The Chosen: Astra. Kromin. Volgon. Earth. To each of the four planets are sent four Guardians, with one mission: to protect and serve the Chosen, those unwitting champions of prophecy who alone can save the galaxy from the terrifying Mekans. But the signs of prophecy have not yet appeared, and the decision to send the Guardians early could doom all in the galaxy to death
Shattered Destiny: In the second book of The Portals of Destiny series, the Chosen have teamed up to learn about each other’s worlds. But things on their home planets are not as they left them. Astra is plagued by a genocidal maniac, Earth’s Jhinn are worse for the wear after losing their General, and Volgon is turning over a new leaf.
Meanwhile, the Chosen discover there is a lot about each other they don’t understand, and that makes fighting anything–let alone the universe threatening Mekans–difficult.
When more of the Chosen die, the question becomes not how will the Chosen defeat the Mekans, but can they?
Ozarks Mystique (OM): Tell us, please, three things about yourself that we wouldn’t know.
Shay West: “I have 3 (yes, three!!) Star Trek tattoos, I have tiny pinkies, and I love tough guy movies. I’d rather watch Die Hard or Terminator than a mushy girl movie any day.”
OM: I can see the Star Trek ink and Terminator movies in a personality that conceived Portals! Tiny Pinkies? Tell us more, please.
Shay West: “I really only became aware of my pinkie issue in high school during typing class. The finger itself it the same size as everyone else’s, it’s the metacarpal bone (the long bone that makes up the hand) that is too short. I couldn’t (and still can’t) type like everyone else. To make my tiny fingers reach the keys, I have to take my other fingers off their keys. And don’t even get me started on how tough playing Rock Band is with these dang things.”
OM: A unique ‘mark’! For me that does fit you right into the Portals story!
You’ve taken the marketing of the Portals series in some unusual directions with a line of Portals merchandise. Please tell us more about how you are working this clever marketing idea.
Shay West: “I was invited to an Indie author panel in Denver last month and one of the authors uses CafePress, a website where people can upload images and people can then order various products with that picture. I asked around and several people mentioned a similar site called Zazzle that was a little easier to use. I uploaded five images that my cover artist did of one character from each of the four Chosen planets (Astra, Kromin, Volgon, Earth) and one picture of the Mekan (the enemy the Chosen have to fight). People can order anything from clothing to coffee mugs to iPhone covers.”
OM: Here, folks is a link to Portals at Zazzle
OM: Do the animals in the Portals series connect to your own pets? I’m thinking esp; especially of No Name (the Horse) and Moira (the Urgit)
Shay West: “No Name is definitely based on my cat, Buddy. I’ve always loved horses and just had to have one that was as much a part of the story as her human counterparts. Sweet Moira is based on Princess, the other kitty.”
OM: What is an urgit? (I have a mental image of something between a mercat and a gremlin)
Shay West: “An urgit is a very curious, though skittish, critter that is found on the planet Astra. The closest thing I can think of that look like urgits are the kith and kin from the book Trafalgar True. Only urgits are black and pink, have tufts of hair on the tips of their ears, have much rounder chops, and their tails aren’t so long. But definitely cute like them :D”
OM: Definitely cute! I’ve never outgrown the Steven Cosgrove stories.
OM: When you get to work on a book, do you outline and plan an entire series? Or do the follow-up stories flow after the one before is completed?
Shay West: ” I had a rough outline for the series that I broke down into three books. I knew the beginning and end but not much about the middle. Most of that just sort of came as I was writing or was based on an event that was happening at the time.”
OM: You are a busy person — do you have a scheduled time to write?
Shay West: “I find that if I try to schedule it in, life comes in and ruins it so I don’t really schedule it. When I have time, I work on the next book. If I don’t have time, I don’t beat myself up over it. It keeps the writing fun for me rather than something I am forced to plow through.”
OM: What is your ‘best’ time of day?
Shay West: “I haven’t actually found that any time of day is better than another. It just really depends on my teaching schedule.”
OM: Do you ever mentor other authors?
Shay West: “I haven’t as of yet. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable mentoring someone else as I feel I’m still in the very early stages myself.”
OM: Do you intend your stories to be a social statement for things like tolerance or teamwork or environment?
Shay West: “I did somewhat but I didn’t want to beat anyone over the head with it. I have always been fascinated by the idea of free will versus destiny and this is one of the big themes that readers will face by the time they finish the Portals of Destiny series.”
OM: Or do you simply want to tell a story that gives the reader pleasure?
Shay West: “I definitely write for this as well. These are the kinds of books I enjoy reading. Adventure and friendship and a little romance.”
OM: When will the next book, Resigned Fate, be ready for readers?
Shay West: “The publisher is hoping for a late 2013 release date but it may also be early 2014. Either way, the readers are in for a treat!”
OM: Were the Chosen selected or were they born into their calling? Why didn’t they have a substitute for Tess when she was murdered?
Shay West: “They were selected by destiny (or whatever force of the universe you want to insert here). Each was marked as Chosen and when they are gone, they are gone for good. There is no substitutes. Besides, that would have been too easy and I don’t do easy. I wanted my poor Chosen to suffer and doubt their abilities and eventually grow closer to the others from the various worlds, mostly as a reminder that even here on this one tiny planet, there are various points of view and that it’s best if we can somehow work together through our differences rather than let them tear us apart.”
More about Shay West: Shay West was born in Longmont, CO and earned a doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. Dr. West currently lives in Grand Junction, CO with her two cats. When not writing novels, she plays with plushie microbes and teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University. She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in the military scifi anthology, Battlespace. Her final book in the Portals of Destiny series, Resigned Fate, is forthcoming from Booktrope in 2013.
- Website: Dr. Shay West
- Facebook pages: Portals of Destiny and Alexis of Davenport
- Twitter: SciFi/Fantasy Dr. Shay West and YA/Fantasy ShayWestYA
Back to Ozarks Mystique, I’m complimented to be added to the launch team for Shattered Destiny, which led to this interview and communication. I’ve read and reviewed both books on Amazon, GoodReads and here at Ozarks Mystique. I’m looking forward to the third book. I recommend you read them in order! Easy reading, modest suspense…no need to peak at the end; just roll with it!