We are excited to feature A.J. Norfield today. He is the author of the dragon-fantasy series, The Stone War Chronicles. Enjoy!
Welcome! Please tell us your name and a little bit about yourself:
A.J. Norfield, pleased to meet you. I have an awesome wife and two adorable kids who, rightfully so, request plenty of my time. My day-job (to hide my secret writer identity) is in the field of conservation (animal focus), trying to protect that what makes our planet beautiful and unique. But, the reason you’re likely reading this, is because I spend my hours of darkness to fill the pages of my book with an entirely new world. A world on the verge of destruction.
How many books have you written?
One! My debut novel Windcatcher. I’m currently hard at work to finish the second part of the series.
If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why? If you have not been published yet, what are your plans for the future?
Self-published. I found it an exciting challenge to learn about the world of self-publishing. It allows for complete creative freedom and feels very rewarding for the milestones you achieve!
How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
When I was little I already wrote/drew small comic books. The will to write was always present and I’ve always wanted to write a book at some point in my life, but the story was never there. Then, a few years ago, during a late night baby-feeding-session the story presented itself in my head and I’ve spend ever since writing, shaping and forming this story, this world, onto paper for all to read.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?
Anne McCaffrey and Naomi Novik are amongst my favorites writers. For me they have really shaped the dragon fantasy world as I know it. Terry Goodkind and his laws of magic have left another great impression during my college years, the psychology in those books were part of many late night discussion drinks.
Currently reading: Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik
What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?
Paperback, pocket size preferably. I often travel to different countries by airplanes. Those trips offer a great change to swap between reading and writing. I still love running the paper pages through my fingers and smell the scent of a book. I’ve been thinking about an e-reader for some time now, especially with releasing my first ebook, but I’ve not made the step yet and maybe I’ll never will.
What is the title of your current work in progress or the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
My first book ‘Windcatcher’ has been released a few months ago. After receiving positive feedback on the story and characters (did I mention the dragon already???), it was clear an official editing round would be a wise next step. This took place at the beginning of the year, so I’m happy to say my edit round is now done. It cleaned up the book, as well as taught me a few things on the whole self-publish process.
Though I do not have loads of time to write, book II of the Stone War Chronicles is nearing the end of first draft, which is another milestone I’m looking forward to!
What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?
Fantasy, and I always said to myself ‘If I ever write a book, it will be a dragon fantasy adventure”, so…dragon fantasy it is. I consider it an adventure book, with plenty of action and obstacles. It isn’t a young adult book, with slight inspirations from world like Game of Thrones, but it does handle similar subjects like taking responsibility and protecting those you love. In the book(s) there’s a heavy emphasize on nature and the loving bond between people. Not just lovers, but siblings, parent-child, mentor-student, what we do to prove ourselves and those we want to protect from harm.
Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?
The main character, Raylan, is a carefree young man, trying to live his life without too many responsibilities. After being drafted, he’s send out with a small squad to cold, faraway lands. Under the command of his brother, their group has to retrieve an ancient relic for their kingdom’s trading partner—the Tiankong empire.
When they discover the ancient relic holds life, Raylan’s view of the world is forever changed. He’s suddenly confronted with the responsibility for another one’s safety and with the Stone King’s men chasing them, that task isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. The danger and obstacles on their way start to take their toll. Dangerous animals, massive stone warriors, those cold lands are not for the weak.
With their way home cut-off, they have no other choice but to keep moving—and to keep fighting—in an attempt to get back to those that await their return.
How often do you write?
As often as I can, sometimes every day, even if it is just a few sentences. Other times life will prevent me from touching my story for more than a week.
How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?
I wish I could say a matter of months, but the way things are going I spend about two years between books now. Though, I expect (or at least hope) this gap might get smaller as I become more familiar with the process of writing and publishing. Things can take a very long time when you first have to discover and learn everything.
Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.
If I would, I’d probably get very depressed…I write when I can and when I feel like it. The story will come, created with all the love I can give during its creation.
Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)
No internet mostly. ^_^ Distractions are a writer’s biggest enemy (*hello cute cat video of the day*). On the serious side: I love writing action scenes with the music from Two Steps from Hell or similar. Besides that I just need time in the day’s busy schedule.
If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?
Most of my characters have some appealing skills, some excel in archery, other medical skills, superb fighting or great leader skills. But it will come to no surprise I would love to take Raylan’s place, who wouldn’t want a dragon as a friend?!