I just self-published my first fantasy book, Suriax. It was a joint project with my husband. Previously, I only worked on paranormal romances. To understand this book, you must first ask yourself one question. If it was legal to kill, would you? Welcome to Suriax, a city where killing is accepted as normal and laws mean everything. The story centers around Kern, a member of the Flame Guard, a highly skilled group of people often hired to kill, steal or conduct espionage. Kern must grapple with questions of morality, destiny and a queen who wants him dead. Throw in a pact with a god and you have an event that will change the people of Suriax forever.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was born in Mississippi, but I spent a great deal of time in Texas and now live in Louisiana. I was always drawn to the paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy. I wrote school papers on time travel and Bigfoot, took physics and astronomy for fun, played dungeons and dragons, read comics, watch anime and frequently attend renaissance festivals. Yes, I’m a nerd.
What inspired you to write this book?
My husband was creating a world for a dnd (Dungeons and Dragons) campaign and asked for my help in working out some of the back story and mythology. I came up with some short descriptions for the history of a couple of cities and an origin story for some important characters. When I began my National Novel Writing Month challenge last November, I decided to take my four page summary and turn it into a full blown story. It was my first attempt at writing fantasy, so my husband played a big role in the development of the story. Without him, “Suriax” would not exist.
How did you choose the title?
Suriax is the name of the city where the majority of the action takes place in the story. This book is basically an origins story for the city and a pivotal event that takes place there. “Suriax” will be the first story in the history of Ondar, the world my husband created.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
My biggest obstacle was time. I have a 10 month old baby and a four year old boy. I am also working full time. I started writing “Suriax” a couple of months after I returned to work from maternity leave. With all the sleepless nights and trying to balance work and family, I would not have been able to write this book without the support of my family.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I finished my first story when I was 12 years old. It was a short 30 page, handwritten sci-fi young adults book. (One of these days I’ll go back and revisit it). I did all my own artwork by hand and hand bound the book with string and cardboard covered in wallpaper. I still have that first book, “The Solar Quest.” Finishing that story was a wake up call for me. I have always enjoyed artistic endeavors. This was the first one I ever finished. I knew then I was meant to write.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I write as thoughts come to me. Then I take all my random post it notes and scribbles and sit down and start putting them in order. After I get that done, I usually go back and fill in the gaps and start the editing process.
At least, that is how I usually work. “Suriax” was a little different. Given the short time frame of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I just started writing and worked from beginning to end without many notes. Then I went back and found where more was needed and added scenes. Other than that, I don’t have any specific place or time when I write.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Some I make up, others I get from my baby name books.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned how easy it is to self-publish. I doubt I will ever go back to traditional publishers.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I don’t know if I would do anything differently. Each book has taught me something different. I learned to market with my first book. I learned to edit with my second book. My agent had me work with a critiquer and I am much better for it. Now, I feel confident taking out the middle man and working for myself.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
I read paranormal romances, Star Wars books (but only New Republic and later. I don’t like Clone Wars era books), fantasy like Eragon and some thriller. I love Sherrilyn Kenyon, Maggie Shayne, Jayne Castle and Kay Hooper.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am working on book 3 in my Spirit of the Wolf Series. It is titled “Wolf of the Future.” I am also beginning work with my husband on the next book in the Ondar fantasy series.
As for “Wolf of the Future,” it will answer many questions posed in my first two books. You learn who Durante is and what his ties are to Mara. I am hoping to get that book out by the end of this year.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write. Write as much as you can, even if you don’t have a publisher or aren’t ready to self-publish yet. That way, once you have the connections and website or blog or fan page all set up, you can jump right in and grab your readers. Don’t just write one book and wait for it to succeed to write another. You may not be successful until the third or fourth or fifteenth book. But when it does happen, you will have all those other books already available for your fans to find.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Frequent fantasy readers or rpg (role playing game) players would get the most from “Suriax.” The way I structure magic in this book is based on my experience as a dnd player (with a few modifications for story of course).
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?Buy the book on Amazon.com