Karen McLain was born in the Chicagoland area in the early eighties. As the youngest child of three children to a single mother, life could be rough at times. The family moved to western Pennsylvania in the mid-nineties and things got a bit easier for them. After a tragic loss, Karen shut herself off from the world for many years in order to figure things out and deal with her illnesses. Searching for ways to vent a creative passion, Karen was inspired by internet content to create The Mayari Chronicles.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
It was easy to find. I scrolled through various Wikipedia pages to find unusual names for the story. When I decided The Mayari Chronicles would be a series, I thought it would be best to give subtitles. Since this is the first book, I believed naming it ‘the beginning’ was best. So it became The Mayari Chronicles: Initium.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
On 1 February 2021, I was inspired while watching an anime show called RWBY (pronounced ‘Ruby’). The creator, Monty Oum, was an amazing talent who died quite suddenly. While watching the show, I started to think about how things would work in the storyline of RWBY if certain things were different.
I was then inspired to extend the story by the band Breaking Benjamin. I was feeling a touch stuck with the story, so I turned to music for inspiration. While listening to the song Failure, I actually had a bit of a breakdown. Most may see this as a bad thing, but the song gave me the ability to feel what a certain character was going through.
With the inspiration of Monty Oum, The Mayari Chronicles was originally going to be around three books long. Once I got additional inspiration from Breaking Benjamin, the series extended to around twelve books.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
Failure – Breaking Benjamin
This Will Be the Day – Jeff Williams
Bulletproof – Godsmack
The Dark of You – Breaking Benjamin
The Red – Chevelle
Pieces – Rob Thomas
I Will Not Bow – Breaking Benjamin
(I have a playlist for writing loaded with Breaking Benjamin.)
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
I would hope that The Mayari Chronicles helps readers see their own world differently and to try and see both sides of any given situation as often as possible.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I have at least seven other books from the Mayari series drafted, but I have stopped working on them until I get a response from readers. I am the type of person that needs feedback from the audience in order to have the drive to continue.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
Atmosphere Press was very easy to work with and made my part in the decisions quite stress-free.