Wednesday, October 16, 2019

#MeetTheAuthor #BookSpotlight Fyrian's Fire by @emilyhjeffries #YAFantasy

Today my guest is Emily H. Jeffries. She is a theology teacher and speaker with bachelor's degrees in drama and religious studies from the University of Virginia and a master's in sacred theology from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, where most of her classmates were wizards--that is, friars. She loves wandering through forests and cathedrals, and her hidden magical abilities include improv comedy, evading cardiovascular activity, and singing all of Les Misérables from memory. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, baby daughter, Aussie-doodle, and herbs."

Emily has taken the time to answer some fun questions in a quick interview.

 If you were about to be served your last meal, what would be on your plate?

If I were to set the menu for my last meal, the main dish would have to be crispy quail. And as my side, I'd request a handmade butternut squash ravioli. Since this is my last meal, the heartburn would be worth it! And since we're throwing caution to the wind already, for dessert I'll have a slice of chocolate pecan pie topped with whole fat whipped cream, please and thank you.

If you could time-travel, where would your first stop be?

If I could travel to any time period, my first stop would be Prince Edward Island, the late 1800s. No contest.

What do you collect?

I do not collect many things, but since getting married, I have started to cultivate two habits when I travel. The first is to buy a felt Christmas ornament (usually of a local animal). The second is to buy a hand-painted plate to hang in my kitchen. This is something my well-traveled maternal grandmother always did, and I used to love to listen to her tell the story behind each of the dozens of blue and white plates she had hanging under the crown molding of her little kitchen. I hope to make similar memories with my grandchildren someday.

If someone sent you flowers, they would be a bouquet of what?   

I am a bit of a flower enthusiast, so asking me to assemble my favorite bouquet is both an exciting and overwhelming question! Haha. It depends on my mood and the season, I suppose. But among the most treasured blooms would be yellow roses (like a Rosa Molineux), white anenome, and richly colored dahlias. In fact, a character in my book, Fyrian's Fire, is named Dahly after one of my favorite flowers! Ranunculus and poppies would make the list too okay I'm done.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

While I was writing and editing my second novel, The Midways (unpublished), I kept to a writing schedule inspired by Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe. Wolfe is an eccentric private detective who never leaves his home if he can help it, and keeps to a daily schedule with unwavering constancy. In the afternoons, no matter what is going on, he leaves his office to tend to his orchids for two hours. I thought his afternoon gardening time - 4pm to 6pm - seemed a perfect slot to carve out for my writing. I think the key to the writing hours is that your friends and family are made aware, and you consistently hold that time sacred. Once it became clear that I did not schedule anything between 4 and 6, and didn't answer my phone or emails, I think those close to me started to appreciate that I was taking my writing seriously. Of course, many, many writers carve out a similar time during the early morning. I wish with all my heart that I had that kind of self-discipline, but alas, I am fairly useless until I've had my lunch.

Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

There are so many ways to become a better writer, most of which I'm sure I have not yet learned. But given a typical writer, new to the industry and hoping to publish a novel through the traditional channels, I'd offer a couple of pieces of advice guaranteed to improve her writing. First, be extraordinarily picky about who you allow to offer feedback on your WIP -- and I don't mean friends and family. If you think you are ready to query, give the first pages to professionals who like to read your genre, don't know you from Adam, but have some reason to want you to succeed (I volunteer to be one of those people!). Second, when you get their advice, follow it. You can vent about how they are so wrong and don't know anything about writing with your spouse or in your journal, but then you need to buck up, express your undying gratitude to the person who took the time to improve your stuff, and then implement 90% of their suggestions.

If you were going to cast the hero of your book, what actor would get the part?

Casting the heroine of my debut novel, Fyrian's Fire is very easy! She is all over the Pinterest inspiration page. It would be a teenaged Lily Collins, but super freckly. 

Give us a short pitch for your newest book and tell us why we’re gonna love it

It is a clean YA fantasy adventure, featuring Redwall-esque warrior animals, an enchanted hair tie, and a princess-to-be with a lot to learn about herself and her homeland's past.

When Tess commits a grievous error, siege befalls her land—a siege only Tess’s magic can end.
The week of her wedding, Lady Tessamine Canyon is jilted by her betrothed, Prince Linden. Left utterly humiliated, Tess betrays a tightly guarded secret to an enemy spy—a decision that throws the Dione of Glademont into chaos. Hunted by bloodthirsty mercenaries, Tess flees into the Hinge Forest. There, with the help of a wild owl and a two-hundred-year-old bear, Tess begins to unlock the forgotten mysteries of her people.
Deep in the woods, the spirit of a long-dead dryad awaits the next Thane of a fierce weapon. To Tess’s amazement, it is she who is called to master the weapon’s power and save Glademont from an impending war.
When a surprising turn of events reunites Tess with Linden—the prince who called off their engagement—Tess must swallow her pride and join forces with him. But even if Tess can rescue her people, will that be enough to forgive her treason? Armed with a fiery magic, Tess is forced to make an impossible choice, one that might seal her fate as the next Thane—but forever extinguish any chance at following her heart.


Anonymous said...

Love this. Can't wait to give it a read!

Patricia Preston said...

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the book!