Sunday, February 2, 2014

Interview Feature: Janalyn Voigt

Today, dear imps, I have the pleasure of featuring fantasy novelist Janalyn Voigt! She is the author of the Tales of Faeraven, and somehow I think she's one you will all love. I hope you will enjoy getting to know her and her work a little better . . . and do be certain to check out the giveaway at the end of this post!

Janalyn Voigt's unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Tales of Faeraven, her epic fantasy series beginning with DawnSinger, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams.

Janalyn is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA.

When she's not writing, Janalyn loves to discover worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.

Author Site:

And here's a little about her newest book, Wayfarer:

Trouble stirs between nations and rebellion threatens Faeraven.

When Kai returns with the supposed DawnKing, Lof Shraen Elcon cannot trust that the Elder youth truly is the prophesied deliverer. Driven to prove himself, Elcon banishes the boy and embarks on a peace-keeping campaign into the Elder lands, where he falls in love with an Elder princess betrothed to another.

Sometimes the deliverance of a nation comes only through the humility of one.

Declaring his love would shame the nations, but Elcon is torn. As war approaches, Elcon's choices lead him on a journey of discovery that will either settle the lands or leave them mired in conflict. Can his kingdom ever be united, or will the consequences of his decisions forever tear asunder the fabric of Faeraven?

Janalyn is with us today to talk about her writing, inspiration, and the world of Faeraven. Enjoy!



1. Welcome to the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, Janalyn! First of all, would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee? 

Janalyn: Hello, Anne Elisabeth, and thanks for the welcome. I’m a study in contrasts, being a daydreamer who schedules her day to optimize productivity. That’s not so surprising, really. I need a schedule to remind me where I am and what I should be doing. Early on, my mother took that role. As you might guess from what I’ve written so far, I’m highly analytical. As for tea versus coffee, both offer delights. My reading and writing tastes are equally eclectic, although sometimes the limitations of necessity dictate a narrower approach.
2. What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller? How did you get into publishing?
Janalyn: One of my earliest memories is of me sitting on the front lawn of my home with a small circle of neighborhood children gathered around me as I told them stories. I have no idea what those stories were about, but they definitely pleased my audience.
I blame my father for my literary leanings. He read chapters from classics like The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan as bedtime stories. After I grew older and he stopped reading stories to me, I put myself to bed with my own.
When I was twelve, a teacher noticed my storytelling ability, and with his encouragement, I decided to become a novelist. Just like that. Only it wasn’t so simple, as it turned out. I thought I had made it into publication when I signed a contract with a small press for DawnSinger, the first novel in my Tales of Faeraven trilogy. When the contract fell through, I was devastated, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Within three months I’d signed with a larger publisher for both DawnSinger and WayFarer, the first two novels in the trilogy, with right of first refusal on DawnKing, the third. As a bonus, I also signed a contract for agency representation with Wordserve Literary. 

Many years later and after several wrong turns, my dream of becoming a published novelist has become a reality.
3. Tell us a little about your series! What led you to start writing Tales of Faeraven? Can you remember the first ideas for these stories?
Janalyn: My young daughter was bored on a car trip, so to entertain her, I invented a story around her favorite doll, Cinda. I twisted the doll’s name into Syl Marinda and told a story about a young, half-cast girl who had been hidden for her protection and must now step up to the throne of a divided people to unite them. This early story became the foundation for the Tales of Faeraven series. Syl Marinda is found in books two and three.

Long after my daughter had forgotten the story, it lived within me, taking hold of me in a way I couldn’t ignore. After a series of disappointments, I tried to turn away from writing forever, but this story would not let me go. For my own peace of mind, I had to birth it.

4. Now tell us a little about WayFarer, Book 2 in Tales of Faeraven. How long have you been working on it? Did it present any unusual challenges? Does it pick up where the first novel, DawnSinger leaves off?
Janalyn: The hero and heroine of DawnSinger continue their story in WayFarer, but the main focus switches to Elcon’s difficult assent to the high throne of Faeraven. An ancient foe mounts a challenge to his claim, and Elcon must try to unite a kingdom divided by his own mistakes.
The world of Elderland within the pages of Tales of Faeraven is based on 13th-Century Europe, so I studied medieval siege warfare to write the battle scenes. I filled a binder with notes and finally had to call a halt to my research. Since the topic is so enormous, I could have gone on studying it for years. War is tough to think about, though. The sufferings of those caught in bad situations, even though they happened centuries ago, broke my heart many times.

5. Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?

Janalyn: That’s like asking a mother to choose between her children, but Kai has a special place in my heart because he is analytical, auditory, and overly committed to duty. We share those characteristics.
6. What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
Janalyn: It’s hard to answer this question because writing for me is so intuitive. I’ve mentioned my early exposure to great literature, and I’m sure that plays a part. Also, certain authors I’ve read will have influenced my writing. Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Anne McCaffrey are in that number. Prayer helps me most when I’m stuck—that and figuring out where following the allegory might take the story.
7. What are your least favorite parts of the writing process?
Janalyn: I don’t care much for edits from my publisher, although I’m willing to do them and even thankful for the growth they bring. But by the time I submit a manuscript, I’ve already gone over it so many times I’m sick to death of it. Edits also demand that I pull my mind from a new project to prioritize a manuscript I’d really rather not go through, yet again. Sigh. I’m working toward the day when edits will be a mere formality.
8. If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
Janalyn: Reading Mary Stewart’s novels helped teach me to write. Many other writers credit her as well. She’s a vintage author, and some of her stories are a bit dated, but I find that to be part of their charm. It’s not any wonder that I was drawn to her, since the elements of our writing are much the same: adventure, romance, suspense, mystery, history, and fantasy or whimsy.
9. What are you actively writing right now?
Janalyn: In just a few thousand words, I will complete DawnKing, book three of Tales of Faeraven, but I’ve taken a break from that to edit an elf story to give away free to subscribers of my Creative Worlds newsletter.
10. Would you share a short snippet from WayFarer?
Janalyn: One of my favorite scenes is when Elcon meets Aewen, a princess who sneaks out of her castle to feed the poor.

Excerpt from

“Who goes there?” The watchguard’s voice halted her.
“Let me pass, Lyriss. It’s only Aewen.”
 From behind the portcullis above the watchtower, Lyriss gaped at her in surprise, and then broke into a toothy grin. “I thought to see you giving alms no more.” 
“I will serve while I may.” She choked on her brave words but took a steadying breath. “Raise the portcullis so I and the others who will soon follow may distribute leftovers from the king’s table.”
Chains clanked as the portcullis raised with a groan.  Outside the castle, the poor waited. She walked among them, not fearing these faces she knew. Her friends hailed her with gladness and without jostling stretched out thin hands to take their portions. She smiled to herself. She’d taught them that, to consider one another even in their need.
She recognized the face of Jost, a weaver whose cottage stood just north of Willowa’s farm, and gave him the last trencher. “Do you have news of Caedmon? Does he heal?”
“Aye, he heals.” Jost delivered himself of this speech and bowed his head with a jerk, acting as strange as those inside the kitchen. She swallowed against a lump in her throat. When had she become someone else?
Movement caught her eye. At the edge of the torchlight pranced a black horse with wings—a creature of surpassing beauty bearing a Kindren youth with fair hair tinged red in the torchlight from the guardhouse. She took a step toward him but halted, speechless.
“Well met, fair one.” His voice, soft and cool, stirred her.
She stared back at him with wide eyes.
His brows drew together. “Do you speak?”
She dipped her head and found her voice. “You are of the Kindren.”
He smiled. “I am indeed of the Kindren, as are my companions. Pray tell the watchguard that Lof Shraen Elcon seeks audience with King Euryon. But if the hour be too late, we can return tomorrow.”
His light gaze went over her as he spoke, touching her hair, her eyes, her mouth, speaking things his mouth did not say. She stumbled backward and ran from him as laughter broke from the Kindren riders who accompanied him.  “Princess Aewen, are you unharmed?” The voice of Darbin, one of the gatehouse guards, rang out as she approached. The sounds of mirth behind her ceased, and she realized the Kindren riders must have overheard. They’d taken her for a servant before, despite the rich garments she wore. It was one thing, it seemed, for a Kindren to laugh at a servant, but quite another to mock a princess of Westerland. She turned her head and shamed them all with a glance. But her gaze snagged with the light-eyed Kindren’s.

Thank you, Janalyn! What a fun excerpt. It was great to get to learn more about the Tales of Faeraven.
I'm sure you readers are now eager to swoop up a copy of Janalyn's work. In the meanwhile, you can enter your name in the WayFarer Launch Celebration Giveaway! One person will win a $20 Starbucks card. One entry per person per day. Do be certain to thank Janlayn for her time . . . and I'm sure she would be happy to answer questions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Unknown said...

This looks super cool! I'm very excited to read this. Has your daughter, whose doll inspired the story, read your books?
Thanks for sharing.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Hi, Allison. Good question. Sadly, my daughter doesn't care much for fantasy now she's older, but I've written her into the story to tempt her. She is Erinae, mother of Eathnor and Dorann.

Hannah said...

I LOVE the colors and design of the front covers. Who are the characters on the front of each book?

Lisa Lickel said...

I really enjoy this series, and am looking forward to the next one.

Meredith said...

Your stories sound very interesting, Mrs. Janalyn. So glad that you did not abandon writing but persevered. Stories are like that, aren't they? Some of them will poke and prod at you, demanding to be told. Are your books available in audio format? God bless you and keep up the outstanding work.

Phyllis Wheeler said...

I'm about halfway through Wayfarer now. It's a wonderful book! Can't wait to pick it up again!

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Thanks for the compliment on the cover, Hannah. I'll convey it to the artist. DawnSinger's cover shows the hero, Kai, and the heroine, Shae. Readers quickly learn she is a little other-worldly. Wayfarer's cover shows the hero of this story, Elcon. In Wayfarer, Kai and Shae continue their story as a subplot.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Lisa, thank you. There's another book to come in this series, DawnKing, but I do have the next series in mind.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Thanks, Meredith and Phyllis, for your encouragement. Stories have a way of taking on a life of their own, but that's part of the adventure of being a writer.

Thanks, Anne Elisabeth, for hosting me, and thanks, everyone, for reading!

Janet Chester Bly said...

Janalyn: Am curious how to pronounce Aewen ... is it A-when or E-when or something else. Have just finished Wayfarer and looking forward to Book 3 for the rest of the story. The relationship between Elcon and Aewen is so bitter-sweet. Interesting conflicts in your stories.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Janet, thanks for reading. I'll be discussing my stories Saturday on Goodreads in a Q&A, but there's an allegorical reason for the bitter-sweetness. Assent is pronounced A-eh-when.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Oops. My Kindle spell checker doesn't like that name. :o)

Anna said...

Wow. That was an intriguing excerpt! I'm so curious! :D