I was offered an ARC of the book for my honest opinion and review from Future House Publishing.
Lhaurel has sacrificed herself to save her friends. Her path is set upon learning the secrets of the ruthless seven sisters.
Gavin must adapt to the harsh new surroundings. Learning to lead the Rahuli people and unite the former slaves because the Orinai march towards them.
Great fantasy with unique mythology. I loved the metaphors that stayed true to the crafted world. An adventure of politics, magic and power. Vivid imagery and believable characters. Read more
A massive thank you to Kevin L. Nielsen for taking part in my author interviews and thanks to Future House Publishing for allowing me to review Skies.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Many things inspired me to become a writer, though I think I can narrow it down to two specific things. First, I was a voracious reader as a child, even more than I am now simply due to having more time then than I have now. That appetite for the written world led me to finishing off every book in the elementary school library by the second week of sixth grade. That inspired the second specific event that led me to becoming a writer. I approached the school librarian, Jo Wolf, and asked her to buy new books. She said there wasn’t any money in the budget for new books that year. I was crushed, devastated, even horrified. However, Ms. Wolf, being the high class librarian and person that she was, said the single most influential thing in my quest to become a writer, “How about you write your own?” So I did. 13 manuscripts and over a decade later, “Sands” was accepted for publication. And I haven’t stopped writing since.
Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?
I don’t remember the first story I ever read, but I do remember the first story I ever read which made me say “I want to write this kind of book.” It was “Pawn of Prophecy,” by David Eddings. That book started the 5 book series “The Belgariad,” which has shaped much of my understanding of what makes good fantasy. The complexity of the political structures, the depth of the mythology, and the quirky character traits of each of the many characters in the cast showed me that fantasy could be something more than the simply stories I’d read up to that point. It changed the whole course of my future writing career.
I loved the mythology you create for Sharani. Is world building your favourite part about writing fantasy?
Thank you. I very much enjoyed fashioning the mythology and world within the Sharani Series. I do tend to spend the most time on world building when I’m going through my pre-writing process, but it’s not necessarily because I prefer it over other aspects. The world and the characters interact in such a way that they evolve with each other, both at an individual level, and as a cultural phenomenon. The realization that our own world was not flat, or that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around, changed the very nature of reality for the inhabitants upon the planet at the time. In the same way, the world in which a fantasy novel takes place and how the people who live there view it, shapes and colors any narrative being told about it.
Where were you when the idea for the Sharani series came to you?
I was coming home from a writing conference in Provo, UT where I’d had a very unpleasant experience with an editor in a face-to-face pitch session in which I’d participated. I wasn’t in a good place and needed to relax, so I turned on the first Avengers movie and relaxed. When the chitari started coming out of that giant portal in the sky and that eel-thing shows up, I was struck by a thought. How would a world change if they had miniaturized versions of these guys on them? The rest of the story evolved from there.
Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
Haha. Very astute question. I will answer it with “yes.”
Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
I write mostly at the kitchen table. I like having music playing though sometimes I play a movie or an audiobook. I have to have some sort of something going on in my periphery which forces me to focus on the task at hand. It’s a strange little quirk, but I wouldn’t want to leave it all lonely and forsaken, would I? 😉
How long did it take you to write Skies?
Hmm…from when I got serious about writing it to the time the first draft was done was about 76 days. I may have tweaked the outline a little prior to that, but actual writing took about that long.
Lhaurel was my favourite character. Who would you choose to spend the day with and why?
Thank you. I’m glad you could connect with her on some level. Personally, I think if I could spend a day with one of my characters, I’d want to spend it with Evrouin. There’s a depth to his character we haven’t fully seen yet in the series, but he’s a complex, layered individual with a deep, abiding love for his family that often leads him to make bad choices for the right reasons. He interests me.
Did you find any specific challenges in writing the third book from the series and what would you do different next time?
Yes, the third book is hard because there’s two books of canon that came previously. I had to not only agree with everything in those two books, but also answer enough of the lingering questions to help readers feel satisfied with the storyline as a whole. That also had to be balanced with keeping enough information back to want them to move forward with the rest of the series. If I had to do anything differently, I’d probably have given Evrouin a POV chapter, but I am satisfied with how it turned out in the published version.
Give us an interesting fun fact about Skies.
There are a lot of Easter eggs in Skies. Many of the characters are based off people I know or named for people I know. My favourite is the bartender named Lance you meet near the end of the story. He’s based off a gentleman who was kind enough to be my “water lackey” at a convention in February. Also, his wife is in the story. Another fun fact – the map in the beginning of the novel is based off a sketch I drew myself. Which is cool.
Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write and why?
Yes, the final scene with Lhaurel (before the prologue) was hard. For reasons that contain spoilers. Once you’ve read the book (you who are reading this blog interview) you can message me directly and I’ll answer the rest of this question if you’re curious.
What got left out of the final draft?
About 45,000 words
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing up a manuscript that is linked to the Mythica film franchise. I’m doing the official novelization of the first movie in the series, “A Quest for Heroes.” It’s been a new adventure, but a lot of fun as well. If you’re not familiar with it, you can check out the movie here – http://amzn.to/2cAFJvR
—The best way to reach me is either through my website www.kevinlnielsen.com
or via my Facebook Author page – https://www.facebook.com/authorkevinlnielsen.
—You can find my books on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2czy6Jc