I want to introduce you to A.D Faylinn the co-author of The Dark Pilgrim. Amanda is a talented writer who has self-published this wonderful YA Fantasy novel with her friend CJ Taylor. Once again, I first met her over instagram and I love seeing these two women strive to make spread their words to people all over the world. It is magical! I really can't wait to read this book and I hope you will join me to support these new authors!
Why don’t you first tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me. Where to begin? I am terrible at talking about myself, but I guess I’d describe myself as an introverted animal lover, who just wants to solve all of the world’s problems. Being an introvert, even being approached about an interview was nerve wracking. However, I love connecting with followers of my book, fellow fantasy lovers, and book nerds. I am one of the Harry Potter generation, a Lord of the Rings buff, and a wannabe Jedi Knight. I have always fallen for a good story, no matter the genre. My family will tell you that I used to spend most nights reading until dawn. And stumbling through the next day half-awake has never prohibited me from getting lost in a book.
I am currently a stay at home mom of a wild and crazy toddler. My husband puts up with me wandering through Andumon, keeping Gilaon’s secrets from him, and geeking out about my newest read.
Did you always possess a passion for writing? When did you have the epiphany that you actually wanted to publish your work?
Yes, I have always loved writing. When I was a child, I’d write my parents letters about how I needed to adopt a guinea pig, hamster, frog, what have you. I have always been able to better express myself while writing compared to speaking. Maybe that is the introverted side of me talking, but when writing, I feel safe.
I think after the first draft of The Dark Pilgrim was written, CJ Taylor and I realized that we had something we wanted to share wit the world. Although that first draft was terrible, we were committed to Gilaon and his story and we were willing to do anything to help him grow as a character while we grew as writers.
What draws you to write YA? Do you read it yourself and do you write other genres?
I think I enjoy YA because the characters grow so much. I want to follow the human experience and a person’s journey. I really enjoy the innocence of a character at the beginning of a story, and walking with them as they come into their own. I do read it myself. YA is by no means the only genre I read, but it is one I come back to again and again.
I have dabbled in urban fantasy, but as of right now, that is the only other genre I have experimented with. I look forward to trying other genres. Writing outside your comfort zone, even without a goal to publish, is always a worthwhile learning experience. I just wish I had more hours in the day to devote to writing.
How do you have time to write while raising a busy family? Do you have any tips for writing mums?
Oh dear, where to start? It took me some time to figure out what time of the day I am the most productive, and how that can coincide with my son’s sleep schedule. It is not easy, and all too often life can get in the way. I just try to set aside an hour or two each night after dinner and after my son is asleep to either write, brainstorm, or just think about the book. I find just turning my attention towards my work, even while not having the time to write, helps me keep my motivation and keeps the creativity flowing. Every writer just has to find what works for them. I believe setting aside time to write is the hardest thing a writer must do.
Your pen name is A.D Faylinn. Why have you chosen to use another name and how did you decide this was the one to use?
CJ Taylor and I were urged by our first editor to consider pen names for shelving purposes, but the pen name morphed into another identity entirely. I have found that I can settle into myself as AD Faylinn and cast aside my identity as wife, mother, doubter, and become a writer.
When searching for a pen name, using my first and middle initial was an easy choice, but Faylinn was more elusive. I can’t even remember how I stumbled across the word now, but it means ‘fairy kingdom’ in old English. I am half Irish and half English, and have always had a fascination with the Irish and English fairy myths. As such, Faylinn became a fitting pen name, and when I think of the word, it ignites my creativity.
The Dark Pilgrim is a book one of Gilaon’s story; it is a story about his journey as a person as well as the fate of the land he calls home. Riddled with political deception, and layers of secrets, Gilaon discovers that he alone may be the only hope Andumon has of overcoming the dominion of a tyrant.
Where did you the inspiration for this book come from?
I don’t know if I can answer how we came up with our Flight of the Lionheart series. CJ Taylor’s ridiculous imagination, and my own ideas for a story have weaved together, fed off of each other, and morphed into what it is today. We draw inspiration from everything we read, movies and shows we watch, and current events. You never know where you’ll draw inspiration from. I’ve spoken to other authors and they’ll agree with me that sometimes the story finds you in unexpected ways.
Where did the name The Dark Pilgrim come from?
The ‘pilgrim’ in The Dark Pilgrim refers to one character in particular. I am not going to name names, but he is a pivotal character and is a catalyst in Gilaon’s journey.
What kind of research did you do for your book?
What didn’t we do? We read a lot of fantasy, watched a lot of movies, took notes on plot lines, flow, sword fighting, and more. Researching for the book is half the fun in coming up with a story. Not to mention, it is always really cool to learn new things. Just last week I learned about different types of old pirate ships.
There is an undertone of various ideas such as the politics of this world and how it impacts the people. How did you go about creating of these important features in your writing?
CJ Taylor is the political one of the pair. She is drawn to political conflict, deep themes, and consequences of government actions. She has been the one to spur the creation of political strife in Andumon.
There are many characters in your book. How did you create deep characterisation?
CJ Taylor and I always talk about our characters as if they are our real-life friends. Treating them as real people helps us to dive deeper into who each of them is. Of course, Gilaon and his companions were not always as emotionally deep, during the first draft all we try to do is get the ideas down. During rounds two and three of editing the characterization really comes into play. Once the general story is complete, CJ Taylor and I have a better idea about each of the characters. The characters tell us who they want to be, and through the drafts they continue to grow and change until they become who they are meant to be.
How did you go about world building?
In order to world build, CJ Taylor and I bounce ideas back and forth and tie them to cultures, religions, and music that inspire us. We begin with the region and what type of environment it is. From there we build the people- their ethnicity, culture, religion, trades, etc. And beyond that we add in details like their music, their art, their daily routines, and more. It is a long process, but world building is essential for adding richness to the story.
We have done everything from each person writing chapters and swapping to determine whose we want to use, writing sections of chapters, to one of us writing the entire chapter while the other edits. We have learned not to limit ourselves. Sometimes a chapter speaks to you and you just need to run with it, other times you draw a blank. It is really cool to have someone to help feed your creativity and urge you to think beyond your initial concepts. We have also learned that communication and organization is key. We have all of our documents organized with Dropbox and Google Drive, and all of our emails saved. We also email and text each other almost daily- Taylor is currently in New Zealand, and I live in Colorado.
How did you go about writing your book? What is your planning process (if you have one)
I answered the how I wrote with a co-author above, but as for the planning process, it is really quite simple. We begin by talking about what we’d like for Gilaon’s journey to generally look like. We usually begin plotting our general ideas in a document then move to plotting around ten chapters at a time in detail. Once we write the ten, we get together and plot ten more, until we reach the end. That process isn’t very organized, but it somehow works for us.
Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you aiming for?
I think anyone who is a fan of fantasy would love our story. I find fantasy readers are looking for that escape from reality. They want to step into another world, travel with new companions, and experience an epic adventure. We are aiming for readers of all ages. The Dark Pilgrim has a little something for everyone.
Why did you decide to self-publish? What have you learnt from this?
After doing years of research, submitting, and attending conferences, Taylor and I made the decision to self publish in order to get our story out there and to experience first-hand the publishing process. It has been such a great learning experience. We have learned how to format print versus digital work, we have experimented with marketing strategies, and we have met so many amazing authors along the way. Our respect for self-published authors is immense. It is a tough job balancing life with writing, marketing, and all of the behind the scenes tasks that an author must accomplish in order to be successful.
After self-publishing, we were approached by Grimoire Books to pick up the series. We are thrilled to partner with them and take Flight of the Lionheart to the next level.
Thank you A.D Faylinn, this has been a great interview! I can’t wait to read you book and as it is a fantasy I know that I will love it. I can’t wait to see you do next and I wish you the best of luck in your writing endevours. I can’t wait to see your book in print, how exciting!
If you want to hear more from A.D. Faylinn and watch her excel in her writing career, follow her on her other accounts:
- Website: http://www.flightofthelionheart.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Flight-of-the-Lionheart/236244056463925?ref=hl
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/adfaylinn
- The book is no longer available on Amazon as we are working toward releasing it through our publisher Grimoire Books. Stay tuned!
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