Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a Virtual Book Tour for DARK COMMUNION by CJ Perry, a epic fantasy available October 30. Today, I am featuring an interview with the author.
Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found by clicking the banner.
The minotaurs have kept Ayla and Deetra's people in chains for 200 years. With nothing left to live for, and a death sentence in her womb, Ayla trades her soul for a chance to break the curse which holds her people in slavery. Armed only with her faith, she and Deetra start a revolution, and bring about the return of the Goddess of Darkness.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
How did you come up with the title of your book and series?
The title of the series was a little harder. I went back and forth between “The Shadowalker Chronicles” and “The Godswar Chronicles.” The Shadowalker is the name of the villain of the next series. This first series is her story. The next one will be the “hero’s” story. But in the end, I felt that over the course of the rest of the series, the conflict between light and darkness will be more important than any one character.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?
I was lucky enough to find a brilliant young artist who is early in her career, Aleksandra Klepacka. I tried to work with Alex to represent the mood, themes, and important moments in the book. A good cover makes a promise to the reader. I wanted a promise, and for it to pose questions.
The image features Ayla (front left), Deetra (back left) and the Night Goddess (front right) standing in the Hornstall Temple. Ayla has her hands on her belly, hinting at her pregnancy. She is solemn, and a bit sad but the Night Goddess holds her, comforting her.
Deetra watches on from behind the altar, a look of concern on her face. Deetra is Ayla’s protector, best friend, and love.
The stained glass in the background (which I love) is foreshadowing of later chapters. What a lot of people don’t notice at first glance is the shadow of horns over the temple. It is from a scene in chapter two, but is also symbolic of the looming threat of the minotaurs and Ayla’s fate.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Deetra. I love her loyalty to Ayla unto death. I think it’s a trait that everyone can admire. In the words of one reviewer on Fan Girls Read it First:
“Her motivation is never about the Goddess or the slaves though. She loves Ayla and this is what moves her.”
What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
My deep and abiding love of fantasy began when I was six when I first saw the 1981 film Dragonslayer on VHS with my father. He loved fantasy movies too, but didn’t have the courage to be a dork about it like I did. That movie was a gateway drug that led me straight to the hard stuff - CS Lewis. I was far too young for such potency but by the time I was ten I had read the whole series. That’s when I found my first Dungeons and Dragons group. When I started playing, my friends and I used pre-made campaign settings and published adventures, but I quickly grew restless with their limitations and trite story lines. I needed my own persistent world: something adaptable to my whim and that no one else owned.
Back in my day, there was no internet, so I took out every book about castles and medieval history from the school library and read them in Math class (I'm still terrible at math as a result). I came up with an entire world and brand new history. I read books on cartography and hand drew maps of my new world. I created a cosmology, a hierarchy of gods, and the tenets of their religions. I read the Dungeon Master's guide a dozen times, and every fantasy novel I could get my hands on.
Then, one day, I sat down and told my friends, "Hey guys, wanna try my story instead?"
Even 15 years after the original D&D campaigns ended, former players tell me that they share our incredible stories with their children. I'm honored to say that most of those players still have their original character sheets 16-20 years later, and a couple have even named their children after them.
Now, I'm 39 years old and a loving father of 2 girls, and I still play those games on occasion. My passion has evolved into putting those ideas and amazing stories on paper for the whole world to enjoy. My first novel took me and co-author DC Fergerson 10 years to write and topped out at 180,000 words. Being too long and too complex, I finally ended the project and took its lessons to heart.
I learned that Dungeons & Dragons did not translate well into a novel. D&D made for great times, but also for some meandering plot lines, pointless encounters, and poor character motivations. No matter how memorable some of the moments were, if I wanted anyone to read my story, I needed to learn a lot more about writing.
I threw myself into being a full time student of novel crafting. I read every book on writing by Dwight Swain I could find. I paid Chuck Sambuchino (Editor for Writer's Digest) to critique and edit my older work. I took James Patterson's Masterclass, went to college, and joined online writing communities. All the while, I read my favorite fantasy novels again, only this time with a mental highlighter. I reworked my stories, outlined them, and decided to start from the beginning.
Many, many years later, I am in the final edit and proofreading stage of Dark Communion, the first installment of the Shadowalker Chronicles. My role as a father of two girls heavily influenced the characters I’d known for over 20 years, shaping them into women that my own daughters could respect. My characters took on a depth and quality that brings them off the page and into the minds of readers, because they have become all too real. I was privileged enough to work on two careers at the same time to accomplish this feat - a fun-loving and involved stay-at-home dad, and a full time writer.
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