First, here's a little about the authoress herself:
ANNIE DOUGLAS LIMA spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published five books (two YA action adventure/fantasy and three anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.
Annie has written two other books in her series, THE ANNALS OF ALASIA. The first two are, Prince of Alasia and In the Enemy's Service. You should definitely grab both of them and get ready to dive into Prince of Malorn.
Annie is with us today for an interview to talk about her writing and her series. She's offering a giveaway at the end as well, so be certain to enter your name!
Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
Annie: Thanks – it’s great to be here! I’m an American who grew up as a missionary kid in Kenya, and my husband Floyd and I now live in Taiwan. I teach 5th grade in an international school and love it, even though it leaves me with a lot less time for writing than I’d like. When I’m not teaching or writing, I enjoy reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, travel, and outdoor adventures. Oh, and I love tea! Both Kenya and Taiwan are great places to get really good tea (though totally different kinds).
What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?
Annie: I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall. When I was seven years old, I had a sudden inspiration for what I thought was an amazing story and decided then and there that I was going to write a book and be the world's youngest author. I ran to my room in great excitement, found an old notebook and a pencil, and started in. Well, that first novel was never actually finished, let alone published, but it got me started. After that, I can't remember a time that I wasn't working on at least one book. Prince of Alasia, which I started in college, was the first one I finished that I thought was worth trying to get published. I looked into traditional publishing and spent a long time trying to get an agent, but to no avail. Finally I learned about Kindle publishing and did it myself the indie way, eleven years after I first started writing the book. A few months later I added the paperback edition. It was quite a thrill to me to finally fulfill my childhood dream!
Tell us a little about your work! Your first two books are Prince of Alasia and In the Enemy’s Service. Are they part of a series? How long have you been working on this series?
Annie:Yes, they’re all part of Annals of Alasia series, which I began about fourteen years ago now.
Now tell us about your new release, Prince of Malorn. Is it part of the same world featured in the first two books? How does it connect? How does it stand alone?
Annie: Prince of Malorn is the third book in the series, but like the other two, it can stand on its own. Each book deals with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn. Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life. In the Enemy’s Service features a girl as the protagonist and tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded. Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion. In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the time frames and settings overlap.
Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?
Annie: That’s like asking a parent to pick her favorite child! They’re all special to me in different ways. But I’ll tell you about one of the characters I feel I’ve gotten to know better as I wrote Prince of Malorn. His name is Dannel, and he’s actually a villain. I wouldn’t want to meet him in real life, but he’s so much fun to write about! He’s clever, conniving, has a sense of humor, loves the thrill of danger, and does whatever it takes to make as much money as he can from whomever he can. Oh, and he has no moral standards to speak of. I’ve had a lot of fun working with Dannel’s character in the next book in the series, too.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Annie: I’m always working with my characters in my mind, creating new experiences and adventures for them. Most of these will probably never make it onto the pages of a book, but they help me flesh out the characters and give me ideas for where to take the series. When I’m stuck for ideas, I’ll often skip ahead to a different scene or write about something else I’ve imagined until the story starts to flow better.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Annie: I enjoy writing new scenes when inspiration is white-hot, and it’s fun to reread them for the first time and do the first round of editing. I really don’t like marketing or writing my back-cover blurbs.
If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
Annie: Um – I’m not just saying this, but you are!I’ve enjoyed each of your books on its own, but I think the best thing about them is the way the stories intertwine to create such a deep, rich world. It’s like reading exciting historical fiction from a real country you know little about, where the more you learn, the more you realize you’re only scratching the surface and there’s more there than you’ll probably ever be able to fully grasp. I’ve tried to achieve a similar effect in my own series, but I don’t think it comes close to how you’ve been able to do it! (Oh, dear! That's terribly embarrassing . . . and terribly flattering! Thank you, Annie. I'm now blushing.)
What are you actively writing right now?
Annie: I’m nearly done with the next book in the series, tentatively titled King of Malorn. It takes place five years later and brings together the main characters from all three of the other books. In addition, I’m working on an unrelated story that will probably be the first in a completely different series. It’s called The Collar and the Cavvarach, and is set in a world very much like our own except that slavery is legal. Though still a young adult novel, it’s geared toward a slightly older audience than my Annals of Alasia and deals with darker issues. Writing it has been both an exciting and disturbing experience for me.
Can you share a short snippet from Prince of Malorn?
PRINCE OF MALORN
Korram saw the snowcat shift a little on the rock. Is it getting ready to spring? His heart pounding anew, he took a quiet step forward, and then another. He had to get closer, just in case.
Now he stood right at the bank of the stream, only about ten feet behind the creature. It was perched out in the middle of the water, maybe eight feet from the edge. What was he supposed to do? He supposed he could wade out to the rock it was on, but he didn’t fancy battling a powerful animal in the middle of a river, let alone at the brink of a waterfall. That scenario didn’t seem likely to end well.
The snowcat shifted again, gathering its hind legs under its body. Its tail, stretched out behind, twitched a little. Korram had seen Sir Fluffle gather himself just like that before he lunged at a squirrel in the palace garden.
This is it, he thought desperately. I have to do something now! But he wouldn’t panic and throw his spear this time. Gripping the weapon with his right hand, he snatched up a loose pebble with his left and flung it at the cat, yelling, “Over here!”
The snowcat turned its head, saw him, and bared long gleaming teeth in a snarl. Korram felt a stab of guilt at the glimpse of a red stain on its chest, and knew the cat was indeed angry and in pain. He gripped the spear in a two-handed stance as he had seen Ernth do, bracing his feet. “All right, come on! Over here! Let’s get this over with.” He wasn’t at all sure which of them would survive the encounter, but he couldn’t think of anything else to do.
But the snowcat did not leap across the water to attack him. It turned its head once more to stare over the cliff, and Korram saw its muscles bunch and ripple as it shifted position again. It was going to leap over the waterfall! Ernth had said snowcats were clever. Apparently it had made the choice between the enemy who was ready for him and the one who was not.
“Hey! Hey! Over here!” Korram yelled again, dashing forward along the bank and waving his arms. But the beast paid him no attention, and Korram knew there was only one remaining course of action, one chance he had to save Ernth’s life. Without pausing to consider the consequences, he leaped into the water and splashed his way toward the rock where the creature crouched.
The streambed was slippery underfoot, and icy water rushed into his deerskin boots, filling them and slowing him down. The current was stronger than he had expected, and for a moment Korram was afraid he would be swept off his feet and over the falls. Desperately he braced himself against the force of the water and lunged forward.
He was only one step away from the rock when the snowcat sprang. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as Korram saw its body lengthen, its forelegs reaching out and over. Desperate, he leaped too, spear extended. His other arm stretched out in a frantic attempt to grab, to hold the creature back, to slow it down, to somehow stop what could no longer be stopped. He felt the tip of his weapon strike flesh as he seized a handful of thick fur. The animal was still leaping, pulling him forward with it, but he was half on top of it now, and he could feel the bulging muscles of its haunches rippling beneath his chest.
It gave a strangled cry, half snarl, half scream, and whirled around, flailing its claws at him. Korram struck out with his spear again, still clutching a handful of fur. Then he felt his ribs hit the edge of the rock, and he realized that his head was lower than the rest of him and that the snowcat’s momentum was pulling them both over the edge.
He had a quick glimpse of Ernth balancing on a boulder at the foot of the falls, poking his spear through the curtain of water, and of the astonished expression on his face as he caught sight of Korram and the snowcat toppling over the edge toward him. Then there was no time to notice anything else before Korram felt himself tumbling through the air, still clutching the writhing animal, a curtain of water shimmering all around them.
Thank you for such a fun interview, Annie!
Readers, you have lots of options for connection with Annie. Be certain to follow her blog and like her facebook! And absolutely support this author by purchasing copies of her work. The Annals of Alasia sounds like such an exciting, intertwining series, and I'm sure you won't want to miss it!
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor
Buy Prince of Malorn (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/PrinceofMalorn
Buy In the Enemy’s Service (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/EnemysService
Buy Prince of Alasia (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/PrinceofAlasia
Buy any of the books for Nook or other formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Annals+of+Alasia
Thank you again, Annie! I hope to have you back on the Tales of Goldstone Wood in the future.
Dear readers, click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card.