Please join me in welcoming Gillian Bronte Adams! Gillian is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas and the dreamer behind The Songkeeper Chronicles. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist.
Now onto the interview!
1)Everyone seems to have a “how I got published” story. What is yours?
I wrote on and off growing up, but it wasn’t until I was eighteen that I actually stuck with a story to the final page. Elated, I tidied up my little novella and submitted it to a publisher, more to test the waters than because I actually thought it would be accepted. Soon after, I signed my first contract!
That contract later fell through, but by that time, I was already neck deep in the story that would become Orphan’s Song, and it was that early “success” that encouraged me to stick with it and made me believe that I might be able to break into the writing world after all. It spurred me to attend my first writing conference the following year, where I survived my first pitching session, learned so much about the writing craft, and was introduced to the lovely Amanda Luedeke, who became my agent a few months later. From there, the rest is history!
2) Tell us a little about your books.
I write epic fantasy adventures focusing on characters—they may be warriors, kings, orphan drudges, or street rats—who are just muddling their way through life the best way they know how, only to find themselves battling against desperate and almost hopeless odds. Those are the characters I find I can relate to best.
Orphan’s Song is the first book in a fantasy trilogy, The Songkeeper Chronicles, about a world that was created through music, where a girl discovers that the Song that she can hear and sing is extremely powerful. It’s a power that a ruthless tyrant will stop at nothing to possess, his enemies seek to turn against him, and her guardian just wants silenced.
3) How do you write? What’s a normal writing day like for you?
I especially love writing at night. Once the rest of the world is asleep, so many distractions fade away, and I can truly lose myself in the storyworld. But I do also have a day job, which means I have to eventually cut my night writing short so I can get up in the morning. On non-work days, I’ll write into the wee hours of the morning. But on work days, I usually start writing right after dinner and try to keep at it until I’m ready to hit the sack.
4) Describe your feelings when you opened the box and saw the first published copies of your very first book?
It’s actually a kinda funny story. I was at work when my books arrived—I live and work at a youth camp. Our home town was about to have their annual festival and parade, so we were shuttling supplies into town to put the finishing touches on the float we were entering. It was my job to order the fog machine and get it set up, but it still hadn’t arrived by the time we had to pull out, so some of the families who came later picked up all the boxes addressed to me and brought them just in case.
I was rushing around, so I gave them permission to start opening up boxes in search of the fog machine. Next thing I know, I get called over and handed my book! We had only a few minutes to pass the book around so everyone could see it and snap a few photos before we had to jump back into work on the float before it was too dark to see. But I’m pretty sure I spent the rest of the evening grinning ear to ear.
It wasn’t until I got home that night that I really got to appreciate that feeling of awe and disbelief at getting to hold my book in my hands for the first time. To say it was cool would be an understatement!
5) If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?
This is such a tough question! Let’s go with Corrie Ten Boom, William Wallace, and J.R.R. Tolkien. But not all at the same time. That would be one strange conversation.
6) What do you want readers to take away from your book?
I didn’t necessarily write a lesson into Orphan’s Song, but my hope is that it illustrates how God uses the weak, the broken, and the failures to His glory, to shame the so called strength and wisdom of this world. Because that’s a beautiful thing.
7) In what ways does your faith impact how you approach writing?
My faith is very important to me, so I want my writing to honor the One who gave me the ability. At the same time, I want to tell a story, not preach a sermon. In my writing, I strive to portray what I call the “echoes of eternity.” It’s the ability that fantasy has to take the great truths of the Gospel, the themes of love and self-sacrifice, and the promise that we have of hope in the midst of despair, and to reflect those in a new setting and a new way.
It doesn’t have to be an allegory—though it can. It doesn’t have to teach a lesson. It’s an echo, meant to remind us that there is something more to life and to the world than what we see every day. Lewis and Tolkien referred to it as a longing or desire for something more. And that is what I hope my books will produce in the readers.
8) What can you tell us about any future releases you have planned?
The novella I mentioned earlier has a new publisher and is actually coming out on March 15th, so mark your calendars! It’s called Out of Darkness Rising, and you can find out more about it on my blog where I’m currently running a giveaway for 3 ARC’s! So if you win, you could get to read it before everybody else.
In the meantime, here’s a bit of the blurb:
For the villagers on the accursed Island, life has only one meaning—death. Bound to the Island by the curse, the villagers suffer beneath the iron claw of the Serpent, daily breathing the poison of his breath and dying to appease his insatiable appetite. When Marya’s parents are slain by the Serpent for their belief in a legendary king, she becomes an Outcast. Struggling to survive and avoid the vengeance of the Tribunal, Marya is torn between legend and the harsh reality of the Island. Yet when a forgotten promise springs to life, she cannot help wondering if the old stories might in fact be true. And if they are, will the promise prove stronger than the curse?
I’m also currently working on book two of the Songkeeper Chronicles and will hopefully be able to tell you more about that soon. For now, I can tell you that we’ll get to see more of the storyworld, understand the stakes, and watch the characters grow immensely through revelations, battles, and heart-aching moments. Just to whet your appetite!
9) Do you have a particular drink or food you consume when you write? Like cocoa, raspberry tea, chocolate?
I love snacking while I write, which is probably not the best habit. Doesn’t really matter what it is, munching on something helps me stay alert if I’m trying to write at the end of a long day. Coffee or Dr. Pepper are my go to drinks.
10) Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Trying to pick a favorite Bible verse is a bit like trying to pick a favorite book—difficult. I tend to turn to the Psalms, Phillipians, and I John the most. So for now, I’ll go with Psalm 18:28-29 “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”
11) Do you listen to music while you write? If so what are some examples?
I love listening to soundtrack music while I write, because songs with words are too distracting. And the less I know the movie that the soundtrack is from, the better I can focus on what I’m writing. There are some soundtracks from movies I’ve seen dozens of times where at any given point I can tell you what’s going on in the movie, so I end up “watching” the movie in my head instead of writing. Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, and Braveheart are examples of that, but I listen to those soundtracks anyway because the music is awesome!
12) What is your favorite thing you have ever written?
The next novel. Honestly though, no matter what I’m working on, I’m always dreaming about the next one on my list. Not that I’m not happy with what I’m currently writing, but my brain is already working ahead toward the next thing, and I’m already falling in love with the next set of characters and the next storyworld and the next epic battle. I just can’t wait to get to writing those next scenes! It can make it hard to focus sometimes.
Thanks, Gillian, for joining us today. We look forward to your next novels!
Here is where you can find Gillian online:
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/gillianbronteadams
Orphan’s Song Giveaway on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/123510-orphan-s-song