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Monday 2 November 2015

ℚ♫ Children of Lightning [0.5] - Annie K Wong

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Children of Lightning (, Annie K Wong, 143 pages), a Fantasy, prequel to a forthcoming series.

Synopsis | Teaser | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A warm welcome to Annie K Wong; thank you for joining us today.

Here at BooksChatter we love music, so Annie  has shared with us her music playlist for Children of Lightning - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Children of Lightning?

"Before I wrote Children of Lightning, I spent a couple years drafting the first book in a fantasy series about a young hero rising against an ancient and powerful monster who vows to destroy her family and the world. After I finished the manuscript, however, I became curious about this monster, where she came from and how she became so full of vengeance. Even though she is the villain, I found it unjust to the character to simply bring her out to be defeated. She needed her own story.

People often overlook the importance of the villain in a story, especially in the fantasy genre. Without the villain initiating the attack, there will be no reason for defense, for heroic deeds. For this reason, the villain gives birth to the hero, and a well-rounded villain is more interesting, more challenging. The more we know about a monster, the less monstrous s/he becomes, and yet, because of who she is, she continues to be threatening. The hero’s battle against this evil force will be more complex and in the end, more rewarding. That is why I decide to write an origin story for the villain in my book series, Writhen Hollow - the result of which is Children of Lightning."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"In Matikki, the mythical land where the story takes place, a river of lava runs through it. There is also the dreadful region called The Shadowlands which is riddled with volcanoes. I think that says a lot about my hot-blooded-ness. :-)  Thankfully, I am a Gemini, so every side of my personality has an opposing side. That may explain why the characters in the story display human and beastly characteristics in their physical appearance."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Children of Lightning - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Thank you for complimenting on the book cover. Coming up with that design was a rather long and difficult process. I started by going through the fantasy ebook titles in Amazon and looked for the covers that I liked. This process led me to Michael Gauss, and his online gallery at convinced me that he was the artist I wanted to work with.

Michael needed direction from me on the design concept for the cover, and I struggled over the style I wanted for my book. Should it be the traditional illustration of a main character or scene along the lines of the Harry Porter series? Or should it look more modern and abstract with the story theme represented by a symbol like those for Twilight or The Hunger Games? I went with the latter and chose a pendant from my story which represented enslavement and betrayal. Michael sent me a draft and I saw the limitation of using a pendant as the design’s focus. The draft cover looks like any other books with a round icon at the centre.

Instead of focusing on the story plot and themes, I studied the visual motifs of this magical world I had created. As mentioned before, the mythical land of Matikki bulges with volcanoes and rips with lava running through it like blood vessels. Lava, with its infinite morphing capabilities, can be molded into shapes suggestive of the story’s plot or theme. Michael turned my idea into a picture and gave us a lava slope with a hint of a snake under the foreboding moonlight. This captivating image becomes the cover of Children of Lightning."
Why should we read Children of Lightning and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"Children of Lightning offers a brand new reading experience by first presenting the journey of the villain. As I have said earlier, the villain drives the story, especially in the fantasy genre. It may not be as uplifting as the standard hero’s journey, but it should be no less interesting. After all, it is easy to understand the desire or the need to fight those who threaten our lives. Choosing a path of eternal damnation is a decision that no one wants to make. The “why” behind this decision is an intriguing question.

Our hero will show up later on in the book series. To understand how tough her fight will be against her opponent, the reader deserves to first get acquainted with our villain, Writhren Hollow."
Who would you recommend Children of Lightning to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"I believe the book is suitable for anyone over 14. Since this is a villain’s journey, the protagonist will not be likeable all the time. If I must venture a comparison, it will be similar to certain parts of Game of Thrones when the “good guys” get killed, and the evil ones triumph. It is not pleasant, but it makes the story more complex, more real. Readers expecting a hero’s journey will likely find this book disappointing. Those looking for a brand new world and characters making dark, difficult choices should give Children of Lightning a try."
If you could / wished to turn Children of Lightning and the series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I think Eva Green would make a great Writhren Hollow, and this picture taken by Google of the Grand Canyon reminds me of Gast Valley, the home of the Hollows.

This picture of Talbachik, Russia screams The Shadowlands in Matikki for me.

Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and Julie Taymor (Across the Universe) are two of my favourite directors, and their movie versions of Children of Lightning should be worth-watching."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I read both literary and fantasy novels, but I am a fantasy writer. There aren’t many things that can beat magic and dragons. "
What is your writing process?
"Writing satisfies my wanderlust by allowing me to journey into imaginary worlds, and I plan my story like I plan a trip. The plot summary is the equivalent of a trip itinerary and I prefer it to be as detailed as possible. When I create a world from thin air, it is important to gather as much info as possible. The knowledge gives me confidence to “roam” once I start exploring this foreign storyland as I write. The fun comes from all the minute and exciting features about a location or a character that I uncover while fleshing out each scene. It’s like discovering an interesting corner store while visiting a foreign country.

When the whole story is drafted, the revision process begins. Like parenting a child, it can go on forever. :-)"
What is in store next?
"Children of Lightning ends with Writhren Hollow’s rise to power. In the next book, I plan to describe her downfall and how she might survive it. Villains, like heroes, are first and foremost, survivors."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I like strange and charming things. Over the years, I have collected quite a number of Dunnys (big and small). They are in storage now, so I am unable to take pictures with them.

Here is a picture of a regular sized Dunny (3” tall)

Here is an old picture of me taken with a pair of 8” tall Dunnys called Geisha and Shogun. I was lucky enough to receive them as birthday gifts."

I'd never seen them before.  They're cute :-)

Children of Lightning - available NOW!

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from Smashwords

1 comment:

Giselle said...

Omg those Dunnys are so cute! I love them! I'd never seen that before either! :) Great interview, ladies!