Sy Itha

My publisher, Desert Palm Press, has added several new authors over the past few months. In an effort to help you get to know them a bit better, I thought I’d run an interview on each of them. I am pleased to introduce Sy Itha, author of The Broken Coil.

AJ: This is an opportunity for readers to get to know you a bit better. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m pretty open, so feel free to ask away. . I’m married to the amazing Michelle Magly. We share an apartment with Rae D Magdon, her husband, and their two cats Indy and Niko. No kids as of yet, maybe someday.

AJ: Are you a sports fan? If so, which team(s) do you support?

In a way, I am. I enjoy watching sports in that I appreciate strategy and skill, but I don’t have a team I root for or anything.

AJ: Let’s start with some easy, warm up questions:

Coffee or tea?

Coffee all the way. I sadly haven’t acquired a taste for black coffee yet, so I tend to get mocha’s and doctor them up a bit.

AJ: Country or city mouse?

That’s a tough one. I guess city, if I’m being honest, but it can’t be too big of a city. I like to be able to see the landscape too.

AJ: Steak, chicken, fish, or veggies?

Yes to all? Preferably on one plate. If I absolutely had to choose, I guess chicken.

AJ: Active person, or couch potato?

Sy Itha

Couch potato. Most of the active things I do are because Michelle drags me, but I usually end up having fun. (rock climbing, fencing, hiking etc.)

AJ: What genre(s) do you write in and what drew you to this genre?

I seem to like fantasy, sci-fi and paranormal the most, though I’d like to branch out at some point. I think the reason I’m drawn to those is because that’s what I liked reading as a kid. I loved fantastical worlds, and new possibilities, magic, aliens, werewolves, you name it. It also gives me a lot of freedom to address the kinds of topics I want to write about. I’m not limited to it having to be “Realistic” because it’s set in, say, the 1950’s. It’s sort of freeing.

AJ: When you were in high school, did you enjoy creative writing?

Yes, I loved taking the workshops. Sadly I haven’t taken a creative writing “class” yet, but if I can manage to squeeze one in, I want to.

TBC Cover RGB 300dpi

AJ: Tell us a bit about your book.

Goddess, where to start? The Broken Coil has been a journey. It’s a completely different story from where it started when I initially thought of it, and it’s been amazing to let it lead me to where it is now.

AJ: Tell me about the story itself.

The story is set in the secluded in the Dainlock Woods. Jacquelyn Fletcher makes her living trading furs and occasionally escorting travelers through the dangerous forest. Disguised as a man, she hides from the mistakes of her past. As a favor to an old friend, she finds herself agreeing to guide Avalon, a Paladin of Sel, through the woods to safety. All Avalon has known is the temple life. When her fellow Paladin is murdered, Avalon is framed for the crime and must flee her home to find the source of the attack. Her only clue is an ancient tome that she is unable to decipher. Traveling with the ranger Fletcher, Avalon thinks she is safe. Neither of them realizes the danger that follows them.

AJ: What makes your main character(s) unique or interesting?

Jacquelyn and Avalon, or as I sometimes refer to them, my babies. Jacquelyn I really enjoyed writing because she’s such a strong person and falling in love requires a lot of vulnerability and exploring that was a joy.

Avalon is my secret favorite. (Don’t tell Jacquelyn). I love her the most because she has such determination. She can take everything Jacquelyn throws at her and even give it back in kind. She’s not some winey helpless maiden, and she grows so much through the story. By the end I feel like she really shines.

AJ: How much research do you do?

Too much, probably. I remember looking up snake jerky, and food of roughly the time period I wanted to mimic. I looked up armor, fighting videos, weapon types, herbal remedies, survival tactics, the list goes on. I try to make it an authentic world. Yes, it’s fantasy, but it should feel real to me, and to the reader.

AJ: What made you decide to become a writer?

I was eighteen and had just discovered my interest in women. I went looking for stories and literature. There wasn’t much, and what I did find I wasn’t happy with. I remember complaining about it to a friend and she said “Well, then why don’t you do better?” and here we are.

AJ: We both started off in a similar fashion. I wrote my first book on a sort of a dare too. Do you write full-time or part-time?

Part-time. I would maybe like to do full time in the future but that’s something that Michelle and I have to crunch numbers on.

AJ: What process do you use when writing? Do you work to an outline or plot or do you ‘wing’ it?

I am bad. I wing it a lot. I typically have the overall story planned out in my head, so I guess that’s kind of an outline, but I never actually write it down. I tend to let the characters guide me through the story, taking it where it wants to go, instead of where I want it to go.

AJ: That is similar to my process, although I do make a list of characters and note some info about their unique physical characteristics and personality traits. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

I have no earthly idea. It feels like forever. If we’re counting from the first rough draft I’d say perhaps six months if we totaled all the hours. It was spread out over two years or more though. If we’re counting from initial concept though, it’d be more like four years. I tend to find an idea and if it doesn’t go away after a while, then I write it down.

AJ: If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

I have at this point planned two other works in the series. The second book, The Wandering Star, is already in the works. I’m maybe a quarter of the way done with it, but I honestly don’t know how long I can keep writing at this clip. The third book, The Stormbringer, has been started, but mostly is just bits and pieces at the moment.

AJ: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

I don’t read as much as I used to. I read a lot of fanfiction nowadays. As far as books go, I love Rae D. Magdon’s stuff, as well as my wife’s. Some of my favorite authors are Megan Whalen Turner and her Thief series, and Barbara Kingsolver and her book Animal Dreams. For romances though, I tend to like a lot of Gerri Hill, Jane Fletcher and most of the Celaeno series, as well as The Exile and the Sorcerer.

AJ: For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books?

A mix of both. Living in Alaska sometimes shipping is hell.

AJ: Who designs your book cover/s? Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came to be.

Rachel mother trucking George. I can not express my admiration and awe at her talent. When we first talked about the cover I was pretty much like, “I have these ideas and I’m pretty sure they suck but it’s all I got.” She came up with some brilliant concept art that was completely different that what I’d talked about (and leagues better) and I looked at it and was like “That, I want that.”

AJ: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in your own buying process?

I think so. I mean, the old saying is to not judge a book by it’s cover, but I wanted people to have a feel for the tone of the book, to know what they’re getting into. They look at it and know it’s a fantasy without having to read the back cover.

AJ: What is your favorite line from the book and why?

“Damn you, show me your bruise or Goddess help me I will give you new ones.”

Oh Avalon, my baby, my sweet sweet badass baby. I just loved writing her when she’s pissed off and this whole exchange was one of my favorite parts. I think it really shows her growth in contrast from the beginning of the novel when she is relying a lot on Jacquelyn.

AJ: What is your favorite film and why?

Montey Python and the Holy Grail hands down, and for forever, is my favorite movie. The first time I saw that movie I laughed so hard I was on the floor crying. I can quote almost the whole thing. The humor is just so in line with mine and I never get tired of watching it.

AJ: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Occasional Visitors

Ooh that’s a tough one. I’d probably just give them a hug and tell them to keep going, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep moving forward. Even if you only take one step, that’s still a step away from where you were, a step toward moving on.


More information about Sy and her work can be found at:






Bella Books

© JEN 2014