Today is a big day for me! It’s my first author interview! As a part of my Book Scents business, I offer a program that is specific to authors called The Writer’s Block™. And with that some of my author’s conduct an interview with me and I get to share it with all of you!
My inaugural interview is with Aedan Brynes, author of Through the Oracle’s Mist, the first book in the Vengelys Series. I am so impressed with Aedan and his writing and I hope you enjoy his interview!
Hi, Aedan! Thank you so much for doing this interview. My first question is about how you got into writing. Did you always want to be a writer?
Thanks Nalana. Firstly, THANK YOU for the amazing creation of the ‘Timeless’scent…it completely exceeded my expectations and everyone I know loves it and agrees it captures the tale perfectly! As for writing, I’ve always written. I can’t say it was a decision to become a writer, it’s been something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. It is a relaxing thing for me when I’m not under a deadline or feeling pressure to reach a word count.
Tell me about your writing process and how you developed the story for Through the Oracle’s Mist.
The back tale behind Oracle actually came about as filler for something else I was doing and as it developed it just became too big. Too big, too different, and too far-fetched to continue being filler, it was and has become something so much larger it had to stand on its own…and The Vengelys series is the result. As for developing it, that was easy, sort of. I am a huge history buff, so the research phase of Oracle was fun. I got to plod through history and pick pieces that intrigued and interested me. There are so many opportunities for the series beyond Oracle in the annuls of time if I take it that route down the line.
My writing process is bizarre, even to me. I literally tell myself the story over and over again and decide what comes next by asking myself, “And then what?” or “So what, what difference did that make?” I have found that asking myself questions about the outcomes of decisions or actions moves the story forward for me, unless I give myself two consequences, in which case it could be awhile as I figure out which ultimate end I like better and which story line I’m prepared to toss to the recycle bin. Once I am happy with the story I’ve created I start writing, which is usually pretty fast, but can still derail. After that, ideally I toss it on the shelf for a few weeks to a few months to breathe and try not to think about it so I can edit and review it with fresh eyes. A couple passes through for detail and fleshing out of things, some input from beta readers and a final pass for punctuation and grammar and I’m done.
If I’ve done my job, the editing calls then are minor, and for Oracle that held true. I had very few calls on Oracle from the actual editor and they were more word choices, phrases, and to add two chapters than to wipe out passages or other hard edits. To me, that means the process I have works for me. For others? I have no idea if it would be a viable option.
The story is told from both Tynan and Cyrenna’s point’s view. Was one character’s voice easier or more challenging to write than the other?
For this particular story, no there wasn’t really a challenge with hearing one voice over another or others. I like the disparity between the voices and the points of view in the stories I write. To me, it makes the story real as we experience first-hand what we all already know to be true, there are different sides to every situation depending on your vantage point. For example, in the Shogun era passages, the differences between what Tynan is seeing and thinking and what Cyrenna do were so fun to write. When she is rescued from Asmodai and has her eyes shut tight, her perspective was auditory or tactile, but not visual and the difference was interesting to me to think through what she would think was happening when Tynan was mouthing words or what she would think about the fight happening outside the trunk where she cannot see.
Perspective is everything, and in this story, writing from both perspectives I think made the story interesting as the scene reset and you saw it from a different point of view. The pond and cliffs in the Taklemakan are another place in the story that the differences between the two were so significant, but also necessary. Her joy, his fear, her resolution, his anguish…we get to see them not as the immortal forces that we met them as, but as fallible, fragile and mortal.
The only part that was truly ‘easy’ to write, and I think it was because I was consumed in the moment as I wrote it, was Tynan sitting on the rock by the reeds with the nebula stone, completely lost on how long he had been there. It was the first time we really saw him fall or falter and it was complete devastation and loss of motion, direction, and focus. The bigger they are you know. That passage in print stands as it did the first time it was written, it just came out as it needed to be.
What’s next for the Vengelys series?
Next for The Vengelys series is Warrior’s Watchtower which should be out this fall. WW has been a huge challenge as it picks up from two points in Oracle. First, it picks up the story from the portal flare and what happens/happened for those left behind. Second, it picks up from the end of Oracle with what happens next. The dual timelines have been exceptionally hard for me to balance out and show without crossing over to interfere with one another, but also to bring them together in the tale to move the series forward to book III – Kingdoms Fall which is set for 2015.
Right now for The Vengelys Series there are a couple of things I’m excited about. First, Through the Oracle’s Mist is a finalist in a cover contest with bookgoodies. I would appreciate BIG TIME if everyone reading this could take a minute and follow this link, like the post with the cover for Oracle, comment, and share/tweet/or pin the page from the links on the page to cast a vote for Oracle. Oracle has been in several contests so far and this is the first time we’ve made the finals, so I’m very excited.
Second, with the release of Watchtower coming soon, the plans are underway for a book launch and more fun swag. (I’m fairly certain another Book Scents candle is also planned for the book, the Vengelys, or the series…) Then it’s back to work to get Kingdoms done and ready to go out and try to plan the series beyond that point. There is no idle time for me.
When I was first introduced to your book, it was through your street team. How did your team evolve and what impact have they had on your experience as a writer?
There were three people from day one who have been with me/behind me/pushing me and who went with me when I went to pitch the book to agents and publishers. From that group of three, the rest have appeared seemingly out of nowhere…great fans of the story that wanted to help and jumped on the cart to make it happen. The influence and excitement of the ‘Ninjas’ as they have dubbed themselves, is that they keep me sane. There are infinite responsibilities to writing that really end up taking away the time to write.
Without this group of incredible people, I would be lost. They have helped create images, trailers, find promotion opportunities, research and develop swag/promotion ideas -like the Book Scents candles, they go to events and pass out goodies to places I can’t get to, or to ones they are attending that sometimes I haven’t even heard about. They do all of that and keep me up to date on what’s happening in my world.
For example, the cover contest I mentioned? One of them entered me and another one let me know we had made the finals because I have been trying to stay offline to get the writing done except for a quick pop in here and there. Juggling everything that is happening is a huge task. I am not so big that I can balance financially on the book sales so I still work elsewhere full time and have a family as well…the balancing act is precarious. Thanks to this team of volunteers, I don’t have to do it myself. I am incredibly fortunate.
((Joyce, Terri, Lynn, Malissa, Karri, Joni, D2, Ab – you’re my heroes.))
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
You know, for quite a few interviews along the way I’ve reposted a rather long winded thing from an early interview that I whole-heartedly believed and believe still was and is my best advice to aspirings…but here’s the thing, it sums up pretty simply and this is the deal with writing:
To be an author- find your voice, find the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it and then DO IT. Don’t take “no.” Don’t give time to the harpies or let the nay-sayers distract you. Put your butt in the chair and the words on the page and tell your story. Being a ‘best-seller’ isn’t what makes you an author and if best seller is the only thing you want, then you better write a damn good story. Otherwise, to be an author, to be a writer…you have to write. Writing is an action that requires time, effort, and commitment. You want to be a writer? You want to call yourself an author? Sit down, get offline and Do it.
Finally, as a person who is inspired by books, I’m curious what books/authors have inspired you?
It amuses me to report that the writers who inspire me most are the ones who write things I cannot find the voice to write. I love John Grisham for his ability to spin a plot twist I never see coming. I thoroughly enjoy Nelson DeMille for his blending of history into his fiction that draws me in every time. I enjoy the racing heart that I have to read Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. And, I am saddened that there will be no future Tom Clancy books to come and thus treasure my collection that much more for its completion on my shelf. I love the world that JK Rowling created in the Harry Potter series and I hope that Amaranth one day is as viable and real to people as Hogwarts has become for some, myself included. There are more greats than I can list, but these are a few of the writers that motivate me to dream, and to write.
Thank you, Aedan, for taking the time to tell us more about you. It was a pleasure to interview you and to read Through the Oracle’s Mist.
Thanks so much for having me here, and again for your amazing creation of ‘Timeless’.
Want to see more! Check out these videos for Through the Oracle’s Mist and the next book in the Vengelys series, Warrior’s Watchtower.