Just to let you know, there is a battle scene in her book. However, Annie ensures me that the book isn't violent. That is very important for me to express. (I don't care for violence in books, especially children's, MG, and YA books.
So, now, onto the interview. Annie, please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Southern California but raised mostly in Kenya, where my parents were missionaries. As an adult, I spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indonesia after college. Shortly after returning to the States, I married my husband Floyd, and the two of us lived in the States for several years. Eventually God put all the pieces into place for us to move overseas, and now we’re serving at a Christian school in Taiwan. It’s not where I thought I’d end up, but I love it here!
What genre do you write?
What is the title of your latest book?
Prince of Malorn.
Please, tell us a little about your book.
Prince of Malorn is the third book in my Annals of Alasia series, but like the others, it can stand on its own. Each book deals with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn. Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life. In the Enemy’s Service features a girl as the protagonist and tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded. Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion. In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the timeframes and settings overlap.
Did you learn anything along the way as you wrote the book?
I learned a lot! Part of the story involves the main character, Prince Korram, making a solitary trek through the mountains, and I spent hours researching details about wilderness survival to make sure everything was accurate. I learned about making wooden spears without steel tools, for example, as well as how to start a fire with rocks, what kinds of edible plants you could expect to find, and what beetle larva tastes like!
What are you working on now?
I’m nearly done with the next book in the series, tentatively titled King of Malorn. It takes place five years later and brings together the main characters from all three of the other books. In addition, I’m working on an unrelated story that will be the first in a completely different series. It’s called The Collar and the Cavvarach, and is set in a world very much like our own except that slavery is legal. Though still a young adult novel, it’s geared toward a slightly older audience than my Annals of Alasia and deals with darker issues. Writing it has been both an exciting and disturbing experience for me. In the last few days I’ve begun outlining ideas for its sequel.
Which of your characters is your favorite and why?
That’s like asking a parent which of her children is her favorite! They’re all special to me in different ways. But I’ll tell you about one of the characters I feel I’ve gotten to know better as I wrote this book. His name is Dannel, and he’s actually a villain. I wouldn’t want to meet him in real life, but he’s so much fun to write about! He’s clever, conniving, has a sense of humor, loves the thrill of danger, and does whatever it takes to make as much money as he can from whomever he can. Oh, and he has no moral standards to speak of. I’ve had a lot of fun working with Dannel’s character in King of Malorn, too.
Besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Besides writing, I enjoy reading (especially fantasy and science fiction) and scrapbooking. Hiking and other outdoor adventures are high on my list as well.
Is there a message, a lesson, or a moral to your stories? If so, would you share it?
I try to promote positive moral values in my books; for example, in Prince of Alasia I bring out the themes of honesty and forgiveness. In the Enemy's Service emphasizes honesty and grace. Prince of Malorn features the idea that no matter how great a ruler is, his people aren't likely to care much about him or listen to his message unless he will humble himself, give up his rights and titles, and become one of them.
Do you make your own covers?
No; my covers are made by Jack Lin, a college art student who graduated from Morrison Academy, where I teach. You can see more of his art at http://jacklindesign.com.
What other genre(s) would you like to write some day?
It’s hard to see myself writing anything other than speculative fiction (fantasy, sci fi, etc.). Nonfiction and realistic fiction just don’t give my imagination enough room to play!
What is your favorite place to write?
Sometimes it’s hard for me to focus on my writing at home where there are always so many distractions. Just this past year, I’ve started taking my laptop to a local teashop (there’s at least one on every corner here in Taichung) and writing at one of their little outdoor tables. There are plenty of distractions there, too, of course – noisy traffic, customers coming and going, cute little swallow chicks poking their heads up from the nest attached to the wall nearby, and of course all the activity at the fire station right across the street. But in spite of everything (and thanks especially to the fact that I have no internet access there), it’s one of the places I’ve been able to be the most productive. I usually go there for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and sometimes on weekdays as well, if I have time and mental energy left after the school day’s done.
Do you have a blog or website?
Yes; my blog is http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
Please list whatever other links you would like to leave.
Buy Prince of Malorn (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/PrinceofMalorn
Buy In the Enemy’s Service (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/EnemysService
Buy Prince of Alasia (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/PrinceofAlasia
Buy any of the books for Nook or other formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Annals+of+Alasia
Amazon Author Page (where readers can see all my books): http://www.amazon.com/Annie-Douglass-Lima/e/B0051XD0SU/