Author Interview With Joni Parker

Today I’m delighted to welcome Joni Parker to Me, My Books and I for the second time!

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Although Joni currently lives in Texas, she was born in Chicago, lived in Japan, graduated high school in Phoenix, and got married in New Jersey. Not only was she married to a career Navy sailor, but she also completed 22 years of active duty service in the Navy. After her husband passed away, she returned to the work force until she discovered her love of writing. Her first series, “The Seaward Isle Saga” included 3 books, “The Black Elf of Seaward Isle,” “Tangled Omens,” and “Blood Mission,” as well as a short novella, “The Island Game: The Inside Story of Seaward Isle.” Her latest fantasy novel is called, “Spell Breaker: The Chronicles of Eledon Book One.”

To find out more:

Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter

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Welcome back Joni,

How did you come up with the title for Spell Breaker: The Chronicles of Eledon Book One?

The term ‘Spell Breaker’ came as I rewrote chapter one for the millionth time. It summarized what Alex had done and anticipated what she was going to do in the rest of the story. The Chronicles of Eledon is the name of the series. Eledon is the name of the world created for Elves by the Mentors after they left Earth. There are four books in this series, and I liked the term chronicle to account for each one.

Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?

The cover was designed by my publisher, Teresa Kennedy and her husband, Andrew Earley. As a matter of fact, they’ve designed all of my covers so far. Teresa thought the cover should depict more action and gave me a choice of two. I chose this one because it caught my eye immediately. The color was bright and I thought if it caught my eye, it will catch others as well. They also designed the back cover for the print version and inserted a copy of a map Andrew did from a rough drawing I’d made. Originally, it was blue and green, but since the overall tone of the cover was yellow, he made it into a sepia tone which gave it an antique feel.

map parchment

How do you decide on names for your characters?

Most of the time, names pop in my head as I create a character. Unfortunately, I’ve had several names that were too close to other characters and had to change them. I’ve used baby name lists to help me or I think about the character’s personality or job to come up with a name. Thankfully, the computer lets me switch out names quickly.

Which characters would you like to meet in person and why?

I would love to meet Lord Odin, the leader of the Elves because he seems so wise and yet, he’s approachable. Also, I’d love to meet Olivia Richards, the journalist. She’s really down to earth and a dedicated journalist. It may sound strange that I don’t want to meet my main character Alex, but she’s my alter ego and we’ve already met.

If you had to write it all over again, would you change anything?

No, I worked hard on this story. Over a year ago, I thought it was ready, but another writer read the first two chapters and let me know that it wasn’t. I rewrote it multiple times since then and took classes on editing and writing to help me figure out what was wrong. I’m satisfied with it now.

What do you hope readers will learn from Spell Breaker: The Chronicles of Eledon Book One?

I hope readers will learn that life involves give and take. Alex’s grandmother expects her to be a lady of Eledon, but Alex wants nothing to do with it. Their unwillingness to compromise led to break in their relationship that they couldn’t overcome.

Can you give us any clues about what is going to happen in the next book?

Alex faces false accusations of being the Blue Witch and a spy for the rebels.

Do you think your writing style has changed since your first book?

My writing style has changed considerably from the first book. When I first started, my writing was in a rut, due to lack of use. I did very little creative writing in my adult years and never realized that all my sentences were structurally similar and my vocabulary limited. Now, I use more complex sentences and keep a Thesaurus beside me all the time. Overall, I feel like my writing is more fluid and interesting, but I’m still working on it.

Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?

There are several hazards, mostly related to sitting and staring at the computer screen for long periods of times. My hands get tired from typing, my eyes are strained, and my back hurts. I schedule routine times for exercise to counter it and get up from my computer at least once an hour.

FUN QUESTIONS

Milk, white or dark chocolate?

Milk, not good for those of us lactose intolerant

Listener or talker?

Listener. Let others to the talking.

Laptop, desktop or tablet?

Desktop. I have two and a laptop. I’ve never used a tablet to write.

Early or late?

Early. With my military background, I’m always 15 minutes early.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. I don’t have to sharpen it.

Any last words for your readers?

I hope you enjoy Spell Breaker as much as I did writing it.

Thank you so much for returning to my blog Joni, it was a pleasure to interview you again. I particularly enjoyed reading about the cover and why you chose that design!

Page break Now check out the book:

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After a thousand years, Lady Alexin (Alex) Dumwalt breaks the spell around Seaward Isle, a ring of storms so powerful no one could leave the island.  She joins the exodus of Elves, Dwarves, and mortals to Eledon, the World of the Elves on the other side of the entry point. 

But Alex faces a difficult decision.  Her Water Elf grandmother expects her to stay in Eledon, but Alex was born and raised as a mortal.  Her mixed blood, Elf and mortal, means that she must choose between staying in Eledon or following the other mortals who will soon leave for the mortal world through a special entry point created for them. 

What will she do?”

“Spell Breaker” is currently only available on Amazon. You can get it on Kindle Unlimited for 90 days as a promotion.

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

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Joni Parker – Author Interview

Today I’m delighted to welcome Joni Parker to Me, My Books and I:

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Joni was born in Chicago, Illinois, but left the windy city at the age of 8 with her family and moved to Japan for over four years.  Upon return to the United States, she lived in Phoenix, Arizona where she graduated high school and began college.  Discouraged with college, Joni quit and joined the U.S. Navy where she became a photographer.  After 3 years, she was discharged, got married, and returned to college in that order.  She got her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA before she decided to return to the Navy.  This time, she completed another 19 years and retired with over 22 years of service.   For 3 years thereafter, she traveled the United States in a motorhome with her husband, but when he died unexpectedly, she returned to work.  Then, she got the writing bug and left her job after 7 years to devote more time to her new passion.  She currently lives in Texas.

To find out more:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Hi Joni,

Where did the idea for the Seaward Isle Saga come from?

It started out as a fan book of Lord Of The Rings, but once I finished it, I decided to make it my own and look at publishing it. I thought it would give me something to do when I retired. So, I made a lot of changes—new names, new characters, new setting, etc, but the storyline I had devised remained virtually the same. The setting was a particular challenge because it had to fit the story and yet be different from Middle Earth. I came up with the idea of Seaward Isle, an island made up of survivors of shipwrecks caused by a circle of storms. The island has taken on a life of its own and became the impetus for more books. The first series identifies the problem with the island, the other following series will figure out where it is, how to fix it, and what happens to it.

How did you come up with the titles?

The title of the first book was easy. The main character is Alex, also known as the Black Elf, so the title became “The Black Elf of Seaward Isle.” It covers her early years and how she became the Black Elf. The second book was more challenging. I had initially called it, “The Horseman of Seaward Isle” because he was the reason for Alex’s mission. I changed it to “The Pirate Stronghold” because I thought people might think the book was about an equestrian horseman. After the second round of editing, I came up with “Tangled Omens” when my editor suggested a change to the fortune-telling scene at the beginning. It worked out nicely. The working title for the third book was “The Pirate Elf of Seaward Isle,” but after a major revision, “Blood Mission” surfaced. I really liked it. I would like to add my bonus book to the mix. My editor asked me to write a brief history of Seaward Isle in first person, but I had trouble thinking of a way to do it. At first, I had an Elf, but it led to a dead-end. Then, I came up with the idea of an investigative reporter, and it was titled, “Exclusive Report.” After my editor reviewed it, she suggested that I add a reference to the desert island game that we all play, i.e. if we were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take? When I rewrote it, it became the title, “The Island Game: The Inside Story of Seaward Isle.” Finally, the Seaward Isle Saga is the title for all of the books in this series. I chose the word, “Saga” instead of series—it means the same, but has a different ring to it. The moral of this story is don’t lock yourself into a particular title—you may find a better one.

Who designed the covers and why did you go for those particular designs?

The covers were designed by my editor/publisher. I’m not sure who drew Alex’s face, the main character, but she repeated her face on each cover to show it was a series. I made sure “The Black Elf of Seaward Isle” had a stormy sea, the second cover, “Tangled Omens” had Alex’s card, the Ace of Spades from the fortune-telling scene; for the third cover “Blood Mission,” I asked for a knife with blood dripping off it, and on the bonus book, “The Island Game,” I suggested a typewriter on a sand bar.

Who was your favourite character to write and why?

My favorite character is my main character, Alex. She’s not always easy to write for, but I love her adventurous spirit. The easiest character to write for was Olivia Richards who is the main character in my bonus book and a minor character in “Blood Mission.” Everything about her flowed easily and required little editing. I credit her with improving my writing skills a lot. She helped to free up my writing style.

What makes the Seaward Isle Saga stand out from the crowd?

Not only does it include Elves, Dwarves, Titans, pirates, and mortals, but it also involves time travel. Survivors on the island come from different times and places on Earth. For instance, Olivia comes from 2011, but Alex’s father came from the 1600’s. I even have one family from a different planet.

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

It wasn’t a matter of choice. Fantasy is the only genre that could carry this story.

Which of your books is your favourite and why?

“The Black Elf of Seaward Isle” is my favorite because it was my first.

Do you get emotional when you finish a book?

I did at first. I wrote, “The End” when I finished the first book, but then, I deleted it and continued on to the second. It needed a follow-on. Now, I’m not sure how or when I’m going to end it. I’m enjoying it.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you let them influence your writing?

I do read reviews, and I learn a lot from them. After I self-published my first book, “The Black Elf of Seaward Isle,” I had a professional reviewer point out all the flaws. That’s when I realized I needed an editor. It’s hard to find an editor who will really be tough on you; after all, you’re paying them. Still, that’s what I needed and found one in Teresa Kennedy of http://www.villagegreenpressllc.com. I recently had a series of reviews done that were so motivating I feel reinvigorated.

FUN QUESTIONS

Paperback or eBook?

I still love paperbacks and still have stacks around the house, but I have a Kindle. All my books are currently available only as ebooks, but the print copies are being made.

Hot or cold?

Hot! I’m drawn to hot weather places, like Texas, Arizona, and Florida, and I love hot, spicy foods.

Dogs or cats?

Split, I’ve had both and love both, but I don’t have any right now.

Sweet or savoury?

Unfortunately, sweet. It’s not great for my waistline, and I can no longer use artificial sweeteners.

Morning or night?

Morning. I’ve always been a morning person, even when I was little. My parents didn’t always understand the 4:30 AM wake up calls. Now that I’m retired, I still get up around the same time.

Any last words for your readers?

I do have a book trailer that was made by my editor/publisher. It’s really fabulous. See it here

Thank you so much for being here today Joni, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I particularly enjoyed reading about how you came up with the titles!

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Now check out the book: “Blood Mission”  latest release, published July 6, 2013

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“When the lives of the two most powerful Elves on Seaward Isle are threatened in a plot by the rogue Elf Mellen, Prince Darin of the Water Elves and Lord Odin of the Tree Elves charge Alex, a young female tracker with a Blood Mission—to hunt him down and kill him, or die in the attempt.  Blood Mission puts the fate of the kings and the safety of the inhabitants of Seaward Isle in the hands of a teen-age half-elf warrior.  Can Alex survive her mission long enough to discover her own true destiny?”

Purchase Blood Mission from:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | Barnes and Noble:  future (publisher has been unable to load the book due to Nook software changes).

To purchase the other books in the Seaward Isle Saga click the following links:

The Black Elf of Seaward Isle – Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Tangled Omens – Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

The Island Game:  The Inside Story of Seaward Isle – Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo