Here's the Goodreads description of Tears of Time for those of you who don't know what it's about! Be sure to add Tears of Time to your TBR!
Cal State freshman Eden Ellis feels like a stranger in time, and her dreams are growing more dangerous each night. Is she really the reincarnation of a Bronze Age princess, or is that just the medication talking?
Eden's new telekinetic powers feel real enough, the same abilities used to wage an apocalyptic war in the dream world, where an ancient kingdom struggles to survive the wrath of a fallen priest. When Eden's friends start having similar nightmares and developing powers of their own, she realizes one of them may be the reborn soul of the villain from the dreams who nearly shattered the world—a madman, a traitor, and the lover of Eden's past self.
When a government experiment using the same powers that started the ancient war goes disastrously wrong, Eden's dreams hold the key to saving the future—if she can accept her dual identity and defeat the reincarnation of the man she used to love.
Now onto the interview:
1. What inspired you to want to be an author? Any particular people or books?
I’d say Robert Jordan and JK Rowling were the greatest influences. Tolkien inspired me to write short stories, but the Wheel of Time and Harry Potter series really got me into world building and mapmaking and dreaming of doing a full length novel one day. As far as moving from hard fantasy stories to the YA contemporary fantasy ideas found in Tears of Time, I give some inspirational credit to the Lux Series, the Mortal Instruments, Throne of Glass, Twilight, and many many more.
2. Eden has telekinetic powers, if you could have any power what would you like it to be and why?
Cool question. If I could choose any power from the Tears of Time universe, it would probably be foresight, the ability to see the future to a limited extent. If I could choose between any common superhero power, it might be regeneration, so I’d have unlimited energy, never lose productivity due to being tired or sick or sore. Think of everything you could accomplish!
3. Which of your characters do you relate to the most? Did you base your characters on people you know in real life?
I like this question too. I would say I relate to them all, because by their very nature they have small elements of me in them. But the most, I’d say would be Eden, just because she’s the POV character, and that means I’m inside her head every step of the way. You can’t get much closer than that.
I do sometimes base characters off of real life people, and I try always to start with composites. For example, Eden was initially based off of two girls, and that helps form an initial foundation, then once I start writing she kind of becomes her own character, and by the time I’m done with the first draft I just think of her as Eden. I used this technique in the first two novels I wrote to learn the writing craft, and it’s worked out very well for me.
4. How do you decide on names for characters?
Ah, names. Both fun and sometimes hair-tuggingly stressful haha. For the Bronze Age scenes in Tears of Time, the character names were formed from a combination of the mythology of the region and the ancient language of the region, then I changed them up a bit. For the modern day characters, the main cast has first names chosen from the Old Testament, which I tried to link to the character’s arc somewhat. For last names and other character names, my sister Emily helped brainstorm and find names that just fit so well. She’s a huge reader and a poetry writer and has been an important resource for me every step of this journey! (She’s also one of the two girls who Eden is based on.)
5. Did you do much research for the Bronze Age? Did you find out anything really interesting or cool?
Yes, I learned lots of cool stuff, and luckily I’ve always been a fan of ancient history, so reading those books and articles and watching all the documentaries never felt too much like work. I can’t go into too much detail for risk of spoilers, but the setting the ancient part of the novel takes place in, which some readers may guess fairly quickly, is a composite of a real historical culture and Atlantis mythology. I learned a great deal about how sophisticated they were technologically and architecturally, and I tried to include some of that in the background of the novel, and will expand on that in the two sequels for sure. I also learned that even the most “progressive” ancient culture has certain dark secrets, in this case possible human sacrifice, and that’s an important plot point to the series.
6. What are some of your favorite books?
Recently probably Red Queen, Alienated, Under the Never Sky, Hunger Games, The Reckoners series, and Game of Thrones. There are so many. My favorite all time book is Contact, by Carl Sagan.
7. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Anything not involving screens. Writing can be a pain on the eyes, so I like to step away from all screens period and do things outside when the weather cooperates. I think that’s why my video game time has become almost non existent now, and I lean toward games you can play for twenty minutes and be done, like Mario Kart instead of 70 hour long RPGS like Fallout. Plus it’s important for a writer to stay healthy, stay energetic, and get out and experience life. Some writers are natural introverts, but the best subject material is found in every day experiences.
8. What's the biggest challenge of writing a novel? Drafting? Editing?
For me, editing. Drafting and creation are fun. Writing the first draft is mostly fun. Editing feels more like work, but fulfilling work. There’s no greater high than reading an awesome scene and blowing yourself away, then realizing, “Wow, I wrote that.” That being said, part of editing is finding the wisdom to cut those potentially great scenes that bog down pace or repeat information the reader already knows. The cutting part can be especially challenging, but in the end it’s all worth it.
Thanks to Joel for answering my questions I really appreciate it! And thank you to Oftomes publishing for giving me the opportunity to do the interview!