Friday, September 26, 2014

MISTASIA - Behind the Scenes

MISTASIA - Behind the Scenes

            On October 7th, 2014, the Mistasia Anthology, a collection of all 5 stories, will become available in paperback through Amazon. In celebration of this event I wanted to take the opportunity to give you some behind the scenes information about the Land of Mistasia.

Where Mistasia & Greenville came from?
            When I began writing these stories and realized that I was going to need two worlds it was a rather easy decision for me to choose the names. Both have special meaning for me and my wife. Mistasia is simply a bed. That’s right. A bed. When my wife and I started dating I visited her at her apartment in college and in her bedroom was possibly the largest bed I had seen anyone under the age of 5o sleeping in…I still had half of a bunk bed that I shared with my little brother at that time. I jokingly called it ‘Mistasia’. The first part ‘Mist’, is a variation of my wife’s first name, Misty, and the last, ‘Asia’, joking about the beds size…I named it after the largest continent on the planet. There you have it…Mistasia was born. Something that my grandchildren can hopefully tell their grandchildren a hundred years from now when they speak of their crazy old great-great grandpa…wow that makes me like 140 years old in my head (not pretty).
      The small town of Greenville actually exists…well sort of. There is a town in Southwest-Michigan named Greenville, and I have never even been there. That’s correct…I have never even seen it. I named Phillip and the Whizzenmog’s home town Greenville more for the sentimental value the name has for me and my wife. When we were in college, we had a somewhat frightening and hilarious experience in a park lot that ended in a strange individual screaming the word ‘GREENVILLE’ from a passenger window of their car. A couple was lost and pulled into the park lot next to Misty and I to ask for directions (this was way before cell phones and navigational devices). These two actually had a paper map…google that one kids. The frustrated passenger leaned toward the window and began screaming their destination…the town of Greenville, and so I adopted the name for this and other future story lines.
Names – Harper, Cadieux
            One of the more difficult obstacles I have encountered as a writer is naming my characters. You may be shocked by that, but I worry that the name will be mispronounced, or unintentionally funny or offensive. The storyline itself usually works out as you write…at least that is what I tell my daughter who is a very talent writer of poetry, but struggles with telling structured stories. I found out in my brief time as a writer (nearly 10 years now) that the characters will dictate the details and move the story in ways you never dreamed possible. When naming my characters, I again added some personal touches like I did with Mistasia and Greenville.
      Harper – the last name of the storytelling character in Land of Mistasia is one of a number of street names located in the southeastern part of Michigan where I have worked since 2000. The company that I have worked for moves me periodically to different locations and Harper is the street where I held my first management position in the summer of 2000.  Cadieux – the name of the ruling family in Mistasia was another street name that runs into the town of Grosse Pointe.
Story origin
            Like many other authors that I have read and respect greatly, I have written a few stories that have been unceremoniously thrown in the trash can. In 2006, I began crafting outlines for a series of currently unrealized stories called the World of Angora. After writing two full novels, over 600 pages and 100,000 words, I decided that neither were quite good enough. Those weren’t the only stories that have been redesigned though. The Land of Mistasia was crafted from a series of children’s stories I wrote in 2007 called Phillip & Whizzy. (Here is one of those stories) Sound familiar? Obviously these were the main characters in the Land of Mistasia novel that was released in 2011.
            Phillip was a frog and Whizzy a fox. Neither had any powers, but were children in a town similar to Greenville that found themselves in situations that my 5 year old daughter would experience. A few years later, after throwing away two World of Angora novels and growing seriously frustrated with the whole idea of writing in general, I revisited the Phillip and Whizzy concept. My oldest daughter had been in elementary school for a few years now and I needed to update the storyline to suit her reading level. The animals became boys…that transformed into animals in Mistasia. I added a sister for Whizzy, who became the heroin of the story. Grace Tallon was added originally as a guide and to help move the story along, but she quickly became far more than that. As I said before, the characters begin to write themselves and Grace became such an important character she earned her own novella, Grace’s Quest (2014).

Original Trilogy vs Novellas
            There are 5 stories currently; an original trilogy, followed by two novellas.
                  The original trilogy consists of: Land of Mistasia (2011), Return to Mistasia (2011) and Last Emerald (2012). Land of Mistasia is the original story. It has its own ending and for those that are unaware…isn’t the end to the story of Mistasia. Return to Mistasia takes place around Christmas of the same year and is a cliffhanger. It leads the reader to the final part of the trilogy, Last Emerald. There was an outline for 4 stories in the beginning, but as the story unfolded it ended with Last Emerald.
                  Not ready to put these characters aside, I did as many authors / storytellers do…I went into the past and told the back story of a character from Land of Mistasia in the first novella. Whizzenmog Betrayal (2013) is the story of Ethan Whizzenmog, one of Sorcerer LaCroiux’s minions when we first met him. He kidnaps Rachel from her basement in Greenville and drags her into the portal to Mistasia starting the original story. In Whizzenmog Betrayal, we learn how this simple wizard fox turned to the darkness of sorcery.
                  Last, but not least, is the story of Grace Tallon. She unexpectedly became one of my favorite characters. Strong, self reliant and courageous, Grace is the protector to Queen Merran Cadieux. In Grace’s Quest (2014), we find out what happens in Mistasia after the defeat of Cragon Cadieux. It leads us into the story Return to Mistasia and gives us the explanation of what was happening in Mistasia while Phillip and the Whizzenmog twins had begun high school back in Greenville.
                  That was the end…or so I believed. I even wrote a blog about ending my journey with the characters that had become so much a part of my family’s lives. (Read Here) I had even started writing a new story called Gossamer Pen. In that story, two girls find a magical pen that brings to life anything drawn with it. It also takes place in the small town of Greenville. When I went back to answer one important question…where did the Gossamer Pen come from, I found a whole new story open up for Mistasia.
                  Cragon’s Revenge will be the story to tell about the Gossamer Pen’s retrieval from Greenville and its powers in Mistasia. I plan to begin writing it in early 2015 and releasing it in February 2016.
                  In the Gossamer Pen, there are many references and appearances by the characters from Mistasia. Check out the novel or the forthcoming web-comics to find them!


Copyright 2014: Christopher M. Purrett