Thursday, July 11, 2013

{Book Spotlight} Identified: The Maya Price Story by Faith A. Rice-Mills

The Book

Identified: The Maya Price Story
by Faith A. Rice-Mills

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: December 3rd 2012

Book Description

Maya Price is a typical eighteen-year-old girl without many worries. Her biggest problems include getting ready to leave her hometown for college, figuring out how to avoid her ever-so-strange stepmother and trying to muddle though her feelings for her best friend, Pete. Yet, one of her last nights in her hometown, she and Pete are in a car accident. A stranger pulls Maya from the accident, leaving Pete behind, and takes her out of this world and into another dimension. Maya soon discovers that she has been taken to a dimension called Leets by a group of people that call themselves shifters. Shifters are of mixed human and onyx blood and have various abilities. These shifters are able to travel between dimensions, control the four elements (fire, earth, wind, water) and the five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste). Their leader, Victoria, informs Maya that she, too, is a shifter and that she must choose to join them or risk being sought out by their greatest enemy, a shifter named Leonas. Maya joins Victoria and her ragtag group of rebel shifters at a training camp called Level One. he is teamed up with a group of seven other shifters, including a streetsmart girl named Luz, who is especially adept at controlling fire, her twin sister Espy, and a nervous boy named Lamar, who can manipulate sound better than any other shifter. Together, Maya’s team trains for the battles that will soon be inevitable. However, Maya soon learns that her purpose is not to just move the earth or send water flying into the air. There are rumors of a hidden prophecy and that the prophecy mentions Maya by name. Supposedly, the prophecy says that Maya will one day have to choose a side and will be essential in bringing her chosen ally to power...

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Guest Post
The creation of Identified: The Maya Price Story 

This is my  “Ten Things I Think You Should Know About the Creation of Identified” list.

1. I came up with the idea for Maya on a long drive to visit my out-of-town boyfriend (now husband).  On this drive, in between trying to pick out good road trip songs, I came up with the idea for a girl who could travel between dimensions.   For some reason, I thought of the name Maya.  So, Maya’s name has been Maya since the very first day I thought of her.

Early notes.  Notice the date!

2. I only kind of played around with writing this novel until about 2009.  Then, I thought, “Ok, I’m getting older.  If I really want to do this, I better do it now.”  I begged my friend Rebekah Lamm to help me accomplish this goal and she graciously agreed.  I would write a chapter, send it to Bekah, write a journal entry, send it to Bekah, and so on and so forth. This went on for a few years, but I procrastinated quite a bit.  Finally, after winning a Writer’s Digest award for my short story “Time,” I thought that maybe I had a shot at this writing thing.  This spurned me to finish Identified and I completed my first draft in May 2012, two days before my twenty-ninth birthday.

Bekah’s notes on the introduction to Identified.

3. About a fourth of Identified was written on my iPhone. I would furiously type into the Notes app while my husband drove us to work or to our parents’ houses. I read once that Lauren Oliver wrote quite a bit of Before I Fall on her Blackberry going to and from work. I thought, “That is brilliant! I need to do that!”

First draft of Chapter 12, originally written on my iPhone.

4. Originally, Maya and her friends could only travel between dimensions when they were in a semiconscious state, such as when they were dreaming. Sometimes, they would wake up in another dimension and not be able to recall how they got there. Then, I decided that this idea was dumb and threw it out.  Instead, I came up with the idea of a “fold,” which is an opening between dimensions through which shifters can travel.

5. At first, I called the half-human, half-onyx shifters, “movers.”  Then, my friend Ben Lamm suggested that I change the name to “shifters. “ I thought that his idea was better than mine.

6. Maya’s hometown of Diamond, Texas is based on my hometown of Tarkington, Texas, though Tarkington is a little bit smaller.  It is named “Diamond,” because this was my maternal great-grandmother’s maiden name   Just like Maya had a holiday from school for “Rodeo Weekend,” we had a day off of school for “Dairy Day.”  Also, you could count on your neighbors to clean your house or bring food is something happened to your family, just as the people of Diamond do for Leah McCall when her mother dies.   However, we did not have a “See Ya Later!”  picnic nor was there a coffee shop called Brownwater and Balls.

Me with my daughter, my sister, and my nephew just outside of my parents’ house in Tarkington, Texas.

7. I only write about places that I have either been to, or have created in my crazy brain. I have been actually to El Escorial in Spain. When I was there, I thought to myself, “If I ever write a book, some of the action is going to take place here.”

8. There is a joke that Maya tells in one of the scenes that I snuck into Identified for my little brother, Jakie. The joke goes, “A horse walked into a bar. The bartender said, ‘Why the long face?’” I told that joke to my brother when I was thirteen and he was about five. I don’t know that he ever really understood it, but he would repeat the joke many times and die laughing each time.

This is my brother, Jakie.  He is in the U.S. Army and is currently stationed in South Korea.

9. I spend a lot of time on character names. I named Luz and Esperanza  because “luz” means light in Spanish and “esperanza” is the Spanish word for hope. Victoria of course derives from the Latin word meaning winner or conqueror. Akins is a Nigerian name meaning “brave boy” and his sister Alake’s is a Nigerian name meaning “one to be cuddled” (it’s an ironic name). Selima is Hebrew for “brings comfort, peace.”  Lamar, Nathaniel, Ivan, and Paige are just names that I liked, but are consistent with the characters’ ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. (Some of which will be revealed later). Summer is named as so because of her personality.  Allen, Maya’s dad, is named for my Uncle Allen. Also, Maya’s middle name, Elaine, is my mother’s middle name. There are other character’s whose names have reasons behind them, but if I told you what they were, it would result in spoilers.  And we all know how readers feel about spoilers…

10. Though many of the characters are named after friends of mine, the only character in Identified based on a real person is Maya’s brother, Carl, who is based on a childhood friend of mine also named Carl.  My friend Carl also liked to listen to obscure music, played the guitar, and was very good-natured.  The vehicle he drove when we were in high school was an old hearse that he had painted purple flames down the side.  Almost twelve years ago, Carl passed away as a result of a car accident, for which he was not at fault.   Though it has been over a decade, I still miss him.

Of course, there was a lot more planning, rewriting, and editing that went into Identified, but I don’t want to bore anyone.  A year from now, I’ll tell you some cool things about the creation of Burdened!

About the Author
Faith A. Rice-Mills

Faith A. Rice-Mills is the author of Identified: The Maya Price Story and a handful of short stories. She moonlights as a Spanish teacher, but has wanted to be a writer since she wrote the poem “The Jackowhipp’s Wail” as an eight-year-old. Her writer’s spirit resides somewhere between Narnia and Mount Doom, but her physical body lives in Texas with her family. Besides writing, she loves reading (and will take recommendations!), yoga, coloring with her daughter, and watching Parks and Recreation with her husband. She dislikes snakes, the word “literally,” and teaching double object pronouns in Spanish. She is currently working on Burdened, the second book in The Maya Price Story series and is writing whatever short story she has to get out of her brain.

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