My Neverending Blog Tour guest blogger today is mother of two and self-confessed “Manager of Chaos,” Jolea Minnick-Harrison, who is the author of fantasy novel Chosen, the first book in The Guardians of the Word series. I thought I’d throw some questions at her about writing a fantasy series, living with ghosts (yes, things that go bump in the night!), and self-publishing.
Q.1 When did you know you had to write the story of the Kingdom of Cobalt?
I’ve been writing this story since 1988. Before my kids were born, and during their infancy, I had it all in my head and then written in some form or the other. Then I had to stop writing for a bit.
Q.2 Are you a plotter or a “pantser”?
Because The Guardians of the Word series is long and complex, I had to know what was going to happen in book 7 in order to write book 3. As it was, when I did finish the last book, I realized there was another element of the story I hadn’t incorporated, so I ended up writing another book that eventually became the First Chronicle, Chosen. So, a little of both. Stuff happens!
Q.3 Who would you say are other authors in your genre that have inspired you?
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. There are others but they top the list.
Q.4 Who is your favourite character from the novel and why?
Dynan and Dain are near and dear to my heart. They’re funny, and deal with some horrible stuff with humour and a lot of courage.
Q.5 I notice that you’ve included a prologue that features a birth scene. Did you draw from your own experience of motherhood and birth for that scene?
A little bit, yes, but I was screaming my head off, unlike my character, Shalael Telaerin. She kept her cool under duress. Of course, she was a Princess.
Q.6 What made you decide to self-publish and how have you found the experience
Like so many other indies, I got tired of the agent run around. I started to hear the rumblings about Indie publishing last March, and thought, why not? It’s been fun and challenging and depressing and exhilarating, all at once.
Q.7 Did you work with an editor and formatter?
Yes, but not enough, especially the editing part. I keep finding typos, so I’m correcting them. I used a professional formatter, who I keep paying for the do-overs. He loves me!
Q.8 I notice that your author bio mentions you live in a 200-year-old house that might be haunted, and I also notice that your character Dynan has to find a 1000-year-old spirit. Do you have any plans to write a ghost story in the future?
I’ve grown up believing in ghosts, so that has influenced my writing. Yes, I do plan to write about ghosts and things that go bump in the night. Some people think I should call the Ghost Hunters, but no. We’re at peace with the spirits who dwell here.
Q9. What is the one thing you hope readers take away with them after reading Chosen?
I sometimes think people give up on themselves too easily. My characters persevere through terrible odds, they don’t give up, and mostly come out okay at the other end. Hopefully, that’s something people will take to heart — without having to face an evil monster!
I agree with Jolea about giving up to easily. Indie publishing is a long, hard slog and requires a lot of dedication, and I know Jolea is in it for the long haul. Stop by her blog and check our her work on Amazon or you can get copy free until the end of July here: Smashwords Summer Sale.
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