In the world of Pantracia, Amarie and Kin have only one task: to find the Berylian Key shard. However, they don’t know that they are searching for the same thing.
And in a world where good and evil are intertwined and romance threatens to expose deep secrets, their quests might be more difficult to achieve than either of them imagined.
Muratoff, a Pitt Meadows resident, met her co-author online 17 years ago on a site called Neopets that offers games, puzzles and activities in a world called Neopia. Muratoff was only 13-years-old then and the pair started writing back and forth to each other. Five years later they decided to invent a world of their own.
Since Muratoff was about 8-years-old she had always been writing short stories.
“It was always some kind of fantastic story about secret worlds and all the magic and creatures. Always fantasy,” said Muratoff.
The pair came up with their first characters: Muratoff created Amarie and Mansur came up with Kin.
“She was all the things that I wanted to be when I was a young teen, of course, strong and independent and free-willed. And of course with a big black horse,” said Muratoff.
They also drew out a map of the world, Pantracia.
Then they began writing.
Muratoff estimates that over the past 15 years the pair have written over one million words for the world of Pantracia. But, although they had talked about it, never put it in book-form.
It was only in January, 2018, when they committed to writing the first book.
“As soon as we decided to do it, we just dove into it. We hired cover artists and editors and it was just a whirlwind,” said Muratoff.
The first book starts with Amarie and Kin. In the second book, Blood Of The Key, that came out in June, a third character is introduced whose story starts chronologically before the timeline in the first book. Then after the first trilogy, the series picks up the story of a side-character first introduced in the third book.
Muratoff says the pair have many timelines detailing the story by the week so they know which character goes where, when they are crossing paths and what is happening overall.
“Because it gets really complicated as we go through the series,” Muratoff said.
Most interesting is that the authors write the stories in real time. One character is always Muratoff’s, who writes from her home in Pitt Meadows and the other is Mansur’s, who lives in Oregon.
“We’re very entwined. We write at the same time on top of each other in Google Docs. At the same moment on Skype,” explained Muratoff adding that it works for them because they have been doing it for a long time.
Then they simply let the characters interact with each other, which, Muratoff says, lends itself to genuine dialogue.
“I don’t know what she is going to type and she doesn’t know what I am going to type so the responses are very on the spot,” she said adding that Mansur, whom she describes as her best friend, will tell her if she is getting too sappy and, in turn, Muratoff will tell Mansur when she is getting too dark.
Currently the pair is writing their sixth book. Muratoff projects that their will be about 15 books all together, maybe more.
“We outline all our books ahead of time so that we know where it’s going. We have character bios and detailed timelines. We have a year timeline and then we have a week timeline,” she explained.
What Muratoff loves about this world is that each country has its differences including a matriarchal country, a patriarchal country, the warmonger country and an animal-centered one.
Magic, she says is a constant theme in the books, however, they do not refer to it as magic but as “the art”.
All the different ethnic groups that inhabit the lands the authors created themselves.
And there is also some good “steam” in the books.
“I love reading fantasy with some good steam in it, some good romance,” Muratoff said, adding that she has always found that hard to find in other books.
“The fantasy would be great and the romantic build up would be great and you would get to the pinnacle moment where he is going to kiss her and then it would just fade to black,” said Muratoff.
And Muratoff believes that the romance and the detailed world that they have created is what sets their fantasy books apart from the rest.
“There’s so much to discover because there are races and cultures. We get into politics a little bit in the second series but the first series is revolving around different forces. We kind of blend the lines of good and evil,” said Muratoff.
She also said that one of their goals was to showcase an imperfect world, whether it be the oppression or women, or men, or looking at issues with a different perspective.
“Like the biggest issue with a same sex relationship within a royal family isn’t that it’s a same sex relationship but more so, how do we get heirs,” said Muratoff.
Muratoff is expecting the third book in the first trilogy, Unraveling Of The Soul, to be released in November.
Indigo Bookstore Company at 20015 Langley Bypass in Langley will be hosting a book signing with Muratoff at 1 p.m. on Aug. 25 and Chapters in Coquitlam in Pinetree Village, 2991 Lougheed Hwy. at 1 p.m. on Sept. 14.
Embrace Of The Shade and Blood Of The Key are available online and locally in paperback at Bean Around Books, 22626 Lougheed Hwy. in Maple Ridge and Tomes and Tales, 19141 Ford Rd. in Pitt Meadows.