Today I’m very excited to host Annie Douglass Lima. Her latest book, Prince of Malorn (book 3 in the Annals of Alasia series) is hot off the press! She writes young adult action adventure and fantasy and Prince of Malorn is full of page-riveting excitement!
She shares a little about herself and the book here today!
When did you begin writing?
When I was seven years old, I had a sudden inspiration for a 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 Malorn is the third book in my Annals of Alasia series, but like the others, 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 timeframes and settings overlap.
Did you learn anything along the way as you wrote the book?
I learned a lot! Part of the story involves the main character, Prince Korram, making a solitary trek through the mountains, and I spent hours researching details about wilderness survival to make sure everything was accurate. I learned about making wooden spears without steel tools, for example, as well as how to start a fire with rocks, what kinds of edible plants you could expect to find, and what beetle larva tastes like!
What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
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.
How many books do you have out?
Six, altogether. In addition to the three in the Annals of Alasia, I’ve put together three Kindle anthologies of my students’ poetry. Each time, I’ve collected the best poems from each student in the class and compiled them. The students worked together to create a dedication and acknowledgements, and some of them designed the covers. Then they voted on a charity to which we would donate the proceeds. It’s been a wonderful experience for my last three classes of fifth graders!
What is your favorite character?
That’s like asking a parent which of her children is her favorite! 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 this book. 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 King of Malorn, too.
Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help from people or circumstances?
My husband and I live in Taiwan, where I teach 5th grade in a missionary school. We attend a bilingual (Chinese/English) church and very much enjoy life here. I love my job, but I must admit I wish it left me with more time for writing. In the evenings my brain is often so fried after a long day that I just can’t get much done, so most of my writing happens on weekends. But one thing I really enjoy is the fact that my students are at the right age (though at the younger end of the spectrum) to enjoy what I write. I read one or two of my books aloud to my class every year, and their feedback helps me polish and improve them. It’s really helped me see what kinds of scenes and characters appeal to readers of that age.
Do you have any interesting or funny writing quirks?
Sometimes it’s hard for me to focus on my writing at home where there are always so many distractions. In the last year or so, I’ve started taking my laptop to a local teashop (there’s at least one on every corner here in Taichung) and writing at one of their little outdoor tables. There are plenty of distractions there, too, of course – noisy traffic, customers coming and going, cute little swallow chicks poking their heads up from the nest attached to the wall nearby, and of course all the activity at the fire station right across the street. But in spite of everything (and thanks especially to the fact that I have no internet access there), it’s one of the places I’ve been able to be the most productive. I usually go there for a few hours on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, and sometimes on weekdays as well, if I have time and mental energy left after the school day’s done.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Don’t try to write a scene perfectly the first time or get frustrated if it doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. Just get your ideas on paper in whatever rough form you need to; never mind selecting just the right words or fixing any mistakes. Leave the scene alone for a few days, and when you come back to it, read through it and smooth out the obvious errors. Read through it again later and work on polishing it up a little more, and then a little more the next time, and so on. If possible, read it aloud to someone; that will help you hear errors or issues you may not notice otherwise. I’ve found that it usually takes lots of passes before I’m satisfied with something I’ve written.
Annie Douglass 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 six books (three 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.
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
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