Today I bring you something different from my usual ramblings about life with an ent and two wee-lings. I think it's actually pretty special.
A friend of mine, a blogger, actor, fellow bibliophile, and author is getting set to release a new book next month, the first in a fantasy trilogy for young adults called The Keeper Chronicles: Playing With Fire and he has agreed to let me pick his brain, not once but twice, about his work as a writer. The second half of this interview will be posted during September's ICLW.
So J.R., why don’t you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?
I was born, as so many are, as a baby. From that point on, a variety of events happened which had a variety of consequences and eventually led me to this interview. In the meantime, I grew up in the medium-sized city of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, where I earned my degree in history and met and married my incredible wife, Krista. We then moved to Victoria, BC, where I wrote my first novel, The Lazy Postman, and spent a great deal of my free time onstage, as a theatrical actor and director. In my non-free time, I worked in a plethora of bookstores, which afforded me the opportunity to read an absolutely ridiculous amount of books, as well as meet and work with my friend Mrs. Gamgee, the gracious host of this blog. My wife and I currently live in Melbourne, Australia, where I have been doing more writing, acting, and directing, all while surrounded by people with funny accents.
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The Lazy Postman was an accidental novel. It was meant to be a short story, and then grew out of control until suddenly I had a full book on my hands! The story details two weeks in the life of Jordan Melville, a recent high-school graduate who is, for the first time, living on his own in a new city. Everything is going swimmingly until he realizes that he is receiving all the mail for his entire housing complex and is forced to deliver it to his new neighbours. As he meets them and is introduced to their eccentricities, he discovers that the world outside of his childhood bubble is more complex, and more hilarious, than he'd ever expected. Soon, Jordan is inserting himself into their lives, reading their mail, and getting into situations that make him confront the reality of relationships in all their complicated glory. The Lazy Postman is a book about connecting with people, and all the hysteria, hilarity, and heartache that can result.
Is there anything you can tell us about the new book to whet our appetites?
Ooooh, you're a naughty, naughty girl for asking that! This project has been wrapped up in more secrecy than a J.J. Abrams film! I have released a blurb that will adorn the back jacket of the book, which I will post again here:
Under the guidance and protection of the Keepers, the world of Tranthaea has been at peace for five hundred years. But all of that is about to change...
Callum Swift, a fifteen-year-old pickpocket, and Jingwei Li, a sixteen-year-old environmentalist, are just trying to live their lives as best they can. The challenges of school, work, and awkward relationships are all that they have time for each day, and every night when they go home; Callum to the dirty streets of London and Jingwei to an uncaring foster home in L.A., each of them wonders what it would feel like to be wanted. Until, that is, they discover they may have unexpectedly developed powerful new abilities.
When they are transported to the strange and unfamiliar world of Tranthaea, they have no idea what is expected of them, and even less of an idea of what's in store for them. Tested by shifting allegiances, incredible creatures, and powerful enemies, Jingwei and Callum are asked to defend the world from an unknown attacker with an unknown agenda. But are they able to accept the responsibility, or will their new powers be too much for them to handle? Faced with impossible decisions, Callum and Jingwei are forced to rely upon one another to find the courage they'll need to survive.
I won't be giving to much more away before it's published, but what I can tell you is that over the next couple of weeks I will be releasing some excerpts from the prologues of Playing with Fire on my website (JRVikse.com), so check it out and you'll get a sneak-peek at the two lead characters, Jingwei Li and Callum Swift.
In the meantime, I can say that contained within the pages of this book are some of my favourite characters of those that I have written. Jingwei Li, especially, was a true pleasure to write. She is a very strong, forthright girl, who refuses to take any nonsense from anyone else, and more often than not speaks her mind, often to hilarious effect. She was incredibly freeing to write, and I would often laugh out loud (and still do) at some of the things she says, and the inopportune times she chooses to say them. In one scene, when she is being presented to a person of no small importance, she introduces herself and Callum. The other party notes: "You speak for him. Is he your servant?" Jingwei responds, "Not yet... but we've only just met." I look forward to introducing her to the readers with great anticipation.