Our interview today is with Martha Bourke who is the author of Jaguar Sun whose plot deals with the Mayan Calendar on 12/21/12. Before we get to the interview here is a brief book description: December 21, 2012 – Will that fateful day destroy our world, or did the Mayans have something else in mind? Maya Delaney knows. Unfortunately.
Maya Delaney is just an average sixteen-year- old. She’s busy dealing with exams, her soon to be ex-boyfriend and fitting in. But Maya’s got bigger problems. She’s hiding a major secret from her dad and having strange visions she can’t control. In her struggle to figure out who she is, she learns that she is meant to fulfill an ancient Mayan Prophesy and bring forth a New Age on earth. Will the spirit magic Maya wields be enough to defeat Toltec, an evil society bent on keeping her from her destiny? Or will that destiny destroy her?
Author interview with Martha Bourke
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Well, up until about a year ago, I was a teacher. I started Spanish programs for the elementary grades for fifteen years. The last one I started here in Massachusetts was a Spanish Immersion program for English-speaking students. They learned all day in Spanish and learned about Spanish culture. It’s still running. I’m very proud of it. There are only 260 other programs like it in the U.S. Last year I decided to take a sabbatical from teaching to focus on writing. My husband and I live in rural Massachusetts. It’s quiet and lovely. It’s perfect for writing. But, it’s also fifty minutes from three major cities, which is great.
How does your background in teaching and foreign languages influence the story?
Honestly, I don’t think there would be a Jaguar Sun if I hadn’t been a Spanish teacher. Most of my ideas were born out of having taught Latin American culture in the classroom, studying it in college, and traveling in the region. I had also wanted to write a novel with a Hispanic heroine for a really long time. My love and knowledge of languages in general is also found throughout the book in small ways and I think it lends more authenticity to the story.
Tell us about JAGUAR SUN. What’s the story about?
Jaguar Sun is a YA Paranormal Romance. It’s the story of Maya Delaney, a typical sixteen-year-old high school junior of Mayan descent. As Maya discovers more about her heritage, she realizes that she is at the center of a plot stop the transition to a New Age of peace to take place when the Mayan Calendar ends on December 21, 2012. And on top of that, she and her friends are beginning to develop strange powers. Faced with learning to harness her new abilities in time to bring the world to a positive transition, Maya must reevaluate her relationships, herself, her place in the world.
Part of the plot of JAGUAR SUN deals with the end of the Mayan Calendar on 12-21-12. Everyone seems to be thinking about that this year. What made you choose that topic?
My great interest in it comes from a historical and sociological perspective. I’ve been obsessed with mythology since I was a kid, so I did a lot of research. I tried to stay very positive about the Mayan prophesies in J. The one thing I didn’t want to turn it into was a disaster novel. I emphasized a shift to a New Age, rather than the end of the world. In reality, that’s much closer to what the actual Mayan leaders believe – that there will be an age of peace.
In addition to the Mayan calendar mystery, there are also shape-shifters in JAGUAR SUN. How did you come up with the lore for your shifters?
I wanted something that would go well with the Mayan aspects of the plot. From that perspective, it made sense to go with more of a Native American style shifter, like some form of skin walker. At the same time, I wanted to come up with a fresh angle on shape-shifting. Like werewolves, vampires, and other creatures, they have been written about a lot in YA books, so I originally thought it would be difficult. As I did my research on the Mayan culture, I discovered that there is a Mayan belief that we all have a spirit companion or protector in the Otherworld that’s in the form of an animal. This spirit, called a Nahual, is like a protector of sorts. It reminded me a lot of the animal totems of Native cultures in the United States and Canada. As I dug a bit deeper, I found out that certain shamans in Mayan culture are believed to be able to actually take the form of their Nahual. And that’s where my idea came from.
What sets JAGUAR SUN apart from other books in the genre?
I would say that the Mayan aspect certainly sets the book apart. I think that both the use of the culture and also the non-western mythology make it quite different from anything out there right now. There is a multicultural aspect to it that is quite unique. There’s actually a genre called multicultural fantasy that is up and coming. I’m hoping to see some great books come out of that.
Is there any author, or perhaps just regular person, out there that gives you inspiration when writing?
My fellow Indie authors are my greatest inspiration. We have a fantastic community. We support each other and read one another’s work constantly. We share what we know, and also lead by example. As a newbie you are shown the ropes and then, in turn, you teach other new authors. Writing is also a very solitary business, so we also keep each other company. But so many of them inspire me for so many different reasons. I look at what many of my Indie friends are accomplishing and I see where it is I want to improve. I’m very lucky.
Where can people find you and your books online?
Jaguar Sun (Jaguar Sun Series Book 1) is available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback and Barnes on paperback as well. Look for Book 2, JAGUAR MOON this fall!
You can find me at:
On Twitter: @Martha_Bourke