Today we’re shaking things up at the blog with a guest post by JJ Sherwood, author of Kings or Pawns! I’ll let JJ introduce herself, the book and the overarching series, but first! Some of my waffling! (It’s relevant waffling, don’t worry.)
Kings or Pawns, the first book in the Steps of Power series, will be released on October 1st, 2015 (That’s in a couple of days!) in both ebook and paperback. JJ ran a successful Kickstarter for an audiobook edition, so you’ll be able to listen to it as well. You can read more news about the series on the website’s blog or the Facebook page and you can also keep up with JJ at her Twitter account.
And now… I shall hand over the post to JJ and her characters for the interview. Enjoy and go check out Kings or Pawns!
The Most Awesome Character Interview of All Time. And That’s a Fact.
Hello everyone! I am J.J. Sherwood, author of the upcoming fantasy series, Steps of Power. The first novel, Kings or Pawns, is about an elven nation riddled with corruption and balanced on the brink of all out war with the enemy warlord Saebellus. It features a wide array of characters—the mute servant girl, Alvena; the naïve king, Hairem; and the arrogant and mysterious foreigner, Sellemar—but today I wanted to do a character interview on General Jikun Taemrin, one of our primary protagonists.
But wait!—this isn’t just your typical interview. I don’t want to interview Jikun himself… Well, ok, I do, but he refused to co-operate. So we’re going to interview some of his roommates and see what they think of our dear General. (All of the interviewees today will debut in future Steps of Power works, but few are present in the four The Kings novels of the series.)
Me: Hey, thanks for being here today, guys.
Ishmael: Like we had a choice.
Darcarus: (raises hand indignantly*) I’d like to complain about the lack of women present.
Zauviir: Take Evrae. He’s so damn beautiful he could pass as a woman any day.
Evrae: Don’t be jealous.
Sairel: (groans*) Do we have to do this?
Me: Yes, yes, now clamor down, folks. Today I want to talk to you about one of your roommates: General Jikun Taemrin.
Ishmael: Oh great. What a way to spend my Saturday.
Me: Sh. Now, let’s just go nitty gritty, and start with: What’s it like living with Jikun?
Zauviir: Wait, which one is Jikun again?
Sairel: Jikun is yet another male who increases the population of idiots in this house.
Ephraim: He swears. He brings home cheap women—
Darcarus: Whoa. I’ve gotta step in and defend that point. They are not cheap.
Evrae: He’s an excellent drinking buddy. He loves to gamble—and he cheats to win so if you’re on his team that’s always a bonus—
JA: (gasps*) Whaaaat?? He cheats?!?!
Evrae: And when he gets drunk he stops acting like such a cynical asshole.
Me: Uh… ok, let’s ask his Captain, Navon. Same question.
Navon: Jikun is difficult to understand. He comes off as crass and temperamental, but beneath those barriers he throws up to protect himself from the pains of war, he—
Zauviir: UGHHHHHHH. I was promised no sentiment!
Navon: …Jikun is a good roommate. He keeps things militaristically clean. He’s timely. He does his end of the work.
Me: Thank you. Ok, next question: End the rumors, does Jikun have a love interest?
Sairel: Yes. I have seen him lingering near her during social gatherings and sending her fleeting glances. I believe her name is Kaivervi and she is also a Darivalian from his homeland.
Darcarus: …She just said “end the rumors.” With such little information, you’re probably the one who started them to begin with.
Me: Next question: What would you say is Jikun’s greatest strength?
Zauviir: Is Jikun the blue-haired one?
Evrae: His wit. He could give Ishmael a run for his money.
Ishmael: If I suffered brain damage, maybe.
Sairel: …Can unrivaled cynicism be chosen?
Me: I’d prefer a positive trait.
Navon: His devotion to his soldiers. Jikun treats every male’s life as valuable as the next. He would die for the trench-diggers as swiftly as he’d die for his lieutenants.
Ephraim: His magic. If he learns to hone his gift, he could be a potent mage as well as a respectable fighter.
JA: His cheating! I had no idea I’ve been cheated all these years!
Me: (sigh*) Ok. Let’s just move on. Next question is… Well, this almost seems pointless… Jikun’s greatest flaw…?
Sairel: He’s selfish.
Ishmael: His lack of wit.
Navon: His poetry.
Zauviir: His hair.
Me: Ok, I’m going to cut off this long list and try to salvage the general from a total beat-down. Let’s talk about Jikun’s youth.
Sairel: Well, if I remember the details, Jikun grew up in the tundra of Darival, in Sevrigel’s far north. He was considered by his teachers to be incredibly gifted both in mind and body and he swiftly rose to Captain in Kaivervale. He did not move south until the capital’s Council of Elves pulled him from his position as a replacement for Saebellus.
Me: And would you say he likes the south?
Navon: No. Without a doubt, he misses his homeland. But his loyalty to his country and his troops is greater than his own personal aspirations.
Me: Ok, and to close things out, Navon, what do you think the future holds for Jikun in The Kings series—without revealing too much?
Navon: Well… I’d like to see those internal wounds healed. I’d like to see him get back to Darival… But I suppose he has to live long enough to see that happen… And there-in lies the catch.
Zauviir: (snorts*) He’s as good as dead.
Jikun: (from the distant recesses of the house*) I can hear you assholes down there!—I’d sleep with both eyes open tonight!
J. J. Sherwood was born in Tucson, Arizona on New Year’s Eve—and has always had a flair for the dramatics. JJ began writing in kindergarten and her first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain.
Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity. JJ continued writing throughout her school years and escaped the horrors of short-story writing in college, ready and eager to write meaty, character-driven novels. With over 250 well-rounded characters developed from her nearly 20 years of roleplaying, JJ dove straight into the rich history of Aersadore, ready to let her puppeteers pull her creative strings.
JJ lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her spouse, parrot, bearded dragon, and four cats who look far too similar.