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Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Post: Meradeth Houston ("Colors Like Memories" Blog Tour)


MANY thanks to everyone who followed along with the mayhem of my Mother’s Day adventure to Victoria’s Secret. (If you missed it, here it is.)

Today, however, I am excited to move over and allow a published author to take the stage J
Meradeth Houston has just released her new book, Colors Like Memories and here she is to share some thoughts on world-building…


While reading Mark’s blog, I love the pictures he posts of Hawaii. I’ve been there exactly two times, and it’s an awesome place.

(My sister, the lucky butt, went to college there—I regularly wonder what on earth I was thinking when I decided to go to school someplace cold and snowy when there were perfectly good schools near a sunny beach…)
Anyhow, the times I’ve been able to visit HI, I’ve loved plopping myself down on the sand, and looking at the awesome mountains that make up the islands. Random, I know, but the reason behind this is because it always made me think of the people in my book—the Sary.
Okay, every time I mention the Sary to people, I get blank looks, and occasionally an “I googled them and all I found was some kind of dress they wear in India.”
Yeah, I know, the Sary are a people I made up :)
They’re kind of like a version of guardian angels, complete with wings, but also able to blend in with normal people. Their job is to keep people from committing suicide. Their homeland is a mountainous island—one that bears a striking similarity to the peaks of the Hawaiian Islands. 
(One day I’ll get to make another trip to the Islands and write it off as “research”!)
Anyhow, the last time I was in Hawaii, I was able to take some time and sit down to write, and I found myself making notes on the mountains—the shapes, sounds, colors, and other fun little details that presented themselves. For me, it really helped bring that part of my world-building alive. Not all of what I wrote down will make it into a novel, but it helped bring the Sary and their world into sharper focus for me, and that in turn helped with everything else.

Okay, so taking a trip to the setting of your WIP may not be possible. Maybe it’s too far away, too expensive, or maybe it doesn’t exist. For a few things I’ve written, though, I have found Google Street View to be an invaluable tool, because it allows me to “walk” in places my characters have been, but I’ve never seen in real life. Of course, getting a trip back in time to the Civil War period in the States, or in France probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon (at least until I can convince my in-residence physicist that the time-machine project is top-priority).

But, there’s always research for the out-of-the-way world building, which is a lot more fun than it may sound! I mean, sure, there’s books, and Google, and oodles of time involved, but when it comes down to creating a vivid picture in your mind (and on paper of course), it’s totally worth it.

Curious minds want to know: what you’re favorite part of world-building? What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to research to learn about?

About Colors Like Memories:
Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of.

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.
Release date: May 11, 2012 (MuseItUp Publishing.)

 A bit about Meradeth Houston:

·         I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot.

·         I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I
sequence dead people's DNA and am a professional lab rat.

·         I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work!

·         My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology!

·         If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Thanks for stopping by, Meradeth, and SUPER Congrats on the release of Colors Like Memories J

Color Like Memories is available on Amazon here and via Muse It Up Publishing here.

For more info, please visit:



baygirl32 said...

molecular anthropolgy - wow, I'm lucky if I can even spell that correctly

Elizabeth Seckman said...

There's so much to comment on! I'm so glad I'm not a freak for using google earth...but a time machine or even a transporter would be so much cooler!!

Nice to *meet* you!

~Sia McKye~ said...

I laughed at your superpower of flying and you being afraid of heights. But then, if you have wings doesn't that take away the fear? Does me, lol!

I've been fortunate to have traveled all over the the states and a few places overseas. But stateside travel as a kid involved a lot of looking and exploring with my parents. Most of the locals and worlds are based on places I've traveled to or lived. Anything else I need to add, is from my imagination or research. I gotta say, I love making things up or rearranging the known into my world.

I like the idea that your Sary can blend into crowd and be unknown. Cool.


Meradeth Houston said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today Mark! Your blog is always so much fun :) And thank you to everyone for the comments!!!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Mark, this is am admirable guest. Meradeth, Hawaii is definitely an awesome place to build a world around.

Cassie Mae said...

this sounds hecka awesome! Nice to get to know the author. And PS, that cover is A-MAZ-ING!

Nicole said...

A beautiful cover! And great world-building advice. I love pulling inspiration from surrounding landscapes and travels.

Nancy Thompson said...

Wish I could say world-building was an issue for me, but since I write contemporary psychological thrillers, world-building isn't paramount. A good thing for me since I'm not sure I could manage it.

And Mark, thanks for the comment on my query yesterday. As for the ARC, I have no idea what my pub will be giving me, but I'll try to swing it. Any chance you might be interested in participating in my book release blog tour in mid October? I've already got a few bloggers lined up. I'll be emailing you about it soon. Have a great weekend!

Tanya Reimer said...

Going there is the BEST research, because I love to feel what my characters felt. And that is so cool that your creations stop suicides, I made me one of them heroes too!

August McLaughlin said...

Meradeth's book sounds intriguing—and right up my thriller-loving alley. ;) I giggled out loud at "my sister, the lucky butt"—ha!

Thanks both of you for the insightful post.

Crack You Whip said...

I like the Google Street View tip! Great post!

cleemckenzie said...

I loved that she killed the guy she loved--sort of accidentally! Now I have to find out what happened.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

I'm liking your Guest Interviews. Dr Meradeth Houston is one interesting woman.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Wanna come and guest post for me?

Melissa Sugar said...

The books sounds awesome and I am off to purchase it as soon as I write this comment. Great guest post. Thank you MArk for the introduction. Now, I am contemplating a setting change for my next thriller. Where? Why one of the islands of Hawaii of course. I will take your advice and visit the place I am writing about, I wish.

Mina Burrows said...

Very cool book and great interview. Thanks for hosting, Mark!

M Pax said...

Cool that you're a professional lab rat, Meredith. All success to you on the book. It's a great title, premise and cover.

Waving at Mark.

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

i love that creation of "a version of guardian angels, complete with wings, but also able to blend in with normal people. Their job is to keep people from committing suicide." and creating your own name for them ..
like the idea of tax write offs for travel :)

..the "strangest thing you’ve had to research to learn about?" Regency era deets - craziness in royalty and nobility of the age and Victorians.. unbelievable mess they were !

appreciate the tour, Meradeth! learning a LOT !
faithhopecherrytea at*gmail.*com

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