Hello, Readers and Writers. This year has been full of twists and turns for our family— I imagine many of you could say the same! Plans changed, were adjusted, or were abandoned. 2020 looks very different from what we expected.
However, the limitations of this year have come hand-in-hand with blessings. Our family has had more time at home to spend together. A friend and I have enjoyed processing all sorts of produce from a local co-op. (I’m not sure I ever want to chop 25 lbs of onions again, but I imagine I’ll enjoy them in the winter!) As a teacher, I’ve learned to navigate LOTS of new technology. 2020 has even provided some new chances for writerly professional growth.
Not only did I have the chance to attend my first live Writers’ Conference, another conference that I had considered (but decided I couldn’t manage) went online. Courtesy of Zoom, I was able to attend a fantastic session on fiction writing. Through this session, I “met” fantasy author J. Fries, and found out about her novel, Blood of the Eohim, which I picked up and thoroughly enjoyed. Today, she’s been kind enough to stop by to share her personal path to publication.
First, introductions! I’ll let her handle those herself.
Hi! I’m J. Fries, fantasy writer and library cataloguer, amateur leatherworker, language learner, and drawer. I’m also loyal servant to a German shepherd, crested gecko, and Russian tortoise, who are good enough to put up with me singing badly and speaking to them in other languages.
HA! Yes, I’m pretty sure our cats figure I’m around to serve them—one’s currently using me as a chair, which makes typing exciting…
It sounds like you have a number of fascinating pursuits. Was there anything in particular that inspired you to begin your writing journey?
Books have always been part of my life, but the idea of writing them didn’t come until later, and I had always read mysteries and action/adventure, not fantasy (other than Chronicles of Narnia).
It really started when The Fellowship of the Ring movie came out. Honestly, the film scared me a bit. I hadn’t read the books yet and wasn’t sure what to think of the Orcs, Nazgul, Galadriel. But the hobbits were fun, it had good action scenes, and Elvish was immediately intriguing. Plus, Aragorn. Tolkien is entirely to thank (or blame, depending on how you want to look at it) for my starting language creation and my interest in learning Welsh. Often if I’m in a writing slump, watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy gives the creativity a boost.
More recently, a friend introduced me to anime and manga, which inspired a separate book series. The first draft is nowhere near finished, but it’s good to switch to another world and a different group of characters on occasion.
Eventually, I would like to try writing a cozy mystery series, but it should wait until a few more of the fantasy books are finished.
It sounds like you’ve got plenty of projects and inspiration to keep you busy! Is there anything in particular that you enjoy about writing fantasy?
What I like about writing fantasy could probably take up an entire blog post on its own, but I’ll keep it shorter here. 🙂 There is so much freedom in fantasy. The worlds created by fantasy writers aren’t bound to the same rules as the real one. If I want to make up guidelines for the world’s law enforcement, I can. If the fancy strikes to think up races of talking animals or include dragons and griffins, it isn’t impossible. Making up the spoken languages is fun, too!
Often fantasy also has a sense of age. The characters can have ancient traditions, explore ruins from former kingdoms, recite legends and songs. Their worlds seem bigger in a way.
I enjoy seeing the worlds fantasy writers create—and the ability to create languages is pretty impressive!
As far as Publishing Paths, you chose to publish your first book independently. Is there anything in particular that drew you to that path, and anything in particular that you like about it?
Indie publishing appealed for many reasons. One of the biggest is retaining control of my own content. The characters and stories are important to me, and the idea of someone else owning them and being able to change them doesn’t sit well.
Fair enough! Now that you’ve published your first book, is there anything that you think you would do differently the next time around?
Only that it shouldn’t take seven years to finish like the first one!
HA! Well, as someone who enjoyed your first novel, I’d appreciate that, too! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by today, and thank YOU, Readers, for visiting with us!
J. Fries is online at the following locations:
Her novel, Blood of the Eohim, is available on Amazon—link and blurb below.
“So it is today our blood still calls us back to the light even while keeping us firmly grounded. The blood of the stars, the blood of the earth. The blood of the Eohim.”
The Eohim once ruled a great kingdom full of beauty and light, of sentient creatures and natural wonders unseen in other lands. Then the last wars destroyed the land and forced the Eohim into exile, a people feared, hated—and hunted.
Nat Ardon knows the legends surrounding his mysterious homeland. When those legends come to life, he is pulled into a world of talking beasts, people from the stars, and a secret group who have plans for those with Eohim blood.
Mel Rallano experienced their intentions firsthand. Orphaned and tormented by a dangerous killer, she lives in fear, isolated from everyone she meets, even her childhood friend Nat. Despite her misgivings, the two are ordered to work together, and as they hunt for the man who threatens their lives, Nat and Mel realize their search leads back to the very land their ancestors abandoned.