Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra's Nest by Fumi Hancock:Interview and Excerpt


How did you start your writing career?

This question always cracks me up whenever I’m being asked. Let me share a story my parents shared with me over 14 years ago. I must have been around 2 years old when this incident happened. Mother always told me that at two while most kids were getting into various things, I had one … it was to write on any paper available at my disposal. My mum told me that it didn’t matter what type of paper it was, I would scribble things on it. At first, it was cute but when I started writing on important documents, they soon did not find it funny. At one point, for almost two weeks, my parents would put me in a room with old newspapers, gave me a marker and told me to go at it until I was tired.  They felt that would help me to calm down a little where writing was concerned. They were wrong! If you asked my parents, they would tell when at the age of 2 was when I started writing something! As for me, I can recall back as far as 6 or 7 years old when I started writing poetry.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Absolutely! I was born in Africa but have lived in the United States of America for over 30 years. A little over six years ago, my father called me up and told me it was time to return home. I’d literally grown up in the US and this was home to me. Though father lived in the US too, he felt it was time to give back to Africa.

This was an important trip for me as I’d not been back for over 23 years!  The trip was equally important because one of my cousins was being crowned a king in one of the provinces and my father felt it was a great opportunity to reconnect with my roots. 

The journey was exhilarating yet filled with anxiety as I did not know what I was going to encounter.  I trusted my father, packed my bags and went back to West Africa with my family. It was the most incredible journey of my life… to witness a King’s coronation… no words could describe the feelings. What was more important was the surprise which awaited me! The community people rallied around me and reminded me of who I was… their princess who had been gone for long and was now back! I took the time to revisit my childhood boarding school and low and behold, all of my experiences at the school came rushing back.

The characters that readers will encounter in the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell are a culmination of my childhood friends as well as “the conjured friends in my head.” These characters have consistently plagued my dream and haunted my mind into bringing them alive. Every year I would return to Africa (with my American Friends) serving the children in the communities through my non-profit organization the Adassa Foundation, I am reminded of the colorful ambiance and the need to share this part of the world with book lovers.

As I began to paint this African adventure on paper, my sons, 17 and 15 ( now 22 and 19) nudged me with their support and their instant enjoyment of the plot.  Every time I would complete a chapter, they wanted more. They wanted to see what would happen to the characters. More importantly, they were intrigued by the description of the African setting, the culture of the people revealed through the different characters and the blended families relayed by the characters. Different characters elicited different emotions as they read alongside other young adults reviewing the story.

While there has been some popular fantasy books like Harry Potter, Amanda Hockings Trylle series and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, with settings in Europe and America, there has not been one to present the other part of the world.  The characters urge me to fill this gap!

I wanted my readers to be transported to a place where they’d never been before. I wanted them to see how other people live in other parts of the world… I wanted them to also see how people like them, who have travelled to live in Africa… how they adjust to the culture and setting.  The characters though reside in Africa come from various parts of the world especially Europe. My sons were very helpful in painting vivid imagery of “the characters in my head.” Bola, my oldest son was inspired to travel across the ocean… and he made renditions of scenes directly from the book: He alongside his younger brother composed and arranged the trailer songs.

Tell us about your current release.

A unique & thrilling African ambiance not familiar to many! Lying gracefully between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, the rolling grassland and fields of crops rising to a lovely sandstone mountain, is Milner Court, Bloemfontein, a suburb nestled in the middle of Free State, South Africa.

The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest magically transports its readers from the rolling hills of Bloemfontein to the beautiful farmlands of Bela-bela South Africa. It is a fantasy-based coming of age story of a rebellious 17 year old teenager who (through no fault of her own) is thrust into an environment ridden with unfamiliar and unsavory demonic activities when admitted into a prep school in South Africa.

As Jewel Cardwell is relentlessly being trailed by an unapologetic family curse, she races against time to find answers before the curse wipes out all of her loved ones. 

In the midst of this demonic war, she becomes entangled in a love triangle between a young rugged-looking Darwin Morton who she grew up with on Milner Court and the very wealthy and popular high school soccer team leader with the silver spoon in his mouth, Eric Broder.

Tell us about your next release.

I am currently finishing up the second in the Grimmlyn Series: The Sorcerer’s Purgatory. The cover reveal can be seen here:

This promises even greater adventures and fantasy. Kaya Darkling, Jewel’s friend and the great sorcerer’s daughter will emerge as a great contender. Watch Out!

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

 I work best when in the stillness of the early mornings… my creative juices thrive around 2.30 am until 7am. After that, I am not sure I would be able to write to save my own life! But seriously, find your rhythm and go for it. Everyone is different. You must find what works for you and stick with it.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Revising and editing the book can be so gruesome because by that time, I would have read the book probably over three times and now overly saturated! However, it is a necessary evil which can’t be avoided.

Where do you research for your books?

Wow! This is a pretty loaded question. Arhh… yes! My trips to Africa truly inspired me to dig further into using it as the setting for my book. Other popular fantasy books like the twilight and Amanda Hocking’s Tryll series have used the US; Harry Potter used certain parts of Europe.  I wanted to bring something even more spectacular and unique. So my research always begins with the location… then I begin to read history books on that area. In this case, I was fortunate to travel to Africa several times within the span of writing the book.

Though many of my characters are not true-bred Africans; The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest truly explored the dynamics in their lifestyles. It also exposes the way they mingle or co-exist with each other. 

In addition, I had to do a lot of research on South Africa as well as other parts of Africa.  I pulled from my pool of experiences while born and raised in West Africa.  All of these provided the framework for my FANTASY novel. I guess as my readers know more about me; they will probably figure that out. I leave that question up for their imagination.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
My family has been very supportive of my writing and they and love it too.  I believe my parents were the first to get the inclination that I could write stories and write them vividly. From get go, they had encouraged me to start publishing my stories. Needless to say, they were the first to purchase The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest ( and even had their friends order copies too. My sons and my husband were my first critics as well as editors of my book. I am indeed grateful that they were involved. I am truly blessed and incredibly fortunate.

Tell us about your family.

A little over 4 years ago, I returned back to West Africa- Nigeria to attend the coronation of a family member! Prior to 2008, I had not been back to my community ~Emure Kingdom in 23 years! The trip was incredible in that it re-aligned me back to my roots as an African Princess! My father is a Prince from this West Africa region which made me an African Princess from the Adumori Royal Family.

Here is a picture of His Royal Majesty, Emmanuel Adebayo, my Royal Father and Princess T A Ogunleye’s brother. What a blessing to come from such a rich heritage. 

Since my reaffirmation, I continue to take my Tennessean friends to my kingdom to help make a difference, in particular with children and their families suffering from immense poverty.


A picture of twins born pre-mature with no incubator…. Thank heavens, they survived! (

What books have most influenced your life?

John Maxwell’s “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” has been and continues to be a source of empowerment for me as I progress in my writing career as well as the leadership role I take in my non-profit organization.  One major quality he mapped out in the book is “The First Impression Can Seal the Deal”. When writing, I am constantly reminded of that. I applied that nugget of wisdom to my first chapter in The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest.  

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Let’s start with the craft itself~ Writing must be a passion and not something we simply want to glorify. We must go in knowing exactly what we are anticipating as our outcome. Do we want to write just to share with family or do we want others outside of our circle of influence to get a wind of it? Do we want to make a career out of this? Once you know what your vision and the expectations for your writing are, then set your eyes like a flint and pursue it. It could be a very long and windy journey but you must be focused; never dissuading but more importantly, PRACTICE YOUR CRAFT ON A DAILY BASIS. Thank heavens for the electronic age that’s changing the fate of many authors. Today, authors have been discovered through Amazon. So, there is hope outside of the traditional publishers.

I love all of my bloggers without whom The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell will not be what it is… We need all of you to showcase our work and the marketing process starts with you all.

What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?

I love to cook using international spices like curry powder. I also love fashion, so I can be found designing and making handbags and purses. Since people have asked me to make them available…. Perhaps I will do that someday… Have Jewel Cardwell my main character have her own line of hand bags & purses…

Who is your favorite author?

The writer who wrote The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rains - Tolkien. I love the way the author have used language to drive the story. I am glad that those who have read my book, the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest say the same about my book. I also love Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. She is also good at using language to detail her characters and location. Pretty neat.



          What would you do, if you knew you’d inherited an ancient curse?

           What would do, if you found out you were racing against time to save yourself
            and your loved ones?

           And what would you do, if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a love
            triangle, amidst the unraveling curse?


When free-spirited and more than a little rebellious, seventeen-year-old Jewel Cardwell gained admission to Grayton Preparatory School, a prestigious, girls-only, top-notch private institution nestled in the South African farmlands of Limpopo, little did she know it would begin a trail of mysterious and unfamiliar events, changing her life forever!

At Grayton prep, a battle line is drawn between ‘good and evil’ especially when there’s a full moon and dark forces swirl and turn up in the form of hideous monsters and frightening demons. With her school fr-enemies, rivalry and treachery become the order of the day and Jewel is forced to question everything she thought she knew as she struggles to stay alive in a dubious place riddled with demonic activity!

Armed with a magical secret from her dying grandmother, she sets a new course in motion. In the middle of this whirlwind of events, she is caught between two boys: Darwin Morton, a lad she's known growing up, and Eric Broder, a soccer team leader with a silver spoon in his mouth. Why her love life has to get interesting now is a question she can't answer!

           "I welcomed death with open arms, closed my eyes and listened as the aircraft made rattling and shaking sounds through the dreary weather. If this was my time to go, I would embrace darkness, as I had nothing else to lose" -- JEWEL CARDWELL.

Will Jewel be able to solve the mystery before evil is unleashed against those she loves?

My weary eyes opened to an ominous sky speckled with dim stars and a huge full moon dappled with unsettling, flaming balls of fire. I was in an unfamiliar setting, an open space surrounded by terrifying, blazing fires, and the humming of a charter aircraft shattered the stillness of the night.
Mum and Darwin hopped out of the car, with me following, and we hastened toward the small aircraft.
“What’s this?” I kept asking, with no answer from Darwin or Mum.
“Are we going on that?” I asked again, ducking a cloud of sand blown from the ground, a result of the blazing fires and rumbling aircraft.
In front of us was a six-foot-tall, dark-skinned man, dressed in a dark blue pilot’s uniform. His eyes showed great anticipation as he struggled to move toward us. No sooner had we closed the distance to the aircraft when we heard the terrifying staccato of gunshots.

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Fumi Hancock is a walking example of how an ordinary person from a shackled life of broken promises and shattered dreams can live a fulfilled destiny. After twenty years of dropping her pen, she picks it right back up again by releasing the first in the Grimmlyn Series: The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest. Though graduated with a postgraduate degree in communication arts, and undergraduate degrees in English studies and nursing, she ascribes her writing to her life experiences, which were many times challenging. According to her, the protagonists and antagonists in her novels often come from the darkest moments of her life—a tribute to the fact that something good can come out of mysterious and difficult circumstances, if we choose to turn our challenges around. Age is merely a number where success is concerned. She also pulls some of her characters from her travels around the world—in particular, exotic Africa—uniquely weaving her tales. Fumi loves to write for young adults, particularly urban fantasy, and paranormal fiction with a touch of romance. She aspires to one day write a mystery/detective novel for the adult audience. But for now, she is content with her young adult audience. With her background in nursing, she gently nurses her unusual characters to life for her readers to enjoy. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Dr. David Hancock, and her two grown sons, Bola and Demola Thompson. She cherishes her two stepdaughters, who reside in Michigan.

Next Few Stops

Monday, January 7
Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Tuesday, January 8
Book reviewed at Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, January 10
Guest blogging at Inside BJ’s Head
Monday, January 14
Book reviewed at Inside BJ’s Head
Wednesday, January 16
Book reviewed at The Phantom Paragrapher

Giveaway Promo:




Pump Up Your Book and Fumi Hancock are teaming up to give you a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour.
This Kindle Fire promotion will run from November 5 – February 15. Winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on February 16, 2013.
Each blogger who participates in THE ADVENTURES OF JEWEL CARDWELL: HYDRA’S NEST’S VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR is eligible to enter and win.
Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.
If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at) What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!
Current Giveaways: 2 Autographed Copy of the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell 2 Autographed rendition of scenes from The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Collector’s Item 3 eBooks: Kindle and /or Nook version


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