Wednesday, 21 October 2015

An Interview With J. S. Burke.

My guest today is J. S. Burke, author of The Dragon Dreamer series.
Jenny has also written  the Crystal series of science books and the Fantasy Snowflakes Activity Bookfor youngsters of all ages (6+)

Hi Jenny, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Before we dive into the questions, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Rainne, thank you for inviting me! 
I’ve worked as an author, artist, chemist, teacher, and as a marine biologist, studying creatures of the dark abyss and diving on coral reefs. I wrote The Dragon Dreamer series, a young adult science fantasy with flying dragons, a detailed undersea world, and unexpected friendship. I also have three math-science-art educational books. I live in Georgia with my family and rescue pets.

What made you decide to start writing and put your work out there to be read by others?
I had an idea, began writing, and more ideas piled in. When adults and kids liked the manuscript I was pleased. When kids wanted me to write more I decided to try to publish, since they’re generally quite honest.

How is your day structure? Do you have a special time to write?
I try to write every day, but the time varies. Unfortunately, inspiration often strikes when I head for bed, so I stay up late writing instead!

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
The story just grew in me when I started, but then I developed a rough plot outline with character arcs, story arcs, plot twists, etc.

Tell us about your favourite memory related to reading or writing?
My favorite writing memory is of how The Dragon Dreamer began. I wasn’t planning to write a book. I put an odd, roundish rock in a blue ceramic bowl and it became a dragon's egg in my mind. I knew that a dragon made this ceramic nest so she could warm it with her fire to incubate the precious egg. I saw her, all golden scales and wings, and her young misfit son. I saw dragons painting the clouds with colored lightning, and I knew their legends. So I began writing. The Dragon Dreamer has an undersea world because I'm a marine biologist . . . the sea just flowed in.

What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?
Writing is both a challenge and a breeze, at different times.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start writing sooner! Be more Zen.

Can you tell us a bit about The Dragon Dreamer? And maybe some insight into your main characters. What makes them special?
The Dragon Dreamer is a fast-paced adventure with flying dragons, an undersea world, and an unlikely friendship. It's a science fantasy layered for readers age 9 to 99.
Arak is a misfit dragon called "Dreamer". Determined to prove himself he leaves on a dangerous quest, is caught in a fierce sea-storm, and crashes on ice. Wounded and alone he faces death. Then a fearless, undersea shape-shifter named Scree heals him and an unlikely friendship begins. When an undersea volcano erupts it triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. Can Arak use his unique talents to save the dragons?
The dragons have a complex society with legends, art, lightning dances, festivals, and dangerous quests.
The shape-shifters octopus characters are written with a fantasy take on their natural, seemingly alien abilities. They have eyes in their skin and can change their shape, color, and texture to match almost anything. Octopuses are smart; they can probably think and act faster than any human. They act at dragon-speed!
Arak is a young, insecure dragon with a unique gift and an easy acceptance of the unexpected. Mocked as a worthless dreamer, he leaves on a dangerous quest to save the dragons. An unexpected friendship changes his life.
Scree is a fearless, creative shape-shifter healer with a serious case of wanderlust and her own philosophy: “What will be, will be. And then I’ll fix it.”
Zarina is a capable dragon healer who controls the magical micro-energy. Overwhelmed by the stress of healing a mangled dragon, she wonders what it would be like to have a normal life.
Orm is a shape-shifter with off-beat humor and a joke for everything. He’s a brilliant scientist and Scree’s cautious mate, but he’ll risk everything to save her.
Taron is Arak’s best friend. He’s an amazing craftsman who is completely comfortable in his own golden dragon skin.

Who designed your book cover?
My fantasy worlds are very clear in my mind. I imagined a cover picture with my golden dragon hero in a stormy purply-blue lightning sky. I saw this oceany sky bending around to the back and becoming the undersea world with a shape-shifter octopus. The indie press thought my painting was eye-catching and used it for the cover.

Where can we get our hands on Dragon Dreamer?
Oh, please do! The Dragon Dreamer has paperback and e-books just waiting to be adopted into good homes.
Amazon US | Amazon UK |  NOOK |  KOBO

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?
Crystal Clouds is a math-science-art activity book based on snowflakes, the third book in my Crystal series.
Black Lightning is the next book in my Dragon Dreamer series.
The ice dragons are not what they expected. My main characters from the first book are here and some new ones. Here’s an excerpt where a shape-shifter enters the abyss beneath an iceberg: 
Scree felt no shift in the currents but her skin prickled with warning. Something was watching her. She changed color while her skin cratered and dimpled with sharp edges like broken eggs. In the blink of an eye she disappeared, perfectly matching the volcanic rocks. What was it? Her arms could only taste the overwhelming sea-smells of rotten egg, weathered rock, and old melted ice. She focused her mind on the thousands of tiny eyes in her skin; it was like looking through a wall of glass bubbles at a puzzle image. He was lurking in the shadows behind her.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I’d love to have two or three more published books!

What do you like to see from your fans and supporters on your social media sites?
I love to talk online with readers. I’ve met so many interesting people! I especially love it when kids seek me out to share their drawings of my characters. 

Where can we find you to tell you how awesome we think you are?
What a delightful question! I love to connect with people.
Please do find me and share your thoughts. Here are my links:
FB Author Page | Twitter | Website | Blog | Newsletter
Goodreads |  Google+ | Amazon Author Page 

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I wrote The Dragon Dreamer because it helped me to have my own world to escape into. I also wanted to share my love of the oceans and our amazing world, and the value of friendships with unusual "people".

One final question before you leave us if you don’t mind.
If you were ever stranded on a deserted island what would you miss and which three books would you take along?
I’d miss talking with people. I could only bring three books? That’s a tough one! I’d choose a Lord of the Rings 3-in-1 book (cheating?) for its profound adventure, Watership Down because I love Hazel-rah, and a useful “How to survive on a deserted island” book. J
Rainne, thanks again for these great interview questions!

Thank you very much for joining me, Jenny. I am looking forward to reading Black Lightning!

Check out Jenny's website for more of these wonderful snowflakes!!

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