Unveiling Sumir with M. Ainihi

Exploring the Fantastical Realms and Emotional Journeys of ‘The Blood Inheritance Novels Series’

M. Ainihi delves into the origins of Sumir, character development, thematic exploration, illustration integration, and forthcoming short stories, enriching the series narrative.

M. Ainihi, a dedicated independent author and adventurer, brings to life the captivating realms of fantasy and horror in her intricately crafted novels. Nestled in the heart of Upstate New York, she now calls the vibrant Chicagoland area home, where she resides with her husband, two sons, and two spirited rat terriers.

What ignites the imagination of a writer to conjure the mystical world of Sumir and its enchanting domains, as portrayed in “The Blood Inheritance Novels Series”? M. Ainihi shares insights into her creative process, revealing how real-world myths and legends, particularly those surrounding Jinn and Genies, laid the foundation for the mesmerizing tapestry of Sumir. As the interview unfolds, readers delve deeper into the evolution of Amanda Garrett, the series’ protagonist, navigating her journey through inherited powers, burdens, and profound personal growth.

The series delves into profound themes of identity, sacrifice, and destiny, especially prominent in the volumes “Lost” and “Endow”. Ainihi sheds light on the organic emergence of these themes and the deliberate exploration of individuality, woven intricately into the narrative through three equally compelling female protagonists.

The integration of illustrations and special edition features adds yet another dimension to the immersive reading experience. Ainihi offers a glimpse into her collaborative process with freelance artists, illustrating how visual elements enhance storytelling by bridging the author’s vision with the reader’s imagination, evoking emotions and enriching the narrative.

Looking ahead, Ainihi teases an upcoming short story collection set in the expansive universe of Sumir. This collection promises to delve into smaller characters and untold backstories, providing readers with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the series’ intricate tapestry.

As readers embark on this journey through the fantastical realms of Sumir, guided by Ainihi’s eloquent storytelling, they are invited to immerse themselves in a world where imagination knows no bounds, and every page holds the promise of adventure and discovery.

What inspired you to create the intricate world of Sumir and its magical realms in “The Blood Inheritance Novels Series”? Did any real-world myths or legends influence your storytelling?

I have loved to write for as long as I can remember and although I can’t recall what exactly inspired the first book in my series, I believe one major influence was a paperback that I received called Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar by Robert Lebling. Shortly after that, I began developing stories around the fictitious world of Sumir, in which the Blood inheritance quartet takes place. Like many legends, I find the mythology of Jinn and Genies fascinating and when creating the unique mythology for the world, the Jinn were the main focus to start with. From there the idea continued to grow and before I knew it, I had planned three more books.

The protagonist, Amanda Garrett, undergoes significant growth and challenges throughout the series. How did you approach developing her character arc, especially considering the complexities of her inherited powers and the burdens she faces?

One of the editors that I have collaborated with on all four books in the quartet has called me an emotional writer on more than one occasion. I take it as a great compliment. I think it is important to tap into the emotions of your characters to make their situations believable and their individual reactions more understandable, especially in the case of Amanda, given how much she endured and evolved throughout the series.

Lost and Endow seem to delve deeper into themes of identity, sacrifice, and destiny. Could you share more about the underlying messages or themes you aimed to explore in these instalments of the series?

In general, when people come of age, their world tends to shift and change around them. One challenge of writing a relatable young adult series is to try to balance the fantastical elements alongside everyday issues teens face. As such, I tend to let my characters take the lead and evolve in a way that I hope feels most natural. This approach means that some of the underlying themes were unplanned when they first sprouted up or reoccurred within the continuing story. 

On a different note, as I worked on the final three volumes of the quartet, I wanted to fortify a theme of individuality. One of the major changes between “Rise” and the other book in the series is that the remaining volumes are told through three equally important POV characters. My goal was to create strong believable female heroines, who held different ideas and beliefs from each other. It was important for me to maintain that individuality and show the distinct ways each young woman thinks, as our heroines are thrust into unpredictable situations and discover that small decisions can have a resounding effect on each of them. 

The addition of illustrations and the special edition features add another layer to the reading experience. How did you collaborate to integrate visuals with the narrative, and how do you believe these illustrations enhance the storytelling?

In the past, I have collaborated with freelance artists for many purposes such as creating scene-break images, character sketches, and other illustrations. These professionals offer expertise in creating images that pair with your words in a viable and appealing way. 

It has been my experience that the process of bringing your words to life visually, unfolds in multiple stages. First for the collaboration to go smoothly, the artist needs a proper sense of the story and its characters. Once they have a feel for what you want to achieve, they will offer valuable advice and feedback, even before they send you preliminary sketches. Overall, I enjoy seeing how the contributor will interpret what I wrote, and I find the process to be fun and rewarding. 

A great illustration can enhance storytelling in many ways. They not only connect the author’s vision with the imagination of the audience but evoke emotions in a more direct way than words, making the story more engaging and memorable. 

The upcoming short story collection promises diverse tales, including those set in the world of Sumir. What motivated you to expand the universe through short stories, and can you provide any insights into how these stories complement or enrich the main series narrative?

When creating a world such as Sumir, I think it’s a natural and beneficial part of the process to explore smaller characters in the story more thoroughly. That being said, I have quite a few backstories in my story bible that could be cleaned up and shared in the future.

My first short story collection, “The Warning Signs: Tales Of Horror and Dark Fantasy” was published in 2021. The section titled Tales from Sumir offers three short stories. The first, “Cultivating Wrath”, is a reprint of a tale published by Ink and Sword (2018) within issue seven. The story was created as a piece of mythology pertaining to the world of Sumir. The two short stories that follow, “The Journey” and “Lessons”, offer a deeper look into the backstory of the nemesis Bavmordia, what drove her, and where this smaller villain ended up at the end of the series.

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