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Author Interview: Rachel Parisi Chats about Magic & Mead

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Get ready to learn more about the book Magic & Mead in this discussion with sapphic author Rachel Parisi.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Rachel Parisi about Magic & Mead, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Cozy Mystery category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Magic & Mead?

As a long-time D&D player and an even longer-time writer, Silvershade is a world I have wanted to write in forever. I wanted to cast a mystery inside of a fantasy world populated by magical creatures and unexpected intrigue. And of course, because I Heart SapphFic, I wanted to include a lesbian romance!

Who is your favorite character in the book?

That is a toss-up between Clara and Senka. I don’t want to give away too much of the story by going into great detail about why… but I will say that I’ve always imagined how cool it would be to be in Clara’s shoes and as for Senka, well, she’s sexy as hell and sexually confident. 🙂

What inspired the idea for Magic & Mead?

I was inspired to write Magic & Mead by Travis Baldree’s Legends & Lattes, a brilliant cozy fantasy which I absolutely adored. If you’ve read Legends & Lattes, you know what I mean! If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Legends & Lattes was such a comfy read, with the best characters and I loved that vibe. I hadn’t written a fantasy prior to Magic & Mead, but I had so much fun you can be sure I’ll be writing more in the future.

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

I am already planning a sequel and in fact have it entirely outlined! The sequel is again set in Silvershade and readers will recognize many of Magic & Mead‘s characters, including Clara, Lore, Magistra, and Thoren, to name a few. A key character is the sequel is a sexy Valkyrie and for any of you who love a strong, tall woman, buckle up.

I have the title but don’t want to share it quite yet, but I can tell you another mystery is afoot in Silvershade!

What is your writing process like?

I used to be a pantser, but have happily and fully adopted the plotter’s life, which totally makes more sense for a Type-A personality like me. I realized I was a pantser in my earlier writing days because I was impatient to get started.

For me, plotting in detail results in cleaner plots, less editing, and less chance of getting halfway into a book before realizing I had screwed up timelines or something else vital to the story. The part I wish I could change is how long it takes (again, impatience). The best part is of course, enjoying the fruits of a detailed outline. When writing this book, I felt like I was racing to capture the words that were unfolding in my head, because I knew exactly where the story would take my characters.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I write almost exclusively in my home library. It’s not a huge room, but it has three walls of floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases stuffed with a lifetime of my favorite books. It gets wonderful sunlight most of the day (at least when we have sunshine here in Ohio, lol), which is a huge deal for me.

I write at a classic drafting table that belonged to my wife’s father, and although it’s a bit small to spread everything out, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s solid wood, with iron hardware, and weighs a ton. I love seeing its scratches and dents, likely made in the 1960s when my father-in-law was a graphic artist.

The best accessories to help me stay focused are simple: a fan for white noise, a giant Yeti mug of ice cold water, and a soft pillow for the beautiful, but hard chair that came with the drafting table. Any day I can spend writing in my lair is a treat!

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

The biggest help I have found, in addition to the plotter approach, is the use of writing sprints. I use the Pomodoro method and find that when I am fully focused on writing in the allotted time, the words just fly out of me. It has been a game changer.

Have you ever fallen in love with one of your characters?

Actually, yes! It was in Magic & Mead, actually. I based the character of Lore on my celebrity crush, the musical artist LP. If you’re not familiar with LP (Laura Pergolizzi), check them out. LP is gorgeous, powerful, supremely sexy, and an amazing artist. Those are qualities I gave to Lore

I saw my first LP concert during the time I was writing Magic & Mead. The venue was Marathon Musicworks in Nashville. I splurged on the “VIP Experience” and am SO glad I did. We were allowed access to their soundcheck and were surprised with a meet and greet with LP! I was starstruck and got a ton of pics with them, and, wait for it, a delicious hug.

Describe your favorite reading spot.

In a perfect world, I would read from a comfortable chaise lounge under an umbrella somewhere in the Caribbean. I love the sound of the ocean and always take several books when we go on beach vacations.

For “everyday” reading, I love to lay on the bed in my guest bedroom, turn on the fan for white noise and get lost in a book.

Do you only read books in one genre or do you genre hop?

I confess, I have never been a one-genre woman. Unfaithful? Yes. Apologetic? No. When it comes to reading, I get around. 😉

My favorite genres are biography, history, lesbian romance, fantasy, suspense, and science fiction. I’ve always been a history buff and sinking into a well-researched biography or history book truly transports me to another time. I’ve read fantasy and sci-fi since I was a kid (Frank Herbert, Asimov, Piers Anthony, the Dragonlance series, anything Star Trek), loving the escape they often provide. Suspense is a favorite genre as well, but I have to vet what I’m reading. I just can’t handle some of the darker stuff out there.

And lesbian romance for all of the obvious reasons. I am so grateful we have such a varied and constantly growing body of Sapphic fiction to enjoy.

Meet Rachel Parisi

I’m an attorney whose passion is writing. I starting writing at age 11 and 40+ years later, I’m still going. When I’m not working or writing, I love spending time with my family, traveling with my wife, enjoying great food and wine, and learning new things.

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Author Interview