Hello everyone! Welcome to a special edition of the Grimdark files! Today I am sitting down with Melissa A. Joy, author of Keys of the Origin: Book 1 of the Scions of Balance. I have recently reviewed the book on my blog and believe it to be a masterful work, worthy of your attention and then some. Melissa is a really awesome person and an author to watch out for in the future! She has graciously agreed to an interview with me, so I now present my latest edition of my author spotlight series.
Where am I going to start with this one? This has been one of the most wonderful fantasy novels that I have ever read, beautifully constructed and wonderfully executed. This is a book by Melissa A Joy, who by all accounts is a pretty awesome person, take a moment to follow her on Facebook, Twitter etc etc.
Here is a brief primer of the novel : The time has come for the Keys of the Origin to play their part in restoring balance to Aeldynn; but how will their choices affect the outcome?
Two young men; one a righteous law-abiding servant to the people, the other a distinguished outlaw, don’t yet realise they are to play a part in a foretold bid for the future of Aeldynn.
Fate leads them down a road they would never have dreamed of following; a road that leads them into a struggle to bring the world back into a state of balance from the precipice of madness and desolation.
It is not only Zehn and Larkh who are fated to take on the malevolent forces of Aeldynn; there are others who must join with them as they are coaxed into the embrace of the ancient Nays and the fabled Drahknyr, who are also entangled in the masterful puppeteering of a renegade sorceress hell bent on reviving the greatest threat of all; Alymarn.
With a premise like this, I was immediately attracted to this novel, it is epic, it is involving and the magic system is beyond cool.
Another author has stepped into the Hybrid Nation for an interview. She’s an up and coming novelist. She resides in Norfolk, East Anglia in the United Kingdom and has many other hobbies, but we’ll let her tell us what she likes to do for herself. As seen on her social media platforms and website she is a hard-working author willing to pay her dues and is trying to write the best book possible, after all isn’t that what we authors want to accomplish? Anyway, let’s quit the small talk, hehehe. Melissa A. Joy, welcome to the Hybrid Nation and let’s get this interview started!
If you’re writing historical fiction, the last thing you want to end up doing is making a fool of yourself by being inaccurate about anything; but authors of any genre need to do their fair share of research, even fantasy authors like myself. I developed quite an interest in tall sailing ships when I was looking to design a ship of HMS Victory’s size with faster manoeuvring capabilities for my fantasy setting, and therefore found myself trying to find out as much as possible about how ships of the 16th-18th centuries functioned, be it manoeuvrability, firepower, watch-keeping, sail-setting, the lot.
Trying to find exact details can be extremely time-consuming, even when searching online, so there will be times when you’ll have to make logical guesses, but the more you learn and know about a subject the more clarity your writing will have. If, like me, you write or wish to write about tall ships, there are a few ways you can do your research: the internet (though it may sometimes take a good while to find a good, strong tidbit of the information you’re looking for), books, seafarers, and hands on experience. How does one get hands on experience?
If, like me, you enjoy adventurous fantasy, you might have noticed there are those who believe some of the major players of the genre overused. I wonder if anyone has ever considered why those concepts are utilised so much in the first place? Elves, dragons, wizards, fairies, dwarves; you name it, they’ve been done before and they’ve been done a lot, but they haven’t disappeared and not should they ever – well at least that’s what I think.
What has largely replaced adventurous fantasy works of the calibre of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms is a low-key sub-genre of fantasy that focuses its attention on everyday affairs, barely dipping its feet into the waters of adventure, and I hereby dub it tame fantasy. Now before anyone considers ranting, the word ‘tame’ is not derogatory; it just means “not wild”.
For some time now, many fantasy authors and some readers have come to the conclusion that some of the more adventurous and iconic aspects of the genre are either outdated, clichéd or overused. However, can that not be said of all genres? Literary fiction typically covers different aspects of everyday life, romance is about falling in love, and crime often involves murder (sometimes involving a whodunit scenario) – just to name a few. I’ve read a few articles recently from writers complaining about the use of: dragons, elves, dwarves, goblins and other well-known fantasy races and beasts; plots about prophecies and chosen ones; third-person omniscient perspectives; prologues; and last but not least, novels that run in a series. If I may be completely honest, it bothers me. Why? It bothers me because some of the best fantasy I’ve ever read has been about adventure, and has involved one or more of these supposedly outlawed concepts on the basis that they’re outdated, clichéd or overused.
For me, fantasy has always been about adventure; that side of life that brings about wanderlust and an undeniable craving to escape the confines of one’s own mundane existence.
Many fantasy novels I have read in recent years have let go of much of what made the genre so spectacular, and while it isn’t always a bad thing to write or read fantasy that doesn’t involve long and arduous quests, I tend to find myself growing bored of those types very quickly.
In my experience, few exciting events seem to occur in many of those novels, and too many characters are two-dimensional at best and are about as visible to the mind’s eye as a face through frosted glass. They need some form of description for the reader to build an image of them, and both personality and back story along with the environments they dwell in, are all equally important. Any such writing is bland and far from being immersive let alone exciting, but it has nevertheless served to encourage me to write the kind of books I myself would want to read.
For Tuesday’s treat in the Author Interview Series, I have the greatest pleasure of presenting fantasy author Melissa A. Joy, as she speaks to us about the fascinating realm that she has carefully and diligently crafted, along with sharing some very interesting writerly advice.
It’s time to be whisked away once more by a talented author, as we delve deeper into the enchanting world of Aeldynn Lore.
The book was a little slow to start, I normally prefer to be gripped by the story almost straight away, but I am very glad I stuck with it. The story is complex, and that coupled with exceptionally detailed and descriptive writing has made for a wonderful start to this series. The descriptive writing enabled me to immerse myself in the story and in some places, like the fair in Almadeira; I could almost hear the music and feel the atmosphere whilst still being sat in my living room.
There are lots of twists and turns throughout and jumping between places and characters, but it in this case I felt that it worked really well because you get a well rounded view of the story as it happens. It was very difficult to figure out what was going to happen next, which made it a brilliant page-turner. If you stick with it as I did, you will find yourself unable to put the book down!