I hope everyone is doing well! It’s been a quiet week on The Thousand Scars blog, I decided to take a week off while I focused on other things.
1) I’ll be participating in QuaranCon on Monday evening, joining the Illusatrators panel as a cartographer. My very first panel, so I’ll try and pretend I know what I’m doing!
This ended up being a longer post than intended. What’s everyone been playing/reading lately? Let me know! And now, I return with an interview with J. E. Mueller. Hope you guys enjoy!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I am J.E.Mueller and I write across the fantasy spectrum. I currently have a completed medieval fantasy series, and will be releasing my third modern fairytale by the end of April.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I mostly let them run around and create mayhem until they hit a brick wall. From there I help them find away around the wall and let them loose. Rinse and repeat.
The editing process is a little more messy but it is so much fun seeing what strange things happen.
Tell the world about your current project!
I am currently writing a regency vibes fantasy novel with an academy setting, duels, and dragons. It has some darker parts than I normally write, but nothing to crazy. It’s been fun seeing how magic classes would be taught and there might be a cult from the looks of that random ambush. As I said before, I largely let my characters create mayhem and see where it goes.
Who would you say is the main character of your latest novel? And tell me a little bit about them!
Kareia! She is a nobelmans taught basically sent to boarding school. She’s been using her free time to figure a way out of her betrothal. Legally, she is allowed to challenge him to a duel, and if she wins, she can get out of that particular relationship. Kareia is extremely gifted in white magic though, so not exactly the most reliable for duels. She is very stubborn and determined to find a way to win.
Have you been to any conventions? If so, tell me a little about them!
I haven’t been to conventions as an author. I have done a few fun library and local signings. They were cute, small, and fun. I love being able to talk to readers, authors, and other potential writers. It’s always a blast.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’m not sure. I had always been telling stories and writing them as soon as I figure out I could. I didn’t get the idea or guts to really publish until my best friend got married and I wanted to gift her the most unique thing possible. Nothing more unique then dedicating a book to someone for their wedding!
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
New Zealand! I love the photos, kiwis, and the fairy penguins. The land looks beyond amazing and I’m sure it would be inspiring for many years to come.
What advice would you give new writers?
Let your first draft suck. It’s okay, it’s more than allowed and acceptable. Getting things down and done is the hardest part and you can always make it look like you knew what you were doing later.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding?
Everything. I love the “what ifs” in life. What if a princess had to solve her own curse? What is Cinderella was modern, where would she be? Would she slave away in the family’s coffee shop?
What inspires you to write?
The chance to give back what books have given me. Laughter, hope for a better day, an escape… The list goes on.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I hate writing transition scenes. I struggle with them so hard, and it’s hilarious since when I finally go back and edit they usually don’t need much to be fixed.
What is your routine when writing, if any? If you don’t follow a routine, why not?
I try to write for an hour after work every night, sometimes two hours. From about 7pm-9pm is my time. The weekends are more up in the air, I tend to get a lot more time in, but also not as much done since I have all day. I do my best to write five or six days a week.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in any of your books, and why?
Every book has a favorite part. I think my favorite for my recent release, Dreamer’s Melody was a scene, won’t say what exactly because spoilers, but every beta reader flipped out in different ways. Anything from YES! To I didn’t see that coming but I had hoped it was! I love scenes where people can have those moments.
Did you learn anything from writing your latest book? If so, what was it?
Every book I learn something new from. The biggest take away recently was I need to keep better notes. It is so much easier than flipping back and searching for specific content or even better, accidentally changing a character’s name halfway through. Ooops!
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
Somewhere in between, though I lean more toward pantser. I love coming up with a world, and knowing the rules and then just letting my characters have at it.
If you had to give up either snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
Music. I don’t snack much while writing but I always have something playing in the background. Currently, I’m listening to Ori and the Blind Forest soundtrack.
Which is your favorite season to write in, and why?
Fall. I love how pretty everything looks. It feels so much more peaceful. Things are cooling down, the colors are vibrant and not as full of death pollen as spring, and I actually like being outside.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
Scream into the abyss. Honestly that it really hard. Sometimes I talk it out with someone, sometimes I ‘have them’ take personality quizzes. It’s really weird when a character just doesn’t want to talk then two-thirds of a book later and they suddenly have a sibling that is very important to them.
What are your future project(s)?
I have a portal series I worked on for NaNoWriMo 2019 that I plan on going back to. The first part is written and the second one is nearly halfway done. If things go right, it should be three books.
Other than that, I have several waiting in the sidelines. Weird gates pulling someone into a different dimension, some fairytales that are screaming at me, and one really odd dream about a black mist taking human form to find his lost soulmate. Fantasy can have some amazingly odd story starters.
What is your favorite book ever written?
I don’t really have a favorite. They were all written for very different reasons.
Who are your favorite authors?
Kelly Blanchard, Maria V Snyder, Kerri Hawkins, Catherine Banks, and a few too many others to name.
What makes a good villain?
A lot of things! Sometimes I love when they are just so evil you despise them and can never relate. Others are fantastic because you can relate just a bit too much for comfort. As long as not everyone is getting a redemption arc, I’m happy. Not every villain deserves redemption.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
When not writing or reading I play video games. Animal Crossing is my favorite right now. I’ve played a lot of Skyrim, Stardew Valley, Splatoon, Pokemon… My Steam list is a bit out of control.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
A penguin trainer.
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
I am not picky here. I drink a lot of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Lately, I’ve been on an orange juice kick. I am one of those ‘I’ve got to have coffee’ people. I like my gogo juice.
You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
Assuming we can’t die while in space, I would love to explore Saturns rings or Jupitars crazy amount of moons. They just have always sounded cool.
Do you have any writing blogs you recommend?
I will admit, I don’t keep up on blogs much.
Do you have any writer friends you’d like to give a shoutout to?
Nico C Grey I am so proud of you for finishing your first book! She writes some fantastic grim dark and I cannot wait to see her project become an actual book.
—–Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
Wow, throw me for a loop why don’t you? Three? From where? There are so many that would be hilarious to go on a trip with.
What superpower would you most like?
Flying or teleportation. Forget this walking and driving nonsense. Let’s just zoomzoom there.
What are two of your favorite covers of all time? (Not your own.)
Maybe the original Posion Study cover and the original Blood Legacy cover. I bought them both because of the cover, then the blurb on back.
It’s a very difficult time right now for the world. When quarantine and pandemic comes to an end, what is the first thing you would like to do?
Not cook dinner. I am not a great cook and this is putting my lack of skill but desire to mix things up to the ultimate test.
Finally, 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)?
Facebook I respond to the quickest, followed closely by twitter. I am all over social media though!