Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Interview with Melissa A Joy

Interview with Melissa A Joy, author of Keys of the Origin (Scions of Balance) 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both.  I love writing when I’m able to get the inspiration/imagery put into words, but there always comes a point when exhaustion hits no matter how much or how little I’ve actually written.  Just thinking about plot points, the characters’ circumstances and where the story is going (etc) can be mentally draining.  It’s worth it in the end though.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
One thing both readers and authors should be aware of and respect is that in no way can authors write books like chefs can cook a meal to order.  We should strive to be original in what ways we can, but all readers have varying tastes in what they want to read or will accept as reading material.  I see far too many discussions/debates over what readers of fantasy will or won’t accept, and in my experience, if we put all those gripes together, they cover more or less everything the genre stands for.  It has, and still does, make authors want to quit while they’re ahead.  Authors should write what they want to write about, while bearing in mind what has gone before them; we simply are not able to tailor our books to each and every individual’s expectations, and nor should we be expected to.  Beverly Cleary, author of Young Adults and Children’s fiction once said, “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelves, write it.”

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel/book series?
The Shadowleague trilogy by Maggie Furey, and perhaps the Guardian Cycle by Julia Gray would be among the favourites.

Do you find difficult writing characters of the opposite sex?
Not at all.  I consider myself to be a perceptive individual; there are both typical and atypical people in both males and females, and all who identify as an alternative gender.  One need only study behaviour from as many different sources as possible, and consider all as individuals. 

Let’s talk about Keys of the Origin, your debut novel.

What are Aevnatureis and Phandaerys? 
It is the Nays word for Aeldynn’s crystalline support structure on which the world and its linked realms are cradled (generally known as The Foundation in the more common tongues).  Think of it like Yggdrasil (the World Tree) from Norse mythology.  
Phandaerys is the inverted counterpart to Aevnatureis; the “evil twin” so to speak.

Is Aevnatureis stronger than Phandaerys? 
That’s like asking if earth is stronger than wind, or if water is stronger than fire, or even if light is stronger than darkness.  All elements are stronger or weaker respectively, and affect one another in various ways.  Phandaerys (The Inversion) is the counterpart to Aevnatureis (The Foundation).  As there is light in darkness, so there is darkness in light; they are equal opposites.  Hypothetically speaking, if Aevnatureis were to represent virtue or positivity, Phandaerys would represent sin or negativity, but on a level that affects the functioning of the world as a whole.  At a basic level, Aevnatureis = purity and Phandaerys = corruption, but both are natural in their own right.

Can the actions of those who inhabit Aeldynn affect the balance?
Over time and in great quantity, yes.

Who are the ones in charge of protecting the balance? 
The Nays (and their Drahknyr) and the Kensaiyr (and their Wardens of Lyte – “Lyte E’varis”).

What does Kaesan mean?
Arch, chief, commander/general.

Some would compare the Kaesan’Drahknyr with angels or demigods.  Which do you think is closer?
It depends in which context you’re looking at them.  There are several different types of angels said to exist in relation to planet Earth, but they are typically associated with love.  The main similarities may be that there are many angels but only seven archangels, as there are only seven Kaesan’Drahknyr but there are many Drahknyr; and that angels are typically drawn with wings or are described as having wings – and all Drahknyr have wings.  In that respect they are similar to angels.  In terms of the power they possess and are able to utilise, however, they could only really be described as demigods.

You have many races co-existing in Aeldynn. (Name a few, please) Do you have a favorite one?  
The Nays, Kensaiyr (white-silver elves), Cerenyr (woodland elves), Shäada (dark elves), Thénya (plains elves), the Aurentai (highest ranking Fey race), Neiréyu (merfolk - fey), Vhaeoul (amphibian - fey), various draconic species (dragons, wyverns, leviathans, drakes)... There are more.  

I would probably put the Nays, Kensaiyr and dragons among my favourites if I really have to choose, but they all hold their unique merits for me.

Why are the Nays the most powerful race?
I’d say they’re among the top most powerful, as it’s the Drahknyr who are born into the Nays who top them all.  The Nays were given the name “Guardian Race” because they are effectively Aeldynn’s caretakers.

Could one of the Nays or the Drahknyr survive in the Phandaeric realms?
With sufficient protection the Nays could for a time.  The Drahknyr are far more resistant to the toxins, but there is a limit even before it will start to affect even them.   It is possible for Drahknyr to recover from phandaeric poisoning.

You have complex names, and several languages in your world. How have the readers responded to this? 
Some have found it immersive and intriguing, and others have struggled to wrap their heads around it.  I added translations in footnotes/endnotes and added a pronunciation guide and glossary for those who are interested in knowing more about it, and some have responded exceptionally well to that idea.  After all, Aeldynn is a living, breathing world.  It is a fact that Earth has multitudes of nations, languages, cultures and ethnicities, so you wouldn’t expect to visit another country in which the people spoke another language and be able to pronounce every word/name you came across unless you happened to learn that language.  I want my readers to feel they are in another world entirely. 

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow?
I do a bit of both.  I’d say I’m a bit like an archaeologist; I discover one part of an idea or plot, and need to spend time dusting away around it to uncover the bigger picture.

Is there an equivalent to the devil?
That’s probably best left to the reader’s interpretation, but I would say yes; though it depends on entirely what angle you’re looking at him from.

Did you have an alternate ending for Keys of the Origin?
I had originally intended to end it on a different note, but something didn’t feel quite right about it.  In the end it went the right way.

How many more novels do you think will complete the Scions of Balance?
Estimated between 3-5.

Future releases.
Currently, I have:
Endeavours of the Unsung (short stories – early 2018).
Mindseer Oracle, book 2: The Scions of Balance (TBC).

Get Keys of the Origin: https://amzn.to/2Xq4Fhx
Get Endeavours of the Unsung: https://amzn.to/2Vsuz7a

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this interview, Selene. I found her comments about technique, point of view, and development of characters to have new knowledge for me.


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