This Phobia Friday, I would like to welcome Jolea M. Harrison to talk about her series – The Guardians of the Word.
1. Tell me more about how you got started as a writer and the inspiration behind The Guardians of the Word series?
I’ve always had an active imagination to the point it used to be extremely difficult to turn it all off and focus on other tasks, or even sleep. So the trite ‘I’ve always written’ is very true for me. I have notebook upon notebook of journals, stories, or 3×5 illustrated cards everywhere. My inspiration for the series comes from a life-long fascination with twins. Don’t know where that comes from. Maybe I was a twin in a former life.
2. What do you fear? Tell me about your own phobias.
Driving with my kids behind the wheel is pretty damn scary! The hard part of life is keeping a positive mental attitude, and you know, not screaming when they veer across two lanes of traffic – without once looking behind. Fear is self-defeating.
3. Your series deals with history and events following cycles rather than a linear path? The former is often a conception propounded more by Eastern philosophy and thought than in the West so I am interested in why you decided upon this approach and where it came from.
Buckaroo Bonzai once said ‘what goes around comes around’ (or maybe it was Confucius, or quite possibly Justin Timberlake). No matter where you go, there you are, which is really just a way of saying pay attention to now. Seasons are cyclical. Moods come and go and come again. What can I say – I’m a girl.
4. The struggle between good and evil is inherent to The Guardians of the Word – do you believe in good and evil, or do you think these are concepts we create in order to make sense of chaos?
I’ve met truly good people, the kind who are giving of themselves in a way that isn’t easily understood. The real deal. I think it’s a conscious choice we make as humans to be good or evil. That can manifest in little things like being rude to the grocery store cashier, or picking up the $20 the person in front of you dropped and giving it back to them. Or it can be way bigger on both sides of the coin. Fortunately, I’ve never run across someone who qualified as truly evil, but I’m thinking the murderers of the world would fit that bill. Pretty sure I don’t want to come face to face with that kind of person. It’s all shades of gray though, honestly, where the possibility of evil deeds exists in us all, as does the alternate option. So to answer your question, yes to both.
5. In your series, you have telepathic twins, Dynan and Dain, sharing the role of protagonist – twins have a variety of roles in world mythology but they are always significant and auspicious in some way so I’d be interested to hear your reasons for taking this approach.
I have a complete mash-up when it comes to the twins in this story and any resemblance to mythology is purely accidental, coming from stuff that seeped through the ether. So there’s nothing any deeper than wanting to write about people who have that kind of connection to each other. Or maybe that’s deep enough!
6. You cite J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and George Lucas’s Star Wars as influences – can you tell me about characters or sequences from these epics that you think were major inspirations?
I vividly remember reading Lord of the Rings the first time, and seeing Star Wars (the original!). Both happened within a few years of each other. Sword fighting in both played an influencing role and there are a couple of space battles that thanks to Star Wars I think readers will be able to ‘see’ without any difficulty at all! Both are good versus evil tales, so there’s that influence. Jedi mind control – check. Both have themes of redemption, Boromir and Anakin Skywalker. The influence of these two stories on my life is Epic! Elen sila lumenn omentielvo. May the Force be with you…always.
7. In your series, you combine science-fiction and fantasy – there is always debate about fusing the three primary speculative genres (fantasy, science-fiction and horror) so I’d be interested to hear if you found there to be any particular challenges when weaving the two you chose together?
When I first started writing I didn’t know there were such ‘thou-shall-not-cross-that-line’ conventions. I didn’t know about the boxes publishers put writers inside because I wasn’t trying to be published then. I just wanted to write what was in my head. I’m so thankful for the Indie publishing movement now so that I don’t have to try and fit inside that container. That’s been the biggest challenge. The second biggest issue has been to make sure that the story elements fit together logically. Someone asked me the other day how I could have laser rifles and sword fighting all in the same scene, lasers being the ultimate force of destruction. Fortunately, I had the answer already in the writing, and it’s part of the storyline, why there is that dichotomy. Some people may never like it, and that’s okay too. It’s a fun challenge to dream up worlds where both (or all three) work together.
8. Are there other genres you would like to write for once The Guardians of the Word is complete – or can we look forward to a prequel series (sans Jar-Jar Binks)?
Aw, come on! No Jar-Jar? Damn!
I had not thought about a prequel but the option exists considering it’s a kind of chicken and the egg kind of story. Which came first? Who started this catastrophe? It might be interesting to delve back through a couple thousand-year cycles and see. Mostly, I’ve been so focused on pushing out these 8 books that I haven’t thought too far ahead, but eventually, I want to write a time-travel story. I want to write an Elves in space story, or I may quit the science fiction element for a straight fantasy. Is there such a thing?
9. What is a typical writing day for Jolea M. Harrison?
I’m a binge writer now. I work the other job during the week (substitute teacher). I might write a little or edit on those days, but typically not a lot. Saturday and Sunday are a different animal. Those are all day marathons of constant creation. I really look forward to the weekends. One day, maybe even this year, I won’t have to work that other job, and then we’ll see what sort of schedule I keep.
10. So what does 2012 hold for Jolea M. Harrison? Any last words?
I hear that 2012 is the year of the Indie so I’m thinking all good things. Thanks for inviting me into your world! That’s the other awesome thing about being a writer – discovering the fantastic writers I’ve run across and you are one of them!
Thank you, Jolea!
If you want to find out more about Jolea and what she’s up to, please visit the following links: