Friday, 16 March 2018

Author Interview: J. Kowallis, author of The Enertia Trials


Hey guys! I'm so excited to share this interview with J. Kowallis today! She's the author of The Enertia Trials, a New Adult Dystopian series, and it's amazing! Afterimage, the first book, is one of my favorite Dystopia books of all time. Intense, dark and devastating, it will keep you hooked from page one! And the world is amazing, even though it gives me nightmares. Keep reading for my interview with J. Kowallis, and all her links!


Can you describe yourself with five words or less?
A realist hopeless romantic

Did you always know you wanted to be an author? If not, when did you know?
No actually. My desire for a particular career has changed more often than my childhood favorite colors. I went from Artist and Swimmer to Ballet Dancer and Dental Hygienist. I was a fairly decent poet in 3rd grade, but it really wasn’t until I was in college working on a Vocal Pedagogy degree that I finally realized I wanted to be a writer and author. School as a music major was just too stressful and I needed a release. Turns out my release was exactly what I needed!

What has been the hardest part about being an author?
The marketing and self-promotion. You believe in your work and you see so many others falling in love with your world, but you work so hard for so little return, just hoping that one day you’ll get your “lucky” streak. I say “lucky” because while there’s an element of timing in it, very rarely does success come without a whole LOT of sweat and tears.

What is your favourite thing about writing New Adult?
I love the way that YA books read, but I really struggle with the YA angst and unreasonable drama. Don’t get me wrong, Adults and New Adults have their fair share of drama too, but I like focusing my world and characters on a set of readers that are ready for characters they can relate with in this 20-30s transition phase of their lives. 

What does your bookshelf look like? Is it chaotic and messy, or organized and clean?
Mine is VERY organized. Everything is arranged by author’s last name alphabetically. It may actually be the only thing in my life that’s actually well organized!

What scenes are your favorite to write (dialogue, romantic scenes, action or anything else)?
Since I described myself as a realist hopeless romantic, I think it’s obvious that my favorite scenes to write are romantic, but I typically like focusing more of the build up. The “foreplay” so to speak. I think that’s where all the tension is and that’s what I REALLY live on.

What's one thing you could not live without?
If we’re not getting really deep and philosophical here, I have to say chocolate. I’m a HARD CORE dark chocolate fanatic. 

Who's your favorite character from your books? Why?
Roydon. Hands down. And I think there are two big reasons for that. One is that he’s kind of that part of me that I love about myself. Sarcastic and deeply caring at the same time, funny and easy going, with the ability to really kick the crap out of someone. But I think the second reason is that he’s also that personality that I kind of find myself gravitating toward and I REALLY fangirl over. 

What things do you think aspiring authors should really avoid? Are there any common traps?
Don’t get offended when you get criticism. It’s so easy to get hurt and antagonistic when someone doesn’t like something about the way you write, but what you have to realize is that that criticism can be used to make your story/writing stronger. So, don’t waste that opportunity. 

As a reader, The Enertia Trials feels very dark and I think I'm not the only one who had some nightmares about it. What was it like to write about such a seemingly hopeless place?
Hard at times. But one of the things I really love about this series is it showcases this massive contrast of Hopelessness and Hope. Light and Dark. Real life is really hard—and I think that’s even an understatement. But, dropping myself into a world that’s even worse, and surrounding myself with characters that don’t allow the darkness to kill them is strangely uplifting. The final scene in book 4 (don’t worry, no spoilers) was what I constantly had my eye on the whole time I was writing. That peaceful, silent moment. Darkness and horror can last a long time—for some people it’s longer or shorter than others, but I love seeing characters push through that and coming out better on the other side.  

What is your favourite thing about independent publishing? What's your least favourite thing?
I have so much control over my work. :) I get to decide what really stays in my books, how they’re laid out, how the cover looks, all of it. But, on the flip side…I’m really doing it all by myself and it’s hard and it gets frustrating. Quite often I wish I had the agent, I wish I had the trad publishing company, and so it’s still a goal of mine, but in the meantime, I’ve put a lot of experience under my belt and I love that I’ve gone this route. 

I love the covers of your books! How important is the cover to you as an author?
I know everyone says “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but I’m telling you . . . everyone does. If your cover isn’t strong enough to grab someone’s attention, no matter how good the guts of it are, no one is going to pick it up. Professionalism for me was my #1 MUST. I didn’t want to show up to the scene, have someone look at my book and say, “Yeah, that looks self published.” That was one of my biggest fears. So, I found a fantastic graphic designer, Hayden Halvorsen, and we really honed the covers to a point that we both really loved them. 

Finally, could you tell us something about your upcoming book, Hexen's Cross?
Mostly, I’m so freaking excited about it. It’s a little bit more of me that I pushing out into the world (that sounds strangely birth-like, but whatever), and it’s a bit more of a fun read compared to The Enertia Trials. Not quite as dark, but it’s got some characters with extremely strong personalities that I just fell in love with. And it’s coming soon! The manuscript should be sent to the publisher this week if I’m “lucky!"

J. Kowallis graduated from Weber State University’s creative writing program, and lives in Utah with her Mini Schnauzer, Etta. She enjoys dreaming about, flying to, and writing about distant lands (real or unreal).

Links:
Blog
Goodreads
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