by Joni Parker
Publisher: Village Green Press
Publication Date: July 22, 2015
After Lady Alexin (Alex) breaks the spell around Seaward Isle, the inhabitants can leave the island for the first time in a thousand years. At long last, the Elves and Dwarves can return home to Eledon, while the mortals are given the opportunity to stay or leave through a portal to the mortal world. Alex chooses to stay with her Elf family only to be involved in a mission to rid the Elf World of its most notorious criminal, Sawgrass. Alex must eliminate him before he implements his plan to kill her Water Elf family and take over Eledon.
The next morning, Alex retrieved her sword from the armory and hiked to the top of the fortress. The sun peeked over the horizon—its golden hue brightened the dark sky still filled with millions of stars. She took several deep breaths and drew her sword Challenger to admire its shiny blade with stars dancing across it.
After saluting an invisible opponent, Alex began her favorite sword routine called Path-in-the-Forest against imaginary enemies, standing behind unseen trees. Her sword whipped and whooshed through the air as her opponents fell. She paused, panting, taking a reprieve from a particularly good swordsman and leaned against an imaginary tree, holding her sword ready for the next opponent. Silently, she slid her Elfin Blade from its holster on her right thigh and moved it to her left hand. She turned and leapt out from behind the tree with a loud cry, raising her sword above her head, her Elfin Blade poised to block a predicted counterattack.
The Elf servant Eskin shrieked and squeezed her eyes shut. Her hands were clenched in tight fists beside her head, and her body shook.
Alex backed off and inhaled sharply. “Eskin, don’t sneak up on me like that.”
Eskin opened her eyes and placed her hand on her chest, drawing several deep breaths. “I’m sorry, Lady Alexin, but Prince Darin asks that you greet the visitor in the parlor. He’ll be there shortly.”
“What about Lord Odin?”
“He’s gone to see King Pallis.”
“She hasn’t finished dressing.”
“Olivia Richards, the reporter from the King’s Weekly Journal.”
Alex leaned her head back and dropped her arms, groaning. “Not her.”
“Prince Darin said to be very polite and watch what you say.” Eskin clasped her hands in front of her.
“Yeah, right.” Alex slid her sword into its scabbard and flipped the Elfin Blade around, returning it to its holster on her right thigh. Without another word, she strode past Eskin and ran down the five flights of stairs.
Q&A with the Author
- Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in Chicago, Illinois, a long time ago. When I was eight, my family moved to Japan so my dad could fulfill his dream of being a professional golfer. When we returned to the States four years later, we moved to Phoenix, Arizona, a great place of golf. I graduated from Camelback High School and attended Arizona State University for a semester and a half. But I dropped out and joined the Navy. After my first tour, I got out, got married, and went back to college. This time, I graduated with a degree in Accounting and an MBA. A few years later, my husband retired from the Navy and I went back in as an officer. I retired after 22 years of active duty service. My husband and I moved into our motorhome and crisscrossed the United States for a few years until my husband passed away. I went back to work for the federal government and retired again. Now, I devote my time to writing. By the way, I don’t play golf; I like to swim, but I learned from my dad that dreams can come true.
- Where and when did your writing journey begin?
My writing journey only began a few years ago after I’d seen the movie trilogy, “Lord of the Rings.” I kept asking myself, “What if…?” Slowly, a character developed in my head along with a lot of stories. I had to write them down before my head exploded. It took me three months, but I did it. Then I had to figure out what to do with it. I decided to split it into 3 books and publish it. This was my first trilogy, “The Seaward Isle Saga.” The first book was called “The Black Elf of Seaward Isle,” the second “Tangled Omens,” and the third was “Blood Mission.”
- Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
One of my favorite authors is James Rollins. I find his books fascinating because he takes real science and mixes it with a fictional action/adventure story. I can hardly put his books down once I get started. Because of his books, I’ve tried to incorporate some real science into my fantasy stories.
I also enjoy J.K. Rowling because her stories flow with imagination and good characters. I’ve tried to incorporate more magic into my books and give more depth to my characters. It’s not as easy as she makes it.
- What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I’m a morning person and wake up around 5 every day. I exercise and eat breakfast before I sit down at the computer. I sort through emails and social media first before I start on my current project. I take breaks during the day to come up for air and have lunch. I make sure the outside world is still there and go back to work. I usually quit around 4 in the afternoon, have dinner, and watch TV for a while. If nothing’s on, I’m back on the computer again.
- How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
My current novel, “Spell Breaker,” begins a new series, “The Chronicles of Eledon.” The first series, “The Seaward Isle Saga,” set the stage for my character Alex. She’s born on the island, but becomes an orphan at an early age. When her parents are murdered, she vows to avenge their deaths and becomes a soldier to learn how. She learns her lessons well and by the end of the series, she’s a deadly assassin. In the new series, Alex tries to find her place in life, tests her power, and explores her options with the Elves. However, her training as a soldier conflicts with her new life and she has to find a balance somewhere. The question is where and how.
- What do you think sets your novel apart from others currently on the shelves?
There are a few things that set my book apart. First, most of the female protagonists aren’t soldiers, real soldiers. They don’t train to be one and fight only when they have to, and they don’t have any military training that stays with them. Second is the setting. Eledon was created by the Elves’ Mentors as a place for them to go after they left Earth. It’s located at the other end of an entry point (wormhole)—it’s light years away from Earth but close enough the Elves could return if allowed. Third is the mixture of life now with the fantasy life on Seaward Isle. Survivors from shipwrecks show up with modern gadgets, like cell phones and computers.
- Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
My favorite character will always be my main character, Alex. She’s my alter ego. We’ve both faced a lot of confusion about life and what our purpose is. We both use our military training to provide needed structure and discipline. I wouldn’t mind looking more like her—she’s tall and thin and I’m not. But to give this question a little variety, I’ll add another favorite of mine. Olivia Richards is an American journalist who got stranded on Seaward Isle by accident. She’s curious, a little pushy, and dedicated to her profession. I’d like to think of myself in those terms as well, but I don’t think I’m as pushy as she is. I am dedicated to my new profession of writing and I was equally dedicated before when I was in the Navy and later as a civil servant.
- Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
I had a blast writing this book and all of the scenes were fun in one way or the other. One of my favorites is Alex’s first appearance before the Council of Elders. Alex is considered a hero by Lord Odin of the Elves, but his colleagues on the Council don’t see her in quite the same light. She’s not dressed properly and doesn’t act demurely like a woman should. Obviously, she’s not good enough to stand in their presence. The men of the Council are polite but distant; the women are openly hostile. Alex doesn’t know what to think and takes it very personally. The only saving grace was her humorous selection as Keeper of the Keys by the Mentors. Another favorite is Alex’s rescue of Prince Lameer. She jumps into this mission without knowing anything about Lameer, his captors, or the location. Everything is new and strange to her, but she takes one step at a time to bring him home alive.
- What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
I hope readers will consider the consequences of their actions before they do something. Alex didn’t and she makes a hasty decision based on emotion rather than facts.
- What are your hopes for this novel?
I want this novel to be a solid base for the books that follow it. It would be nice if it became a best seller—well, I can always hope.
- What do you have in store next for your readers?
I have three more books in this series. The next book is called “Blue Witch” and it will be ready for publication in July 2016. It will be followed next year by “Gossamer” and then the year after by “Noble Magic.” Please note that titles can change up to actual publication, but so far, I don’t see any need to change them. Thanks to all for reading this interview. I hope you like my books.
About the Author
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Joni left with her family when she was eight and lived for four years in Japan. Upon return to the States, she and her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Camelback High School and attended Arizona State University until she dropped out and joined the Navy. After three years as a Photographer’s Mate, she got out of the Navy, married a career sailor, and returned to college completing a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida. She returned to the Navy as a commissioned officer and retired with over twenty-two years of service. While active duty, she was selected to attend the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and attained a Master of Military Arts and Sciences degree. After her retirement, she traveled the country with her husband in a motorhome until he passed away. Joni returned to the workforce for another seven years and retired again to devote time to her writing. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.
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Trailer for the Seaward Isle Saga: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teYsqOs0yjI&feature=autoplay&list=HL1343068571&playnext=3