I’m so excited to have my good friend and fellow author Ariel Paiement on my blog today. We met on wattpad.com in writing competitions as competitors at first, then when I became a game host, she started coming on my competitions. After that, we learned we both had self published and she was on my launch team for Hunter and Shifter. We used to critique each other’s stories and have become good friends. Now, I am honored to say I am on her launch team for her latest novel, The Bane of Ashkarith.
Let’s get to the interview, shall we?
- So let’s go way back for our first question, to let readers get to know your background a bit. What first inspired you to write?
This is a tough question because I’ve been writing ever since I was able to. I used to write stories for myself and give them to my mom to read as young as six or seven. I don’t really remember much from before I was ten, so I’ll just go with what inspired me to start improving with my writing.
As I said, I’d been writing for a long time, but when I was about twelve, maybe thirteen, I had just finished my first fantasy novel. I was really excited about it, and I asked my dad to read it while he was traveling for business. Getting him to read anything of mine was really hard because he was always busy, but he finally agreed.
I waited for the entire time he was gone (maybe a week or two, but it felt like forever to me) to hear what he thought. When he came back, he didn’t give me what I was expecting. He told me that the book was awful and was riddled with plot holes, bad characterization, and terrible dialogue. (Yes, it was harsh, but this is going somewhere good, I promise.)
I was almost in tears. This was my first book, and I’d spent at least a year writing it, so naturally, I was pretty upset. But I sucked it up and asked him how to fix it. I didn’t really understand everything he told me or how, but I did understand the last words he said to me about it. He told me, “I don’t think you’ll make it as an author. Some people do, but it’s a lot of work, and I don’t think you’re cut out for it.”
This only made me more upset, but this was the point where things turned around. Something you should know about me is that I’m extremely competitive. Like, I do not back down from a challenge unless it’s going to seriously hurt or kill me kind of competitive. I will (and actually have) take a mouthful of sea water just to prove a point. Stupid? Maybe. But at the point that my dad told me I wasn’t cut out for being an author, the competitive nature kicked in.
I was immediately determined to prove him wrong. I was mad he didn’t think I had it in me, and I was determined that I’d make him proud by showing him I could do it and by writing something that was as good as the published fantasy novels he bought from the bookstore. And that’s what ended up driving me to write, but not just to write. It also drove me to improve no matter how small the issue was or how little the technique that I was honing because I wanted every edge possible to prove him wrong and get to a point where I could be published.
- Wow! That’s pretty tough, but sometimes it’s the tough situations that pushes us to be our best. I would have been so devastated though, but I admire your strength and your determination for sure. It sounds like you have a lot of reasons for making it as a writer. Have your reasons for writing changed over the years?
Absolutely! My dad is extremely busy because he’s in management positions at work. He doesn’t really have time to read any of my work most of the time, and he didn’t during the years I wrote out of determination to prove to him I could be an author. Eventually, after disappointment after disappointment when I tried to get him to read my work and failed, I started writing because I really enjoyed it.
I went through some really rough times with my family after my mom had an aneurysm when I was about eleven, and in the aftermath, I started to turn more and more to writing as a way to put the feelings inside down on paper. I didn’t really talk much to anyone or interact in healthy ways when it came to emotions, so writing become the one healthy outlet I had.
Now I still write to get my emotions out (I’m an INTJ and struggle with emotions in general), but I also write because it relaxes me and gives me something I can enjoy doing when I don’t want to be around anyone. I’m a natural creative type (which might be surprising to those of you who know me since I’m also very logical and went into a math-related field.), so I enjoy the process of writing from start to finish for its own sake.
- Yeah, that did surprise me because I first knew you as a creative type and was shocked to find out you’re logical and in a math related field. Let’s talk about your latest book for now. What was your reason or inspiration for Bane of Ashkarith?
Well, the inspiration came from two places. First, I already knew the history involving Banach from Pathway of the Moon and another companion short story (coming out in Port & Key’s next anthology in the winter this year), so I knew that the journal existed and had included entries from it as interludes in Pathway of the Moon.
Then I joined Wattpad’s Open Novella Contest, and one of the prompts had to do with myths of the old world and truth becoming a lie while the lie became truth. This became the second place the inspiration came from and was the catalyst for the story.
The idea sparked to life right away when I saw the prompt, and it was a great way to give the readers a richer understanding of Alcardia’s history without info-dumping or giving long-winded explanations in the main series. I wanted to draw readers into the world and share with them the living, breathing place that I’d created. This provided a way to do so that would be appealing and a fun, quick read.
- Well, writing a book is definitely a way to draw readers into your world and give them more world building and history. I can tell you really love the world and race building and I’m certain you love your characters too. But who is your favorite character in the book and why?
This will sound weird since it’s not one of the main characters, but Dhiabhan is definitely my favorite. I love the sharp-tongued, keen-eyed air captain to death. So much so that the next book in the Legends of Alcardia series will be about him. He’s got just the right amount of mystery, and I have to admit…I’m a sucker for dark hair and blue or green eyes. Plus, who doesn’t love some kind of mind-reading superpower? 😉
- Hehe! Dark hair, sharp tongued, man? I think you know my favorites too 🙂 This is a self-published book which definitely isn’t easy but what has your journey to self-publish Bane of Ashkarith been like?
Chaotic. It’s been neat because I’ve talked with some authors I might not have interacted with much otherwise, so I’ve met some neat people. It’s been a lot of fun in that way. But I’ve definitely learned that I needed to start this way, way earlier than I did! For anyone else thinking about self-publishing and wanting to promote beforehand, start the process months before.
I started mine at the end of June with the release date being the end of this month. And boy, it’s been overwhelming. Finding people on such short notice to help out is hard. I’ve been lucky because I have a great group of core people helping, and they got a lot of people on board, but especially finding bloggers has proven difficult on such short notice.
- Yeah, I learned that with Hunter; start as early as possible when launching a book whether self or traditional publishing. Speak of which, why self-publishing?
Good question. 😊 I really appreciate the freedom it offers. My profits are based directly on me, and I have control over the entire process. How I advertise and when is all up to me, and I get the final say in things. Of course, working with a publisher is fun too. I’ve done that for Port & Key’s first anthology and am doing so again with their second one. I’m hoping to take some of my future works and pitch them to a publisher, but honestly, I’m happy with the self-publishing process and the journey that it’s been.
- Hey, as long as you’re happy about it, that’s what matters! Random question here, but hopefully fun. If you could have any actors play your two main characters in a movie who would they be and why?
Ooooo… That’s a hard one because I don’t pay much attention to actors in most movies. So I don’t really know names for most of them. I admit ahead of time that I had to look these people up, but I did watch the shows/movies for them. Just don’t know any names.
For Kaidan, probably Brendan Hines from the show Lie To Me. (For those who know the show but not the cast, he’s the one guy employed with the Lightman Group who always tells the truth—even when it’s awkward.) The guy’s seriously nerdy (in a good way, of course) and his habit of telling the truth combined with that remind me of Kaidan. Plus he looks similar to how I pictured Kaidan.
For Zerua, I’m going to go with Emeraude Toubia, the actress who played Isabelle Lightwood in the Freeform show Shadowhunters. Something about her spunk and wit there really fit well with Zerua. Plus she’s definitely a good fit appearance-wise for Zerua.
- Oooh. I don’t know Brendon Hines, so I’ll have to look him up, but Isabel Lightwood’s actress is amazing and I love that show! 🙂 That gives me a great idea about Zerua. So, what was the easiest scene for you to write?
Hmmm… These are tough questions! I honestly don’t remember exactly which scene was easiest. I had a pretty easy time writing any scene with Dhiabhan, to be honest. Those ones just kind of came together for me.
9. Oh, yeah! I have that problem with some of my older books! So what was the hardest?
The scene at Ashkarith when Queen Banach shows them what Sedra did to her people and her city. That was really hard to write because a lot of emotions had to come into play, and it was difficult to fine-tune them so they’d come out the way I wanted them to.
10. Awww! Emotional scenes can sometimes be so difficult to get right! I am curious, though, what was your favorite scene in the book?
There are so many I like… But I think my favorite would be the scene when Kaidan finally puts together who Dhiabhan is and Dhiabhan tells him that people often prefer darkness to light. That was really a big turning point for Kaidan and Zerua, and it solidified their decision to take the truth to the world no matter the cost. A close second is definitely the scene where Kaidan and Zerua meet with Dhiabhan after leaving Montelishra to escape the Society’s assassin.
Yep, I am definitely going to have to buy and read this book! Here’s a final, bonus question for you to close up the interview. If you could be asked any question in an interview what would it be and how would you answer?
Any question at all? Probably how and where I came up with the various economic and political systems in Alcardia. How would I answer?
Well… I came up with them in my tax and corporate finance classes my senior year of college (last year). The funny part is that for the first week or so of those classes, many of the notes I took brought the concepts I was learning into Alcardia. I would hear something the teacher said, and it would cause questions about how various countries on Alcardia would handle that, so I’d sit there and write down notes on the topic while using Alcardian political and economical systems as examples.
Yes, this is what this particular accounting major did with the various things she learned. I know, I know… I’m crazy. That’s what my friends all thought too when I told them why I remembered anything from class at all. This is why I’m going to get my Masters in English w/an emphasis on education. I’m clearly not cut out for accounting. It bores me so much I have to start using the concepts to go back to writing. 😉
But hey, at least I was paying attention. Many other class periods, I was too busy world-building or writing to pay attention to anything unless it wasn’t in the book or involved practicing. (This was the reason I always had to memorize my quiz and test formulas five minutes before the test or quiz.)
Hahaha! You are definitely hilarious and a bit crazy, but I think deep down, all writers have a little bit of crazy in us, don’t we?
I enjoyed Ariel and her interview and I hope you guys did too, just as much as I did. Bet you’re wondering about her book, Bane of Ashkarith. Here’s the synopsis:
Kaidan Tadegan is working on a new site trying to prove the myth that two armies of the gods clashed there. While on the dig site, he discovers the evidence he’s looking for, but he gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a woman’s bones in a section of the dig site where no other remains have been found.
As he digs the bones out, he discovers a journal with the woman’s body, which tells a story that, if true, will turn the myths of the old world and the established concepts of good and evil on their heads. Startled by the find, Kaidan sets out to discover whether the diary’s claims have any validity.
But when the diary leads to a city that’s supposedly long gone, Kaidan’s journey becomes more difficult than expected. Things become even more tangled when he discovers that the city isn’t gone, but it’s no place for the living.
Unable to give up on his quest, he forges ahead. What lies ahead is uncertain, and even more uncertain is whether Kaidan will survive this quest. He has only two questions in his mind. Will he find the truth in this city of the dead? And will the world accept the truth?
Release date is July 31st
ARIEL’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Blog (I highly recommend checking out her blog; she gives AMAZING writing advice – way in depth)!
Ariel Paiement is a fantasy author who writes the occasional historical fiction or science fiction novel. She enjoys all ranges of books and writing when it comes to reading, though fantasy and science fiction are her favorites. She likes to spend time coming up with new ideas or in wild flights of imagination. If asked what she spends most of her time doing, she’d tell you that she spends most of it reading or writing one thing or another. She is the author of On the Narrow Way in the anthology Above and Beneath: The World of Angels and Demons and has also written and published In Darkness Lost, a stand-alone fantasy adventure novel. Her novel, Bane of Ashkarith, is coming out on July 31st and is the first in the Legends of Alcardia series.
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Thanks, Joanna! I really enjoyed answering these questions. You had some really good ones! 🙂