Thursday, 5 May 2016

Author interview - J.D. Wright

If you follow my blog, you might be aware that I'm more than a little obsessed with the Everealm series. Fantasy books are my kryptonite and this series reads like a gift from the reading gods. Magic, castles, lands far far away, knights, faeries, sex, romance, old school wardrobes ... suffice to say, I'm hooked! I love Everealm, and Wildfire, and Blood Moon, and when the fourth book in the series, Aurora, came out recently I was lucky enough to be sent a review copy by the author J.D. Wright. Did I love it?

I'm still working on the review! Since J.D. is an absolute sweetheart and doesn't object to my fangirling about the series, she was happy to do an author interview answering my questions about the books. I'm not a writer (in the book sense anyway), but I'm fascinated by all the behind the scenes stuff that goes into world-building and making characters come to life. Once of my favourite aspects of this series is the boundless imagination behind it. There's no confining the story to our special-snowflake main character or sticking to one kingdom at a time, there's always a hundred and one things going on, in the very best way! So, here's the story of Everealm and the brains behind it ... 

What inspired you to start writing?
Mid-life crisis. No, I’m joking. But I did have a moment of “zen”, if you will, around the time of my 10 year high school reunion. I felt like I had lost a part of who I was since becoming an adult, getting married, joining the military, having children, etc. I wanted to do something for me. Something to stir my creativity. So when I came across my old binder, with notes from the novel I started in high school, I decided to go ahead and do it.

How did Everealm make the journey to print?
It started with the binder. I read over my notes, names, and plot points, from some 10-11 years before and I made an outline for Everealm. Then I just sat down and started typing, with absolutely no idea what I was doing. The entire book was written in around 2 months. I sent the draft to a few family members to proofread and I proofread it once or twice myself. Then I took the leap and uploaded it to Amazon. Is it perfect? Not even close. But it’s nice to look back and see how far I have come since writing Everealm. About a year later, when Wildfire was released, I put Everealm into print, as well. The print and new ebook covers were designed by me. That is still a learning process, too.

Who’s your favourite character/pairing?
It feels wrong to pick one. Like I’m cheating on my characters, since I have love for each of them for different reasons. If I had to pick one pairing, it would be Bree and Rowan. For my favorite character, Dahlia is the one I’ve probably enjoyed writing about the most. She has changed a lot throughout the series. Finn is fun, too, and I was surprised by how much I liked writing scenes with Sarita in them. I’m really excited to continue the princess’ story in the next series (Songs Series).

Do you have any writing rituals?
I do. I write in the bathtub! I have writing playlists to listen to with my headphones, a different playlist depending on the “mood” of the scene. I put the computer on a chair next to the tub, turn on the jets, put on the music, and write until I’m wrinkly and the water has gone cold, at least twice usually. With a house full of people (me, husband + 4 children), the bath is the only time I get to myself really. Maybe one day, I will have an actual office to write in. But it probably won’t be as comfortable…

Everealm is very medieval. What time period would you like to live in?
I love everything medieval, but I’m not sure I would want to really live there, only because I enjoy indoor plumbing too much. Though, Everealm is a medieval-ish realm with modern speech and tendencies so I could probably manage it. Another reader referred to it as a “parallel world with magic instead of technology”. I couldn’t agree more! I would actually love to have been a teenager during the 50’s and 60’s, here in America. Yes, there were a lot of issues that we had to work out as a country during that time, but I love the music, food, clothes, and cars of the oldie/golden era. Give me a poodle skirt, saddle shoes, ponytail, cheeseburger and shake, and mix it with some Everly Brothers and a man with a leather jacket driving a hot rod… I’m going to faint just thinking about it. :)

Would you rather be a Queen or a Sorceress (and no, you can't be a Sorcerer Queen!)?
No, I couldn’t be a sorceress queen because that is against the rules of the realm, too. I would probably choose to be a sorceress but very good friends with the queen because it definitely has its perks. So I guess that makes me Sidonie. Not sure if I would want the responsibility of being the Elder Mage, though.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Oh, no. *shakes her head* I decided early on to never base any characters off of people I know. I tried that with my first attempt at writing, in high school. But I found that I spent more time trying to make the character likable than doing what I wanted with them. Let’s face it, if you base a character on someone you know, you have to make sure they like that character and then you’re limited on what you can do with them. Nope. I base my characters on a set of personality traits, instead. I do however, tend to use celebrities/actors as inspiration for character appearances. It’s easier to visualize the characters in order to describe them if I can actually see someone who looks similar.

Who are your favourite authors/what are your favourite books/series’?
I read a lot of Nora Roberts. I have a soft spot for her since the first “adult” books I read were hers. I love her trilogies, especially. I also am a big fan of the Little House on the Prairie Series. I re-read that series last year. There are other authors that I tend to read on occasion but I will read a Nora Roberts book within 24 hours of release. Out of loyalty and habit, if nothing else. She writes a lot about Celtic/Irish lore and some supernatural elements. And who doesn’t love a good romance story with a mysterious ghost in it?

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Mostly just to take the leap! I had no idea what I was doing and am still learning as I go, but it has been such a fun and wonderful ride! Some authors spend years on one manuscript before releasing it because they aren’t sure if it’s ready. Let’s face it. It will never be perfect. There is no such thing. Just put it out there and move on to the next one. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

Author Links:

I highly recommend checking out J.D.'s website. She's put a ton of effort into world building (something that scores lots of points with me!) and there are maps, character histories and quirky facts about the kingdoms. And watch this space for my Aurora review!

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