Welcome, everyone, to my latest interview. Today we have J. Elizabeth Hill visiting with us. Julie’s second novel, Possession, will be released on 10 September 2013. So grab that favorite beverage or snack, have a seat in your favorite chair, and say “hello” to Julie. We’ll start with a look at the fantastic cover for her new release:
I’m so glad you could join us today, Julie. Could you start by telling us a little something about Possession and how you came up with the idea for this series?
Possession is the second book in the Mirrors of Bershan trilogy. It follows the continuing adventures of Faylanna and Tavis, as they learn secrets about themselves and each other neither ever expected.
The idea for the Mirrors trilogy came from the idea of partnerships, that one person’s magic alone might be incomplete, though still functional. Like many of my story ideas, it started as a what-if along that line. I wanted to explore what sort of implications that might be, but I realized quickly that people would be pairing off fairly young in this world. I didn’t want to tell a story about children, though, so I asked myself why these two people wouldn’t have met and partnered at a more normal age, say 8–10 years old. That was one of the things that defined the story I was telling, that Tavis never went to school for magic and so he and Faylanna couldn’t meet then, when most Magicia find their partners. Instead, they meet when Fay is 19 and Tavis is 20. A big difference from their peers.
That is such an intriguing take on the nature of magic and sets up so many story possibilities. Which leads to my next question. Anyone who follows your blog knows that you are an absolute magnet for characters with story ideas. That would paralyze some writers. How do you manage all of these ideas so that you can take the stories from “spark” to draft to polished publication?
A lot of notes. Honestly, that’s the key. I don’t trust anything to my memory at all. I learned a long time ago to write it all down. I used to carry around a steno pad and write everything in there, but the notes were a mess, and I kept having to hunt through for whatever I half-remembered writing.
Since going digital, things have improved from an organization standpoint. Every story idea has its own document in the notes app on my phone (which syncs to my computers and iPad, so I can work on it anywhere) and every time I think of something for that story, I add it to the bottom. It sounds like chaos and it kind of is within the notes document, but I organize those notes later in the process, which helps develop things on its own.
Given that answer, it’s clear you’re organized when it comes to your stories. But I’m curious if your characters follow suit. Even though this is the second book in a trilogy, did they reveal any surprises that had you rearranging your outline? Or were they well-behaved and willing to stick to the script?
Oh, they still surprised me. I’m a planner, but I also listen to what the story needs and I never say no to a new idea/development, even when in the middle of drafting. In Possession, there were definitely some surprises. Nothing drastic enough to require rearranging the outline, but things I definitely had to fold in. There’s a fabulous argument between Faylanna and Eliar that I hadn’t expected at all and I’m glad I listened. It’s possibly one of my favorite moments in the book.
That’s great to hear. I know some “pantsers” worry that an outline or plan will stifle their creativity. But that’s really not the case. Now, you’ve chosen the independent route for publishing. What made this road more appealing to you than the traditional agent/press path?
I write a lot. Anyone who follows me either on my blog or on Twitter knows that I write what might be an insane amount. I looked at the rate traditional publishing industry usually lets authors of adult fiction publish and I knew I’d be deep into a backlog of books before the first year was finished, one that would never get better. It seemed like going indie was the only way to avoid that.
Interesting twist! We often hear that agents and presses prefer authors with the potential for multiple books. But it sounds like they wouldn’t be able to keep up with you. And now, for our signature fun questions. First, if you could have dinner with one author from any time, who would you choose, where would you take them, and what would you like to ask him or her?
Just one? Well, that’s a nice intimate affair. I’d have to say Anne McCaffrey. I’d ask if she ever found herself with more ideas than she could possibly write and if so, how she dealt with the problem.
You know, I’d bet if you had multiple authors at the table, it might be hard to get a word in. Although, that might be best for those of us who are more comfortable listening than talking…. Anyway, let’s wrap up with my favorite question. If you were stranded on a deserted island with one of your characters from Possession, who would it be and why?
Tavis, definitely. I mean, tall hot guy who knows how to farm, fight with a sword and do magic. He also knows how to listen. I’d be prepared for any eventuality. Did I mention he’s really handsome?
Thanks so much for spending some time with us today, Julie. I’ve been looking forward to Possession since I finished reading Bound.
Interested in learning more about Julie and her works? How about we start with the goodies. You can enter to win signed print copies of both Bound and Possession as part of Julie’s blog tour. There will be 3 winners, each of whom will get both books. Just click on this handy-dandy link to enter.
You can also connect with Julie through:
Twitter – @jlizhill
her Blog - http://jelizabethhill.wordpress.com/
and on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/J-Elizabeth-Hill/345946002103430
I know which book I’ll be adding to my Kindle on 10 September 2013, and I hope you will, too!