- a writer of fantasy — for middle grade to YA
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Merri Halma!
Mrs. Halma grew up in Sunnyside, Washington, studied English, Children’s Drama and Social Services. She loves cats of all species, talking to people and enjoying sunny days.
She enjoys writing, talking with readers, learning new things, and meeting with other writers who want to be published. She lives with her husband and family in Idaho.
An avid Doctor Who fan, she dreams of being able to time travel and hopes one day to go to England to see the wonders of the countryside and visit the city Doctor Who and Torchwood were filmed in. Maybe even chance to see it being filmed and meet the actors.
Mrs. Halma, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
I would want a dragon, maybe a Luck Dragon, that would be friendly and not be burn down houses. He would fly where I would want to go and guard us from those who meant us harm.
Ha! Definitely one of my favorite choices.
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write fantasy so I can explore other worlds and answers questions, like “Why was I created like I was?” “What if this could have been?” I like fantasy and science fiction shows, like Doctor Who, Star Trek and
I have always been the quietest one in a room (well, that was probably true when I was younger), but my thoughts were the loudest. Through my active imagination I experienced many adventures others
likely never knew existed. I still wonder what Jupiter Cities would look like. One day I will write about them.
I grew up with a speech impediment, so talking was difficult and often I would get lost in the conversation. Writing and storytelling came natural to me. My parents sought to dial back my imagination, but I couldn’t. I wanted to dig in the large mountains as we traveled to Yakima to see if there were dinosaurs sleeping under the earth. I could see their large lumps of rock and dirt hiding their bellies. I could see the large Brontosaurus waking up, stretching, and noticing the cars zipping by. It did not scare me; I was too fascinated with what they would do next.
Writing gave me a voice and way to express myself in a way that speaking could not. As a teen, I wrote what if stories- of what my life could have been if somethings hadn’t changed. I suppose that is a form of speculative fiction, but without the fantasy involved.
I got started in writing the Indigo Traveler Series because my son wanted a story about a boy with his name and a backhoe, that he called Digger (he called all backhoes diggers when he was two). I
made the backhoe a magic one that traveled to other worlds. That story changed and developed as I tried to make it work. I would not be able to have the stories make sense without the use of my fantasy
characters, like my werecat, Lynx, and griffin.
I find my thoughts can be very loud as well. Have you ever been in a room, thinking so hard that you’re startled when you realize you haven’t actually heard anything in hours? I’m sorry your parents weren’t super supportive but I’m so glad you found your way to your storytelling.
What do you like to read?
I enjoy fantasy stories; Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. I love a good story that has deep character development where I can see the depth of the person and situation. I also enjoy some literary fiction, like Neil Gaiman, who blends literary form with fantasy well. Anthony Doerr is another good author that I love to read.
I can tell that you share my excellent taste in books.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Plan and Outline, thoroughly
I have tried to plan and outline, but the story never follows that set goal, so I scrap the outline and allow the story to weave itself. After I hit a few roadblocks, I will start to plan a little bit, but there are more benchmarks. Like I want Ian Temple to go through the portal in Xander’s backyard and Lynx needs to go with him so he can complete the second challenge in facing the different facets of his who he is.
Even some planners see their outline as a notion with beats, rather than a formula to be followed. But yeah, I’m a high level planner, too, and I let the story lead the way.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Outline and plan before you get started
You and I are both clearly plantsers! We need to know where we’re going, but we don’t need to know how we get there until we write it.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Indigo Travelers Series:
Three friends travel to mystical worlds of griffins, walking plants and spider-riding sages. Each seeks answers to questions of who they are and how they fit in their world.
The story starts with: Indigo Travelers and the Dragon’s Blood Sword
When the giant King Titus declares war on the other inhabitants of Curá, breaking a thousand-year-old treaty, who will wield the great dragon’s sword and remind him of what was once sacrificed for peace? Crow Judge Connor travel to another world to find the prophesied Indigo Traveler and bring him back to defeat the power-hungry tyrant.
Xander is just a kid trying to avoid his bullies at school–and maybe forget about Milo, the childhood best friend who disappeared years ago. He doesn’t know anything about prophecies and griffins, or giant kings or dragon swords. So when Connor and others from the world of Curá arrive seeking his help, Xander is unsure they’ve chosen the right savior.
Is he the fabled Indigo Traveler, able to change the heart of the rampaging King Titus and restore the dragon’s peace? Or will Xander’s fear hold him back from the confrontation as much as it keeps him from seeking the truth about Milo?
Lynx is at home in his adopted world, though it is still new. The alchemist-blacksmith who rescued him from under the burning wagon buried that knowledge of Ohana, his birth world, to protect him. Called a demon cat for being different, a bonfire he witnesses awakens those memories.
A bear warns Lynx to stay away from humans who have tormented him once and will again. Lynx finds himself in the land of werecats, humans, and bears, who claim they are gods of all animals. An inferno of doubt encompasses Lynx: Who really saved him from the burning wagon? Who set him on fire? Should he risk becoming the demon cat by embracing his true self?
Krystal’s spirit is trapped in Powell Hall. She awaits her fiancé to return from the war that has long been won.
Graduate student Mark Owl Eyes is caught between two worlds. He must choose between honoring his soul mission to become a Medicine Man to assist trapped spirits, like Krystal, cross over or keeping to his English and Creative Writing studies. If he abandons his soul’s mission, his girlfriend will die.
The Table by the Window by the Caldwell Writers Group:
Stories by both first time published and seasoned writers from the Treasure Valley, Idaho are in this anthology. Merri Halma, author of the Indigo Travelers Series, has three stories: The Mysterious Chest, My Life, and Thirteen Again.
Check Merri Halma out across the web!