Featured Author: Azaria Durant
Q: In one sentence, tell me something that describes you as a person?
A: I am a dreamer with fierce ambition, an old soul trapped in a twenty-year-old body, and a lover of the outdoors who is fond of the comforts of home.
Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?
A: When I was eleven, I wrote a diary of a girl during The Great Depression, and then when I was twelve and thirteen, a trilogy of historical fiction novels set in Rome during the time of Cladius Nero. So that makes four (not counting two of the sequels to Broken Arrow that have been fully written out). Broken Arrow is the only book I have published so far
Q: Do you have an upcoming release? If yes, tell me the title and impending release date.
A: Now that Broken Arrow is officially released, my next release will be the sequel, which I am hoping to release next summer/fall. I can’t tell the title yet, but I can say that it has a similar vibe to the first book’s title.
Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?
A: Sometimes it can take a long time to come up with the title, and other times the title just comes to me. How Broken Arrow’s title originated is interesting, because I already had the story written out when I named the book, but when I realized that the title didn’t fit, I crafted the story to fit the title. The rest of the series was created the same way. I created the title to fit sort of what I wanted to happen, and am now fabricating the story around those titles.
Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?
A: To me, Bellator is by far the most interesting. All of the other characters are wonderful, but she is the most complex. Because of her innate selfishness and her manipulation of others to further her own ends, she could easily be seen as a villain. And yet, at the same time, she is constantly at war with her inner demons, fighting to do the right thing. Not only that, but she’s dark and mysterious, and a pretty badass fighter.
Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?
A: Sword, Sorcery, and Epic Sass Fantasy
Q: Without quoting your back cover synopsis, tell me about the last book you published.
A: Broken Arrow is the epic beginning of a six part series starring a group of six misfit teens – a slave, an assassin, a pirate, a prince, a scullery maid, and lady – as they fight to find their place in a world divided. As the evil sorcerer Zeldek brings his long sought plans to fruition, Ealdred fights to be able to choose his own path, Bellator to gain power enough to be free of her master, Hamish to earn his birthright, Annalyn to return to the home she was stolen from, Uri to find a place of acceptance, and Marianna to find adventure and glory in the life planned out for her since her birth. Add a cursed golden arrow to the mix, and you have the solution to at least one of their problems.
Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.
A: I am an artist. I sketch concept art for my characters, other people’s characters, and the occasional fanart if the inspiration hits me. Drawing and writing are the two places I go where I can express myself the clearest.
Q: Who is your favorite Author?
A: Suzanne Collins. I love The Hunger Games trilogy, and I also love her lesser known children’s series called Gregor the Overlander, which is super cool as well. Reading her writing has taught me a lot about writing in first person, as well as writing a good, compelling story.
Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)
A: I just finished reading A Book of Creation by Gregory James Gardner, Jr., a fellow indie writer. The story is an interesting mix of fantasy and sci-fi, and rich with mythology, all of which I find very interesting!
Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?
A: I usually free-write the first draft in a short period of time with only a vague skeleton outline. I find that having an outline at the beginning can be stifling, and I like to leave as much open as possible so I can let the story go where it needs to go. Later on, when working on the second or third rewrite, I will write a more set outline as I start to chip at the base that I’ve set up, but that’s still just a point by point list that is only sometimes followed.
Q: Why do you write?
A: I write because I love it. I discovered the joy of writing when I was eleven (I had been writing before that, but I didn’t really enjoy it because I was writing by hand) and I’ve been writing books ever since. I realized that I was actually pretty good at it and decided to focus on it as a career. It’s my hobby, my work, and what I do in my leisure time. I just love every aspect of it.
Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?
A: Yes, I reread my work a lot more than I should. I love reading through something I haven’t read for a while because I usually come in with a different or fresh perspective each time. Sometimes I like what I’ve written, and sometimes I see that something needs to be changed, so it always ends up being quite productive.
Q: What is your favorite type of music? Is there one genre (or song, band etc...) that brings out your creativeness more than others?
A: My favourite genre of music is heavy metal, but epic instrumental is usually what can always inspire me while I’m writing. I make up character playlists that I play if I’m writing a scene that involves a certain character or emotion. My favourite song to write by is Prophecy by Adrian Von Ziegler. Coincidentally, it is also my main character’s theme.
Q: As an author, I find that the hardest thing to write (for me) is the synopsis that will be on the back cover or book’s description. When you write, what is the hardest line to write, the first line, the last line or the synopsis for the book?
A: For me, the first line is always pretty difficult because I know there is a lot hinging on it. However, it is not as difficult as writing the synopsis. Figuring out what to include, what not to include, and cutting it down so it’s snappy, eye-catching, and interesting enough to make someone want to read the book has always been extremely difficult.
Q: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or whatever beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).
A: Coffee works, though I’m also a fan of tea. Or maybe a good mint hot chocolate (though the sugar would be killer). Let’s see… there are a couple of people that it would be interesting to have a long, deep conversation with. Suzanne Collins, as my favourite writer, would probably be my first pick. I’d just love to sit down and talk to her about writing and character development and stories. That would be an afternoon well spent. My second pick would be Emma Watson, because she’s a lovely person and I think she would be very interesting to talk to. She’s smart and we seem to have a lot of shared opinions.
Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?
A: To me, being a successful writer means that I am able to earn a living with my writing, and have a base of loyal fans with whom I can share my stories and who will love them as much as I do.
Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?
A: What I really want to do is to be able to inspire people and affect them in a positive way. That would really add richness to my own life, if I can look back and see lives that I have been able to touch and change for the better.
Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?
A: To fans: Thank you for believing in me and supporting me. It means everything to me! I write the stories that I’ve always wanted to read, and I’m glad that there are others out there who read my stories and love them just as much as I do.
To future authors: Believe in yourself. Strive for excellence. And write with passion. If you do this, you can’t go wrong.