About the Books:
In this roller-coaster fantasy adventure series, six diverse characters, three girls and three boys, between the ages of 15-21 embark on an epic quest to find a magical crystal lost 500 years in the past. What is their connection to this crystal? They must not only rediscover their past and survive a perilous journey over mountains infested with venomous mutant creatures, but they must also discover who the traitor is in their midst. In the second book of the series, they continue their healing mission but are thwarted by a Galonese Warlord, and hunted by a deadly foe. Shape-shifters, mutant creatures, and a power struggle between the rulers of Ialana all work together to make this one of their most difficult challenges yet. In the third book of the series, the Six and Anwyn, the daughter of two of the Six, must find and deactivate a weapon of mass destruction before Astrobal, the Demon-Lord of the Shadowlands finds it and uses it to destroy all life on Ialana. An old enemy in a new and even more deadly form arises, one who is able to match their enhanced abilities. In a nail-biting race to the end, the outcome is uncertain. Have the Six and Anwyn met their match this time?
“…refreshingly original, complete with surprising plot twists and interesting, engaging characters.” – Hungry Monster Review
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
As a child, I grew up in the African bushveld. My father’s job was to build infrastructure in a country that had little in the way of roads, bridges, or towns outside the confines of major cities. This resulted in a gypsy lifestyle of camping, wherever his job led him, into places with no power grids for electricity, or potable water.
Our main entertainment was reading, and I became an avid bookworm from the age of six. I quickly bypassed Dick and Jane readers, and moved on to the classics in literature by the time I was nine.
I also loved to write, and since our family entertainment did not include television or movies, we wrote plays and produced them on my mother’s 8-track recorder. We also made movies with her 8mm camera, so my exposure to the joys of writing began at an early age.
I did not seriously pursue writing as a career, though, until I realized rather late in life, that it was something I really wanted to do. With age came a desire to share a hodge-podge of life experiences in a way that could be both entertaining and enlightening to younger readers. I thought that epic fantasy adventure would be the best way I could convey my philosopy and feelings about life, so in 2014 I wrote the first book in the Ialana Series. Three months later, I wrote the next, and am now on my fourth book in the series.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
I am most comfortable writing in my own home. I have everything I need at my fingertips, and I can multi-task, do other things when I get tired of writing.
Mornings are my favorite time. My brain is fresher, and I have the afternoons to take care of life’s many other responsibilities.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
Since I was a child, I’ve had epic dreams that would rival any fantasy movie. For example, the island of Mu’A in Book One of the Ialana Series (The Six and the Crystals of Ialana), is based on a real dream I once had. Some of my characters are based on dream characters. Some, I believe, may even be past life memories. I feel I have lived in other times and places, and if that does not prepare me to write fantasy, then nothing else will!
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
I am a “pantster”, as we’re known in writer parlance. I do not sit down and sketch out an outline, not even a short one on a napkin. I write by the seat of my pants. I just sit down and begin to write. There is a lot of thought that goes with this along the way, juggling of plot threads, characters, etc., but in the beginning it’s a fluid situation without bones or structure.
I know very few writers who do write this way, and I would not recommend it, either. Somehow, though, my plots do come together, my characters all begin to make sense, and I see a structure forming.
It’s weird, I know, but it works for me.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I write young adult epic fantasy. I wanted to learn how to world-build as well as Tolkien, and fantasy allows for almost any situation to occur. One does not have to adhere to the rigidity of an existing world created by others. To explore the worlds that exist in our imaginations, dreams, and turn them into a story that others can access, is the magic of fantasy.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
I would not mind who played my characters, as long as they understood the character. Having famous actors play the parts would be awesome, but I would be just as pleased to see an unknown actor, one who understands the character well, in any movie or television production of my books.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I read approximately one book a week. My tastes are eclectic, and I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction. My book purchases — my secret vice — range from self-help to true crime, biographical, fantasy, adventure, and suspense. My favorite authors are Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, and Terry Brooks (fantasy), M. William Phelps, (true crime), and John Grisham (suspense).
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
Hostile Witness, by William Lashner; The Plot to Hack America, William Nance; and Denali’s Howl, by Andy Hall.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien. Reading the books as a trilogy transports me into a world unparalleled in fantasy fiction. Tolkien was a master at world building and characterization. His work has become the gold standard for many fantasy authors, and I find myself going back to these books, reading them over and over, just to get a sense of the feeling the story and words convey.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Read. A lot.
If you don’t love it, don’t do it. It’s not an easy way to make money. You can do better with a conventional job, but if you must be a writer, then never give up. Hone your craft, but know that there will always still be room for improvement.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to publish your first book. Get a professional opinion about its readiness for publication before submitting, whether you are thinking of self-publishing or going the traditional route.
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
Books in the Trilogy:
Book 1 – The Six and the Crystals of Ialana
The quest to find and restore the lost crystals of Ialana, unites six people who, along with a seventh, were all born with a secret buried deep within.Guided by a shared dream, they leave the only homes they have ever known and set out on a life-altering quest through a maze of mountain caves and tunnels where they encounter insidious creatures, and dangers from within their group.Mentored by Irusan the transcendental shape-shifter, they develop impenetrable relationships and learn to rely upon one another. They battle their way towards the lost crystal, but will they find it in time, or will their enemy succeed in his mission to control the powerful crystals of Ialana?
Book 2 – The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana
In a seamless continuation of the first book in the series, The Six and the Crystals of Ialana, the six healers have escaped the destruction of the Citadel in Rhiannon. But now they find themselves caught in the midst of a power struggle between the competing rulers of Ialana.
Unable to complete their healing mission, to heal mutants who were genetically altered by crystal manipulation, they flee the Galonese War-Lord, Ortzi, and attempt a dangerous journey back to their homes in northern Ialana.
Trapped by malevolent creatures, hunted by a monster who seeks them for reasons of its own, and on the run from a king and a conniving shape-shifter, there seems to be no place of safety for them.
Will they find the mysterious abode of the Gardeners? Who are the Gardeners, and what is their purpose for the Six? Will The Six be able to find Queen Catrin, who sets off on a quest of her own, or will Catrin run afoul of her husband, King Brenin, before she can find The Six?
In The Gardeners of Ialana, the Six explore the mysteries of healing, elemental command, and through many more trials, learn their true purpose in life.
Book 3 – The Six and Anwyn of Ialana
In the third book of the Ialana Series, an ancient weapon of planetary destruction has been uncovered. Astrobal, the demon-lord of Iochodran, will stop at nothing to gain possession and control of the deadly weapon. When Astrobal discovers that the key to the control of this weapon is Anwyn, the daughter of Jarah and Tegan, he must use all the resources he can muster to hunt her and her family down. He sends Glahivar, an old and powerful enemy of the Six, to Three Rivers, where they and Anwyn are under the protection of the Queen. But Queen Catrin and her husband, Ambros, have problems of their own. A threat from the south is brewing: Moran, the war-lord of Yor Swamps has designs on Catrin’s kingdom. In a race to the end, Anwyn and the Six must not only gain possession of the weapon, but deactivate it too, before Astrobal can use it to destroy the planet.