Guest Post: Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from Mandy Jackson-Beverly. Please help me by giving her a warm welcome to the blog!


What inspired you to write the book?

First up, lovely to meet you, Valerie!

So, what inspired me to write The Devil And The Muse? To answer this question I need to start with the first book in The Creatives Series, A Secret Muse. The story unraveled itself slowly over a period of a few years, but the catalyst of Coco Rhodes and the Allegiance came to me in a moment of separation anxiety early in 2014.

At the time, I was teaching art at a high school situated on nearly two hundred acres in Southern California. One evening, while going over my Advanced Placement Art student portfolios, I reached out to one particular painting, purely because I was so taken with the beauty and the creative power of the piece. I observed every brushstroke, the tone of the colors, and the emotions it brought out in me, and then realized my cheeks were wet with tears.

When I thought of my students venturing off to college and work, I wanted to protect their hearts from the harshness of the real world. But in reality I knew that no matter how cruel the world can be, these contrasts of life are also a vital part of the puzzle of inner growth that would help stretch my student’s creativity to a new level. What I was experiencing was similar to saying goodbye to my sons when they left for college.

A few hours later, I packed up my car and stood in the dark for a moment and listened to the sounds of the oak woodland around me. That’s when Professor Coco Rhodes, and her protector and leader of the Allegiance, Gabriel, came to me. I imagined a world where artists were honored and treasured for their creativity - a world where something or someone would keep artists and their artwork safe. Deep down I guess I crave another Florence Renaissance, and Lorenzo di Medici.

As for book two in the series, The Devil And The Muse, I knew this book would tell the backstory of Kenan; what made him so evil, and devoid of his past humanity. The challenge was to link Kenan’s backstory into present day. As it happened, my research led me down a rabbit hole where present day events collided with history and fiction. My hope with book two is to bring awareness to three areas: young girls missing in the United States, the misrepresentation of religion in politics, and the never-ending fight for women’s rights. And of course, for my readers to enjoy the ride!

Do you have a favorite character from the story?
No, because I love all of my characters equally. I can’t imagine writing a character into a story if I didn’t like him or her.

What is a typical writing day like for you?
No day is ever the same, and my schedule changes depending on where I am in the story. Currently I’m in a deep research phase, which means my time is filled with reading, painting characters and locations, and making notes. It’s typical for me to be up around 5:30 a.m. I exercise, browse over three newspapers, check my social media platforms, write and edit blog posts, and then bury myself in reading.

The writing of books kind of morphs into its own animal - it’s not like I suddenly think, “Oh, I’m going to start writing this baby, today!” The actual writing of the story happens organically, and I’ve found it normally begins with a poem. I’m not one to document my word count, purely because my focus is on quality, not quantity. I may spend an entire day working on one paragraph, and the next day I write pages. The book is done when the story is told, regardless of word count.

When I’m immersed in a plot-point or character arc, I tend to just go with the flow. I need absolute quiet to write, which means that if my husband is at the other end of our house recording music, I shut the door to my office, close the blinds and put in earplugs. I get food when I’m hungry, coffee when needed, and surface once the voices of my characters have faded along with my ability to concentrate.

When it’s time to hand over the manuscript to my editor, I move forward with other relevant publishing needs: book cover, synopsis, and publicity. Once the edits start coming in, I’m glued to my computer until every word has been scrutinized, rewrites completed and sent back for copy edits. I have a wonderful editor who calls me on everything – no letter left unedited!

What would you like people who read/other book bloggers to know about your book?

First up, this is not a book for YA readers. The Devil And The Muse deals with complex issues regarding religion, drug use, and sexual abuse.

The Devil And The Muse is the second installment of The Creatives Series. This is a fast-paced, cross-genre series, about an ancient organization called The Allegiance. This group protects art and Creatives (mystic artists), and gives sanctuary to those threatened by religious zealots.
The story opens with my lead protagonist - newest member of The Allegiance and Creative - Coco Rhodes, viewing a horrific vision beneath her most recent painting: the violent attack upon a fragile young girl. This leads to the discovery of a link between an education-finance fraud, girls disappearing from Washington D.C. schools, and a corrupt congressman. Concurrently, the dark and twisted past of Kenan, the Allegiance's sworn enemy, is revealed. With Kenan's whereabouts unknown, members of the Allegiance begin to unravel his sadistic plan.
From New York and D.C., to Tuscany and the Dolomite Mountains of Northern Italy, the supernatural guardians of the Allegiance are guided by both the lessons of history and the shocks of present-day life. Through magical twists and otherworldly subplots, this supernatural thriller weaves a web of intrigue, love, and conflict.

Keep a watch out for some exciting additions to The Creatives Series, soon to be posted on my website and social media platforms. That’s all I’m saying for now!

Here’s where you can find me:


Thanks Mandy!! So glad you could come by today!!

Mandy Jackson-Beverly

Mandy Jackson-Beverly was born in the bustling town of Pyramid Hill, Victoria, Australia ... Population: 419. This remote childhood kick-started Mandy’s imagination, as did the rugged coastline and rolling hills of Tasmania, where her family relocated when she was four years old.

In 1982, Mandy moved to London, where she discovered the importance of the creative collective: The 1980s fashion scene. A year later, in Los Angeles, she found her own creative freedom among the thriving, no-holds-barred visionaries of the music video world. As a costume designer and stylist Mandy worked for photographer Herb Ritts, and directors Joel and Ethan Coen, David Fincher, and Julien Temple, and music icons David Bowie, Madonna, and Tina Turner, to name a few.

Mandy has taught Advanced Placement Art, written and directed high school theater productions, is a contributor to The Huffington Post and a book reviewer for The New York Journal of Books. She resides in Ojai, California, with her husband, Brian Beverly, a crossed-eyed cat, Luna, a dog named Cash and, sometimes, her sons, Angus and Jack.

Happy Reading!

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