I’ve released the next book following Hero’s Call. Shieldmaiden’s Quest picks up after the battle with Robin and the Thousand heading north to attempt to prevent civil war. To read a sample click the cover.
Erik would give his life to protect King Jaymin. However, when an old enemy shows up with new schemes, that may not be enough.
On Earth, Annie’s voice brought her fame and fortune. In Aerisia, her voice brings her magic, but the cost of that power might mean the destruction of Aerisia itself.
Following the prophesied Artan’s victory over the Dark Powers, the land of Aerisia is finally at rest, until ancient beings, long imprisoned, begin to stir…
Eight years after Annie Richards’ stellar voice and musical talents skyrocketed her from rural Oklahoma to international fame, haunting visions have begun threatening her sanity. While she’s returning to her childhood home to convalesce, creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia. Here, she discovers her musical gifts translate into magical powers—the legacy of a banished race who have been invading her dreams.
Mistrusted by Aerisia’s most powerful factions because of her heritage, Annie finds allies are hard to come by. Supporting her are one Simathe warrior, Cole, who refuses to label her as evil, and one woman willing to stand against anything and anyone to help a friend: the Artan herself. Seizing control of her destiny will mean defying both her ancestors and the Aerisian leaders. Mastering her magic may mean making the greatest sacrifice of all…or risk becoming the reason Aerisia itself is torn apart.
Tell us more about your book.
Aerisian Refrain, my newest book, is the story of a young Native American woman, Annie Richards, whose voice and musical talents have skyrocketed her from a cattle ranch in rural Oklahoma into worldwide fame. However, haunting visions have begun accosting her, making her question her sanity. She’s returning to her childhood home to convalesce when creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. She awakens in a parallel world, Aerisia, where she must not only stay alive, but figure out why she is there and how her musical abilities play into the mystery. Along the way she’ll encounter giants, fairies, immortal warriors, people of the moon, pirates, dragonkind, and more. In the end, she must choose her own destiny, or risk becoming the reason Aerisia itself is torn apart.
Tell us more about yourself. What else have you published?
Well, I’m a homeschooling mom of three boys. I’m a runner—planning to do the Tulsa Run 15k this fall. I’ve done 15ks before, but not this particular one. I’m married to an asphalt plant operator and I literally never know from one day to the next when he’ll be home, because there are no set hours in a job like his. Especially this time of year, in the summer. I’m a writer, of course. So far my published works include a fantasy novella, Amana, my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, several short stories in various anthologies, and now my brand new Beyond the Sunset Lands series.
What inspired you to write your book?
A few things. I enjoyed the male MC, Cole, so much in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy where he was a side character that I wanted to tell his story. Also, in this new series, which is sort of a follow up series to my first Aerisia trilogy, I wanted to take a closer look at some of Aerisia’s unique races and their worlds. Aerisian Refrain delves heavily into the world of Aerisia’s fairies, their mysteries and their magic. Lastly, I wanted to explore a connection between music and magic, so I wove all of these elements into this book.
What are your favorite kinds of stories to read and write?
I love fairytales, historical fiction, anything based on Greek and Roman mythology, anything set in medieval Europe or ancient Rome, and—of course—fantasy in nearly all its genres. What I love about fantasy is that I can take elements from each of these and weave them into my stories.
What is your writing space like?
Up until a few weeks ago I usually wrote sitting cross-legged on my bed with my laptop. However, recently a cousin gave me a beautiful antique wooden desk that was so small it fit perfectly into an unused corner in my bedroom. It’s just big enough to hold the essentials and I love it.
What projects are you currently working on?
Besides releasing Aerisian Refrain, my next project will be a fun Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale called Knight’s Rebirth, coming in time for Christmas 2018! It’s the story of a famous knight, Sir Buckhunter Dornley, who is content to live alone until he meets the charming and outrageous Princess Mercy. When he discovers Mercy lives under a deadly curse, how far will he go to break it?
What question would you ask yourself? Answer that question.
So do you, as an author, ever talk to your characters and do they respond?
Me: I don’t know that I so much as talk to my characters as sit back and observe everything they say and think and do, and then try to guide them in the direction I want them to go. They’re, uh, often pretty resistant, though.
Don’t believe all the hype. Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, a fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in English from American Military University. She now lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily run or workout to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story.
See my review here.
Scavenger Girl – Season of Atchem
Stripped of their birthright and shunned by the people of Ashlund, Una and her family are forced to live on the fringe of society as Scavengers. There is no question that her family’s bond is strong, but the law of the Authority is stronger…and soon it will come to collect her. After all, the family is on borrowed time already.
When a night of torment and truth reveals well kept secrets, Una takes new freedoms – free from the Authority, her family, and possibly her fate. Pulled between the life she’s always known and a world where status and rituals are everything, Una struggles to understand a culture that has rejected all she holds dear. As Atchem comes to an end and she learns who she really is, will Una find the courage to do what it takes to ensure her family’s survival, or will she find the faith to follow her heart?
Author, dreamer, and sworn enemy of Caillou
Jennifer Arntson has a long history of crafting tales that people find unbelievable, but often true. As an observer of human and social development through the ages, a curiosity of faith, and dedication to the underprivileged of the developing world, Jennifer finds her creative outlet in stories and fables. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children, and a mini-farm of otherwise useless animals where the family eagerly caters to their every need.
I read your setting in Scavenger Girl as dystopian, though it doesn’t follow the modern practice of future dystopias. Were you thinking dystopia when you were writing it. What generated the society you created?
I’ve always been drawn to alternative societies, or at least ones that don’t have the benefits of our developments or general advancements. While some people think we behave the way we do because of our collective experience and achievements, I believe our actions are rooted in a more primal-type existence within a given societal structure. I believe that we struggle with the same issues that generations before us wrestled with, and these are the very same themes we will contend with for a millennia. Love, loss, joy, and fear – these basic emotions are timeless and limitless. It doesn’t matter if you have privilege or not. These emotions push us beyond ourselves and either inspire us to be greater than we imagine ourselves to be, or crush us under its unmanageable weight. When writing Scavenger Girl, all I did was change the circumstances. I took away the advantages we have come to know in our own lives, and let the characters survive within a structure of an agrarian, polytheistic theocracy.
The plight of the word ‘dystopian’ is that it paints with a broad brush, but because of our experience with Hollywood’s portrayal, we have been largely led to accept it as a post-apocalyptic or post-nuclear survival story. The definition of dystopian only implies that the world is opposite of perfect, so effectively dystopian means not-perfect. While Scavenger exists within this definition, you won’t find the survivors of war, or the insatiable flesh eating undead. The similarity is that dystopian works create an oppressive framework where characters are unable to pursue their own goals due to the constraints of an all-controlling situation. It could be a government, a superior species, an unnamed enemy, or zombies.
It was my intent to spend a year with a family cut-off from the benefits of living within the accepted social construct of society. Through their eyes, a reader is called to answer pressing questions such as: Is the common life one that should be strived for? What are we sacrificing to fit the status quo, and is it worth it? To explore these questions, the polarity of Scavenger Girl’s world had to be a stark contrast with what we, as the reader, have as an acceptable worldview. That is how Ashlund was formed and Una was born.
This is your first novel you’ve published. How does it feel to see your story in print?
Surreal. It started out as a dream I had one night that I couldn’t shake. To see it transformed into novel is unbelievable! …and it’s kind of awesome to say I did it.
What inspired you to write Scavenger Girl: The Season of Atchem?
This novel would not exist without the combined driving force of my husband and my mom. As I mentioned, it started as a dream and I wrote it down. Soon one page turned into ten, then forty. My mom happened to call and, as usual, she asked what I was doing. I told her and she sounded confused. I offered to send it to her, but not knowing if what I had started was worth finishing, I asked her to tell me if she’d want to read more. Two hours later she called demanding the rest of the story. “I don’t have any more,” I replied. “Then get off the phone and start typing!” Word got to my husband (because honestly, I was a bit embarrassed to tell him I was writing a story that was now over a hundred pages long). He started reading it and encouraged me to finish it. He believed in the work so much that he made sure I had ample writing time, brainstormed ideas, and helped with research when necessary. When people close to us found out what I was doing, they wanted a copy too. Family and friends started discussing it like a ‘real’ book and requests for copies of my work started trickling in. Soon, we had a story that had a life, and following of its own.
What are your favorite kinds of stories to read and write?
I love stories that give a good book-hangover. These are usually books that make me think about the characters long after the last page is read. I don’t really have a particular genre of choice, which is probably why Scavenger Girl doesn’t fit nicely into any one category.
What is your writing space like?
Ha! Any space is a writing space. I’ve written on the floor next to my kids as they took their bath, in my van while my kids were at camp, and at the kitchen table. I’ve worn out computer keyboards at my desk, the kitchen island, and kicked back on the recliner. I’ve written during my lunch hour, commute time, and nights when I should have been sleeping. Every opportunity that provides a flat surface for my laptop has been a writing space.
What projects are you currently working on?
Too many! The remaining four books of the Scavenger Girl Series are complete and are in various stages of editing. I’m finishing up the final edits to book two of the series, Scavenger Girl – Season of Talium, to get ready for its release in early 2018. Because I love to write, there are a few companion works in progress although they are eagerly awaiting my attention.
What question would you ask yourself? Answer that question.
With all the technology and options for entertainment, why write?
There is a diminishing opportunity to be creative. Most of our world is designed for us. Clothing, movies, hobbies, food, and media are given to us as either ‘acceptable’ or ‘unacceptable.’ Books unlock creative energy for both the author and the reader without the watchful eye of the gatekeepers. Readers can see the words of an author within the pages of a book and build worlds that belong uniquely to them. The relationship between the storyteller and observer coexist simultaneously, with limitless imagination, yet it’s impossible for me to control what you see inside the story I’ve provided. No two experiences are identical. Even if you read the same book twice, your experience is different each time. The only place you will find this sort of magic is in a book. Why write? Because, I have to. I’ve learned to love the discovery of my own mind over a glowing screen. (Ok, I write on a computer, but you know what I mean.)
Download excerpts from the book:
Twitter: (author) @JennArntson
(characters) @Una_Ashlund @Cal_of_Ashlund @Mar_of_Ashlund
Scavenger Girl Season of Atchem ISBN 978-0-9994-133-0-2
Amazon purchase link: goo.gl/zK4yWd
Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight. Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five! If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more
L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series. L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.
L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW
1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him? Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.
2. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing? It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.
3. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work? I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.
4. What do you love the most about writing for young people? Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.
5. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite? Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.
6. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished? Usually about 6 months.
7. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why? I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.
8. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy? Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.
9. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel? I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that.