Q&A with Mara Powers
What inspired you to write Shadows of Atlantis?
When I was 14, I had a dream that I still remember. It was arctic blue, like the color on my book cover. It sent me on a quest that has consumed me for years. It showed me a terrible evil that fed off the fear of others, trapping them in a perpetual cycle that made the evil grow more powerful as more fear was fed to it. I was fascinated with the concept of evil. Not that I wanted to embrace it, but I wanted to know why it existed, what made it tick. I read everything I could get my hands on. The Satantic Bible, the history of hell and the devil, demons, you name it, I absorbed it.
Somewhere along the line I started writing the story around the villain, which was an entity based on my dream. The more I researched Atlantis, the more I realized it was a culture that had reached a pinnacle but was brought down by its own perfection. To me, that is the story of evil. Absolute power corrupting absolutely. But it went deeper. In a collective of beings living symbiotically with one another and with the intelligence of nature, a degree of unity consciousness was necessary. The moment stratification happened was the birth of evil.
When someone broke free of the collective to find their own way, there became a sense of needing to have more than others, or be better than others.
In order to do that, they had to see themselves as separate entities. It was the basic premise of the Satanic Bible, that free-will was their highest law. So the concept of free-will vs. fate was the theme I set out to explore. My male hero D’Vinid is a believer in free-will. He makes his own destiny. But my heroine, Brigitte follows fate. My concept of fate goes deeper. There’s a responsibility for one’s actions that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and these reactions lay out a path that can be navigated with faith in one’s destiny.
Once I laid out the basic theme of my story, it was all an exploration from there. I had set out to create many layers of philosophical threads that explored these concepts. In a way it’s been a reflection of my own life journey. At first I lacked the depth necessary to set out what I wanted to accomplish. But over the years, as I evolved through my own ups and downs, I developed my own set of beliefs that had the depth I needed to tell this story.
What can we expect from you in the future?
What I have created is a richly populated world meant to be a pre-diluvian history of humans on Earth. I have researched not only Atlantis, but the other megalithic ruins that span the globe. It’s evident that humans had advanced building skills back before the dawn of our own history. We are from as legacy that we have barely begun to understand. So just for fun, I added a global network of civilizations that were all in contact with one another complete with trade, diplomacy, political alliances, and war. I have created an encyclopedia of sorts, and have been considering turning it into a Role Playing Game. I grew up playing RPG’s and Dungeons and Dragons being my favorite. That’s something I have on the horizon.
I am currently working on a final revision of book 2, Shadows of Atlantis: Symbiosis. While the first book has built some high stakes, and introduced my villains, the Shadows, book two crosses into the realm of being a thriller. I have even terrified myself with some of the scenes I’ve written. Normally I don’t like horror, but when it’s coming from me, I know I’ve just made it all up. Or have I?
I have been living in Los Angeles off and on for many years, and have more recently taken up the art of screenwriting. Though I maintain Atlantis as my main work, I have been writing other features, and doing what it takes to network in the Hollywood world. I have also been developing two different concepts for Atlantis as a TV series. We shall see how it turns out. But I am confident it is going well. Meanwhile, I am also creating a few other offshoots which I intend to start releasing in smaller serials this year, perhaps on Wattpad.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
The serials I’ve been planning are supposed to be side stories. In my books I have intentionally left some holes in the narrative, especially when it comes to some of the side characters. I did that so that perhaps the stories can be told in a TV series, or in this case, the serials. It’s a fun kind of swiss cheese methodology in storytelling and helps me break out of the monotony of the linear storyline.
There are a few extra stories I have planned. One is called Storm Riders. It’s geared toward more of a mid-grade audience. It has some kids who have powers in Atlantis, and that’s about all I can say about that. Let’s just say, they come into play also in book three, so the storylines will intersect. While Shadows of Atlantis is mainly an adult series, I think kids are more advanced these days, and the internet exposes them to the cruelties of the world. So some of the adult concepts I have in there may not even phase teenagers. It’s more about reading level, as I like to use fancy vocab and lingo.
The other offshoot I have planned is the story of Prince Bavendrick, who is mostly a side character in the books. But he is also a lynch pin in the story. Citizens in the capitol want him to be king. Rising tensions threaten to dethrone his brother, who has come under the influence of the shadows. Or has he? That’s all part of the riddle.