Friday, May 25, 2012

The Boy who Lit up the Sky by J. Naomi Ay: Interview

After a thousand years of war, the Mishnese and Karupta have made peace by wedding the Mishnese Princess Royal to the Karupta Crown Prince. Their son whose birth was foretold ten centuries ago is destined to rule the entire planet and end the wars forever. But the Princess and the baby have died during childbirth or so it was said. In the meantime, a strange half-breed infant boy is left at an orphanage with a purse full of gold coins. The Boy who Lit up the Sky follows the early years of Senya from the streets of Old Mishnah, to the Palace of Mishnah and from there to Karuptani where he is taught to live off the land and fight for that which is his. Along the way, he finds the Human girl who unbeknownst to her, shares his important destiny.

How did you start your writing career? 

Did it start?  I don’t know.  What happened was I had this story in my head.  Whenever I got bored or stressed, I would sit down at my computer and start typing it out.  It was escapist entertainment for me.  It was a way to deal with frustrations in my life, things I had no control over.  Over the course of twenty plus years, it grew and changed and evolved into this monstrosity that all told was more than 350,000 words.  It hid in the dark recesses of My Document files from computer to computer until finally, this year, I discovered KDP and decided to let it see the light of day, just for fun.  I broke it up into 5 complete novels at about 70K words each so that is how I ended up with the 5 part series, The Two Moons of Rehnor.

What was your first sale as an author? 

In February this year, I put up The Boy who Lit up the Sky on Amazon and someone actually bought it.  Wow!  That was so cool!  Then someone returned it.  You mean, I had to edit it too?  So, over the next month, I edited, re-edited and got an editor on board as well and still I am catching edits every time I look at it.  Anyway, since Feb, I’ve put up the first 4 in the series, did a better job of editing (I hope) and am working on getting#5 up by June.  I’m thrilled with the way they are selling and the reviews that are coming in on them.  I told myself, I wouldn’t care what anyone thought, I wrote this for me and if somebody else likes it, that’s a bonus.  It’s hard not to care though.  In fact, as I was going through, prepping the rest of the series, I found myself tweaking things because I thought it should be less political, less controversial, more mainstream.  A friend told me absolutely not to do that and he was right.  My voice, my opinions are what make the stories what they are.

How do you describe your writing style?

Everything is done in first person narratives which I guess is rather unique.  Therefore, I would describe my style as totally different.  The whole series revolves around the main character, Senya, a boy who was created to be king of the planet Rehnor.  Senya is, shall we say, multi-featured?  He definitely has paranormal elements to him.  His story is told by the very normal people around him and weaves in their own life stories as well.  I did this because I have a relatively short attention span and if I started to get bored with one person’s narrative or perspective, I could easily switch characters.  Nobody really has a bit part in this play and unless I kill them off, they’ll show up again later in the series.  I guess that was the neat thing about writing it as one giant book.  I think it flows really well from beginning to end.

Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?

I absolutely love to hear from readers, especially when they like the books.  I got an email just yesterday from a reader saying that she had to put down Book 2 because she was laughing so hard during a particular scene.  She had tears streaming down her face and couldn’t see the page anymore.  There are some characters and circumstances which I agree are terribly funny.  I’ll be reading through them myself and just cracking up.  Is that worrisome, do you think, when I crack myself up?  I also love to discuss the characters as if they were really alive.  If people respond to the characters in a certain way, then I know I have developed them with strong enough personalities and back stories that they are interesting.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

Yes, because when I first unearthed the novel and put book 1 up on Amazon, I had no idea if it was any good or not.  If it was no good, I was seriously afraid someone would think I was mental for imagining all these people and places.  I didn’t even tell my husband or kids.  After the first reviews started coming in, after some friends read it, I came clean to my family and let my husband read it.  Surprisingly, he liked it.  Surprisingly, other men like it too even though I thought it would appeal more to women.  Surprisingly, even those who typically don’t like scifi or fantasy or paranormal enjoy it probably because other than Senya being weird, the other characters are all normal people.  My pen name is just a shortened version of my real name.  I’ll give you a hint, my middle name is Naomi..

What would we find under your bed? 

My Pomeranian.  In fact, he’s hiding there right now as we speak.

Naomi lives in the north Olympic Peninsula and is mom to 3 kids and a Pomeranian. Naomi has always been a fan of historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. When not dreaming of space adventures, Naomi works in the renewable energy business and spends time out on the water.

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Cheryl Norman said...

I so indentify with you! I get stories in my head I simply must write. No choice! And I have a poodle who, like your Pomeranian, is my baby. Very interesting interview.

Sandra Tyler said...
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Kara D. said...

Great interview. Hearing good things about this book.

Suz said...

Thanks for this amazing giveaway! This book sounds great and I would love to win it!

Suz Reads

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I write stories in my head when riding behind my husband on the motorcycle. Now if I could just remember them afterwards.