It’s a December Author Spotlight Flood! Clearing out my backlog and getting these authors into the spotlight.
- a tech and defense lobbyist by day, but by night transforms into the Chronicler of the Realm of Warminster
Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Born of steel, fire, and black wind, J.V. Hilliard was raised as a highlander in the foothills of a once-great mountain chain on the confluence of the three mighty rivers that forged his realm’s wealth and power for generations.
His father, a peasant twerg, toiled away in industries of honest labor and instilled in him a work ethic that would shape his destiny. His mother, a local healer, cared for his elders and his warrior uncle, who helped to raise him during his formative years. His genius brother, whose wizardly prowess allowed him to master the art of the abacus and his own quill, trained with him for battles on fields of green and sheets of ice.
Hilliard’s earliest education took place in his warrior uncle’s tower, where he learned his first words. HIs uncle helped him to learn the basics of life—and, most importantly, creative writing.
Hilliard’s training and education readied him to lift a quill that would scribe the tale of the realm of Warminster, filled with brave knights, harrowing adventure, and legendary struggles. He lives in the city of silver cups, hypocycloids, and golden triangles with his wife, a ranger of the diamond. They built their castle not far into the countryside, guarded by his own two horsehounds, Thor and MacLeod, and resides there to this day.
Hilliard, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
I have two dogs now, Thor (a Siberian Husky) and MacLeod (a red-fox Labrador Retriever), but if I could have any pet, I would choose Storm, a war falcon that is magically linked to one of my main characters in The Last Keeper, Sir Ritter of Valkeneer. Presuming I could see through Storm’s eyes and command him like Ritter does, I am certain Storm would watch over the family and chase away any unwanted visitors.
In truth though, he’d be a valued hunting partner for small game and a cool parlor trick for parties.
I actually got to take a falconry class this past year and they are fascinating creatures. What a great option!
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write epic fantasy, so think sword and sorcery that is found in books like the Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, or even games like Dungeons and Dragons.
I started writing when I was very young. My uncle was paralyzed in the Vietnam War and when he returned home, my mother was his nurse. I practically grew up by his side and the kind of activities he could engage in were limited. But writing was something he could do, and so I started into creative writing and playing Dungeons & Dragons with him as a form of escapism from real life.
How great to get to share your stories with him!
What do you like to read?
I read primarily sci-fi and fantasy so Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, to name a few on the fantasy side. I am a big fan of Asimov, Piers Anthony, and Terry Brooks as well.
I think my friends are surprised I don’t read more historical memoirs, especially military or political memoirs, but I really don’t. I live that stuff for my day job (which is government affairs) and I don’t find it appealing to read during my personal hours.
I totally understand the need for a healthy work-to-life balance.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you
Describe and explain everything.
I struggle to simplify. I rarely think small, so it is hard for me to write small. I’ve learned though, that readers are smart, and they can piece inferences, hints, and characters together without me diving deeply into explanations of each. And I think it is great that separate readers have the freedom to visualize characters differently, allowing their own imaginations to conjure images of places and people in The Last Keeper for them—and them alone. It’s as if they own part of Warminster with me.
An inability to think small seems to be chronic problem for many who are epic fantasy writers by nature.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice they can pry out of your cold, dead hands
Less advice and more of a curse, but I am plotter/planner. Thus, I literally have a wall-long whiteboard in my den that has notes, outlines, character arcs and intersections, etc., scrawled upon it. I never start a story or even a chapter without knowing the end and direction it is going, so I tend to write backward, reverse engineering the story to ensure every detail is considered.
Warminster, the realm in which my epic fantasy series is set, was built over two decades before coming to life in The Last Keeper. I stitched together various Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, short stories, and character memories to weave the tapestry that became the realm of Warminster for Daemus, Addilyn, and Ritter.
Oh wow! I usually know what direction I’m going, but I never know the full shape of it until I get there.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
The Last Keeper (#1)
A young boy’s prophetic visions. Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad.
An elven Princess with a horrifying secret. Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings.
A terrifying force of evil. Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence.
Will the entire realm fall to its knees?
Vorodin’s Lair (#2)
Ominous Omens Elven princess, Addilyn Elspeth, must discover why she’s receiving visitations from a mysterious creature that shouldn’t exist. She combines forces with Daemus on their harrowing journey to the scholar city of Abacus, where Vorodin’s Lair awaits.
Daemus, a low Keeper of the Cathedral of the Watchful Eye, isn’t the only one having visions. His nightmares speak of the ageless sorcerer, Vorodin, who may be able to help. But the answers he seeks may bring him—and the realm—to the brink of war.
A Plot of Revenge Their powerful adversary and fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad, continues to chase the young Keeper throughout the realm, seeking vengeance against his order while trying to find a cure for his own affliction.
Check out J.V. Hilliard across the web!
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