Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have author Annabelle Jay here today talking about writing, YA fiction and her latest in the Sun Dragon series, Caden’s Comet. Welcome, Annabelle!
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview
with Annabelle Jay
How much of yourself goes into a character?
I always find this to be a really interesting question, though I’m not very good at answering it. The truth is, I often don’t know how much of myself goes into every character—I think that in some ways my characters all share something with me, and yet at the same time, they’re all very much their own people. Either way, I don’t do it intentionally. Using Caden’s Comet: Book Four in The Sun Dragon Series as an example, I’ve never thought of the main character, Grian, as similar to myself, but when I think about it, I used to have a very defined view of what “true love” meant—that it had to be like the movies—and Grian has to grapple with a prophesy for his own true love that doesn’t work out as he planned. And many of the other characters have shared traits with me—Allanah in Book One, for example, is obsessed with fantasy novels, as am I, and Princess Nimue in Book Three has my love of feminine material objects. So I guess at our emotional cores we’re similar in at least one way, though I’m never consciously writing myself or my own experience. As a side note, I almost never write nonfiction because I prefer to stay away from portraying actual events from my own life.
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
My style of research is typically “as you go.” I write until I come across something, some fact or detail, that I don’t know—then I research it. For example, I knew almost nothing about Merlin’s backstory and the other characters in his life beyond what I’d seen in movies and shows until I retold Merlin in Merlin’s Moon: Book Two in the Sun Dragon Series. By the end of the book, I’d learned a lot! Even in that situation, though, I used the research as a jumping off point to completely change Merlin’s story to fit my own.
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up?
Absolutely. I still love young adult fantasy the most, and it’s almost all of what I write. I especially love Patricia Wrede’s novels, and I see a lot of her inspiration in my dragon books.
How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?
One thing that I never thought about until I started writing YA books with LGBTQIA+ characters was how teens were actually going to get my books. Then I quickly came to realize that most of them prefer hiding their reading choices from their parents—especially when the teen themselves is LGBTQIA and hasn’t come out yet—which is a decision that ebooks allow for. It’s hard for teens to hide a print book from judgmental parents, but it’s much easier to hide an ebook. It makes me really sad that anyone would need to do that, but it makes me very grateful for the ebook platform.
How do you choose your covers?
I am so lucky to have an amazing cover artist, Stef Masciandaro, who does all of my Sun Dragon covers. She is a designer Harmony Ink assigned to me when I first started publishing the series, and I’ve requested her every time since! She somehow takes my ideas for covers and makes them into exactly what I had in mind—only ten times more amazing. I also love that all of the books have the same color scheme for the spine and back, but each front cover dragon is completely unique.
What’s next for you as an author?
Just in the last few weeks I signed contracts for two new books with Harmony Ink—one science fiction novel about cloning and one ebook that’s a dystopia. Of course, like all my books, they have LGBTQIA protagonists. I’m thrilled to have future projects with Harmony Ink once the fifth Sun Dragon book, Luminosity, comes out this January.
Back Cover Blurb
Long ago, in the days before King Roland, the four dragon kingdoms—Ice, Sun, Earth, and Bone—battled for dominion over the bountiful planet Earth. Prince Grian, a young dragon, hid aboard a Sun Dragon ship, traveled to Earth, and met Caden, an Earth Dragon who’d run away from his village. Despite falling in love, destiny’s plans for them turned cruel, and both perished in the war.
The Artists who created the universe could not let this tragic loss of true love go unpunished. They wiped out the race of Sun Dragons, exiled the Bone Dragons to Draman, and banished the Ice Dragons to the North Pole, safely away from the Earth Dragons. Only the rebirth of Grian and Caden could break the curse. One day, the return of their love would usher in an age of peace and prosperity for all dragons.
But when Prince Grian is reborn, he finds reuniting with his soulmate on Earth will be no easy feat. As he searches for his lost love, the Earth Dragon Protection Society, or EDPS, searches for him, ready to kill him when they find him. If Grian can elude the EDPS, he might find that the true love he once had isn’t guaranteed to bloom a second time.
Cover Artist: Stef Masciandaro
About the Author
If there’s one thing author Annabelle Jay believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.
A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who is constantly trying to escape; Stevie, the crested gecko that climbs glass with the hairs on its toes; and Luigi, the green tree python that lives at the foot of her bed despite her best efforts to talk her partner out of the idea.
During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.
Author’s Website: www.annabellejay.com
Publisher’s book page: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/cadens-comet-by-annabelle-jay-483-b
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14191901.Annabelle_Jay
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Annabelle-Jay-376249719245415