It’s author K. J. Simmill on my blog today. She is the author of “The Forgotten Legacies” series. Be sure to visit her amazing website https://darrienia.com/
1) Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a mummy first, and I always will be. My son brings me more happiness than I could ever express and more inspiration than I could ever reveal. He is my pride and joy, and will always be my greatest accomplishment. I’m also an award winning British author, qualified project manager, herbal practitioner and holistic therapist. Given various circumstances I have the great pleasure of being a stay-at-home Mum for the time being.
I love to read, I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have a book on the go, and I am a passionate gamer. I’ve been console (and sometimes PC) gaming since the Master System days. My first real RPG being Ultima IV, I love RPG games, and I am currently replaying Disgaea 2 as last time I didn’t get the l40 weapons.
2) Tell us about your ‘The Forgotten Legacies series.’
The Forgotten Legacies Series is a collection of four stand-alone epic fantasy stories. Whilst they build on the book preceding it to the ultimate climax a reader could pick any from the series and not feel they have missed something integral as everything they need to know is explained and the main plot completely wrapped up. The general concept is there are things in the World of Gaea’s Star even those living upon it are unaware of, legacies long forgotten. But nothing stays buried forever, and each one uncovered brings with it a danger which must be overcome in order to return the world to the path it must take to survive.
3) You first book in the series is quite long at 700+ pages. How long did it take to write? What about book 2?
Darrienia is indeed a long book, as the first based in this world there was a great deal of lore, mythology and world building needed, a lot of which was later cut out or not included. Writing Darrienia took me about a year, and was normally done during lunch breaks and after work. Revising and editing however took me a further few years, during which time I also took a break and wrote the drafts of the other three books in the series.
Book two, the Severaine, is about 100 pages shorter and took around six months to write in draft and a further year in edit and revisions.
4) Was there any difficulty that arose due to the length?
There were two main ones, the first being if I wanted to employ an editor, due to the word count, the quotes I received spanned the region of 5-12k, certainly not affordable. I considered splitting the book into two, but it would have not only cost my readers more to buy but also detracted from the book. As a reader I love a good cliff hanger, but there is a difference between a cliff- hanger and the book simply being cut to force a second book out of what should be one.
The second was only a slight problem I had was with pricing. As an indie author I set the price of my paperback books as low as possible. The publishers create a price based on production cost and ensure they receive a good profit, then anything after this goes to the author. Given the length of the books the price is higher than I would have liked, although fitting with similar size works. I opted to round their set price up to the nearest 99p/99c I would much rather my readers have a more affordable book than line my own pockets.
5) You practice herbal medicine?
Yes. I have been studying herbal remedies and lore for nearly twenty years and first found an interest in this as a teenager. I’ve always found it fascinating and this year I passed my exam to become an official herbal practitioner. I’ve not only practised herbal medicine for a long time, but I have also explored other uses for herbs, such as those detailed in my non-fiction book Herbal Lore.
6) You have collaborated with other authors in the past. What was the experience like?
I have indeed. I’ve had the pleasure of working with two collaborations, both for charity.
The first one published was a book titled Camels and Cake: Tea for Three. This was a really fascinating exercise. It was initially pitched as a project by Karen Gray, author of the ‘Saga of Thistles and Roses’, and is a collection of flash fiction. Each author was given 12 prompts and a word count for each. It was a fun challenge and served to show the diversity of the authors involved. They were a very friendly group of people and I remain in contact with some of them to this day.
The second I was invited into last year, and is a continuation of Ian D Moore’s vision. This collaboration has already released one book, You’re Not Alone, and I was honoured to be invited on board for the second which I believe is due out later this year. I find the group amazing to work with, we all help each other to ensure the work we are producing reaches its full potential.
7) How do you promote your books?
I don’t have the greatest marketing budget in the world, in fact, I don’t have a marketing budget at all. My main means of promoting is social media, specifically Twitter, although I spend more time promoting other authors than myself.
I have had some amazing art work created for me, and use this with teasers in hope to generate interest and I also have the support of numerous authors who help me to promote. I am a strong believer in supporting authors, and have fortunately crossed paths with a number of like-minded people.
8) You have any amazing blog with many subscribers. How did you make your blog so popular?
To be honest my blog is a tool I use to support other authors. I review books, both officially for, Readers’ Favorite, and unofficially for things I read, as well as provide author interviews. Any success my blog enjoys I believe to be the product of those who I feature.
9) Which books and authors have most influenced you?
As you may tell from the size of my own work I love a thick book. I can attribute this to authors such as Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts, but there also some books I have read which have a special place in my heart. The Tower of Geburah by John White, The Keys to Paradise by Robert E Vardeman, and for a long time I was a devout fan of L.J. Smith and her works. These days however about 90% of the things I read are written by indie authors.
10) So what are you releasing next?
My next book released will be Remedy, book three in The Forgotten Legacies Series, this one, unlike one and two focuses around a completely different cast of characters. I am also looking at a possible joint release, dependant on how the revisions and editing goes, of The Grimoire, a book centring around the antagonists of my first and second books, and their adventures before Darrienia as they seize the Grimoire to return their power to Night.
11) Anything you’d like to add?
I would like to thank you for the interview.
The only thing I can add personal to me is that I donate a percentage of royalties from each of my books to charity.
Darrienia donates 10% to the UHNM (University Hospital of North Midlands) for use by the neonatal department.
Herbal Lore donates 15%, and The Severaine 10%, to the DMWS (Defence Military Welfare Service.) who provide medical welfare support to the Armed Forces Community and other Frontline staff, across the UK and abroad. They are the only charity to deploy to areas of conflict alongside troops on the frontline, and are the first welfare service that service personnel will see when they are wounded, injured or sick.
Both charities do an amazing job and I am honoured to be supporting them.
A. J. Chaudhury is a young author from India writing mostly in the fantasy genre. His historical low fantasy short A Song of Blood has released and is being acclaimed by reviewers
To download his fantasy novella “The Drabird” for free CLICK HERE!