Azaria M.J. Durant
(Darkened Destiny Saga #1)
Publication date: July 29th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
An ancient power long kept dormant stirs in the shadows once more as one boy embarks on a quest to earn his freedom and the freedom of his world!
Magic has turned to myth, the Vaelhyreans of old to legend, and the power wielded by the ancients has long been forgotten. However, with Ealdred, a mere half-breed slave boy, myth becomes real, the forgotten remembered, and the power of legend is reborn within him.
Ealdred is merged into a world of mystery, brimming with deceit, where the remaining Vaelhyreans are in a desperate fight for their very survival. When Ealdred is kidnapped by the power-mongering dark lord Zeldek himself, he must make a choice; to commit his newfound magic to Zeldek’s service or die. But when he meets Bellator, clever yet treacherous servant of Zeldek, an alternative is presented to him: to escape from Zeldek’s stronghold and embark on a quest to find a cursed arrow and free the Vaelhyreans from the spell that keeps their powers at bay.
Yet how can he survive in a world where magic is illegal, half-breeds are hated, and the four countries are on the brink of war?
Welcome Azaria for an interview!
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else? I thought of a couple of different careers, including ice dancing and being a police officer, but by the time I was nine, I began to entertain the idea of being a writer. Which I realized really suited me best. Now I dabble in editing as well as writing my own work.
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish? The longest a draft has taken me is a couple of months, but my one completed book (Broken Arrow) took me six years to complete. The rest should take less time, though, because I’m not going to write 20-30 drafts for them or change the entire story and characters three different times.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories? I see a problem in the world, and I want to fix it, so I address it in my story. Or it just comes up as the story progresses and I realize I’ve worked it in self-consciously. That’s more common than not. I deal with racism a lot in Broken Arrow, with the half-breeds, and the under dwellers vs. the over dwellers. I deal with rejection, hope, freedom, and the different kinds of enslavement. Really, just a lot of deep issues that not only make a good story, but teach lessons.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write? No. I write when the inspiration comes to me, though I do try to make a habit of writing every day whether it comes or not. I believe in pushing through writer’s block by writing.
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing? It’s pretty easy most of the time. I don’t have much of a social life as it is, so I really just need to balance it between spending time with my family, and chatting with my online friends. I just go back and forth, usually, writing when I can.
6. What elements do you think make a great story line? Unexpected plot twists, characters, and complex happenings. I really like it when the author or the MC twists events to lead the reader, but leaves enough truth that if the reader is clever, they’ll figure it out anyways. Those are usually the most intense books where I simply must keep reading to find out if I’m right or not.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book? The hardest thing about writing a book is probably the writer’s blues. One day thinking it’s the best thing ever, and the next thinking the writing is complete trash. The hardest part is keeping at it through the latter of these and not giving up. I manage it by reminding myself of the good days, and having people around me to reassure me that it’s not as bad as I think it is.
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite? I’ve written eight books so far; one when I was eight, one when I was eleven, three when I was twelve and thirteen, and then three since then. My favourite is probably the draft I have written of the third book in the Darkened Destiny series. I can’t spoil anything, but I think it’s pretty cool.
9. Do you have a favorite character? Bellator is the most complex character in Broken Arrow. It’s a mixture between her standoffish personality, her no-shit personality, and her badass fighting skills that make her my favourite character. Sure, she can be mean, but her fight between her good and evil sides was definitely very interesting to write. I spent the most time working out her different quirks and skills.
10. Where do you write? Before my family started traveling (we’re doing a tour of North America in the next year!), I would write on my bed or at the desk in my room. Now I write in the living area of our travel trailer at the table or on the couch whenever I can.
11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took? I spent two-three years querying agents and publishers, but I was young (16-19) and I’m pretty sure my query letters showed that. So this spring, my mom and I sat down and decided that for now, we’d get started self-publishing it while looking for other opportunities. We set a date, and went from there.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think? I have, yes! I have a big family (thirteen kids, two parents), and I’m the third oldest. All of my little siblings that are in the age range the book is geared towards have read it and loved it. A couple of them have read it a couple of times now, which makes me happy. My parents have also both read it. My mom is investing money to help get it self-published, so clearly, she thinks it’s worth the effort.
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing? I’m an artist as well as a writer, so a lot of what I do outside of writing is sketching concept art for my characters. Otherwise, I like going for long walks, reading, and spending time chatting with my online friends.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing? I would tell them to keep at it and not to let anything discourage them. It may take them a while to write something worth reading, but they’ll never get there if they don’t practice. I would also tell them to follow their own writing process, and take time to find their own voice. But overall to remember that the only way to write is to actually write.
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write? My favourite book is probably The Hunger Games, and my favourite author, consequently, is Suzanne Collins. Not only for The Hunger Games, but also for Gregor the Overlander, which is a modern fantasy middle grade series. It was The Hunger Games trilogy that inspired me to write the Darkened Destiny series in the first place, though.
16. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such? My sister closest in age to me is also a writer, so we’re basically writing buddies. We share our stories, bounce ideas off of each other, and give each other plot and character advice from start to finish.
17. Are you working on anything now? Right now I’m working on editing the second and third books in the Darkened Destiny series. There are going to be six books in all, so it’s going to be my project for the next couple of years at least.
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile. One: my baby sister being a sweet pie. Two: my siblings talking about my book. Three: getting a review on my book. Four: mint chocolate. Five: walking in nature.
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad. One: conflict (outside of stories). Two: being ignored. Three: rejection letters. Four: lack of interest in my book. Five: stress
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be? If I was ever to base a story in the modern world, it would either be Venice or Neuchwanstein Castle, because both are very fascinating places, and I would really love to be able to visit both.
Azaria M. J. Durant is a young, passionate writer of fantasy with plans to branch out into sci-fi and dystopian. She enjoys writing stories with action, adventure, unexpected plot twists, and fleshed out characters that challenge gender roles and expectations.
Azaria lives in Atlantic Canada with her family, cats, and dogs, and her big dreams to travel the world. In the moments when she isn’t writing, she is sketching concept art for her stories, participating in community theatre, or curled up with a good book and a bag of mint chocolates.
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