Good morning on a warm Sunday! I have my Scrivener open and got my coffee, but it is also that time where I bring you another author interview. Today’s interview is with J. Elizabeth Vincent, author of Raven Thrall.
Check out some of the other interviews by clicking the links down below:
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I write a little bit of everything, but my passion is epic fantasy with strong characters. I want my readers to feel like the characters they meet in my stories are people they could love (or hate) in real life and that the characters have their own lives and go on living, even when they leave the page.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I usually do quite a bit of planning nowadays, but even though I know the direction of my story when I sit down to write, how it’s going to play out, what characters will say to each other, and how they’ll react—that all happens organically on the page. It’s fun to walk away from your computer after a morning writing session, saying to yourself, “Wow! I did not see that coming!”
Tell us about your current project.
I am currently writing Revelation of the Dragon, the sequel to Raven Thrall and the second book in a planned five-book series, the Legends of the Ceo San.
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
My main character in the Legends of the Ceo San series is named Mariah Griven. She starts out as a sheltered 19 year old … with wings. She’s not fully human, but she’s not a shapeshifting Ceo San either. Her parents have kept her safe until the series begins, but that’s when it all starts to unravel. As the story unfolds, Mariah needs to learn who she really is and what role she has to play in keeping her kind from become nothing but a slave race for a greedy king.
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Practice, practice, practice! Write even when you don’t feel like it and even when you don’t plan on publishing. There’s nothing like writing (even when it’s not fiction writing) to hone your skills at, well, writing. And read! Especially in the genre(s) you plan to focus on.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
Nature certainly plays a large role in the Ceo San series, both in the landscape of the world of Whitelea and in the characters themselves, many of whom have an animal form. I also take inspiration from interesting people and from other authors and their amazing works. And, I would be lying if I said the current political landscape didn’t play a role in some of the political undertones in the country of Varidian and beyond.
What inspires you to write?
Honestly, I love making people laugh, smile, cry, and just feel. Books are the safest place where we can experience such a vast range of emotions. It’s invigorating to read (or it should be), but it’s even more so to be the one pulling those reactions out of people.
Maybe I’m really a puppet master *insert evil laugh here*
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Writing when I was tired from everyday life or when I was stuck on a certain plot point. Pushing through can be so difficult, but the story doesn’t go anywhere if you don’t, and when you do get through it—that feeling is awesome!
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
There’s a scene where Mariah and her teenage friend Xae have to sit and listen to their new friend Shira talk with a man who thinks their kind is basically the scum of the earth and is not afraid to tell everyone what he thinks. Shira has to pretend she agrees with him, and she does a pretty convincing job. I relished the tension that created as the two eavesdroppers had to control their reactions, all the while wondering if Shira was really faking it or if they had been conned by her instead.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned to listen to beta readers and editors (I’m one myself) with an open mind, but I also learned to put the book out there that I wanted to be out there. Sure, someone might give you some really great advice, but it might not be the best advice for your book.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I think it’s my personality honestly. My obsessive wondering about how other people are feeling or how they are going to react means I’ve had a lot of practice stepping into the hearts and minds of other people. I’m also heavily into community theater. Acting and writing fiction fit together so well. You draw on the same set of skills to create believable characters who act realistically and who resonate with the audience.
What are your future project(s)?
Of course, I aim to finish the remaining novels in the Legends of the Ceo San series. I’ve also published a related novella, Healer’s Sacrifice, and may do more along those lines. There’s an urban fantasy/paranormal lesbian romance on my shelf that needs to be revised. I’d love to write some romance stories someday, but I think my main focus will always be on some kind of fantasy. I’ve been in love with the genre since I read my first Stephen R. Donaldson novel over 30 years ago.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
A graphic designer, I think. I’ve already been doing this for several years in addition to the other author services I provide. At this point in my life, I’ve just found that I get more personal and professional satisfaction from doing creative work.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I’m probably most active on Instagram and Twitter, but I’m pretty much all over social media. Here are some of my links:
Raven Thrall is now 99 cents and will be for the foreseeable future. You can download a free copy of the prologue and take it for a spin from Prolific Works at http://bit.ly/fly-free-jev, where you’ll also have the option of signing up for my mailing list.