Sunday, February 16, 2014

Author Interview: Mati Raine: Archipelago: A Fantasy YA Novel

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Mati Raine is a freelance artist and writer, with her new book Archipelago due to be released February 28th. Spending most of her time traveling from show to show, writing is more than a profession for her: it's a way of life. When she's not writing she can be found doing anything from metal working to sculpting, depending on whatever suits her fancy at the time. She also spends a fair amount of time at fandom conventions, whether as an artist or accompanying her publishing company. After years writing for her student newspaper, getting back into the publishing world has been an exciting adventure, and one she couldn't do without her network of support. To find out more about Archipelago, you can visit

Your real name and pen name?
Real Name: Lorraine
Pen Name: Mati Raine

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
One of my best childhood memories was actually when I first decided I wanted to be an author. I was in fourth grade, and my friends and I were writing a fan fiction based on one of our favorite shows. I showed it to my brother and his remark was that I should write something original, because all I was doing was copying what someone else had done. At that time I was somewhat insulted, but I defiantly rewrote the entire thing to prove to him I could do that. That later turned into my first book, and it was the push I needed to become a writer. 

About your education
My education was based on a number of 'firsts': I was one of the 'first' sixth graders at my middle school; I was one of the 'first' graduates from my high school in our new building; I was one of the 'first' Alumni's to graduate under the PEAK program at my college. My education has been an adventure, and I always felt like I was being a pioneer for one school curriculum or the other. Now, graduating from the College of Idaho with a degree in Art, I'm reaching the end of my educational journey, but I'm fairly certain I'll continue learning in one way or the other. You're always learning. If you're not, you're doing something wrong. 

What career did you plan during your education days
I've always had duel aspirations to be an author and an artist. I've always planned to go freelance, doing what I love and seeing where it lands me.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was probably making the transition from having a 'typical' job to doing freelance work. When you have a steady paycheck, you have something to fall back on, but working on your own schedule can be scary and risky. You never know if you're going to make it or fall on your face, but the support of the people around you can carry you through those times. I networked a lot to overcome my initial struggles to be an author and an artist. I'd team up to split fees to go to shows and I would carpool to make it to events I couldn't attend on my own. Freelance really isn't a solo job at all: it is a spiderweb strengthened by individual threads learning how to hold onto each other. 

What is your favorite genre and why?
My favorite genre at this moment is dystopian, because I like the twisted reality that gets tied into you. There are a lot of 'what if' questions that come up, and it feels a lot like the place where sci-fi, fantasy, and steampunk all mingle, which are three of my favorite genres. 

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing. I've been telling stories since I could speak, and in elementary school I was the kid who would get in trouble for writing too much on creative writing projects. I always told my friends I would be an author, and I don't think I ever really questioned that goal. Writing for me is just like breathing: it's a necessary part of my life.

Which of your work has been published so far? What are your forthcoming writings? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
Archipelago is the novel currently in publication. It's a Fantasy/Young Adult novel due for release February 28th. 
14-year old Lilly Douglas is a girl who has been sheltered from the world since the moment she was born. Gifted with avian like wings and strands of lilac hair, she never realizes how different she is. After a terrifying attack on her home, she is forced to run from everything she knew, and find shelter at a place called Charity Academy. Here students have little to worry about beyond homework and classes, and they spend most of their time learning to control their powers, and discover what it means to be 'Strands': students with extraordinary abilities, united by the lilac hairs they have. But they are not alone in the world.

56 miles south-east, into the Bitterroot Wilderness, is a dark place known as Firestone Institution. Here a 16-year old boy named Cory Trask has made his home with a personality as icy as his powers. Survival driven, Cory works for a man named Dr. Kibbsty and is the leader in the pursuit of Lilly. He thinks of little beyond the orders he is given, and life is nothing more than a game: one where only the strongest survive. As their paths cross, they bring an uncertain future in their wake that will cause all these teens to question what it really means to be Strands.

"If normal were an ocean, we'd be an Archipelago."
You can find out more information at our website,, or on Goodreads. 

What are your future plans?
My future plans are to continue traveling, and bringing my art and writing to fandom conventions, Renaissance faires and other events. While I write, I am also an artist, and it's been really important for me to keep those two dreams together. I do a lot of my own concept art, cover designs, and promotional materials, and I want my book to be more than what's on the pages. I adore works that create their own worlds like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. If I can help my book be more than just a story, then I've done something right. 

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
1. The world should be three dimensional. If there is a school with classes, know what they are. If there is a book with a new country, you should know what's in it. Ask yourself the questions that never get answered on the pages, because that's what makes the story believable. 
2. The characters should be dynamic. There is no such thing as a static character in real life. Every person you meet in a story had their own tale, whether or not we know it. Think why someone is there, what brought them to that point, what motivates them. The more you know about the characters, the more people can relate to them. 
3. Don't take shortcuts. Sometimes it's easier to 'hand-wave' details you don't want to deal with, but by sitting down and working through every plot flaw and tough question is like a work-out for your novel. Don't be afraid of criticism, and don't be afraid to revise. A book is a work of art, and it continues growing even after it's made it to print. 
4. Don't be discourages. No matter what happens, no matter what people say, and no matter what road blocks you hit, just KEEP WRITING. A story can never grow, can never adapt, can never flourish if you give up. No matter how frustrated I get, I sit back down and push onward, whether it's one sentence or one chapter. This is why I do NaNoWriMo every year. Sometimes, you don't love writing. But you have to keep doing it even then. 

Your dream destination on Earth?
I'd love to visit Paris. One of my favorite artists is Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and I'd love to see his work, and visit the places he painted. 

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I grew up in the USA, but I haven't had much chance to travel out of country. I've been to Mexico and I've been to Canada, but my dream it to visit the rest of the world and just experience what's there. There are so many countries with so much to offer; hopefully one day when someone asks a question like this I can list all of those things.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Your favorite book and why?
It's really hard for me to pick a favorite book because I'm a big fan of so many. I love Harry Potter, I loved Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Jane Lindskold's work is wonderful... Books I love are books that take you to another world, and years later, you can still wander back there. 

Your favorite celebrity and why?
Richard Dean Anderson is my favorite celebrity because he is such a kind and funny person. I grew up with MacGyver and Stargate SG1, and he is so great to his fans. If I had to be a celebrity, I'd want to be like him. 

Some quickies: 
Sun or Moon: Moon
Laughter or Smile: Smile
Morning or Evening: Evening
Coffee or Tea: Tea
Mountain or Sea: Mountain
Long Drive or Short Drive: Long Drive
Silence or Conversation: Silence
Water or Fire: Water
Air or Earth: Earth
Mars or Jupiter: Jupiter
Red or Blue: Blue
Left or Right: Right
Glance or Stare: Glance

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
"Sometimes, we must send our dreams into the dark night like fireflies. They may seem small, but they do make a difference."

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