What’s the hardest part of being an author?
Me: Sorting through the ideas! People always ask authors "where do you get your ideas?" and I can honestly say everywhere. Sometimes it's something I've read, or a conversation I had, something I overheard, or something my kids did. But not every idea is story-worthy. Picking out the good ideas, the one worth spending time on, is a challenge.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Snake in the Grass?
Me: Nobody likes taxes, but when an Imperial message goes missing on his way to Mallory Manor, it's up to Lyla and Jaycee to find out what happened and save Lady Starla from being arrested for treason. In the meantime, there's a new girl at Tanner Middle School and Jaycee must figure out if she's a friend or another enemy. Plus, Jaycee has the opportunity to run for student council preside - if she dares.
What inspired you to write this book?
Me: Snake in the Grass is the final step in the first phase of the adventure. They finally know that there is a plot to overthrow the established rule in the Empire. To do that, I had to send Jaycee/Roger out of Mallory. What reason would they leave? Obviously, to save Lady Starla. And since a writing instructor once told me that every story had to involve high stakes, what higher stakes than having her suspected of treason? And no adult likes taxes, of course. So the idea that a messenger would go missing as he's announcing higher taxes seemed like a good way to get Lady Starla in trouble, and force Jaycee/Lyla onto the road.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
Me: I still have a traditional "day job," so I don't get a lot of time during the day to write. Most of it is done during my lunch hour. Occasionally I'll get some time at night, but not often. I usually manage to snag a couple hours on the weekends.
Name your top five favourite books.
Me: Only five? Oh dear. Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, the Harry Potter series (really, it's all one book), Lord of the Rings, Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, and C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia.
What are you working on now?
Me: Right now, I'm writing the first draft for the seventh Hero's Sword book. It doesn't have a title yet, but it takes Jaycee/Lyla on her furthest geographical journey yet -- into the mysterious Eastern estates to find the identity of Dark Blade. And something terribly serious happens to Roger, so learning to handle a quest without him is another lesson for her to learn, although she does have a friend who steps in to go on the quest with her.
Title: Snake in the Grass: Hero’s Sword Vol. 4
Author: M.E. Sutton
Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure, Fantasy
Things are getting interesting at Tanner Middle School. The only official candidate for student council president is Jaycee’s nemesis, Trina Poppelman. Plus there’s a new girl in school. At first glance, she looks like she’d fit right in with the cheerleaders, but Jaycee senses something different about her.
Things are getting interesting in Mallory, too. Lady Starla is expecting an Imperial envoy to discuss new taxes. She plans to oppose the measure and asks Lyla to stand by her side in a show of support. However, when the envoy goes missing, the situation becomes a lot more serious than a proposed tax increase.
In this fourth installment of the Hero’s Sword series, Lyla and Roger hit the road to find a missing envoy before Starla pays the ultimate price for his disappearance. Along the way, Jaycee learns that winning isn’t always the end-game result.
Mary Sutton has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people’s stories, for as long as she can remember. After ten years, she decided that making things up was far more satisfying than writing software manuals, and took the jump into fiction.
She writes the HERO’S SWORD middle-grade fantasy series as M.E. Sutton and finds a lot of inspiration in the lives of her own kids. A lifelong mystery fan, she also writes crime fiction, including THE LAUREL HIGHLANDS MYSTERIES, under the pen name Liz Milliron. Her short fiction has been published at Uppagus.com, Mystericale.com (Fall 2013), and in LUCKY CHARMS: 12 CRIME TALES (December 2013).