Book Tour Q&A: The Moon's Eye by A.J. Calvin
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for The Moon's Eye by A. J. Calvin! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
Chosen for advanced training by the god of war himself, Vardak is considered a paragon amongst his people, the Scorpion Men. Yet his position and training come with a cost: He must serve the whims of the god, with no questions asked. Only days after his training is complete, he is sent far away from his desert homeland in order to act as the protector of the Fire Maiden’s mortal daughter, Janna.
Janna has been tasked with the recovery of a magical relic known as The Moon’s Eye, but she has little worldly experience to guide her. The Immortals deem the relic’s recovery imperative, for it alone can combat the rise of the Soulless—those sworn to the fallen, nameless god of death. The Soulless are ruthless and powerful, and eager to wage war upon the land in order to appease the god they serve.
Though Vardak is skilled in battle, he must lead Janna through several perilous areas in order to reach the relic she seeks, pushing his abilities to the limit. Unbeknownst to the pair, the Soulless raise an army and begin their conquest, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Will they secure The Moon’s Eye before all is lost, or will the relic itself prove to be their undoing?
On to the interview...!
This is one of our standard podcast opening questions, so we’ll include it for written interviews as well! Tell us something great that’s happened recently! :)
I convinced myself to enter the SPFBO competition this year with The Moon’s Eye. I’ve always been terrified to enter contests, but I’m trying to overcome that.
After seeing the first month of the competition play out, I’m glad I made myself do it. It’s been a very positive experience, I’ve made some new contacts, and found some new books to read. The waiting to see what the bloggers think of my book is difficult, but so far, the reviews that have been released for others have been largely positive.
I went into the competition hoping to connect with a few authors and maybe get a review or two out of it. No matter the outcome for my book, it’s been a good experience so far. And I’d do it again.
What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
I’m currently reading The Blood of Outcasts by D.A. Smith. I picked it up because it’s in this year’s SPFBO competition, and the cover/blurb sounded very interesting.
My next read will be The Matchmaker’s Charm by Jodi Jensen. It’s July’s pick for the book club I participate in.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but I didn’t start publishing until recently. I’m not sure what the initial inspiration was, but I think there were probably a few factors. My mom used to read to me when I was small, and I fell in love with fairy tales and fantasy from an early age. My 2nd grade teacher also encouraged story writing for class projects, and I found I enjoyed that.
I started keeping a notebook of short stories around that time, and would write just for fun. Later, my stories progressed into longer pieces. I wrote the original draft of The Moon’s Eye when I was in high school (it was “finished” in 2001). It’s since been revised, edited extensively, and rewritten from scratch, then edited again, before I felt happy enough with it to publish.
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but when I entered college, I didn’t go into a degree program related to writing at all. I got a bachelor’s of science in microbiology instead, and I still work in that field 16 years later. I find it interesting, but part of me still hopes for the day when I can focus on writing full time.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of reading/writing that you can talk to us about?
I love to scuba dive. The past couple of years have been difficult, since we weren’t able to travel, but I’m hoping to start diving again next year. I live in a landlocked area with mountains, so it’s usually not fun to dive locally (the water is murky and cold!)
My last dive trip was in 2019 at Cayman Brac. I spent a week there and did 10 dives. It was amazing.
Writing is a hard and lonely affair in the best of circumstances. How do you achieve a good work/life/writing balance?
I usually have a 45-minute to 1-hour window each morning that I use for writing, before I leave for my day job. On weekends, I’ll spend a few hours working on writing, as long as I don’t have other things going on.
I try to keep my evenings open, so that I can spend some time with my husband. And to be honest, there are some days I’m too tired after work to focus on my writing projects. I definitely seem to do my best work in the mornings.
How much do you plan when you write? What’s your writing process like?
I am a plotter. For most of my books, I have a fairly basic outline with 8-10 points I need to capture throughout the story.
For The Relics of War, my plotting was considerably more involved. There are 6 POV characters throughout the series, each with their own storyline, yet they cross over one another too. For that series, I broke down my outline by chapter to make sure I didn’t miss anything by the end. This is the only series I’ve written with more than one POV. It was a challenge, but it was also a lot of fun.
Do you usually write to background noise, music, etc. or do you prefer silence?
I usually write to silence, when I can. If there is a TV on in the background, I’m able to tune it out. Music, however, is a major distraction for me. I can’t seem to focus on words when music is playing.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
I’ve been told a number of times that I capture emotions well in my writing. I want the reader to feel my characters’ pain, their joy, their sorrow, and everything else in between.
One of my readers recently sent me a message that said “You’re 3/3 with making me cry during your books.” I’ll call that a win.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
I think there is some aspect of me in every character I write, but I don’t usually do it intentionally. There are a couple of exceptions where I did add something on purpose.
Sal’zar (featured in War of the Nameless and The Ballad of Alchemy and Steel) is an alchemist. I put some of my own analytical/scientific traits into his character.
Andrew (from The Caein Legacy) has my temper, and also the same strong desire to protect his younger siblings (yes, I’m the oldest in my family and so is Andrew).
They say to never judge a book by its cover and maybe that’s true in the philosophical sense, but it certainly happens with books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?
The image on the front cover comes from a scene in chapter 10.
When I was initially starting to work with Jamie Noble on the artwork, he asked for a scene that captured the mood of the book or one of the characters. I chose this scene because it doesn’t reveal too much about the story, yet it’s intriguing in its own right. And Vardak (the warrior at the front of the group) is a notable character.
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
I have a few projects going on currently.
First, I’m preparing for the release of The Talisman of Delucha (book 2 in The Relics of War), which will be out July 19. The third book in the series is currently with my editor, but I have a release date set for that one too. It will be out December 6.
Next, I’m revising the four-book series I wrote in 2019-2020, The Caein Legacy. I’m hoping to begin releasing that series in 2023. I recently got the cover artwork for all 4 books (I worked with Jamie Noble again, because he’s awesome). Once revisions are done, they’ll be on their way to the editor.
And last, I’m writing yet another series, The Mage War Chronicles. I’m currently nearing the end of book 3 in that series.
If you’d like to learn more about any of my work, I have synopses, artwork, character bios and more on my website.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! We always enjoy this little peek behind the curtain. Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
Thank you so much for this interview! I enjoy doing things like this.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
My website: www.ajcalvin.net
Facebook page: facebook.com/AuthorAJCalvin
Where to buy the book:
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details