Interview with ML Sawyer, author of Elflings

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Synopsis: Elonan is rudely awoken by an argument in the middle of the night to find that his ship, the Elspeth, has been hijacked, and that he, along with the rest of the crew, are now stranded in the distant and icy wastelands of Menarik.

As an experienced sailor, Elonan knows that this was no simple theft, and must have been orchestrated by the group of five who had been part of his original cargo. He knew that they were different, but he never expected them to be thieves.

With no ship due for weeks and a burning need to discover the truth, Elonan sets off on foot into the Snow Dunes of Mengah, where he discovers the fabled Sahat, a wizard from the past, and through their magic, a young woman who is destined to become a part of his future.

Author Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.

Elflings is book three in a series.  Quest of the Demon was released in March 2011 and it followed Darci who was accidentally bought to the land of Nahaba from Earth.  The second novel, Tallen, was released in Dec 2011.  Tallen is a young girl who Darci meets in her travels- that chance meeting changes Tallen’s life, putting her on a journey she may not survive.  Elflings is my first novel written from a male point of view.  Elonan is briefly seen in both Quest of the Demon and Tallen before his story begins.

Elonan is rudely awoken by an argument in the middle of the night to find that his ship, the Elspeth, has been hijacked, and that he, along with the rest of the crew, are now stranded in the distant and icy wastelands of Menarik.

Elonan is not your typical hero or even nice guy.  He’s a bit self-centered and is quite tight with his money.  He has an insatiable curiosity and a rather bad temper which leads to some amusing interaction with Sahat – a dragon who could eat him in a single bite.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

For Elflings, it wasn’t so much coming up with an idea.  It’s more a follow on from where the story began in Quest of the Demon.  It was a natural progression in my mind.  In the whole series, the theory is that there are links between events and people.  Darci began these links with her in the Quest of the Demon which in turn bought forward Tallen and then Elonan.  Each book to come follows different characters you meet along the way until the final book (which will be number 7 in the series) as this is when Darci returns for the conclusion.

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember.  In grade 2 (I would have been around 6 years old), I wrote a book about my teddy bear, Joe, that ended up in the school library.  Quest of the Demon itself began when I was 14, it was just a normal short story at the time- or so I thought.  60 pages of handwriting in, and the story was nowhere near done!  It took on a life of its own to end up being a full length manuscript.

From there of course I sent it out to publishers thinking – I’ve written a book, it should be published.  Well, at 18 years old, I didn’t hear back from most publishers and after months and months, I got one polite letter back to say ‘no thanks’.

This didn’t stop me writing.  Back then I continued on with writing Tallen and Elflings and even starting Silence Rising (due out Dec 2013).  It was more for me than anyone else, it was something I enjoyed.  Every few years or so however, I’d go back, do another draft of Quest of the Demon and eventually, 14 years later, I sent it off to some more publishers and finally, one said yes!

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about the book?

I have to admit I did change one major thing before sending the manuscript out to publishers.  Originally the story was with me as the main character… It was an adventure I would like to go on and I never thought it would actually be published.  Later on however, I did change the main characters name to Darci instead.  Now however, I’d probably go through with a word search and remove as many ‘that’s as I could… I had a habit back then of using ‘that’ too often and when you read it, you’ll find it’s not really necessary.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Making better drafts / editing my own work.  You would be amazed at what you can miss in your own writing.  I read over something and think it’s alright.  Someone else will read a page and will point out something so simple, you feel like smacking yourself on the forehead.  An example would be a page in Tallen – I think I had green grass at least 6 times…the reader only needs to be told about it once – grass isn’t all that special.

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

I’m afraid not.  I’m a chronic sing-alonger.  I can’t write and sing to songs at the same time and I find I can’t listen to good music without singing along!

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I think perhaps that I often write in my head before going to sleep.  If I’m having trouble sleeping, it’s not usually too upsetting as I use the time to walk my way through my stories, it can be like watching a movie once I get up to a part where I haven’t been before.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

I have 7 in total for the series.  Quest of the Demon, Tallen, Elflings, Silence Rising, Deceiver, Subversion and… the last book.  I still haven’t worked out what it’s called yet, but I’m working on it!

Q. Please tell us your latest news.

Latest news book wise is that Elflings is now out, which is pretty exciting for me.  Latest news personally, I’m due with my first baby 2nd of January – so writing whilst dealing with various pregnancy woes has been a bit of a challenge, but it’s an exciting time!

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Happy reading and Merry Christmas.  Enjoy your holidays and have some fun.


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