The Qwillery | category: Turning Tides


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series

Please welcome Mia Marshall to The Qwillery. Lost Causes, the 4th novel in the Elements series, was published on September 22, 2015.

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series

TQWelcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?

Mia:  Thanks! It’s great to be here. As for writing, I’m pretty sure I was telling stories as soon as I learned to read. I suspect they were terrible, though at the time I thought I was a genius. It was so easy then. No need for critiques or editing or even plot! I often killed people in those early stories, and there were a lot of orphans. Perhaps I haven’t changed all that much over the last few decades (though now there is editing and hopefully a plot).

TQAre you a plotter, pantser or hybrid? What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Mia:  Pantser for life, though I occasionally delude myself that this time, for real, I’ll plot. Then I get distracted by a new shiny idea somewhere around chapter two and all my outline can do is whimper in pain. I like discovering the story and the characters as I go, and it’s amazing how it all comes together in the end. I’ve come to trust that my subconscious has a plan—it just rarely bothers to share it with me before the third act. I always know what the ending will be, in terms of setting up the characters and overall arc for the next book, but that’s about it.

TQDescribe Lost Causes in 140 characters or less.

Mia:  A group of elementals & shifters band together to save the day—except when they mess it all up. A mix of mystery, magic, snark, & friendship.

TQTell us something about Lost Causes that is not found in the book description.

Mia:  This book contains my favorite ending of all the books I’ve written. And I can’t say what it is without spoilers, but trust me. It’s a good ending. I might be a little biased, though.

TQIn the Elements series so far who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?

Mia:  Simon has always been the easiest to write. He’s a cat shifter—a house cat shifter. I’ve lived with cats my whole life and have spent too much time imagining what they’re thinking. Now I get to transcribe it.

The hardest one was Vivian, though that was way back in book 1. Most of my characters appear to me in a pretty advanced state, but she wasn’t so accommodating. Prior to being the nerdy, quiet computer genius she is now, she spent some time as an L.A. club kid and a hippie-esque earth goddess. Trust me, she’s much better as a nerdy hacker. Four books later, it’s hard to believe I ever saw her as anyone else.

TQWhich question about the Elements series do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Mia:  No one’s ever asked why I chose the elemental/shifter combo. It was never really a question for me, so maybe it’s just been equally obvious to everyone else! Despite being categorized as urban fantasy, this series is set in the natural world and relies on an earth-based mythology, and these were the only magical races that felt believable as ones that could be born from the earth’s original creation magic. Vampires, demons, the fae, etc. always felt too "other", whereas I could imagine shifters & elementals always being part of this world.

TQWhat's next?

Mia:  I’m about to start editing an adventure fantasy set in a very alternate version of this world. There’s lots of action and romance and a dog called Rabbit, which are three things that probably won’t change in edits. That won’t come out till late 2016 at the earliest. Afterwards, I’ll write the fifth and final Elements book, which will come out sometime next year.

TQThank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Mia:  Thank you for having me!

The Elements Series
Mia Marshall's Elements series is all about magic and mayhem among the supernatural races of Lake Tahoe. Aidan Brook is the heroine, but the series also focuses on a group of friends that doubles as her makeshift family. These series is named after elementals, which were born from the very first magic and are a union between humans and the forces that created the planet. In addition to water, fire, and earth, there’s stone, desert, and ice (but no air). There are also shifters and a whole lot more going on in this world! If you haven't already gotten into the Element series, start with the first book, Broken Elements--currently free on Kindle.

Lost Causes
Elements 4
Match Books, September 22, 2015
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 354 pages

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series
Aidan Brook has spent months living with the horror of what happened when she lost control of her magic. Now she’s searching for a way to manage her immense power, but she only hits one dead end after another.

On the run from a council intent on her death, Aidan, the bear shifter Mac, and the rest of her friends find themselves on a desperate chase across deserts and oceans in search of answers. Along the way, they encounter a living myth and a dual magic with secrets of his own—and they learn that the cure may be more deadly than the disease.

To save her own life, Aidan will need to confront the most dangerous foe she’s ever faced…herself.


Broken Elements
Elements 1
Match Books, February 26, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 338 pages

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series
Magic, murder, and mayhem on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

For Aidan Brook, manipulating the power of water is as easy as breathing—until the awful night her magic fails, with deadly consequences.

Though Aidan tries to outrun her past, the grisly murder of an old friend draws her back to the scene of her crimes. In Lake Tahoe, she only finds more trouble. An estranged best friend, a dangerously attractive landlord, and a couple of FBI agents are determined to complicate her life…and for the first time in years, she doesn’t mind a few complications.

As the killer grows increasingly fixated on Aidan, her past and present begin to collide. To defeat the killer, she must learn to control her power—before her broken magic fails her for the final time.

BROKEN ELEMENTS is the first book in the award-winning Elements urban fantasy series.

Shifting Selves
Elements 2
Match Books, April 15, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 351 pages

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series
Aidan Brook’s world was shattered when she uncovered long-buried secrets about her past. Secrets that could cost her sanity—or even her life.

Now, she craves peace and quiet, but that’s not an option when local children start vanishing. Soon, Aidan is drawn deep into the shifter world…a place where elementals like herself are decidedly unwelcome. To track the missing children, these longtime enemies must work together without too many claw marks or too much fur flying. Throw in a stalled romance with an enigmatic shifter, and Aidan’s life is anything but peaceful.

As Aidan and her friends zero in on the kidnapper, they discover Aidan isn’t the only one with secrets—or the only one who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets hidden…

SHIFTING SELVES won the RT Award for best indie urban fantasy!

Turning Tides
Elements 3
Match Books, May 6, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 344 pages

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series
Aidan Brook committed one too many magical crimes. Now, the water council insists she answer for them. Before they can deliver a verdict that will change her life, one of theirs is gruesomely murdered—and Aidan’s best friend is accused of the crime.

Before the body cools, Aidan is racing against the clock to prove Sera’s innocence. To make matters worse, her favorite bear shifter is struggling with the dangerous bond they now share. Aidan will do whatever it takes to save her friends…but the cost may be higher than she can pay.

A little murder, a little magic, and family and friends to help her through it all. On the outside, it looks like a typical Aidan Brook day, but she’s about to discover, when the tides start to turn, even a water elemental can’t control what happens next.

Note: The alternative Illustrated covers are still available.

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series

About Mia 

Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements series
Mia Marshall is the award-winning author of the Elements urban fantasy series. Before she started writing about imaginary worlds, she worked as a high school teacher, script supervisor, story editor, legal secretary, and day care worker. She has lived all along the US west coast and throughout the UK, where she collected an unnecessary number of degrees in literature, education, and film.
These days, she lives somewhere in the Sierra Nevadas, where she is surrounded by a small but deadly feline army.

Website  ~  Twitter @thismiamarshall

Facebook  ~  Goodreads

Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall

Turning Tides
Author:  Mia Marshall
Series:  Elements 3
Publisher:  Match Books, May 6, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 344 pages
List Price:  $12.99 (print)
ISBN: 9780988976160 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author

Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall
Aidan Brook is hours away from a peaceful life. Once she accepts her future as a banished elemental, she can leave her family’s island and return to Lake Tahoe, where she’ll spend the rest of her days controlling her magic in a calm, stress-free environment. That plan hits a snag when a member of the elementals’ governing body is murdered—and Aidan’s best friend is accused of the crime.

Before the body cools, Aidan is racing against the clock to prove Sera’s innocence. To make matters worse, she must face the consequences of the bond she now shares with her favorite bear shifter—all while her sanity grows less predictable by the day.

Magic, murder, and mayhem: it may look like a typical Aidan Brook day, but she’s about to discover, when the tides start to turn, even a water elemental can’t control what happens next.

Melanie's Thoughts

I came across the Elements series by Mia Marshall quite by accident and really enjoyed the first two books Shifting Shelves and Broken Elements. I was really excited when I was given the opportunity to read an ARC of Turning Tides which is the third book in the series.

In this instalment Aiden has been forced to face the music and is back on the island where she grew up to face possible banishment from her family and her childhood home. She is on trial for events that occurred in the previous books that exposed the elementals to humanity. Everything changes when one of the councillors proceeding over her trial is quite gruesomely murdered in front of everyone. Her friend and fire elemental, Sera is accused of the crime and Aiden has only 3 days to prove Sera's innocence.  Her work cut out for her as the body count rises. Just to make her investigation more of a challenge her friends turn up with another puzzle to solve. Its not long before almost the whole gang is back together including her cat shifter friend Simon and the exceeding cute but equally foul mouthed otter shifter Miriam. They have brought Aiden's 'honey' and shifter bear Mac who has been ill ever since Aiden left for the island.  In between finding a killer Aiden has to cure Mac from a bad case of separation anxiety. If you have read the previous books you will know that Mac and Aiden are having as what can only be described as a 'slow burn' romance. We get teased in each book as they come closer and closer but it still continues at a snail's pace. To round out the Aiden fan club are her father, the fire elemental Josiah along with the FBI agent Carmichael and earth elemental Vivian who is helping out from afar. Despite having her friends close by finding the murderer isn't going to be easy and leads her closer and closer to the insanity that plagues those with dual elements. This could be the final straw that pushes Aiden to the point of no return.

I was surprised to learn that Marshall had another book out so soon as I thought she was taking time away from Aiden and friends to work on another series. Needless to say I was high fiving myself when I was offered the chance to review this ARC. I really like Aiden as a character and who wouldn't want friends who turned into cats and otters? Aiden has also grown up and not quite so wise cracky as in the previous books but that's not to say that there aren't so funny lines, as there are. The humour is more balanced with the dark and murderous events that play out as she battles with the duality of her elements - fire and water. I was quite surprised at some of the events towards the end of the book, to the point where I thought that Aiden may have crossed a few too many lines. Having said that it does keep the story fresh and avoids Aiden from being too one dimensional and virtuous. The events in this novel really work well for creating spin off story lines for future novels. Marshall just about hits everything right with Turning Tides with development of an interesting and funny lead character, equally interesting and funny secondary characters, a great murder mystery and the ramifications from making difficult decisions. I hope that Marshall can keep the pace in future novels and doesn't drag out potential romance between Aiden and Mac or her potential decline into insanity. Please don't leave me too long to find out what happens to Aiden and co. next!

p.s. LOVE the print covers!

The eBook cover:

Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall

Book 1
Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall

Book 2
Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall

Melanie's Week Review - April 20, 2014

Melanie's Week Review - April 20, 2014

To those who celebrate Happy Easter and to those who don't Happy 20th April! I hope that whatever you are up to you have a good book to hand. I have been lucky to have read a couple of goodies this past week. So what have I read?

Melanie's Week Review - April 20, 2014
I started the week returning to a series I love - The Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant. I didn't re-read one of the books but found a novella from the series that I hadn't read - How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea. The novella features Mahir who appears in the series but not prominently until the final book in the series. This story takes place after the final book Blackout and with Mahir taking a trip to Australia to see the rabbit proof fence and the unique way that Australians have dealt with the zombie apocalypse. I love this series and it was one of the few where I liked the secondary characters as well as the main ones, including Mahir. I did think however, that once you finish a series it should stay that way.  I liked the story but the impact is gone as in my mind the series has finished. I think I will avoid reading the other two novellas I haven't read yet.

Melanie's Week Review - April 20, 2014I then set my sights on reading a book I got from NetGalley  - Morningside Fall by Jay Posey. I read and reviewed book 1 of the series Three last summer which was Posey's debut novel. I thought Three was pretty good, especially as a debut but I didn't enjoy Morningside Fall. Posey made a risky decision to turn an 8 year old boy, Wren into the story's hero and main character and it was a risk that didn't pan out in my view. Wren fluctuated between clinging to his mother, as you would expect a child of that age to act like and talking/acting like a very articulate adult. I have yet to find an 8 year old that uses inner dialogue that they are 'appalled by their own weakness'. Young children don't think that way, act that way or speak that way. It really diminished the power of the story but having such a young character as the focal point and main protagonist. The story also dragged as it was almost all inner and verbal dialogue. There was a lot of action but it was almost all conveyed verbally rather than Posey describing events. This makes for a tedious read. Posey has a great post apocalyptic world and interesting characters in the Weir who sound part zombie/part robot but so many of the other characters are really one dimensional and stereotypical. I really struggled to finish this book and spent as much time looking at the fantastic front cover as I did wishing it would end already.

I rounded out the week reading an ARC I received from Qwill - Turning Tides by Mia Marshall. I read and reviewed the first two books of series last August Broken Elements and Shifting Elements and was super excited to have a crack at reading the next book. I will be writing a full review of this book so look out for this in May.

Melanie's Week Review - April 20, 2014That is it for me for now as I am off to read something that isn't fantasy or science fiction! I am going to read my new recipe book - Leon which is actually the name of a coffee shop type bistro which does delicious food.  I am looking for something that will counter balance all the chocolate I plan on eating this weekend. If I don't slip into a sugar coma I will look forward to clearing off more books from my TBR. Until next week Happy Reading.
Interview with Mia Marshall, author of the Elements seriesReview: Turning Tides by Mia MarshallMelanie's Week Review - April 20, 2014

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