Being smart and sassy with a great sense of humor comes easily for Mahalia Levey. An avid reader of books, she found herself enchanted with disappearing completely into the worlds authors created. One day she vowed to herself she’d be one of them. Then family life came, and college right after. Swayed from her childhood course of action, it took many years for her to get back to that place she held dear as a child. Now she is running full steam ahead to keep up with the many ideas flowing freely. She plans on taking her work to higher levels and expanding her genres. Her main focus is giving her readers variety. Her works in progress include paranormal, fantasy and mainstream romance. Taking characters and watching them grow past what she’s imagined is her true passion.
CharlestonParanormal Fiction Examiner (CPFE): Who, or what, is your inspiration to write?
Mahalia: I garner inspiration from a host of places. Sometimes it’s a person who’s moved me, angered me or just someone I’ve enjoyed knowing. Music and art inspire me as well. My family is a daily inspiration as are the voices that just pop up out of nowhere demanding their story.
CPFE: When did you start writing?
Mahalia: I began writing short storylines on a yahoo loop in late 2006. I was challenged by a friend in 2008 to submit to an electronic publisher and did.
CPFE: When did you realize that you wanted to become an author?
Mahalia: I really didn’t. It’s odd when I think about it. I remember when I was in second grade my elementary teacher told my mother I’d become a writer. I grew up, joined the military, went to college, had a family and then as a hobby fell into writing. It developed into a passion and I can’t imagine myself not writing now.
CPFE: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Mahalia: Where to start! My first advice would be to take time getting to know your voice and develop it. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, people will want to get to know you and fall in love with your characters as much as you do. Education is important. Take time to search for craft classes. Self Edits, Crash Course Revisions, POV courses are all classes I’d recommend every new author take. These classes are offered on line and are inexpensive. I’ll include a few links.
I also advise having or finding some beta readers and or joining a crit group. If you need help with that you can ask around the community.
Research the publishers you are aiming to join ranks. Find out by reading their authors work, talk to authors and see how much they love being where they are. Find publishers who go overboard promoting their authors.
Budget your time and learn how to promote effectively before you release your first novel, or novella. If you don’t have a website you’ll need to make a site for people to get to know you. You don’t have to spend a large amount of money to have a site to link your name to. I’d suggest obtaining a domain name. If you use a pen name, google it to make sure it’s not being used. You can also do the same for a domain name, that way you won’t be infringing on someone.
I use Go Daddy, but you can use free webs and blogger for websites too and those two are free!
CPFE: Do you do research for your books/stories? What kind of research do you do?
Mahalia: It depends on the story. In my paranormal ones, I might research legends and try to look for a new spin.
I write Contemporary stories as well. I’ll research the setting, town and layout and leave the rest up to my imagination.
I wrote a sci fi fantasy and researched Tarot Cards and used Cosmic Harmony Laws as the foundation.
CPFE: Do you outline before you start writing?
Mahalia: I’m not much of an outline writer. I see a story. I may jot down the beginning, middle and end but it stops there. In that short instant I’ll have the premise and create the characters, traits, setting and I’ll keep it in my noggin as I write. Once and awhile a good line of dialogue will pop up out of no-where and I’ll jot it on a sticky note.
The only outline I have currently is my Hell world build. It’s about five pages long with a glossary of terms. I use it for two of my paranormal series and add to it as I go.
CPFE: Do you plan ahead before you sit down to write, or do you let the story take you where it wants to go?
Mahalia: I don’t plan, I write and let it take me where it wants. I’ve found that taking them where I want doesn’t work too well. Imagine having an uprising in your head J
CPFE: Do you write at a desk, or do you have a laptop that you drag around the house with you?
Mahalia: I use a lap top so I move from room to room. My favorite area to write is the living room during the day when my house is empty, or on the deck at my patio table.
CPFE: Besides a pen/pencil/notepad/computer, what is a must-have while writing?
Mahalia: My handwriting is horrid so I make notes on the computer using the review tab and a comment bubble. A cup of coffee, pistachios, my MP4 player and if there’s a television in the room, it has to be on and muted.
CPFE: How did it feel to sign your first publishing contract?
Mahalia: I was elated and giddy with so much excitement. Proud. It didn’t compare to going live for the first time. Going live was a huge rush.
CPFE: What is your favorite genre to write? Your least favorite?
Mahalia: I enjoy writing Paranormal because I like creating all the rules. JMy least favorites would be Suspense or Mystery and only because the set-up is not something I excel in just yet.
CPFE: Is there a genre that you haven’t written yet, but you want to try?
Mahalia: Romantic Suspense, Young Adult, and a Thriller might be a few areas for me to explore.
CPFE: Tell me a bit about your books? What do you think makes them stand out from the rest?
Mahalia: Demonic Persuasion is the first in a paranormal trilogy that brings in the Navajo Dine Gods and The Princes of Hell. The heroine Fatal must learn to accept family she believes has forsaken her and accept the love of a demon. There’s betrayal and learning to accept both sides of heritage in this story.
Cherry Flavored Sex is a short erotica story about a kitten shifter who aches to have the sex club owners attention, so she gets it by being super naughty. It was a fun co-written read. We plan on adding more to that story and having it as more of a short series with an alternate ending.
Inscribed Love is coming soon. An Incubus demon is trapped in a flash on the wall of a tattoo shop and cannot gain freedom unless someone chooses the design to be inked on their skin.
I also just signed a contract for my first Incubus Enforcer novella at Liquid Silver Books. The first story will be Enforcer Makhi. This series is also in the same world build as Demonic Persuasion.
Embrace The Moment my first release relates to life in the military and how to balance military life and finding love. It also touches on the forbidden love affair between Officer and Enlisted.
I have contemporary shorts and novella’s done in the niche IR and AA lit. I use Kansas City in those and historical sections of the town I live in. What I love about doing my shorts, is that there are so many real life scenarios that readers can relate to and see a positive outcome.
I chose to use interesting names and different plots in my paranormals helps to set me apart from others. I use a different spin on setting up emotional impact. I call my writing craft ‘Word-Weaving.’ I aim to create a story not unlike a beautiful tapestry by using a synched trend of emotion, using body language, honing in on the importance of the unsaid.
CPFE: There are many fascinating historical places in Charleston, South Carolina. Are there any within your books?
Mahalia: I’ve used the Vine District in Kansas City Missouri, Yonkers New York and Time Square, areas that have older buildings. I love historical places and hope to use more of them in the future.
CPFE: And, for fun, if you could be anyone for a day – real or fictional – who would you be?
Mahalia: I have a huge crush on S.K.’s Acheron I’d love to be his heroine for a day J
Thank you CPFE for Having Me! Here are places you can find me
Face Book Mahalia Levey
What people are saying about Mahalia Levey:
Mahalia Levey’s first book, DEMONIC PERSUASION, in her new PROPHESIES IMPLIED series, is one red-hot read. The intensity of her characters’ personalities as well as their physical encounters leap from the pages. Ms. Levey’s ability to show a forming bond and not just physical chemistry, along with her hero who lets a soft side emerge from time to time, adds an element of sweetness to the storyline. Her world building is also well done. Her depictions of the underworld and darker club scenes are quite vivid. If you have a soft spot for demons, this should be on your to read list. ~ Romance Junkie Reviews~
Levey and Sexton really turn up the heat in this short paranormal erotica Cherry Flavored Sex. Drake Sullivan’s tattooed body is as hard as the sex he dishes out with it. He’s 100% alpha male and Alana couldn’t be happier. She meets him thrust for hard thrust. ~Coffee and Romance Reviews~
~Embrace The Moment: I didn’t know a 66 page novella could make me cry so darn much! In Mahalia Levey’s May release from Phaze books Embrace the Moment: Semper Paratus, I did just that as my heart broke for two lovers who struggled with their careers and with their relationship. ~ Book Junkie Reviews
~Mahalia Levey writes with a soulful voice. The characters were fully developed and I was able to envision every scene in the book. Flaws and All takes to task the damage low self-esteem and its ability to blind a person to their true beauty. I wanted to stand up and cheer for Donato every step of the way, what a hero. I highly recommend that you pick up Flaws and All; it will leave your soul singing. ~ Coffee Times Romance Reviews