Interview with Andi O'Connor, author of THE LOST HEIR


The Lost Heir is Andi O’Connor’s debut novel and is available in both paperback and eBook.  Her second novel, Silevethiel, is slated for release in October, 2013.  She is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, the National Writers Association, The Association of Writers & Writing Programs, and the Boston Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.  Andi lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and four dogs.

You can visit Andi’s website at www.andioconnor.com or socialize with her at Facebook.

About the Book

Always a meticulous planner, Darrak Hunter leads a dull life until his dreams become plagued with visions of a peculiar and distant world.  Waking up to a brilliant purple sun looming ominously in the sky, Darrak is met by a mysterious violet-eyed sorcerer who whisks him away from the struggling Earth.
Thrown into the clutches of a foreign world where magic is reality and not all is as it seems, Darrak embarks on a journey where he is forced to come to terms with his past and do what he can to shape the future.  Accompanied by a talented swordswoman, a prince, and a beautiful young sorceress, he must overcome cunning plots of treachery and betrayal to discover the strength to stand against a destructive black magic and an enemy who is a master at deception.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at  the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Thank you for having me! The Lost Heir actually started as something fun to do in my spare time. I didn’t really think I would ever finish it, let alone get it published and make writing my career. Fantasy has always been my favorite genre to read, sparked by authors such as Terry Brooks, Brian Jacques, Philip Pullman, and Terry Goodkind, so when I got the idea that eventually morphed into The Lost Heir, it didn’t come as a shock that it was fantasy—at least to me anyway.

As for how I came up with the idea, I can’t really say—just as I can’t explain where any of my ideas come from other than them being the offspring of the countless hours I spend reading and daydreaming—then reading and daydreaming. Actually, I suppose that’s how the idea for The Lost Heir came about. One thing I’ve always loved about fantasy is that I can travel to magical worlds, but that caused me to wonder what it would be like to physically travel to another world. How would a protagonist react if they were suddenly taken away from Earth and placed on another planet where magic and fantastical beings exist? What would they do if they discovered they could wield said magic? What if the future of both worlds depended on the abilities they never knew they had?

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It was certainly time-consuming, especially since it was my first experience writing, and there were definitely good days and bad days, but I wouldn’t describe it as hard. I quickly found what techniques work for me and stuck with them.

Actually, that would be my tip for other writers. There are many people out there with many opinions of the ‘proper’ way to go about writing a novel. But quite honestly, just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Certainly look at the way others do things, but view them as guidelines only. If you try something and it doesn’t feel natural to you, then don’t do it again. Do some experimenting, find your groove, and stick to it.

If you find that you write best on the first and third Tuesdays of every month between the hours of 4pm and 1am while wearing a purple leisure suit and eating rhubarb pie covered in ketchup, then do it and ignore everyone who tells you to do otherwise.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher for The Lost Heir was Black Rose Writing. I found them through Writers Market, which is a website that has a wonderful list of agents and publishers. For various reasons, I decided that self-publishing would be a better fit for me, so I am releasing the rest of The Dragonath Chronicles as well as my new fantasy series, The Vaelinel Trilogy under my publishing imprint, Purple Sun Press.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I found actually getting published to be quite surprising, but I suspect that most first time authors would feel the same! The one thing about the process that I found to be the most surprising was how involved an author needs to be in regards to promotion. I expected to do a lot myself, especially considering the publisher I went through, but I quickly realized that every author, regardless of how they are published, needs to be extremely hands-on. Promotion is essentially a full-time job, and that’s something that I’m still struggling to grasp.

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

Elation. Shock. Disbelief. I don’t think there’s an actual word to describe what I felt. It was a totally surreal experience, and I think it is something that won’t change with any subsequent books I have published. I do have a story to share that will help you to better understand the awesome feeling. It may also make you think I’m a total wacko, but I’ll take my chances.

When my author copies were delivered, I stood in the living room with scissors in hand while my husband carried in the first box. Before he could get the 2nd box inside, I’d opened the first, taken out a copy, sniffed it, and proceeded to hold it under his nose, following him back and forth as he carried in the 2nd and 3rd boxes—all the while screaming, “Smell it! Smell it!”

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have started a new fantasy series, The Vaelinel Trilogy, and the first book titled Silevethiel is scheduled for release in October! The Dragonath Chronicles will continue with the release of Awakening in March 2014. I hope to continue the October/March cycle for the remaining books in both series before branching out into other series within the same worlds. It’s a tight schedule, but if I have to, I’ll call upon the magic of the Elves and Guardians to make my fingers type faster!

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?

My book makes this world a better place simply because it exists. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not being pretentious. Every single book, no matter its genre, makes the world better.

Books are the most powerful weapons in the world today. They harbor ideas, beliefs, and theories. They give us insight into what was, what is, and what could be. They bring awareness to different cultures and sensitive issues. They spark the need for change and awaken the desire for action. They open our minds and allow us to grow—both as individuals and as a society.

People may agree or disagree with what’s in a book—that’s not important. What is important is that they are confronting issues and viewpoints that they might not have otherwise considered. They are being given the opportunity to ask, ‘What if?’ That is one of the key ingredients for a healthy society and it is what will allow humankind to develop and improve. There is something to be gained from every book, if only we take the time to listen.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

There’s actually a few things for readers to take away from The Lost Heir, but the main one (and one that extends into the rest of the series as well as The Vaelinel Trilogy) is that of female equality and the empowerment of women.

What if we lived in a society where neither sex was considered superior to the other? What if people were given the same opportunities and chosen for jobs and positions based solely on their abilities? What if a woman’s worth was not measured by how many children she bears? What if women who are raped and abused were not bogged down by a social and religious stigma labeling them as not worthy of better treatment?

What if we lived in a world where women were seen and treated as people?

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I would like to thank The Writer’s Life for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you. The questions were fun and thought-provoking, and I hope you enjoy reading my answers as much as I enjoyed writing them!

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