Welcome back bookworms!
It’s time for another interview, this time with a fantastic J.L. Tomlinson – a fantasy writer with quite an imagination straight from New Zeland :). Her new book is about to come out – the third volume of Ardentia series. Stories of magic, friendship and a quest for the better future.
Check out her answers to some of my annoying questions 😉 and remember to visit the Stalker zone at the bottom!
Your book “The Empyrean Key” starts off with the trio of characters, can you tell us how they got together?
Jahna, Lilac and Silko were all born in Groden Cove which is a small beach village in the land of Ardentia, where the series takes place. Each of them was bullied or ostracised for different reasons; Jahna is half Narcean (a dark-skinned race of telepaths and prophets); Lilac has always been quite masculine and finds it difficult to form friendships; and Silko is an overemotional bookworm who is an easy target for ridicule. They befriended each other almost as a form of protection, but are quickly bonded by their shared inadequacies and unique talents.
When I’ve started reading your book I really liked Silko, he’s just the type of character I like playing in games. Can you tell us one funny event from his past?
All Silko wants is to learn. He’s like a sponge soaking up anything and everything he can get his hands on in order to advance his intellectualism. He has a passion for storytelling and in order to gain an audience in a village where most can barely write, Silko resorts to edible bribes. For a reading of ‘The Celestials Ascend’, one of his first original works, Silko decided to serve mulberry-soaked peaches and borrowed a favourite recipe from Billa Talbot. Unfortunately, Billa also prepares clothing dyes for the village and instead of her sweet mulberry sauce, Sliko soaked the peaches in red dye. He had barely spoken a sentence before the audience were overcome by severe food poisoning and drenched the town hall in sick. From that day onward, Silko was ordered to perform outdoors only and has abandoned fancy deserts, offering half-a-handful of peanuts instead.
Is the villain of your story also the character you dislike most? How hard was it to bring him to life?
This is a tricky one. At first, the villain is painted as Na’Toth, a fallen Celestial god who has been corrupting souls in order to escape Novatharos, the Ardentian underworld, but Na’Toth is incorporeal, so he needs others to do his dirty work and bring him forth, which means there could be multiple villains, even if they don’t believe that’s what they are. Right now Na’Toth is just a big, brewing evil and it’s those tangible baddies that are more immediately threatening. I like layered antagonists. I want them to have a reason for their questionable behaviour, not just because they love being super evil. Once I had a backstory for one of the main villains of the first part of the series, that person came to life all on their own and no, no dislike there.
Maybe you haven’t thought about it yet, but I’m curious – do you have an idea for the ending of the series already?
I know exactly how it’s going to end, have done for ten years and so far, nothing has changed.
I might not be a writer, but sometimes I get these fantastic pieces of stories come to my mind just before I fall asleep and it annoys me so much because If I won’t write them down I’ll forget, but I’m already in these perfect sleeping position. Do you have these kinds of thoughts? how do you deal with them?
That happens all the time and is usually when I get my best ideas or when I think up a line of dialogue that is utterly natural and perfect for a scene, or even further develops a scene. I keep a notebook close by and my trusty Santa reindeer pen.
Do you DNF books? If yes then what makes you do it and how fast do you lose all hope for a certain story?
I try not to DNF, unless there is some content I find uncomfortable or offensive. It’s probably not a good thing, committing myself to a book I’m not enjoying, but I’m one of those people that have to finish something once I start so my stubbornness keeps me reading. I avoid DNFs by only reading in genres I like for starters. That way at least I’ll probably like it.
Paper book, e-book or audio – what’s your preferred and most used format?
E-books and audio just for storage reasons. The paperbacks I have are mostly books I’ve won or gotten on sale.
In your Goodreads bio you’ve mentioned you like video games, what are your favorite?
I played World of Warcraft for a VERY long time. I was guild master of a raiding guild and spent at least 40 hours a week online… it was nuts, but I met some wonderful people who I’m still good friends with even though I quit “hardcore” playing a few years ago I do still log on every so often for a nosey. I’m also a big Mortal Kombat fan, Crash Bandicoot is a big favourite and I hate to admit that I can binge on The Sims for a whole day.
New Zeland is definitely on my short list of places to visit, but what countries would you like to see the most?
I would love to go to Scotland and go on a castle tour or find the Loch Ness Monster, but I would have to travel by boat because I am terrified of flying. It makes me a pretty lame jet-setter.
Do you have any curious skills, unique powers, some unusual abilities? Or maybe you’d like to have some?
I have double jointed fingers which are really only good for grossing people out. I also have the power to function on very little sleep thanks to an active pre-schooler and 8-month-old twins!
A bit of a side note – I love that new cover! Look at it, isn’t it great?