Interview with Brian Wilkinson, Author of Battledoors: The Golden Slate

Brian Wilkinson is a first-time author who was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto with his family. He has a background in journalism and a couple of degrees in the arts that have led him to his current career as a high school teacher and librarian.

Prior to all of this, Brian was a journalist who worked in various capacities for publications like the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, and Kidscreen Magazine. He even landed an issue of X-Men working for Marvel comics.

Combining his love of teaching and writing, Brian is releasing his first two young adult books, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, and Paramnesia, through Blue Moon Publishers in the fall of 2018.

You can find out more at his website, bewilkinson.wordpress.com.

Thank you for joining us today, Brian. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I have a great job working in education, a wonderful and supportive wife, two kids, a dog, the whole nine yards. It’s been a long road to get here with lots of hard work, setbacks of various kinds, and all the rest, but ultimately I have done my best and now here I am.

Now that I’m lucky enough to be writing books (and getting them published!) things are even better. I had some experience as a journalist and as a freelance writer for Marvel Comics, but all of that took a backseat to my main career as a teacher. Luckily, my career dovetails with my love of writing and has given me the opportunity to tell my stories!

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I remember quite clearly being in the 11th or 12th grade, in a creative writing class, and getting an assignment that was to put together a collection of poems or short stories, or to write a novel. I’m sure the last one was a bit of a lark on the part of a teacher who didn’t expect it, but I went home and wrote a 120 page novel over the course of a day or two. It wasn’t brilliant, but it also wasn’t too hard to put together.

I say that and people roll their eyes. But honestly, it wasn’t hard for me. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t so much an easy thing to do as it was something that I had a knack for. Kids who excelled in other subjects like science baffled me… how can you just take to that stuff? That’s how it was for me and writing. Yet, I didn’t push it any further. I was content knowing that it was something I could do. I was a writer who didn’t write. Until recently, that is.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

I write for young adults for a couple of reasons. One, they are my main audience as a professional and I interact with hundreds of them on a daily basis. They are amazing, intelligent people who are bursting with imagination and potential. Plus, they’re just fun.

As a teacher and librarian, I take in a lot of teenage culture both passively and actively. When I buy books for the school, I want to make sure that they are reading quality things. Part of that involves reading the books and YA in particular. Thanks to all of those influences and my personal enjoyment of the genre, it all naturally tends to bend in that direction. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

For me, it’s the instant feedback. I have groups at the school who share writing amongst each other and they just get really into things. Adults will read things, take it in and let it go, but kids breathe it. They become much more invested. Seeing kids argue about my characters and my work was just kind of surreal. They believed in my stories to a level that most others wouldn’t. It was humbling, to be honest.

Which is also where the challenge comes. You want to make sure that it rings true, especially the characters, that the book is accessible, it’s enjoyable, and that is has some staying power to hold their interest. You also want to make sure that it speaks to them about ideas and themes in a mature way that isn’t condescending.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

My books are meant to be fun. The tone is lighthearted, but there are serious moments and beats that hopefully make them a compelling read.

My first book, Battledoors: The Golden Slate, is about a teenager named Owen dealing with the loss of his mother and a move to Toronto for a fresh start. Though he tries to be invisible, he catches the attention both of a pair of bullies and a pair of girls, one of whom he has a crush on. All five of them then stumble across a magical object, called a Battledoor, which opens a doorway to a parallel version of our world. These kids need to make either/or choices that the Battledoor presents in order to get the story they are living to come to an end and get back home. It’s sort of a modern take on the old choose-your-own-adventure stories. They go to strange places, meet interesting people, and of course, take on the villain.

My other novel is Paramnesia. This is a supernatural story about a girl named Nora who finds she has the ability to see the dead after she and her boyfriend are attacked by a creature known as the Revenant. Her boyfriend dies and she tries to get on with her life, but it’s hard when he still comes to see her.  Nora meets other people, living and dead alike, who try to help her deal with her new reality. There’s a mixture of humour and horror here that I think works really well.

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote my books shortly before the birth of my children. I was a writer who didn’t write because I didn’t have a particular need. When my children were coming, I looked around my house to see what there was that I might leave them one day. What was here that would remind them of who their dad was and how much he loved them? When I realized I was just looking at a bunch of ‘things’ I decided to write them stories. What you have now are edited and evolved from those stories; the originals of which I’ll find some way in the future to put in their hands. Really, though, these books are for them.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The books aren’t out yet, but when they are, they’ll be available through most major book stores including Chapters/Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Order away! 

What is up next for you?

I have a sequel already written for Battledoors called The Black Spyre. Beyond that, I have several other books planned to follow up both Battledoors and Paramnesia. Hopefully people will want to read them!

Do you have anything else to add?

I’ve never written books before, certainly not on a scale like this. My hope is that people enjoy them and find something in them to connect with!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Brian. We wish you much success.

Thank you!

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Interview with Jill Bowers, Author of the Immortal Writers Series

Jill Bowers is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She’s the author of the popular Immortal Writers series, which is a five book young adult fantasy series. You can learn more about Jill’s books at her author website, immortalauthor.com.

Jill is a lover of all things literature and music. She is one of two composers-in-residence for the Westminster Handbell Choirs in Logan, Utah, and plays many instruments. She’s an alum of Salt Lake Comic Con, Fyrecon, and MisCon. She has a beloved long-haired dachshund who enjoys walks and snacks, much like Jill herself.

Thank you for joining us today, Jill. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m glad to be here. My name’s Jill, and I’m a young adult fantasy author. I love Netflix, Comic Con, music, and books. I’m an avid reader and I love to spend my time cuddled up with my dog in my TARDIS quilt reading.

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I’ve always had the writing bug. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I knew how to put my letters into words and sentences.

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

For one thing, I enjoy reading young adult books, so it’s natural for me to be writing them. Mostly, though, young adults have to face a lot of problems in life, and I want to help them. I include real-life issues in all of my books, because I think literature and art are both great ways to encourage people to hold on.

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love the fast pace of a YA book. I enjoy connecting with young adults; I often go to schools to teach classes and do assemblies, and I absolutely love it. My greatest challenge with writing for young adults is knowing what slang to use. I grew up in the “tubular” days, and people don’t say that now.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

Immortal Writers is about an author whose words and stories become so powerful that she gains immortality and her characters come to life. She has to learn to use magic and slay dragons in time to save the world from the villain she created.

The entire series (book 2, Immortal Creators, comes out in fall 2018) follows authors who are in similar situations. If you like reading, you’ll love this series because you get to see your favorite authors (like Shakespeare, Tolkien, Poe, Hughes, Hemingway, Austen, and many more) as characters interacting throughout the series. If you’re not familiar with these authors, it’s a great way to be introduced to them.

What inspired you to write it?

One day I was really angry because I thought my life was so dull. I wanted magic to be real. I wanted to slay dragons and fight monsters and be a hero. But then I started thinking about what the consequences would be if all of my favorite stories came to life; it would be chaotic. The rest of the series grew from there.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

You can purchase a copy at Barnes & Noble and from Amazon.

What is up next for you?

First and foremost, I’m finishing the Immortal Writers series. Next, I have a middle grade fantasy that I’m wrapping up about a gnome and a magic garden, and then another series of young adult books, this time in high fantasy.

Do you have anything else to add?

Happy reading!

Thank you for spending time with us today, Jill. We wish you much success.

The Supernatural Pet Sitter: The Curse by Diane Moat Book Blast

 

 

Title:
THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER: THE CURSE
Author: Diane Moat
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 155
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy

Pepper Neely is no stranger to dangerous situations. In The Supernatural Pet Sitter: The Magic Thief, the young gnome defeated an evil witch who was stealing magic from the Familiars that Pepper took care of. She wouldn’t have survived without
the intervention of a pack of werewolves, who endured painful, fiery spells to save Pepper’s life.
 
Now Pepper is determined to repay the werewolves for their sacrifice, no matter what it takes. She decides to break the centuries-old curse that keeps them in wolf form. At first she keeps her plans a secret, but it’s not long before Pepper
realizes she will need all the help she can get to end this curse. Magic is everywhere as enemy witches cast dangerous spells to stop Pepper.
 
Pepper and her family must trust the local witches and work together with them to fend off the deadly spells, find the curse, and break it—before the hostile witches get the best of them.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Scattered around the room were seven women, including Momma Fran and Maggie. An older version of Maggie nodded to them. “Welcome, Neelys. As you know, I am Naomi, of the Samson coven. We have gathered in response to your request to meet. So without further delay, I invite you to speak.”
Here I go. Pepper wished she hadn’t eaten that sandwich a few minutes ago, as there was a fifty-percent chance she was about to throw it up, right here. She felt as if she had argued her case a thousand times. Hopefully this would be the last. She tried to think of the wolves as she took a deep breath around the lump in her throat.
Pepper stepped forward and began, “Thank you, Naomi of the Samson coven. I am Pepper Neely of the Neely gnomes. As you know, several months ago, a witch named Kale was caught stealing magic from Familiars. She was caught, in part, thanks to me and my brother, Jax. When she escaped, she came after me, Jax, and my friend, Luna, who is also a witch.” Keep reminding them Luna was saved also.
“Luna was nearly killed by Kale. But instead, three wolves attacked Kale, saving all three of us. The wolves took great risks in doing this, and they were set on fire several times, giving us time to get away. I know without a doubt that the wolves saved Luna, myself, and my brother. I have taken on a blood-debt to pay them back. As part—” Pepper didn’t get to finish before the witches started talking.
“What does that have to do with us?”
“The werewolves are our enemies; nothing will change that.”
“Do you even know what that means? How can your parents—”
“EXCUSE ME!” A male voice from behind Pepper cut through the chaos. It took Pepper a moment to realize it wasn’t her dad or brother. Everyone quieted instantly, looking behind the Neelys. The male voice continued, as a man stepped out into
view. “I believe Ms. Neely wasn’t finished.”
Mr. O’Brien! The warlock had vanished after Kale had stolen the magic from from his Familiar, King Arthur. Pepper had thought he needed time to heal from his broken heart. He looked better than the last time she had seen him. He was still thin, but his face didn’t seem as drawn or haunted.
Mr. O’Brien continued. “I apologize for being late, but I believe my invitation was lost in the mail.”

Title:
THE SUPERNATURAL PET SITTER: THE MAGIC THIEF
Author: Diane Moat
Publisher: The Supernatural Pet Sitter
Pages: 140
Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy
Every animal can talk to you. You just have to know how to listen. Pepper Neely is better at this than most, especially because she is in charge of pet sitting all the familiars in her neighborhood. A familiar is a pet magically linked to a witch or warlock. As a gnome, Pepper is no stranger to spells and sorcery. She also knows that, despite their special name, familiars aren’t all that
different from regular animals. They get anxious when separated from their people, so Pepper uses her special gnome powers to calm them down. She watches Cranky the high-strung ferret, Frank the laid-back parrot, King Arthur the elderly tortoise, and many others. Then, something terrible begins happening to the familiars. Someone is stealing their magic! It not only prevents Pepper from communicating with them but breaks their magical connection with their people.
When King Arthur’s magic is stolen, his owner’s powers stop working too. Pepper can sense that the tortoise is very scared. In order to protect the animal’s magic, Pepper decides to track down the culprit. With the help of her best friend, Luna, and her brother, Jax, Pepper fights to protect all of the special pets.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

 

Diane is a Tennessee transplant, animal rescuer, and nurse. The Supernatural Pet Sitter is her debut children’s novel. Diane is assisted by her many rescue dogs.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

The Flower Fairy Superhero by Noam and Bryan Atinsky

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It is so rough to be a technology dummy. 🙂 Here’s my review of this sweet book:

The Flower Fairy stumbles upon a queen who is sad because an evil ogre has taken her castle and she has nowhere to live.

What could be more perfect than combining fairies and superheroes? The Flower Fairy Superhero by Noam and Bryan Atinsky is a delightful and charming story that has been enhanced with audio so you and your child–and eventually your child alone–can read along. It’s just the right length to keep youngsters engaged. The artwork by Francisco X. Mora is lovely and perfect for such an adorable story.

The story behind the story–which you can find here–is very moving. It is nice to see the author donating part of the proceeds to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

A superb story of kindness and friendship, The Flower Fairy Superhero will delight your child so much it will be read again and again.

Review: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

File Size: 7505 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: The Flower Fairy Superhero, LLC (January 24, 2016)
Publication Date: January 24, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B01B1PDQ8A

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Flower Fairy Superhero Publishing, LLC. (2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0988822601
ISBN-13: 978-0988822603

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Interview with John Calicchia, Author of Mirror World

John Calicchia

John Calicchia writes stories of fantasy, action and adventure. In the fall of 2015 his book Mirror World was released! It’s a story of two powerful young sisters and their epic battle against evil. But, this book has something in it most do not: hidden secrets. It’s a teen and young adult fiction book with a self-help book hidden inside. You see… after publishing in psychology books and journals for decades Dr. C. felt his writing was not helping the young people he loves to work with. So, he took famous psychology studies and put it in the characters and plots in Mirror World to help with real life issues. As you become part of the story you can learn about psychology or you can just enjoy the tale!

John Calicchia Ph.D. is a professor of psychology who also works with children and young adults as a licensed psychologist. He lives near Boston with his lovely wife and two amazing daughters. You can usually find him in the pool swimming with his two big dogs.

For More Information

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rhode Island, the Ocean State.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story in sixth grade, and the class loved it and laughed so hard, I was asked to be the first one to read my stories for the rest of the year – motivation for an aspiring writer?

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

Usually mornings are best, but when I am in the flow it can go on all day long. The rest of the time I’m writing this story in my head endlessly.

What is this book about?

What would you do if you saw the future apocalypse of the world in a mirror? Would you try to save the world and those you love, or die trying?
Welcome to my life, this is the vision of the future I’ve been cursed to see.
– Cailyssa Larkin

Cailyssa hates mirrors because someone evil is staring back at her from the other side.  One day, she gazes into a mirror and sees a dark future that only she can change. With the future of her own world hanging in the balance, Cailyssa bravely enters the portal to the Mirror World. Here, the Dark Lord controls all the mirrors and bends reflections so all creatures see evil within themselves. With her sister Terry, her mysterious best friend Daemon, and a host of weird and wonderful creatures, Cailyssa embarks on an epic quest to overcome the evil forces trying to destroy her world. She can only defeat the Dark Lord by finding her true self and discovering the family secret that has led her to Mirror World.

What inspired you to write it?

I was always disappointed in science fiction and fantasy books because of a lack of strong female lead characters. Before Katniss Everdean and Tris Prior, few books or movies ever featured a strong female in the lead role.  I love the fact that my book is told from the first-person perspective and has two exceptionally strong female lead characters, who of course also have their vulnerabilities. I also have two wonderful daughters that are exceptionally inspiring as I watch them continue on their way to developing into strong, young, and capable women.Mirror World

Who is your favorite character from the book?

It depends on what day you ask me, but for today it’s Terry. She’s Cailyssa’s sister and a ton of crazy fun, with wings like an angel and 12 inch razor-sharp blades that come out of her knuckles she takes on any evil foe! But like all superheroes,  she has hidden weaknesses.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Both.  I was able to dictate the whole book using Dragon Naturally Speaking so the first draft went remarkably quickly.  The revision process and the multiple levels of editing took a long time!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Use as many beta readers as possible, and get ARC’s out earlier.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Follow me and you can also get a free copy of the users guide to help you understand the psychology behind the book by joining my website www.johncalicchia.com

twitter: @jacalicchia

youtube: https://youtu.be/8ezO9nWm9UY

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Time will tell.  I’m hoping it’s the current book tour!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write what you love and you will love what you write ( and some other people will too)

What is up next for you?

The Users Guide for Mirror World is almost finished.  It has the secrets to where the psychology  studies are hidden in the book. You can get more information at my website or my blog.

There will be two more books in the Mirror World series. The next book Angelus starts literally in Hell with a dark angel being tortured for failing to destroy Cailyssa Larkin. Cailyssa has returned from Mirror World and is trying to finish her senior year in high school, when she discovers the war of the Angels she became involved in has followed her home. The Angels in this book are not what you think of in pictures or the Bible.  Angels have been living among us and walking the earth for thousands of years – you probably even know a couple – hopefully they’re not the evil ones.

Here’s a biblical quote that starts off the book:

His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And Lucifer stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

After the Mirror World Series I have plans for a psychological thriller PSYOPS which is a dystopian world in which the government and the military control dreams through neuroscience and psychology.

I better get writing!!!!!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I hope my book is a somewhat unique stamp. First of all I hope it’s a fun and exciting story that entertains you. But I know as a  professor that the psychology studies hidden in the plot are very helpful for people’s lives. So I really hope it’s a wonderful tale, that has a free self-help book hidden in the narrative. Please get a copy of the users guide at my website after you read it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. In the meantime, read the book and keep guessing about the psychology behind it!

Warm Regards,

John

For More Information

  • Mirror World is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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Wrapping Up Harry Potter

Well, I did it. I finished the Harry Potter series last month. It was tough to see it end because I had spent the past several months listening to the books in my car hp1as I drove back and forth from appointments. Music just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.

I purposefully held off on reviewing each book as I read it because there isn’t much new that can be said. Even if there was, almost everyone has heard of or read this wildly popular series, so it seemed superfluous. What I will do, however, is share my thoughts on what I liked about each book and if there is anything that niggled at me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sets the stage for all that will follow. We meet many of the important characters who will remain throughout the series or will perish in the war against Lord Voldemort. By making Harry a sympathetic character from the start, J.K. Rowling gave readers someone to care about. He lost his parents; he’s being mistreated by his relatives; once he gets to Hogwarts where he is wildly famous and his life should improve, he struggles with his lack of magical knowledge and is despised by Draco Malfoy and seen as a younger version of his arrogant father by Professor Snape.

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In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a diary is discovered that ends up being part of the plot through to the final book of the series and is crucial in Lord Voldemort’s defeat. This indicates Rowling may have done serious pre-plotting before putting pen to paper. As the story unfolds, Ginny Weasley becomes more of a sympathetic character than Harry because she is fooled by Tom Riddle (Voldemort) and possessed, putting Harry and the others at risk. We also see a very important plot point begin to develop: the hatred of Voldemort and his followers for half-bloods and Muggles.

When it comes to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we meet another new character. As the story comes closer to the end, wehp3 hope that Harry will have just a tiny bit of happiness and not have to endure another summer with his Muggle relatives who mistreat him. There is a definite theme of salvation running through the third book: the possible saving of Harry from the Dursleys, the saving of Sirius Black from the Dementor’s kiss, the saving of BuckBeak who has been sentenced to death, and in some ways Hermoine being saved from overworking herself in an effort to be the best at everything. This book also reveals who truly betrayed James and Lily Potter, leading to their deaths.

hp4Some of these books don’t actually begin with Harry. Book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is one of them. It’s a nice change of pace and indicates how Rowling worked to keep the series fresh and engaging for readers. We haven’t said much about Quidditch yet, but that is the game Harry has a natural talent for (discovered in Book 1), so this helps to balance that his magic might not be up to par with that of other students. Rowling uses the Quidditch World Cup to introduce another important character: Cedric Diggory. Cedric will end up competing in the Triwizard  Tournament, which hasn’t been held for over 200 years. This brings students and staff from other schools to Hogwarts. This is the book were Lord Voldemort is resurrected by Harry’s blood and what truly begins the war in earnest because the current Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge does not believe Harry and Professor Dumbledore (Hogwarts Headmaster) that Voldemort has returned. Parents, students, and the wizarding community must choose who and what to believe.

How many people loved Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but despised it at the same time? I know it brought out that reaction in me. So much hp5injustice takes place in this novel at the hands of Dolores Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic that at times it was hard not to scream or throw something against the wall. And for anyone who thought that Harry and Sirius would end up finding a nice cottage to live out their days once this whole war was over, they were dealt a crushing blow thanks to Bellatrix Lestrange. This is also the book where Dumbledore explains the prophecy to Harry that has brought him to Hogwarts and will eventually lead to his final showdown with Lord Voldemort.

In certain books, we learn more about other characters than Harry. That is true in books six and seven, where the history of Dumbledore and Tom Riddle a.k.a. Lord Voldemort unfolds. Book 6 is also one that doesn’t begin with Harry. Instead, the reader sees Professor Snape hp6in a meeting with Narcissa Malfoy, where he takes an unbreakable vow to protect and assist Draco in the mission Lord Voldemort has entrusted to him. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince also finds Harry given a mission of his own that will unfold in the final book. It is in this book that we learn how important the diary Ginny Weasley found in the third book is to Voldemort and his plan for immortality.

Then in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows best friends Harry, Hermoine, and Ron risk everything to bring down Voldemort. In order to do that, they set out on their own, learn more about Dumbledore’s past, infiltrate the Ministry of Magic, are captured and held prisoner at Malfoy Manor, secretly enter Hogwarts, and witness tragedy strike Snape who had been installed by Voldemort as the Headmaster at Hogwarts. It isn’t until Snape shares his memories with Harry that he truly understands what fulfilling his destiny means.

What I enjoyed most about these books is how they blended everyday things like relationship issues, coping with tragedy, love, family and friendship while harryexploring a magical world. These books also tackled controversial topics like prejudice. I loved how with each book Rowling upped the ante, so you had intense moments throughout each book, but the series as a whole slowly built up the dramatic face off between Harry and Voldemort.

I don’t believe I am alone, however, in being a bit let down by the epilogue. I am okay with vagueness, but I felt too much time had passed. There is also the matter of Draco and Harry. While I don’t believe they would ever be friends, I wanted to see a little bit more about how their relationship evolved after the Dark Lord’s defeat.

Have you read the Harry Potter series? What were some of your favorite parts? Is there anything you didn’t care for?

 

Interview with J. L. Clark, Author of The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links

J.L. ClarkDr. Jennifer Yen Clark, or J.L. Clark, began her writing career in the fourth grade, when her teacher took the detective story she wrote and turned it into a short printed book as a gift to her. The encouragement of her teacher, as well as her love for reading and telling stories, kept her writing about the worlds that existed in her imagination. In her young adult years, J.L. began writing short stories, poetry, and fan-fiction starring strong and intelligent girls and women. J.L. was recently inspired to write The Avalon Relics after being introduced to several young adult series that depicted weak heroines and unhealthy relationships. Recalling her own young adult reading experience and the dearth of relatable heroines, she set out to create a series of books that would not only engage and entertain, but offer a refreshing and empowering take on fictional heroines.

J.L. Clark resides in Houston, Texas with her family. She splits her time between academia and private practice, specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UT Health Medical School, and a clinical assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Outside of work, she is continually contributing to her body of work, posting short stories and fan-fiction on social media outlets for enjoyment.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy, The Avalon Relics: Lilith Links.

For More Information

Where did you grow up?

I moved a lot as a child.  I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and lived there with my family and extended relatives until I was just shy of eight.  I then immigrated to the United States with my parents, and lived briefly in Chicago, Richardson, and finally, Plano, Texas.

When did you begin writing? 

I started writing in the fourth grade, after a wonderful teacher of mine began encouraging me to express my imagination through words.  After I had gifted her a short mystery story to show my appreciation, she came back with a printed copy for me to keep, and read it to the class.  

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I have a full time job as a doctor, so I do pretty much write at night, or on the weekends when I have downtime.  Sometimes if the story is begging to be told, I will sneak in some sentences between patients!

What is this book about? 

This book follows the life of Sophia Bennett, a young woman who discovers on her eighteenth birthday that there is a hidden world inhabited by half-fairy, half-human beings called faeids.  She is quickly drawn into an ancient battle between good and evil through a series of shocking events, and ends up joining forces with a group of faeids trying to save their realm from the Dark Ones.  Along the way, Sophia discovers that everything she thought she knew about her life was wrong, and must come to terms with who she really is. 

What inspired you to write it?Lilith Links 2 

I love to read, and when the surge in YA books began several years ago, I read them just like everyone else.  Although the stories were very entertaining, it bothered me that there were so many lead female characters that were one-dimensional, flat, and helpless.  For those that started out the story with a perfect life, they make poor decisions that jeopardize themselves.  For those who start out struggling, they found their happy ending only after getting involved with someone.  Very few of these characters were realistic, like the teenagers that I see every day at work, and rarely did any of them grow without the help of someone else.  I really wanted to write a story that resonated with my readers, with characters that were fundamentally flawed but real, and take them on a journey that would allow them to come into their own and become empowered and confident.  I especially wanted to make sure that I had strong female leads who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, but at the same time fall on their face and have to pick themselves back up.  Strength comes from being able to recognize what you’ve done wrong and learning from it, and I want my readers to know that it’s okay to make a mistake without being a bad person. 

Who is your favorite character from the book? 

I would have to say Sophia, because she is the girl I would have loved to have been when I was a teenager.  She might not start out as the person she wants to be, but she overcomes challenges and learns from her mistakes as she grows into her own. 

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I self-published these two books, but I am now working with an agent to get them into the hands of traditional publishers.  It’s definitely been quite a learning experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  If nothing else, I can say that I scratched off a bucket list item and have books to show for it!

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I think the only thing I would consider changing is to possibly split Lailan Crown into two books.  It is already quite long as is, but I feel like I left out so much rich backstory behind the characters that you meet along the way.  Maybe one day in the future, I’ll rework it and give my readers a peek into their lives.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book? 

The first two books in The Avalon Relics series, Lilith Links and Lailan Crown, are available in print or eBook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble (online store only).  You can also get the eBooks from Google Play. 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

We will be working on that soon!  If you want to know about it first, make sure you connect with me via a social media outlet!

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I have to say that investing in my agent has been the best decision in promoting my book.  It is a tough situation to be a self-published author, and having someone who knows the ropes and can make the connections really helps.  Having an agent who genuinely believes in you and your work gives you a powerful ally who will advocate for you.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I get asked a lot about how to start writing your own book.  I find that it’s really helpful to start with a character.  Imagine what you want that character to be like: their appearance, their personality, and their quirks.  Once you have that character in mind, think about where they came from, what their family is like, who are their friends, and what is going on in their lives.  Once you start thinking about those things, a story may unfold in front of your eyes and take you to down the path to your book!

What is up next for you?

I have a lot going on!  I am about to start work on book three, entitled Amulet of Morgana, which will pick up where Lailan Crown left off.  I am so excited for my readers to see the final product, which I promise will be just as exciting, if not more, than the last two books.  I also am collaborating with a local gaming company here in Houston to author a series of origin storybooks for their newest tabletop game, Fairytale Games: Battle Royale.  I will be providing all the backstories for their characters, as well as providing the dialogue and storyboarding for the mobile RPG they will be developing from the same game.  As a sneak peek, I am also toying with a dystopian science fiction YA series idea that has been banging around in my head recently.  So much to do, so little time, and I can’t wait for all of you to be part of it!

 

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