YEM Author Interview: Karen McLain speaks about her inspiration for The Mayari Chronicles: Initium

Karen McLain is the author of The Mayari Chronicles: Initium. The Mayari Chronicles: Initium follows the Ameryk family as Medious must learn to get along with her team at the guild. The novel explores a mystical world of fantasy and fiction. YEM was able to speak with Karen about her inspiration for the book, her writing process, and why she wanted to write a Fantasy/SciFi book.

Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first know that you wanted to get into writing?

Karen McLain: Oddly enough I remember the exact date. It was February 1st of 2021. It was the seventh anniversary of Monty Oum’s death, one of the people that ‘The Mayari Chronicles’ series is dedicated to.

YEM: Where did your inspiration for The Mayari Chronicles: Initium come from?

Karen: The anime series RWBY that was created by Monty Oum. I also drew inspiration from the lyrics of Breaking Benjamin, which is why the series is also dedicated to them.

YEM: What is the writing process like for you?

Karen: I start with a character and ask myself questions. Where are they? Why are they there? What has recently happened to them and those around them? What are they thinking or feeling? And it just goes from there.

YEM: What made you want to write a Fantasy/SciFi genre book?

Karen: Again I believe it was the inspiration of RWBY. I was watching the show and started to think about how things would be different if certain things in the RWBY world were changed.

I also believe I wrote Fantasy/SciFi because I didn’t know much about this planet. It was easier to create my own.

YEM: Do you take inspiration from your real life and put it into your books?

Karen: I suppose I did. The character of Medious sees the world as I often do. She tends to be ‘overly emotional’ at times, which is also like myself.

YEM: Were you able to learn a lot about yourself as a writer and your writer style as you wrote The Mayari Chronicles: Initium?

Karen: I learned there is another part of my mind that takes over during the writing process. I am constantly going back over things I have written, knowing I wrote it, but being astonished by the work. There is no way anyone else wrote it, as I’m the only person that touches my computer.

I’ve been told that I should be writing certain ways. Like, using particular paragraphing techniques or wording. I ignore these people as their ways are not mine.

YEM: What are some takeaways you hope your readers have from The Mayari Chronicles: Initium?

Karen: I would like people to start responding to situations instead of reacting. Think before you speak. The readers will see there are characters that do not do this and end up causing so many problems.

I want people to be able to see the beauty in the shadows around them. I understand that is a difficult task, as I have trouble with it.

YEM: Do you have any advice for those who one day want to be an author?

Karen: Follow your own path. Don’t join Facebook writers’ groups, they will only tear you down. 

If something feels like it doesn’t belong in your story, then it doesn’t. Even if others tell you that it ‘has to be there’. Listen to yourself and keep trying.

YEM: Who is an author who truly inspires you?

Karen: I can’t say that I’ve been inspired by any authors in the typical meaning of the word. If you include screenwriters and musicians, then Monty and Ben have been my major inspirations.

YEM: What is a type of genre you hope to one day write?

Karen: I never really planned on being an author, so I can’t say I have one. I am considering writing some children’s books about Mayari. Not sure when that will happen.

YEM: What is your favorite quote or scene from The Mayari Chronicles: Initium?

Karen: There is a scene between two characters, Kapu and Laisren. Kapu is trying to get answers from Laisren. Laisren breaks down and Kapu realizes that things are deeper than he originally thought.

This is my favorite because it was the first scene inspired by Breaking Benjamin’s song ‘Failure’. I listened to the lyrics and actually had my own breakdown. To me, the lyrics describe many things I’ve been through and these are along the lines of what Laisren has been through.

YEM: What are your future plans for your writing in the future?   

Karen: I have 12 more novels in draft, including a history of the planet Mayari.