Welcome to Lavender Lass Books, Eric. I notice you write under E.D. Lazure and this is your first book, so congratulations! I want to thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition.
Of fractured lands and sundered dreams is the first book in the Almodel’s Awakening Series. Here’s the blurb:
The Fimarans’ attempt to overthrow their god backfires. As ghastly creatures begin to fill Fimara and the world’s oceans, Fimarans have no choice but to invade neighboring Odi-Lodo, home of the Dwarfs. Centuries later, facing a revolt by the enslaved Dwarfs, Faija Soothing Wind must find the will to survive and to embrace motherhood. On the run with her daughter, she meets an ailing slave claiming a divine mission which would lead north to Fimara, the accursed land of her ancestors.
Beyond the horizon, the nations of Oria, discovering that monsters no longer haunt the seas, race to send ships over uncharted waters. Survivors of a shipwrecked expedition, historian Tellorym Lewyn, Sister Mikala, and Raysho of Alyth land on Dolixa, where the ruling shamans refuse to embrace the Dreamer’s prophecy regarding the arrival of seafarers and the impending transformation of both Dolixa and Fimara.
The first book in the Almodel’s Awakening trilogy, Of fractured lands and sundered dreams is inspired by classic tragedies where proud characters must pay a steep price for their hubris while others choose to embrace sacrifice in an uncertain pursuit of salvation. With mature themes and limited fantasy elements, the story revolves around deeply flawed characters facing unimaginable circumstances and unforgiving decisions.
And now to the interview:
1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
Yes, this is my first time. I published my novel in early May and found SPFBO by sheer luck a couple of days later. I did not hesitate a second. Even if the judges do not like my book, it still seems an excellent opportunity to build relationships in the community, to discover authors and to have my book read by true fantasy fans. The possibility of a harsh review creates some anxiety, but it’s all part of the learning process.
2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
I have always loved fantasy. I played Dungeons & Dragons as a kid in the 80s and still remember the wonder I felt when reading The King of Ireland’s Son in grade school. The original Star Wars movies, I consider them closer to fantasy than sci-fi, also had a massive influence. They made me realize just how much stories set in a made-up world can have a universal resonance. Like mythology and classic tragedies, fantasy fascinates me when it allows for tales of profound humanity, when otherworldly aspects help magnify the hopes, victories, sacrifices, and failings of its characters.
3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I started writing without a clear publication plan. I did send some queries but quickly realized it was not the route for me. I believe my take on fantasy is unique and was unwilling to change my style to adhere to current trends, to make the few pages the agent would read fit the prescribed mold. Sacrifice my prologue or my many POVs? Over my dead body!
4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
Freedom is the ultimate advantage. If I am to write a single story in my lifetime, I want it to be the one I wanted to tell, not the one with the best chance at commercial success. My greatest challenge is reaching readers. An eternal introvert, I am very uncomfortable selling myself. The marketing aspect is something I will have to work on really hard.
5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
With fantasy’s popularity and the relative ease for anyone to self-publish, you can now find infinite variations on the genre. I grew up at a time when you either read Lord of the Rings or Dragonlance. I would never have expected all the avenues fantasy authors are now exploring. It’s fantastic to see authors with entirely different approaches, like Susanna Clarke and Scott Bakker, coexist. Still, I am surprised to see countless books following old “proven” formulas. I believe editors and publishers tend to focus on an author’s prose when the story should always come first.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I do not see myself moving away from fantasy, but I have started a side project, a more traditional novel inspired by some of my travels. The landscapes I saw and the people I met, particularly in New Zealand and South America, will continue to haunt me until I find a way to share them.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
Originality, for both characters and plot lines. I can’t understand why anyone would want to write another story about a young gifted child watching his or her parents killed by some dark forces and then beginning a typical hero’s quest. Who needs heroes and villains when the most significant obstacles come from within? I want a story where each character tackles a unique journey and is ultimately responsible for his or her demise or salvation. Many of my characters do meet tragedy, but they do so as a result of their conscious decisions, not because of a shock value death robbing them of their agency.
8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
My SPFBO entry is the first book of a trilogy. I did not publish it until I had a complete picture of the next books to ensure the full experience would leave the reader with a sense of satisfaction. I plan to release the second volume in early 2021 and the third one year later.
9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Try to establish a presence in the community, real or virtual. I did not and paid the price when I released my novel without much traction. More importantly, read books from different genres and authors from different countries, making an effort to at least formulate your thoughts for each one. It will open your horizons and will help you discover not only what you like and what you want to tell, but also what you want to avoid.
You can find E.D. Lazure’s book on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/fractured-sundered-dreams-Almodels-Awakening-ebook/dp/B087YZ6CKL