Everyone, please welcome AJ Spencer. It is with great pleasure that I have AJ on the blog today. I absolutely adored his SnowRaven Chronicles! So I was thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed on the blog. We chat about the long road to producing The SnowRaven Chronicles, crazy dinner parties, movies, and plenty more. Also, AJ has offered up a wonderful audiobook giveaway so make sure to check that out at the end of the post!
Saska SnowRaven is a warrior, sexual, strong-headed, loyal, and endearing. How did you come up with such a winning character?
I dreamed up the character more then 10 years ago (her exploits have been rattling around in my head for a long time)
Originally, I envisioned The SnowRaven as a series of stand-alone stories, either as a comic book (one or two pages each story) or some sort of animation (five minute shorts) possibly online, or as part of an established magazine (I pitched the idea to “HEAVY METAL” Magazine many years ago, but they passed…..)
That is why the stories are so episodic in nature.
And why she has the white fur hat, B&W Face paint and fur lined boots, because I wanted to have a wide array or Artists working on the series with their own unique styles (Classic Comic book, American Cartoon, Japanese Anime, etc….) but you would always recognize her as The SnowRaven.
I also thought Linx would be a fun idea for an artist to play with – that he would always be in motion (like a living feather boa).
The SnowRaven books (as they are now) were born from 3 separate story ideas:
One, a LORD OF THE RINGS like epic (with the insect like Vosharian hordes)
Two, a Fantasy Adventure centering on energy orbs (with Tommy Calvoore as the lead character)
And The SnowRaven Shorts themselves.
After many drafts over many years – I had quite a collection of rejection letters – then I had the idea of combining many of the main elements from all 3 stories (with the SnowRaven as the lead). That is why the stories are so dense (a lot packed into them) and how I was able to write them so (back-to-back) fast.
I think it would be great to be an extra in the new Star Wars (I would luv to be an action figure)…..and become a bit of movie trivia (everyone can point to my one scene and say “That’s the guy that wrote the SnowRaven Chronicles.”)
If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?
I do enjoy a good mystery the first time, but it’s also fun to watch them again knowing who-dun-it. Come to think of it, I feel exactly the same about many of my favorite movies and TV shows no matter how many times I’ve seen them.
Quite a bit of graphic art went into the creating of the series. Tell us a bit about that please.
There are 3 things you need to know about writing a book-
#1 You Write what you know
#2 You Must Have a great hook
#3 You need a GREAT book cover
Comic books are in the SnowRaven’s DNA – so I googled Freelance Comic Book Artists – and found OctoGraphics.
They do great work and being a frustrated artist myself (who paints with words), I relished the chance to describe what the SnowRaven looks like – the pose, the weapons…..it was great fun to see her come alive with their help.
I launched a KickStarter Campaign to fund some promo comics a while back – the campaign was canceled but my video intro is still there:
My dream job would be having my own Animation Studio – bringing fantasy to life as only animation can.
In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?
I do not enjoy that part of self-publishing at all (I wish I had my own promotional team to handle all of that). It is very challenging trying to stand out as a self published author (I often feel like I am being lost in the crowd – or rejected out-of-hand because I self publish……).
If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?
Ernest Hemingway (A big juicy steak), F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda (both would order the salad bar so they can mix and mingle with all the people in the restaurant), Robert E. Howard (who wouldn’t order, but just bang away on his typewriter the whole time), and Hunter S. Thompson, who would order something so completely gonzo that the waitress would just stand at the table with a blank stare.
Oh, what a night that would be…..
I have always loved fantasy artwork – especially Frank Frazetta. Boris Vallejo & Julie Bell’s calendar has hung on my wall for many a year. I wanted to capture some of that look and feel in my books.
I also like to “play against type” – insects do not live in Arctic Regions, and medieval warriors usually wore as much armor as possible. It’s fun to mix things up.
What do you do when you are not writing?
The usual day to day stuff that makes up Modern American Life. I am a BIG Movie Guy from a BIG Movie Family – a lot of my free time has been spent with my DVD collection over the years.
You have to run an obstacle course. Who do you invite along (living or dead, real or not)? Will there be a tasty libation involved?
The champion of NINJA WARRIOR (did you ever see that show?) no libations….I go through life stone cold sober…..it’s quite an experience!
I did write a new short story – part of “The Kindle Worlds” Program. GI JOE VX 257 – based on the classic animated show from the 1980’s – It was great fun!
The lady Snowraven becomes entangled in a tempestuous industrial revolution that promises to liberate the bleak mountaintop kingdom of Arkel-nia from the dominance of the Vosharian – a race of cunning and cruel bio-luminescent insects who have drained the kingdom’s wealth for centuries. Nightmarish creatures whose taste for human flesh has decimated countless generations of Arkel-nian maidens – human sacrifices given in exchange for the glowing orbs that only the Vosharian can create. A vicious, unending cycle for the orbs, prized above all for the light and warmth they give. The only source of energy in the whole of the desolate snow covered mountains- until now…
The lady SnowRaven sets out to claim the fabled treasure of Okra-Bane, hidden amongst the mysterious circle of stones – the ancient remnants of a long forgotten civilization deep in the snow covered mountains of Andora.
But little does she know that a swarm of vengeful Vosharian are stalking her, awaiting the ideal moment to strike, or that the circle of stones holds many, deadly secrets to ensnare treasure seekers. The most terrifying is the ancient creature that sleeps deep within the mountains: a pagan god to the ancients, mere myth & legend to this enlighten age, a force to be feared by all who dare to steal its most coveted treasure.
It is adventure on the high seas when the lady Snowraven sets sail to reclaim the fabled banner of the doomed expedition, lost long ago.
But, she is soon entangled in the war of ideology that is reshaping the very fabric of her world – between those creating machines of industry, fueled by ethanol, and those clinging to the old ways of “magic” holding steadfast to the glowing Nexil-Orbs and the elite classes that create them.
The Snowraven guided by fate.
For an ancient prophesy foretells the coming of a new age – heralded by a mighty queen to sit upon the throne of Nubodia – the wealthiest realm of them all.
But one inflicted with a truly monstrous foe of both nature and man’s creation. A vile creature that shows the most terrifying enemy – is the enemy within.
The lady Snowraven, fallen out of favor with the duke’s inner circle, returns to the simple life of a humble shepherdess… But to lead her flock through the very heart of the mighty Andereke mountains, she must either cross the fabled bridge of Nelchatta… and pay the troll’s terrible price… or risk being trapped by the nightmarish Thian Oil pits… a dark and terrible fate from which few escape… The putrid sludge from centuries of nexil-orbs – haunted by the vile creatures transformed by its insidious evil.
A city under siege…. An ancient book of forbidden magic…. A power that will save or destroy all!
The ancient desert city of Al-zora is under siege by a swarm of man eating insects – unleashed by a deposed queen’s vengeful curse.
But on the eve of total destruction hope for salvation comes…. In the form of Princess E’feena – the renegade princess who enlists the help of the noble swordsman Alcar, her sworn protector, and Jzemlek the alchemist and thief. To claim an ancient book of forbidden magic.
A book hidden deep in the very heart of the city – a vile swamp haunted by man eating plants every bit as ravenous and deadly as the attacking swarm.
But to save her beloved city from total annihilation E’feena will risk anything – ignoring the warnings of the sages, defying her father, the king -whose word is law! Defying all who fear the uncontrollable magic will bring a far greater calamity!
For E’feena means to unleash the most powerful force locked within the mysterious tome….a force with the power to not only destroy the insatiable swarm….but also create a true nightmare….a fate far worse then the horde encircling the city walls -For princess E’feena means to unleash the dreaded Thol-ra itself!
Places to Stalk AJ Spencer & The SnowRaven
AJ has most generously offered up 5 copies of EACH SnowRaven audiobook! Yes, it is possible to win 1 of each book, but no worries if you don’t. They each stand alone quite well. Enter the Rafflecopter below or answer me the following in the comments: 1) Do you have an Audible.com account? 2) Leave a way to contact you. 3) What are some of your favorite comic books and/or graphic novels? Giveaway ends August 31, 2015, Midnight.