I’m so excited about this post! This will be my first author interview and I am really grateful to author Jina S.Bazzar for sparing some time from her busy schedule around the launch of her new book (Heir of Ashes), and answering some of my silly and some serious questions:)
So, without further ado, let’s go on to the interview!!:)
Me: Has writing always been a passion for you? What was your writing schedule like, when you wrote this novel?
Jina: I can’t say that writing has always been a passion, though there was a phase during my rebellious teens when I used to write poems, some of which I still have.
Now my writing schedule is like most things in my life: chaotic, to say the very least. When I write and how much I write, depends on my mundane routine, and of course, my children’s mood. Then there are the times when the story has me by the throat and all I can do to stay sane is type, and the world around me is nothing but a background blur.
Me: Is this the first book you have written, or have there been other books that were written and published or are unpublished?
Jina: Hmmm. No. There was a trilogy before Heir of Ashes, a miserable and embarrassing failure I have stored under lock and key. It was a wild and foolish impulse, but it served to teach me that writing isn’t just putting down a string of words.
Me: How did you come about the idea of this book, and who was your inspiration for the Heroine? Was there a specific reason you decided for the lead to be a female character than a male character?
Jina: When I was trying to fix that first trilogy, Roxanne started gaining form in my head, and eventually the storyline became persistent enough that I opened a new file and let the words flow.
I’ve always been fascinated by female heroines who start up from zero, and then grow to become a power to be reckoned with, and so it never really occurred to me to make the main character male.
Me: I’m sure there are going to be more books in the series, since I have so many questions now! Can you tell us how many books there will be in this series? Or will that be a secret? <Wink>
Jina: There will be three books in this series, though there’s room for debate yet on a fourth one.
The second book, Heir of Doom, is already on its second draft. Soon I’ll be sending copies for the betas, and hopefully by early next year, Heir of Doom will be released.
Me: What do you want the readers to feel for Roxanne? Is she like you?
Jina: Roxanne is a complex character- vulnerable at times, strong at others, kind, mean, uncaring, and yet full of compassion.
I’d like readers of Heir of Ashes to understand where she comes from, to be able to connect with her on some level.
Roxanne and I are nothing alike. I’d have cowered in a corner and cried myself to death if I had to face half of what she did. Lucky for me, there are no supernaturals in my life.
Me: There are some serious topics you have touched upon in this book- such as sexual harassment, abandonment and trust issues that children/adolescents might grow up with. Why these subjects though?
Jina: Yes, these are indeed serious topics and the cause for teens to withdraw from society or find refuge in addictive substances. Most people have felt some level of abandonment before, most likely during their teens. And with abandonment, there always comes some trust issues. The rape topic, on the other hand, is a topic I almost deleted a few times, seeing that most authors avoid talking about it. But it is a real issue, and when I was researching this topic, I found that the percentage of sexually harassed teens was horrifying, and that most refuse to talk and report the abuse, feeling ashamed, humiliated, embarrassed and even afraid. Heir of Ashes targets a 15+ audience group, and so when I touched on this topic, there were no flashbacks, no details, graphic or otherwise. Most cases go on unknown, and so I made sure to portray the fact that Logan, who is basically a stranger, reacted strongly against it and that Roxanne was not judged.
Me: On a lighter note, I did notice that there is a lot of emphasis on personal grooming, eating, etc from the Heroine in the book. Is this something that comes from what you like personally too? Usually books on fantasy never touch upon mundane grooming subjects such as having the need to pee, and yet I used to always wonder, don’t superheroes feel hungry or tired? Lol!
Jina: I get annoyed if I’m reading a book that skips those basic needs, it gives the story an unrealistic touch, because, unless stated otherwise, people need to eat and drink and pee, sleep and shower. Maybe they can go long stretches without one or the other, and I admire the author who mentions greasy hair, a grumbling stomach or the need to sleep. I wanted to portray the image of a supernatural being, and yet make her human enough so readers could connect to.
Me: Which authors do you love reading and take inspiration from?
Jina: Nora Roberts. I love her style of writing, the way she weaves a story, the vivid ways she can describe things. She’s my go to author when I’m in a reading slump. Her books never fail to captivate me.
Me: What are some YA books that you would recommend readers and me to read?
Jina: There are so many! God, lets see..Hmmm. Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, there are many others. How about All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harcness.
Me: Who is your favourite fictional character? It’s alright if you have more than one, I know I have more than one!
Jina: Oh God, let me see..Cat Crawfield from Night Huntress, Joanne Baldwin from Weather Warden, Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses, Aisling from Aisling Grey. Can I add Frizz from my own book? I loved him so much; I have him featuring on all the remaining books in the Roxanne series.
Me: What would your recommendation be, for any budding writers out there? Maybe I will take some tips from you 😉
Jina: Don’t wait for inspiration to hit you. If you’re serious about writing, you need to write every day, even if its nothing but a letter to yourself. Practice makes it better, and you never know what might pop out on the screen.
Me: How do you find time to read and write, with three kids and all the other hobbies you have, such as cooking?
Jina: I use screen readers since I’m blind, so when I’m cleaning or cooking or baking, I turn on the automatic reader and listen to a book or loud music, depending on the mood. On the other hand, I write during different hours of the day, depending on how flexible my schedule for that day is, or how strong the story is running in my head.
Me: What is your favorite recipe to cook?
Jina: Chicken steak with mushroom and Alfredo sauce and a side dish of mashed potatoes (Yum)- sadly, I don’t do this one much. If I have guests over that I want to impress, its either Lasagna or Shepherd’s Pie. On the other hand, I like to bake pastries- spinach, cheese, meat or chicken; and sweets such as cinnamon rolls and cookies.
Me: Any other tidbit that you would want our readers to know about you and Roxanne?
Jina: Sheesh, let me tackle each part individually.
About me? Well, I’m socially awkward, and when I meet someone new, face to face, I’ll either ramble on non-stop or become speechless; on the other hand, when I meet someone virtually, I have non of the awkward reservations I have when I’m face to face with someone else. This awkwardness started after I began losing my vision, but I only really noticed it when I became completely blind.
About Roxanne: Roxanne is a disturbed soul with a big heart and an uncanny knack for survival. She’s desperate for some semblance of normalcy, and the need to be the ordinary girl next door.
Heir of Ashes is a story full of action. Because the main character, Roxanne, is still ignorant about her abilities, she’s targeted by some of the stronger predators in the supernatural community- all trying to gain the upper hand in a bid for power.
There is a bit of romance in Heir of Ashes, though it will be slow to develop and leave you wanting for more. But maybe the romance will bloom in the upcoming books!
——————————————-End of Interview———————————————————
Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life at the age of twelve. Cool, popular, pretty, smart. Her dreams of a perfect, successful and prosperous future seemed well within her grasp. By the time she was twenty-two she had become a commodity. A fugitive. She was being hunted.
As Roxanne embarks on the dangerous quest to search for half-truths about her past, she discovers she’s not just an abnormal human, but a rarity even among her Fee peers.
She is hunted by scientists, keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, as well as other beings far more dangerous whose plans for her she cannot fathom
You can read my thoughts on the book here
You can learn more about the author and her book on her blog here
Other Links on where you can buy the book:
About the Author:
Jina was born and raised in Brazil, where she had a joyful and fulfilling childhood. Soon after she graduated from high school, she was diagnosed with a chronic disease that caused gradual vision loss. She became blind at the age of twenty-three. She has since lived in the United States and Brazil, though currently resides in the middle- east.
Like most authors, Jina had always been an avid reader, a fan of the fantastic, but was denied the joy of books when she became blind. Once she discovered screen readers, she picked up the habit of reading again, but discovered that reading was no longer enough, so she started writing her own book.
When she’s not writing in the Roxanne Fosch series or her blog, she’s writing articles for Conscious talk Magazine, where she works as a columnist.
Aside from the written word, Jina loves to spend time in the kitchen, cooking and baking for her three kids and anyone who happens by.
Disclaimer: This has been my first author interview and I hope you enjoyed this post. Interview questions and responses are not made up and totally legit 😀