Wednesday, April 18, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, SARA JO EASTON

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF "THE ZARDER" SARA JO EASTON

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Hi Sara, thank you so much for allowing us to interview you. You began writing in the 8th grade. Do you still have any of the stories you wrote then?

Thank you for inviting me here!

I still have a very rough draft of what eventually became “The Zarder”. I look at it for laughs sometimes, because one of the characters is the wrong gender!

I wanted to have a balance of male and female Onizards in charge, since I wanted to be fair and equal, but one of the “guys” was overprotective of his “friend” to the point where I knew there was something more there. Leyrkan Mekanni isn’t one of my gay characters, so that meant “Lord” Delsenni was really a girl! The more I worked on “The Zarder”, the more I kicked myself for not figuring out the proper gender sooner.

Tell us more about your current novel, "The Zarder" and the inspiration behind that.

Sadly, I can say that part of the inspiration was boredom in math class. I started drawing a dragon, but randomly added some horns and hair to the top of his head when I didn’t like the way it looked as a normal dragon. Then, I started pondering what this strange creature was, and started doodling him some friends while I decided to call him an Onizard.

I’d read plenty of books with dragons being either completely good or completely evil, but I wanted a creature that was more human in its morality scale. I started to think of how good versus evil would be different for Onizards, and the idea for their story started to form in my head.

Then the bell rang, and I had to wait until lunch to work on the Onizards again.

Who are some of your inspirations in the literary world?

As far as dragon stories are concerned, my favorite author is Anne McCaffrey. She changed science fiction with her novels, and the Dragonriders of Pern series is a must-read.

I’d be a poor fantasy fan indeed if I didn’t mention Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” on a top-dragon list. He’s got the stereotypical flame-breathing and bed of treasure, but he also has intelligence mixed in with his arrogance. It’s not just his power, but his mind that makes him such a good villain.

Dragons are fascinating creatures. After all, it was a dragon that proved to be the only real threat to Beowulf. When writing, I tried to bring some of my favorite elements of the myths while creating my own.

Other than science fiction and fantasy what are some of the other genres that interest you?

I have a soft spot for historical romance. Sure, the plots can sometimes be cheesy, but I enjoy finding a story where the author is having fun with their research. Sometimes, though, it seems that the author is having too much fun with certain intimate details, and that can be embarrassing to read.

Do you have ideas for your next novel and if so when can we expect to see more from you?

“The Speed of Wind”, the darker sequel to “The Zarder”, came out on March 15. It’s one part coming of age story, and another part psychological drama. Bryn from “The Zarder” and his Bond Xoltorble are on a mission to rescue three hostages from the former Fire Queen. The Fire Queen is on a mission to make Lord Idenno deny his true love. One of these missions is doomed to failure from the start.

There is at least one more Onizard novel left. It’s tentatively titled “The Heirs of Senbralni” and will be out in late August/early September. Without giving too much away while I’m still revising, I can say empathically that the events from “The Speed of Wind” will have a major, life-changing effect on the youngest Zarder and her Bond.

What exactly is an Onizard?

An Onizard is a dragon-like creature with three horns, white hair on their head, and telepathic speech. When they are in egg, they develop elemental powers that determine what their appearance and their job in life will be, and they call themselves the Children of that element. Some of the powers, like those of the Children of Water, Fire, and Wind, are fairly obvious. The Children of Earth can heal with their touch, which is a valuable skill in a kingdom of large dragon-like creatures who aren’t always watching where they are going.

The four Children of Light are the only Onizards not born with their powers; they are born as a regular Onizard and become a Child of Light when the previous Child of Light dies. Children of Light are the true rulers of the Onizards because they can sense the emotions of everyone around them. This may sound like a cool power to have, but I do not envy the Child of Light who has to give a public speech while sensing just how boring they are!

Just how insane are your two cats and are you an avid animal lover?

The older of the two cats had a habit of jumping (with her claws out!) onto the crotch of a man she didn’t like. Her response when I caught her was a wide-eyed outburst of “M-uh oh!”

My cat can meow “Uh oh.” This is crazy to write, and I can’t prove it happened because the only witness was the aforementioned man, who I don’t speak to anymore (let’s just say the cat knew more than I did about him).

When a different cat of mine died, my eldest cat went into a deep depression. She stopped playing and cried whenever I left for work, so I decided to get a second cat to keep her company.

The younger of the two cats latched onto me at the shelter and purred up a storm. She didn’t release me until I started filling out the adoption paperwork. She’s an incredibly sweet cat, but she believes crouching down in the middle of the stairwell makes her invisible. She also believes that I am her mother, to the point where she once tried nursing on my hair!

I love all kinds of animals, but I am definitely limiting it to two cats! With these two around, I can already say that I’m a crazy cat lady, because I have crazy cats.

What are some of your all-time favorite books that you've ever read?

Apart from my previously mentioned literary inspirations, my favorite books include “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli and “Return of the King” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, I mentioned Tolkien twice; “Return of the King” is just that good.

Do you have any advice you'd care to share with other authors?

I’m not the one with all the answers, but I can tell you that writing what you love is going to be much more fulfilling than writing what you think other people want to hear. Just make sure it’s grammatically correct.

Please leave us your links so we can get to know more about you and your works!

You can find me at my blog (http://thesandleyr.blogspot.com/) or at my Amazon Author page (amazon.com/author/sarajoeaston). As for my works, you can find "The Zarder" at (www.amazon.com/The-Zarder-ebook/dp/B005U3UFDE/) and "The Speed of Wind" at (www.amazon.com/The-Speed-of-Wind-ebook/dp/B007KFZRW4/)Thanks for taking the time to read!

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