens, Anubis, Horus, Sobek. These were all such imaginative creatures that were conjured up and ever present at that time that all of a sudden “disappeared” from the world. Mundahlia is really that story/theory of where they went, and what would happen when they one day set out to reclaim what was once belonged to them as well.

4. Are Mundahlians, Enthiduans, and Floradelias completely from your own mind or are 
they derived from something?

Many elements went into creating my creatures. Mundahlians of course were inspired by hybrid beings that existed in Greek and Roman Mythology, and  Egyptian deities. Enthiduans were inspired by food at first. No…really. In the catholic latino culture, some have this bread dessert that is called a “Rosca” and it’s a bread that is eaten some time in January that yields a baby Jesus figurine somewhere inside. The location is never the same and the one who finds it…well, this outcome varies between someone hosting a party to taking it to church. I took this element which is somewhat similar to finding the wishbone in a turkey, and added my own flare to it by incorporating it into these beautifully innocent creatures. Floradelias came to be from several things. Bees and wasps for how they live. Their appearance was inspired by the leaf-tailed gecko which can disguise itself as part of a plant. So by taking little irrelevant things, I was able to create some pretty original creatures. Like I said. Life is inspiring, isn’t it?

5. How did you choose your character names?

Several people think I chose Rini and Jett’s names for my initials RJ, but really that was an absolute coincidence. Haha. I’ve had another reader ask if I named them after Romeo and Juliet or the character Rini from “Sailor Moon”, that isn’t true either.[although Sailor Moon was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid] Honestly I chose the names from playing around with a few things. I wanted names that weren’t as common for my two main characters. Rini, whose real name is Sarina, just fit her character. Jett’s as well. The others were inspired by several things from names I liked to some I though just fit their personality. (Ahem, Bane. Meaning destruction. Heck yeah.)

6. How did you develop your characters in Mundahlia? Was it a process with an outline?

I really let the characters create themselves. For side characters I took simple little things from people I knew and added my own spin to it, or just started writing dialogue for them until I found a personality that fit them. Once I got to know who Jett was, why he was the way he is, what caused him to start “collecting” things, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Rini is a bookish girl, curvy, sassy, sometimes sarcastic—but never rude, and she doesn’t let anyone bully her and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, so her character was super fun. 

7. Is it easier to write in Rini's perspective or Jett's?

Haha. *Blushes* I’m not going to lie, it was super easy and fun writing through Rini’s perspective than it was for Jett’s. I don’t know why, Rini’s parts just flowed right through while others took a little more time. Not saying Jett’s weren’t fun because they were, but Rini’s parts were easier for me.

8. As an author, do you find yourself adding little pieces of yourself to your characters (intentionally or unintentionally)?

There are a few things I’ve spotted that could be pieces of me that slipped in there unintentionally. I never really intentionally put anything in there. As far as what the little pieces of me are, ssh! I’ll never tell.

9. What were the toughest scenes to write in Mundahlia?

Out of the whole novel, I think there were only three scenes that were really difficult for me to write. The first was the prologue, the second, the one that deals with a sensitive subject between Rini and Bane, and the third comes from the diming end of an innocent friend.

10. Because Rini went through a classical phase, what's your favorite piece of classical literature and why?

My personal favorite piece of classic literature has to be JANE EYRE now that I have finally read it. But, I’ll admit, I really wasn’t much of a classic novel enthusiast in high school.

11. How many books are planned for The Mundahlian Era?

At first it was a trilogy but those are almost everywhere nowadays. I shortened the series title from “The Mundahlian Era Trilogy” to just “The Mundahlian Era” because I could end it in the second book, or I can go on for as long as my characters will let me. I guess you could say I am taking this series one book at a time and seeing how it progresses before deciding to continue. 

12. What made you decide to go the self-pubbed way instead of the traditional way?

At the time I finished writing Mundahlia, I had just graduated high school. I was still so new to the whole publishing world and everything was so foreign to me. I researched all I could before deciding to self-pub this novel. Traditional publishing and Self-Pubbing are both great ways for an author to share their hard work with readers. 

13. Just for fun, were you a book blogger or an author first?

I was actually an author in the making first. While I was writing Mundahlia, I started up a YouTube channel and joined the book community to do hauls, reviews, and such. It wasn’t until just last year that I ventured into the book blogging world with my blog, RJDoesBooks! I guess the order goes: Author, BookTuber, then Blogger.

14. If you could be any character from Mundahlia, who would you be?

Ooo. Good question! I’m not too sure. I’ve never thought of that before. There are so many great characters who are so awesome in their own ways.

15. And now the most important question: Is there anything you can tell us about the second installment in The Mundahlian Era?

Things are still pretty hush, hush right now, but I can say that the second novel will be much more “out there” than the first now that the Mundahlians are coming out to play. Haha. 

I would like to give a big, huge THANK YOU to RJ Gonzales for letting us get a peek into that creative mind of his! Make sure to add Mundahlia to your TBR pile, it is a story that shound NOT be missed out on! You can purchase Mundahlia at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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