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Mishell Baker Books In Order

Publication Order of Arcadia Project Books

Borderline (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Phantom Pains (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Mishell Baker is an American writer who writes fantasy and urban fantasy novels and short stories. While she is quite new in the novel writing scene, she has had much success writing short stories. After graduating from the Clarion Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers Workshop, she went on to write fiction that has featured on Electric Velocipide, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Daily Science Fiction, and Redstone Science Fiction. As a novelist, she is best known for the The Arcadia Project series of novels. Simon & Schuster published Borderline, the first novel in the series in 2016, to critical acclaim and much fan popularity. Mishell Baker’s chief protagonist is Millicent “Millie” Roper suicide survivor and snarky double amputee that works with a motley crew of society’s rejects to protect the world from malevolent supernatural beings. Baker has won several awards and accolades over the years. She won the Nebula Award in 2016, and best science fiction and fantasy novels of 2016 by Barnes and Noble. While she does not have much in terms of hobbies, Baker loves going on wild research adventures, convention hopping, and writing and receiving the old-fashioned handwritten letters. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Baker has always wanted to be a novelist ever since she was four years, when she would fill a blank book with stories. She announced her intention to become a professional writer when she was six, but only became a professional writer aged forty. While she was not exactly a child prodigy, her parents gave her all the support that she needed by sending her to writing camp and buying her books on writing. Despite the fact that Mishell could have been any type of writer, she asserts that fantasy had always held something special even if they require the relatively harder skill of world building. Although she loves the idea of creating complex worlds, it was clear that taking long trips to the Los Angeles public library was simply untenable after she had her first baby. Still, given that she had always loved a story with some magic in it, and the fact that she knew Los Angeles in and out, the idea of a fantasy set in Los Angeles was a no brainer. The idea for her bestselling series is actually one she stole from her husband. Her husband who is scriptwriter shared an idea about some type of border patrol project for supernatural beings. She took the idea and modified it so that it was unrecognizable from the original, and thus The Arcadia Project series was born.

While Baker is an avid plotter that writes detailed outlines before writing a first draft, she asserts that that is not what makes a good story. For Baker a good story is one that can reel one in by creating emotional, intimate, and personal responses that makes the reader worry about the character as they would a friend. Nonetheless, even as she writes a lot about the emotional side of things, a lot of research goes into the making of her fiction. She draws upon her experiences in filmmaking and script writing, and researches stuff online to be as accurate as possible. He writing process involves having a basic idea, which is then fleshed out in five major action points, similar to what a screenplay would have. This would then be split into chapters and scenes with a little bit of description and dialogue. She would then write up to 2500 words every day until she finished the novel before sending it to the editors.

Even though the process looks quite mechanical, her experiences as an amputee and research on the emotional aspects of losing something very valuable, made it possible to create complex and challenging character such as Millie. Millie has borderline personality disorder, is an amputee, and has attempted suicide, yet at no time is she seen as an attention seeking character that the reader should pity. In fact, many fans of the series assert that Mishell manages to tell the story of the chief protagonist’s double whammy of disabilities, without necessarily making the entire story about that. Mishell’s expertise in such an endeavor can be credited to her extensive reading of some of her favorite Russian authors such as Tolstoy and Gogol. Screenwriters such as Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin, which write so vividly about people through intricate observation of human psychology without deviating from the main narrative, have also influenced her writing. As opposed to her short story writing days, she is now more conscious of the endless ripples of consequence and character choices that move the story as is evident in The Arcadia Project series.

In Borderline, Mishelle Baker introduces us to Millie, who just lost her film making career and her legs after a failed suicide attempt. Just when she thinks that her life is over, she gets a lifeline when The Arcadia Project, a secretive organization that monitors the movement of supernatural creatures to and from a different world, asks her to work for them. Her first job is to find a Seelie Court nobleman who is also a movie star that has disappeared. Finding him is not going to be easy, as she has to sweet-talk some of the heavy hitters in Hollywood, if she is to uncover the terrifying and even surreal truths that lurk in the alleyways of Tinseltown. But she soon finds that she is facing up to forces stronger than just her inner demons. If she cannot get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the nobleman’s disappearance, a centuries old peace could be destroyed and she will be out on the streets.

Phantom Pains, the sequel to the first novel, Borderline sees Millie called back to the Arcadia Project after a deadly and impossible situation arises. Millie quit The Arcadia Project after Teo her partner was killed by the magic of a fey countess. But Caryl her former boss has been seeing Teo’s ghost, but since he does not believe in ghosts, Millie has to come in and explain the circumstances of her previous assignment. Things go terribly wrong when on a visit to the Project’s National Headquarters, one of the agents is killed in a way that is clearly intended to frame Caryl. Given that the Project only deals in off the books justice, Millie knows that it is up to her to find the mysterious killers who will appear and disappear at will. If Millie is unsuccessful in unraveling the mystery, she risks unleashing an arcane and insidious terrorist plot that would waste the earth and find Caryl guilty of a heinous crime he is innocent of.

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