It is not easy for a writer to build a new world with only her imagination as the blueprint, but author Jolea M. Harrison has definitely succeeded. As the skilled author behind the sweeping fantasy and sci fi book series, The Guardians of the Word, Harrison excels in creating characters who go through an emotional journey as they wage a battle against the forces of good versus evil. Clearly, Harrison is undaunted in the depth of such a creative undertaking: The Guardians of the Word book series includes Chosen, Myth, Telepath, Legend, Union, Seer, Adept and King.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jolea M. Harrison about her writing. Read what she had to say below.
Chosen is the first book in your Guardians of the Word book series. How did you conceive of this series?
“The series started as a little seed of an idea to tell the story of the bond between the two main characters, Dynan and Dain. They’re twin brothers and they’re telepaths so they already have a unique relationship. I wanted to explore what happens to that very close link when pitted against some pretty terrible situations.”
The Guardians of the Word is so intricate in terms of an evolving story with fully developed characters and plots. Without giving away spoilers, were you aware as you were writing each book the direction you wanted the characters to take from the outset or were you surprised by the developments?
“I mostly knew what I wanted to happen with the characters with the arc of the story and where they ended up, but the specifics of how they got from point A to point Z was a crazy journey. Waking up in the middle of the night or standing in the middle of the grocery store when inspiration struck – ‘That’s what has to happen!’ was … challenging, and frequently embarrassing. There were a number of zigzags that happened out of nowhere. I actually started writing this story in the middle, which is Legend, Book 4. I found myself writing a lot of back story – too much, and I realized all that background was another book. So I wrote Telepath and Myth, backward mind you, but the same thing happened there with more story to tell. I wasn’t completely sure what was missing, so I plowed forward and got almost all the way through King where one single scene in that book showed me the whole scope of it and that’s where Chosen came into being. It’s a little scary to write this way. But that’s the joy of writing too. When I say that a character went off and did something I didn’t expect I get funny looks because I wrote it, so surely I should be able to control these people. Doesn’t always work out that way. Clearly, I’m a pantser.”
What would you say are the prevailing themes of your books?
“There are quite a few. It’s the epic journey, the struggle of accepting who you are, and taking on responsibilities even when you might not want to. Family plays the largest role, with all the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of families everywhere. How strong is that bond? What happens when that bond is placed under tremendous, ‘out of this world’ strain? Does the relationship survive, change for better or worse? What are they willing to do for each other to keep that family unit whole? I like playing around with those sorts of questions.”
Do you feel that your books are more character driven or plot driven?
“A little bit of both, but leaning more toward character. The things that happen to the characters affect them, change them, challenge them and make them do things they might not do under normal circumstances.”
The Guardians of the Word will appeal to fantasy and sci fiction aficionados. But for readers who don’t usually gravitate towards these genres, why should they read your books?
“At its core, the story is about people and how they manage under trying situations. It’s about love, honor, duty, and doing what’s right and necessary. Take away the backdrop, the fantasy and sci-fi elements, and the story could be set in your hometown.”
Are there any current projects that you are working on that you are able to share with us?
“At this very moment, I’m working with a producer to make Chosen into an audio book. I hope to have the entire series available on audio book by the end of the year. It’s a time consuming and interesting process though, so we’ll see how it goes.
A new book, Aiden’s War, is also forthcoming, hopefully in the next few months. There are quite a few chapters up on my website here:
This one is a fantasy saga about a young man in a lot of trouble, who needs a lot of help getting out of it, and finds that help from the most unlikely people.”