Today we have the fantastic LJ Mcdonald, the author of the Fantasy Romance Sylph series. The Sylph series consists of The Battle Sylph, The Shattered Sylph, and a short story that featured in the A Midwinter Fantasy, and the upcoming Queen of the Sylphs which is out right now!
BookPushers: Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for the Sylph World, and how many titles do you have planned in the series?
L.J McDonald: The idea was a slow stewing of a bunch of ideas in my brain over a couple of months. I’d been wanting to write a shape-shifter for a while, but I wanted it to be something new, something that wasn’t limited to only a certain number of shapes. I’d been working on a book that had a shape-shifting monster in it infused with a human soul (now shelved) and wanted to keep the idea, but without the creature being evil. I also wanted to play with the contrary ideas of a very powerful being that is subordinate in nature. Sort of as a contrast to the alpha male idea. That’s where the germ of my first book in the series came from and it just snowballed from there.
I have five books currently written in the series. Three are under contract, two are not at this point. I have ideas floating in my brain for a sixth, but I have so much else on my plate that it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve written part of it, but I’m not happy with it, so I’m going to take some of the ideas that work and rewrite them, tossing out the stuff that I find doesn’t. Eventually.
BookPushers: Solie and Heyou were quite young as protagonists for The Battle Sylph. Will you be returning to these characters when they are older?
L.J McDonald: Yes. Solie and Heyou are quite important characters in QUEEN OF THE SYLPHS. Solie is in her mid-twenties and very much the leader of the Valley. She’s matured a great deal since the first book. Heyou is still the loveable goof he was in the first book, since I can’t imagine writing him any other way, but he does deal with far more adult issues than he did in the first book.
Book Pushers: Did you have any worries about readers being hesitant of Heyou for being quite young — not just in age, but in mind also?
L.J McDonald: I didn’t write the first three books with any thought that anyone would ever see them. I wrote the first one when I was away from home with my military unit for an domestic operation and had nothing else to do with my time in the evening but write. It was that or go to the bar. I made Solie that young because while it was a fantasy world, I was thinking real world medieval reality enough that I couldn’t see her as being any older without having been married off already. Heyou became just as young to balance her and to keep him from being too powerful. I read some reviews that went on about how young the characters were and was really quite surprised at how some people thought it was a bad idea. At least most people didn’t have a problem with it. I can honestly say that I never thought about the repercussions of their ages at all.
BookPushers: Where did you get the inspiration to create the Sylph world?
L.J McDonald: The Sylph world itself? I had this image in my mind of a very, very dangerous world where battlers have grown to become so powerful because they need to be. It’s a place of harsh angles and steep mountains, with little oasis of safety in it where the sylphs have their hives.
BookPushers: Can you tell us what readers can expect from Queen of the Sylphs? Are you able to give us a sneak peak of what’s coming?
L.J McDonald: Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but you will met new people and reacquaint with some old ones, and while the best of things happen, so do the worst. You’ll also get to see some of the sylph world itself, up close and personal.
BookPushers: Do you already know how you want to end the series, or will it expand into other worlds and characters?
L.J McDonald: The universe itself has no end, so to speak. I imagine people going on in it. As for how long I’ll keep writing in it, I don’t know. I like the sylphs. They’re fun. And I haven’t explored everything in it that I’d like to.
BookPushers: Do you have any plans to write in a different genre or a new series?
L.J McDonald: Absolutely. I’m always writing. I’ve written books that are straight fantasy, science fiction, and young adult. I wrote something like six or seven novels before I started the first sylph book and I’m currently writing a four novel series in a completely different romantic fantasy universe (heavy on the fantasy, rather graphic on the sex) that my agent is farming. She’s also farming a seven book romantic fantasy series that I’ve written a synopsis and a few chapters for. I’m amusing myself writing novellas in yet another universe that will pretty much stack together into a full anthology by the time I’m done. That doesn’t include the twist on a vampire novel I’ve started or the urban fantasy ideas I’ve done some shorts on. I have a lot lying around. Now that the sylph books are out there and people are starting to realize I exist, I’m hoping to get more of them published.
BookPushers: What does Fantasy mean to you?
L.J McDonald: Fantasy means anything can happen. There are no limits to imagination, no rules, no stopping and saying ‘well, you can’t do that’. The rules are what you make them and you can explore any concept that you want. I love the opportunity to create an entire universe. It’s like devouring a tub of mental chocolate for me.
BookPushers: If there was an epic battle with the Sylphs, which group of superheroes or fictional or real heroes you would choose to engage them and who would win?
L.J McDonald: Oy…battlers are rather powerful. That’s a hard one. I’d say the battlers would win in a straight out fight against most anyone, except someone such as Superman. They’re reactionary fighters, not intuitive, so they can be outsmarted in a fight. It really would depend on who’s fighting them. Doesn’t matter much to the battler who the opponent is. They’re born and bred for combat.
BookPushers: And finally, where is your ideal spot to write – it can be real, imaginary or somewhere from your books?
L.J McDonald: Ideal spot to write? Mine is mid morning, after I’ve fed the animals (two cats, a bearded dragon, a kingsnake, and a bunch of fish). I have a coffee, and I’m sitting in my computer room with the word processor blown up to cover the screen and the font set to something cursive and lovely. Or, sitting just about anywhere with some paper and a fountain pen. I type novels. I still handwrite shorter pieces. I love the physical sensation of a pen in my hand and writing shorts lets me keep doing that without having to handwrite and then type an entire novel.
We also have a giveaway for an ebook of Queen of the Sylphs thanks to Dorchester! To enter comment here and answer what is your favourite fantasy style setting. Giveaway is open to everyone and will end next Wednesday the 5th of October. Good Luck!