The Writing Life of: Azaria M.J. Durant
Azaria M.J. Durant
This week on ‘The Writing Life of:‘ I am thrilled to be interviewing author Azaria M.J. Durant. Azaria will be sharing with us detail of her writing life, telling us all about her latest book ‘Broken Arrow‘, which was released on 29th July 2018 and answering a few fun questions too.
So without further ado I’ll hand you over to Azaria M.J. Durant
Azaria M.J. Durant is a passionate writer of fantasy with plans to branch out into sci-fi and dystopian. She enjoys writing stories with lots of adventure, unexpected twists, and fleshed out characters that challenge gender roles and expectations.
Azaria lives in Atlantic Canada with her family, cats, and dogs, and her big dreams to travel the world. In the moments when she isn’t writing, she is sketching concept art for her stories, participating in community theatre, or curled up with a good book and a box of mint chocolates.
1) As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be an ice dancer, a police officer, or an explorer (I couldn’t really decide). But that was only until I discovered writing at the age of eight.
2) Who were your favourite childhood authors?
As a child, I mostly loved reading old folk tales, like Robin Hood and King Arthur. My favourite author, coincidentally, was Sir Walter Scott because of his book Ivanhoe. I read everything JRR Tolkien. Jane Austen was also a favourite (I loved the classics).
3) At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was eleven, when I participated in Nanowrimo for the first time. My goal was 20,000 words, and I finished with a good 22,000, and I realized I had so many more ideas that I wanted to be written. So I just dove right into my next idea, and have been writing ever since.
4) How did you go about following that dream?
Other than just starting to write, I bought my own computer and convinced my mom to get me a novel writing course. My entire teenage years consisted of writing, rewriting, and editing my now debut novel Broken Arrow.
5) What is your writing day like? Do you aim for a certain amount of pages or words before you stop for the day?
Basically I write whenever I have the chance. If I have a good writing day – for me, this means everything comes very easily and I have pools of untapped inspiration to work with — I try get as much writing done as I can while it lasts. Once I get writing, I can write for hours if I’m not interrupted.
6) Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I did, yes, but then I realized that my name is already much cooler than anything I could come up with on my own.
7) Do you have any strange habits before starting, or whilst in the midst of writing?
No, I don’t think I do. Maybe the fact that I don’t give myself many breaks because I’m a very focused, very driven person.
8) Do you write longhand, typewriter, or on a computer?
I write on a computer. I try to outline longhand, but a computer is much faster and can keep up with my thought process.
9) How many books have you written? Do you have any unpublished work?
I’ve written eight books so far, the first five of which were written when I was under thirteen, so I don’t tend to count them. The other two are books that I’ve completed multiple drafts for and are in the Darkened Destiny series (sequels to my current book Broken Arrow), which will be published in the next few years.
10) Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A plotter, I believe, for the most part. I don’t extensively plot things out, but I do have an idea of my plot before I start writing.
11) Do you read all the reviews left for your book(s)?
I do read all of the reviews left for my book, yes. I haven’t gotten any official bad reviews just yet, but I did receive one unofficially. I just shrugged, looked at all of the 4-5 star reviews I have, and chalked it up to one person’s opinion. I do, however, try to learn from all the negativity that comes my way.
Concerning your latest book:
Darkened Destiny Saga Book One
Publisher – Imperatrix Pub
Pages – 498
Release Date – 29th July 2018
Format – ebook
An ancient power long kept dormant stirs in the shadows once more as one boy embarks on a quest to earn his freedom and the freedom of his world!
Magic has turned to myth, the Vaelhyreans of old to legend, and the power wielded by the ancients has long been forgotten. However, with Ealdred, a mere half-breed slave boy, myth becomes real, the forgotten remembered, and the power of legend is reborn within him.
Ealdred is merged into a world of mystery, brimming with deceit, where the remaining Vaelhyreans are in a desperate fight for their very survival. When Ealdred is kidnapped by the power-mongering dark lord Zeldek himself, he must make a choice; to commit his newfound magic to Zeldek’s service or die. But when he meets Bellator, clever yet treacherous servant of Zeldek, an alternative is presented to him: to escape from Zeldek’s stronghold and embark on a quest to find a cursed arrow and free the Vaelhyreans from the spell that keeps their powers at bay.
Yet how can he survive in a world where magic is illegal, half-breeds are hated, and the four countries are on the brink of war?
12) How long did it take you to get from the idea’s stage to your date of publication?
Six years. I came up with the idea for Broken Arrow on August 24, 2012, and the book was published on July 29, 2018.
13) How did you come up with the names for your characters?
I had two different methods when coming up with the names for the characters of the Darkened Destiny series. One, when I was first coming up with the idea, I spent a day looking up names on baby name websites and writing them down in a notebook. I still look through those names I wrote down when I need to name a character.
My other method is to use Google Translate to look up words that I want to mean something, and either use that as a name (that’s how Bellator got her name) or use letters from them to make up my own names (which is where Zeldek got his name).
14) Can you give us an insight into your main character(s) life?, What makes them tick?
Ealdred is driven mostly by his longing for freedom and his desire to see the world be a better place. Growing up as a hated half-breed slave, he has seen all the cruelty the world has to offer and hopes one day to be able to fix them. He also doesn’t know who his parents are, or even if they’re still around, so another thing that drives him is his desire to one day find them and have them be proud of him. But he’s also willing to sacrifice everything he wants to help someone else, because he thinks he’s worthless. It’s an odd mix of selfishness and self-depreciating selflessness.
15) Which was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene to write was the conversation between Bellator and Ealdred at the end of the book. It was hard to put all of the character development that happened in recent events into focus, so the conversation kept coming out wrong.
16) How did you come up with the title of your book?
I came up with the title of the book before I came up with the story that fit with it. The title was originally symbolic for Bellator, who was the main character at the time. It moved from that after the main character shifted and plot began to focus on a cursed magical broken arrow.
17) Did you get a family member/friend to read your work before sending to the publishers?
I did. I got my mom and brother to look it over, but I also hired a professional editor to go through it as well before starting to query different agents and publishers.
18) What process did you go through to get your book published?
I spent two-three years searching for agents and publishers, starting when I was around 17 years old. At the beginning of this year, I was starting to get a bit discouraged, so my mom and I decided we would self-publish it for now, while still trying to get it published traditionally, and see what happened. So I sent it to a second professional editor, worked with an artist to design the cover, then published it as an eBook on Amazon, and ordered 1000 paperback copies from a manufacturer.
19) What did you do once you had written the final word in your book?
I scrolled back up to the beginning and immediately started editing. Once I was finished with the editing, I immediately started the second book. While feeling very accomplished. Maybe went downstairs and told my parents for the congratulations.
20) What’s next for you, writing-wise?
Darkened Destiny is a series of six planned books, so I’ll have my hands full with that for at least a couple of years. I’m working on editing the second book and rewriting the third right now.
1) What’s your favourite food?
Perogies and sour cream. And mint chocolate. Separately.
2) If you had a box of crayons and you could only choose one, which colour would you choose?
Black. It’s my happy colour, and I could draw things with it.
3) What movie could you watch over and over again?
How to Train Your Dragon 2. I love the first one, but the second one was absolutely perfect. The epic flying, character development, the pain, and the plot; it was all perfect! Not to mention the killer animation.
4) What would be the top song on your playlist?
It varies from day to day, but right now the three top songs on my playlist are “Prophecy” by Adrian Von Ziegler, “Dark of You” by Breaking Benjamin, and “Indestructible” by MAX (feat. Not Your Dope).
5) If you won millions, what would be your first purchase?
I’d probably use it to help buy my family of twelve siblings/two parents a house big enough for all of us in a location where we want to be. That’s been my goal for most of my writing career, honestly. If I can help out with that somehow, I’ll be happy.
6) A talking duck walks into your room wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, whats the first thing he says to you?
“You are having a very bad dream.”
You can find out more about Azaria M.J. Durant by visiting the website/social media sites below.
I would like to say a big thank you to Azaria M.J. Durant for sharing with us details of her writing life, and for a wonderful interview.