This Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on Mandi Oyster!
A fellow Mandy... with an I, Mandi’s goal is to be a full-time author by the end of this year! As an indie writer with the same dream, I am crossing my fingers and wishing her luck, and I hope you will join me.
A quick note:
During this interview, you might note that many of the questions include the word “we” as if “we” asked them. Well, we did. This detail is meant to include you, my dear reader, and I do hope you enjoy each interview published to this blog!
Additionally, please note that each interview answer is the author's own words and the interviews in The Intuitive Storyteller blog are intended for informational and educational purposes only.
Mandi Oyster lives in Southwest Iowa in the middle of an enchanted forest where unicorns, fairies, and dragons abound. At least that's what she assumes when she looks out into the trees. Her husband, two kids (when they're not away at college), four cats, and two chinchillas share the house with her. Besides being an author, she also runs her own editing business and works full-time as a digital prepress technician for a local printshop.
About Mandi's Book
Dacia Wolf & the Phouka's Curse
Never accept a gift from a faerie.
It seems like a simple rule to follow, but in your dreams, you don't always know what you are doing.
When Kieran pressed the acorn into Dacia's palm and she didn't reject it, the game began. The acorn grew into a mighty oak, a tattoo covering her left arm. Now, she has until the last leaf of the tree falls to stop the curse, or she'll wind up trapped in Faerie forever.
And, as if that isn't enough, her magic and emotions are wreaking havoc on Malcolm. Every day that he's near her, his craving grows. Even though he vowed to protect her, his dragon hungers for her blood.
Mischief and mayhem are a faerie's favorite things, and watching the turmoil that grows between Dacia's guardians makes this game even more exciting to Kieran.
Time is running out, but how do you stop a tree from being a tree?
And now, the interview:
Mandi, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing in elementary school and throughout high school. Then for some reason, I quit.
Tell us about the person(s) or event(s) that inspired you to write your latest work.
I started writing the Dacia Wolf series after reading the first four Harry Potter books in a single weekend. A scene kept replaying through my head, and it wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it down. Once I did, I wrote the rest of the book. I've been writing ever since.
What is your favorite genre to write and why do these types of stories appeal to you?
I like to write Young Adult Fantasy. Young Adult because I'm not a huge fan of language and sex in books. Fantasy because the problems aren't something I'll have to deal with in real life, but they are something we can learn from, if we choose.
Do you have a furry familiar? Tell us about them!
I have four cats. Bella is a mixed Maine Coon that was abused before she came to live with us. Just in the last couple of years, she's started to warm up to me. Westley, Merida, and Galadriel are all siblings. We got them after our 20.5 year-old cat died. They are all my cuddle buddies, and they help me write my books. Merida inspired the character of Val in my books.
Tell us about your writing schedule and/or a ritual that is necessary for establishing and sustaining your writing mood and endurance.
I try to write every day. I do better that way, but it doesn't always happen. Life tends to get in the way. I write before I clock in to my full-time job, at breaks, and over lunch. Sometimes, I write on the car ride on the way to and/or from work (I carpool with my husband). When I get home from work, there are times when I will write well into the evening.
Why do you write? How does the act of storytelling affect you?
Why do I write? Why do I breathe? Because I need to. It's part of who I've become.
Why do I write? Why do I breathe? Because I need to. It's part of who I've become. —Mandi Oyster
Think about yourself back when you first started writing. If you could travel back in time, what would you say to that version of you (about the writing process, publishing, the world, etc.) that might help prepare them for today?
I would tell myself to get ARC readers so that my books would have reviews from the beginning. That would have made life so much easier. I would have also told myself not to waste so much time trying to be traditionally published.
What are your recommendations for fueling your writing energy and promoting inspiration?
I really don't know. For one thing, if you want to be a successful author, you need to treat it like a job. Put in the effort. Writing every day helps you write every day.
How intuitive are you and does your intuition affect your writing?
I am an empath. People's feelings deeply affect me. So when my characters are going through something, I am also. Sometimes, that makes it nearly impossible to write, but I push through those times. Also, sometimes, it makes it super easy to write. Those are the fun times.
Tell us about your long-term writing and publishing goals.
I don't typically set goals, but I did on January 1. My goal is to be a full-time author by the end of the year. Cross your fingers and wish me luck!
For what or whom are you most grateful right now and why?
My husband, Jeff, is my rock. He is the only guy I ever dated. My parents let me start dating three months before my 16th birthday, and we ended up moving 50 miles away one month before I turned 16. So, I believe it was fate. When I am feeling down, he reminds me that before July 16, 2019, all I wanted was to be a published author. He reminds me that I'm somebody's favorite author. He reminds me to be grateful.
Besides writing, what activities bring you joy?
Camping in the mountains. Spending time with my family. Playing basketball. Hiking. Photography. Painting. Crocheting. Standing outside in the rain. Lying in my hammock under the trees, listening to nature.
Which book are you reading right now?
The Uncooperative Warrior, by Sarah Noffke
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Five titles tied for this spot:
The Girl of Dorcha Wood, by Kristin Ward
Prince of the Fallen by M.H. Woodscourt
Heresy by C.A. Campbell
The Seventh Year Trials, by Alexis D. Johnson
Jewels of Egypt, by C.T. Ortega
Fill in the blank: Magic is...
Magic is everywhere if you just open your eyes and look for it.
Stay connected with Mandi! Here’s where you can find her:
Next Magic Monday, I will continue my Tarot Stories series on the Major Arcana. Next up, The Empress.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.