Interview with Joni Parker, author of 'The Seaward Isle Saga'



Joni Parker was born in Chicago, Illinois, but left the windy city at an early age when her family moved to Japan.  Upon return to the United States, her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she graduated from Camelback High School and began college.  However within months, Joni quit college and joined the Navy where she became a Photographer’s Mate.  After 3 years in the Navy, she returned to college and got married.  She got a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA before she returned to the Navy.  As a Commissioned Officer, Joni attended the US Army Command and General Staff College, completing a Master of Military Arts and Sciences Degree.  She retired from the Navy with over 22 years of service and spent several years traveling the United States in a motorhome with her husband.  When he died unexpectedly, Joni returned to work for the federal government in a civil service job.  Five years ago, she started writing and retired once more to devote more time to her new passion.  She currently lives in Texas.  

Her latest fantasy books are The Black Elf of Seaward Isle, Tangled Omens and Blood Mission.

For More Information
Title: The Black Elf of Seaward Isle
Author: Joni Parker
Publisher: Village Green Press, LLC
Pages: 330
Genre: Fantasy/Action Adventure
Format: Paperback/Kindle

On the mysterious Seaward Isle, Alex, the young daughter of Count Dumwalt, escapes Wizard Mylar’s attack on her father’s fortress with the help of two men, Hamlin and Tyrone, who take her to her brother in the village of Nyla.  Disguised as a boy to stay at the Sword Academy with her brother, she learns of the death of her parents and vows to avenge their deaths.  At the same time, a witch on the far side of the island predicts the rise of the Black Elf, the only person with the power to kill a wizard.

Meanwhile, Alex’s stay at the academy is cut short when the headmistress arranges her adoption by a Scinthian Scout, an Amazon warrior and her Dwarf companion.  When her adoptive mother is killed in a pirate attack, Alex returns home to Nyla where Tyrone, now the Governor, takes her in as his ward as he accepts a cadre of Scinthian soldiers for training to restore their decimated Army.  Since Alex can speak their language, she becomes a training liaison, leading to her selection as an elite soldier and assassin known as a tracker.  Her first mission succeeds beyond all expectations and results in her selection as a training officer for the Scinthians, still involved in an extensive training program. 

Upon assignment to a remote border outpost, Alex discovers evidence of foul play—eight missing soldiers.  As she attempts to uncover the mystery, she meets with resistance and skepticism, but she leads a mission to save them.  As she basks in her glory, the wizard shows up to seek revenge on Governor Tyrone, forcing Alex to intervene.

For More Information
  • The Black Elf of Seaward Isle is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.  
Title: Tangled Omens
Author: Joni Parker
Publisher: Village Green Press, LLC
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy/Action Adventure
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Alex, now an experienced soldier and proven tracker, goes undercover to learn the fate of a pirate leader.  As she conducts her investigation in the market, she has her fortune read by the famous Witches of Winden, renown fortunetellers.  Unimpressed, she’s about to leave when a man barges into the tent demanding his fortune be read.  Alex observes and notices similarities to hers--their omens seem entangled, but she dismisses it as coincidence.  However, she learns that he’s the Horseman, the most dangerous pirate spy on Seaward Isle and wanted for treason by her King.  Although she attempts to follow him, he sails away on a ship. 

When she returns home, she reports the incident to Governor Tyrone who tasks her to find and kill him or die trying, her first tracker mission.  Although she doesn’t know his real name, she’s the only one who can recognize him.  His trail leads her north, deep into the pirate stronghold of Riverton, her first solo mission. 

For More Information
Title: Blood Mission
Author: Joni Parker
Publisher: Village Green Press, LLC
Pages: 323
Genre: Fantasy/Action Adventure
Format: Paperback/Kindle

While on leave from the army, Alex visits her cousin, Prince Darin of the Water Elves, and arrives in time to thwart an assassination attempt ordered by the rogue Elf Mellen.  Although weakened by poison, the Prince assigns Alex a Blood Mission to kill Mellen.  However, Alex finds the Elf elusive as he organizes and trains his pirates to take over the harbor at Agana, the best deep water port on the island.

At the same time, Alex must deal with Colonel Jeffrey, a handsome young man determined to marry her for her inheritance.  Alex rejects his advances and faces his wrath, becoming the target of several murderous plots.  Unfortunately, her path to success includes Colonel Jeffrey as she needs him and his soldiers to stop the Elf Mellen before he takes over and destroys the fragile civilization on the island.           
   
For More Information
  • Blood Mission is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.  

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?

I’m a big fan of Lord of the Rings, especially the movie trilogy, so I began coming up with follow on stories in my head.  Soon, I was at the point where I had to write them down or go nuts.  It took me three months to dump all of the stories out—what a relief!  Then I stepped back and wondered what to do with all of it.  After a few months, I decided to publish them, but I had to make a lot of changes, like creating a whole new setting called Seaward Isle.  The current book has little resemblance to the original.   

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?

I found it hard to write this series because I’d never done anything like it before.  I thought I knew how to write, but in fact, I wasn’t very good at it.  I thought I knew how a novel was put together, but I didn’t understand some of the most basic concepts.  Had I known, I probably wouldn’t have started, but the journey has turned out to be a lot of fun as well as hard work.  My advice to writers is to get your story concept out of your mind and then fine tune it, using all the tools at your disposal. 

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

My publisher is Village Green Press, LLC, a small indie press.  I found it almost by accident.  I’d self-published my first book, The Black Elf of Seaward Isle, and realized I needed an editor afterwards.  By the way, that is not the correct procedure, edit first.  While I was working on my second manuscript, I sent it to www.theeditorialdepartment.com, a website run by Renni Brown for a trial edit.  I was impressed with the results and sent in my complete manuscript.  When I didn’t hear anything back, I found out by email that the assigned editor, Teresa Kennedy was leaving the company and offered to take my book with her.  I didn’t know what an indie press was, but she was starting one with her partner called Village Green Press LLC.  After she edited my books, she offered me a contract and published them.  I’ve been working with her ever since. 

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

It isn’t easy to get reviews from anybody even friends and relatives.  In addition, most book bloggers are so overwhelmed they can’t take any more.  You can pay for them but some sites, like Amazon will not publish a review if they’re paid for.  You can exchange a review with another author, but what if you don’t like their book? 

Another surprise was marketing.  It’s really hard to make your book stand out from the rest and it’s time consuming.  I’ve tried all kinds of promotions, i.e. my website and blog, social media, and book giveaways, but nothing seems to work.  I thought I’d give a blog tour a try.

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

I’m working on the next series called The Chronicles of Eledon.  The first book in the series is called Spell Breaker and should be published in the summer of 2015.  Alex remains my main character and she’s moving on to the next phase of her life, finding her Elf roots.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
I don’t hangout online much since I want to spend my time writing.  I have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoniParker and I’m on Twitter @ParkerJoni.

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

I didn’t intend to write a book with a message, but all books end up with one.  I want young women to feel that they can accomplish anything, if they put their minds to it.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I want to thank you for participating in this blog tour.  To other authors, my advice is to write your story and fix it later.  Don’t expect it to be perfect the first time—it won’t be.  Find people to help you—editors, book cover designers, formatters, and so on.  And join a writers’ group.  Writing can be a lonely occupation, but you don’t have to do it alone.  


Powered by Blogger.