An Interview with Ariella Moon

beltaneescape_500x750-1What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write Young Adult fantasy and romance. I began by writing for Middle Grade readers when my daughter was in elementary school. Her reading and comprehension skills were off the charts, and it was difficult to find big, engaging stories for her that contained age appropriate content. As she matured, I began writing for Young Adults. My first published series, The Teen Wytche Saga, begins with Spell Check, a sweet Halloween romance. And true to my original intent, it is appropriate for sixth graders on up.

Tell us about your current series.

The Two Realms Trilogy is set in medieval Scotland, Fairy, and to a lesser extent, England during the time of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake. Many reviewers have described it as a mix of Alice in Wonderland, Brave, and a PG version of Game of Thrones.

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

I have been known to insert people I have met into my novels. Most notably, an evil shaman/shape-shifter I once encountered appears (disguised, of course), in The Beltane Escape. But its upcoming sequel, The Viking Mist contains no one from my past. However, several characters in my Teen Wytche Saga were inspired by teachers I had in school.

Has your muse always known what genre you would write and be published in?

I am a shaman and medium as well as a writer, so I have an interesting relationship with my muses. They are bound to the area where I live, so when I move, a new muse appears. When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, my muse was associated with Fire and the creative spark. When I moved to the desert, I acquired a Water muse. I was quite surprised, until I remembered that natural aquifers run beneath my city. Water is the element of emotion and the flow of ideas. When I tried writing a non-Young Adult book, my muse imposed a creative drought. I got the message!

What are you currently working on?

I am readying The Viking Mist to send to my editor. The process has been slow, because I am plotting the third book in the series while writing The Viking Mist. I have to know where I am headed with the trilogy, so I can plant ideas, characters, and objects in the second book.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

 A senior editor at Scholastic took Spell Check to Acquisitions. The person who ultimately turned down the manuscript, said they couldn’t have witches in books that would be featured in their school catalogs. My agent at the time literally knocked her head against her desk when she received the news. Hadn’t the Harry Potter series work out pretty well for them?

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

I currently belong to The Romance Writers of America (RWA), The Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA), The Palm Springs Writers Guild, and The Desert Screenwriters Guild. The Romance Writers Of America has been, and continues to be, an invaluable resource. I have learned so much about the writing and publishing through RWA sponsored contests and conferences. And I met both of my former agents through RWA. PNWA also boosted my career. Winning the PNWA’s Literary Contest and Zola Award in the Young Adult category, resulted in not only a large monetary award, but also gave me insider access to agents and editors.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Hang in there! Join writers’ organizations. Enter writing contests that provide feedback, and have agents or editors as final judges. Attend writing conferences. Hone your craft. Be a voracious reader. Remember how many publishers passed on Harry Potter before J.K. Rowling received a contract offer. Never give up!


Trapped within the doeskin pouch, Merlin’s spell book pulsed like an angry heart. Viviane, the young Lady of the Lake, pushed her qualms aside and knotted the stolen treasure to her waist. An eerie quiet settled over the woods. Either the tree spirits sleep, or they watch me in silence, Viviane surmised as she carefully surveyed the canopy. Knees quaking, she deftly concealed the pouch beneath her cloak, then ran. Shallow breaths caught in her throat, and a sharp pain needled her side as she quickened her pace. She pressed her hand against the twinge and kept running. With each pounding stride, the prize slapped vehemently against her hip.

Viviane chanced a glance over her shoulder. Hah! No sign of Merlin. In her arrogance, she stumbled, her heel catching on her long indigo cape. Her heart cartwheeled. With an oath, she righted herself. Ahead, the Enchanted Forest’s dark mantle ended, and gloaming’s early light shone. She bolted towards the dawn.

Dry pine needles crunched beneath her deerskin sandals. The spell book’s muffled rage beat louder, waking a nearby tree spirit whose angry screech roused others. As one, they grabbed at Viviane with their prickly branches. A wizen-faced pine scratched Viviane’s cheek, stirring the creature marked into the skin above her cheekbone. Agitated, the blue sea serpent threaded itself around the crescent moon inked near her eye. Its nostrils flared, assessing the danger. Viviane shoved the impudent branch away. Catching scent of the lake, she broke through the trees. Her lungs heaved as an ache bloomed between her shoulders where the tree spirits’ angry glares thrust against her.

ariella-moon-author-photoweb-2About Ariella Moon

Ariella Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. Her series include The Two Realms Trilogy, a medieval fantasy adventure, and The Teen Wytche Saga, a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances.

Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety and taller students that mistook her for a leaning post marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and a media-shy dragon.



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