An interview with Melissa A Joy

Hello everyone! Welcome to a special edition of the Grimdark files! Today I am sitting down with Melissa A. Joy, author of Keys of the Origin: Book 1 of the Scions of Balance. I have recently reviewed the book on my blog and believe it to be a masterful work, worthy of your attention and then some. Melissa is a really awesome person and an author to watch out for in the future! She has graciously agreed to an interview with me, so I now present my latest edition of my author spotlight series.

Welcome Melissa to the GrimDark Files!

Firstly may I ask if you are an Ale, Lager or Wine drinker?

I’m a sailor, I drink rum. I don’t mind a bit of cider and sometimes white or rosé wine though.

Secondly, Keys of the Origin is incredible! What was your main inspiration for the story?

This is probably the toughest question of all. In actual fact, the inspiration has come from so many different sources, it’s impossible to pinpoint the original. It would seem that’s actually a theme in the book itself; I have a penchant for being subliminal. Anyway, I digress. My inspiration comes from a wellspring of sources: from music to videogames; films to TV series and anime; and from nature, spirituality, and philosophy. I began construction of this world when I was roughly 13 years old, so I can say there have been thousands of ideas downloaded into my mind over all those years.

Thirdly, The Scions of Balance is going to be a series, how long a series can we expect?

The initial plan was for it to be a trilogy, but that all depends on how books 2 and 3 go. It could easily become a quartet. The world of Aeldynn is vast, so you can expect more even beyond the Scions of Balance saga.

Fourth question, what is your favourite fantasy book/series?

Another tough one for me. I don’t think I have an absolute favourite, but from what I read of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms and Maggie Furey’s works, I can say those are among my favourites. Of more recent books and authors, I’d probably say John Gwynne though; he’s the one author in the last decade who has piqued my interest because he takes the reader on an adventure which involves long journeys, otherworldly beings and creatures, and deadly threats to all existence. Admittedly, I’m one of those very hard to please readers; I find it difficult to call a book true fantasy unless it pitches me head first into another world full of lore, magic, adventure, and many obstacles to overcome.

Fifth question, have you ever played Talisman? It’s one of my favourite fantasy inspired board games!

Unfortunately not; I’m not one for board games. However, I might be persuaded to give it a try were I to attend the right sort of convention along with a supply of rum. I’d need to be dragged out of my hermit cave first though.

Sixth, I love the approach you have taken with Keys of the Origin, the history and lore is so detailed, what is your approach when this is being created (I know it has been a long development)?

With due consideration to the detail involved, I add the lore sections hoping it assists readers to learn enough about the world to make better sense of things. If they weren’t included, I think there would be far too much info-dumping going on. So, when creating them, I think of relevant subjects for discussion that readers are likely to have questions about. For example, how the Drahknyr were created and how they function both physically and spiritually, and how the magic system works. Authors who don’t explain how their worlds work have little clarity and believability. So, by thinking about the lore and history of Aeldynn in depth and adding it into the manuscript periodically, my intention (my hope) was to make the world itself more immersive. Aeldynn is still far from being complete though; I’m always working on it. The more time one takes over constructing a world, the more believable it becomes – at least that’s what I think.

Last, do you have an opinion on Star Wars?

All I can currently think of are the sound effects; and no, I’m not going to do an impression.

That’s all from me! Melissa thank you for taking the time and sitting down with me. Keys of the Origin is incredible, I loved it and cannot wait for what you produce next.

Up next: The Grimdark Files Update - What I have been reading what are you reading?