The first week of December continues with a talented author who I am happy to also know as a friend. JoElle Martín is an author of young adult fantasy and fantasy romance novels. Her first two young adult fantasy novels were recently released from Windstorm Creative.
Welcome to The Book connection JoElle. It’s great to have you here!
Thanks Cheryl. I’m excited to be here. I’ll try not to break anything. Heh!
It seems so strange to actually call you by your first name. Why don’t we get started by having you tell our readers a bit about yourself. How long have you been writing? What inspires you to put pen to paper? And why is it your friends call you “Elf”?
Hmmm. Well, I learned to write when I was five. I wrote throughout school. My first paid piece was a front page story for a local newspaper. That was almost ten years ago.
What inspires me to put pen to paper? I don’t know … I just have all these characters that show up in my head and I can’t stop myself from telling their stories. I suppose more than anything, I am a storyteller. What I love is to tell a story … on paper.
Forest Elf is my cyber-world alter ego. I write fantasy and love elves. Years ago, when I first needed a user name I choose “Forest Elf”. I use it … or a form of it on forums and chat rooms. So, most of the people I meet online know me as “Forest”, “Elf”, or “Elfie”.
Both your young adult and romance novels have elements of fantasy in them. What do you like about the world of fantasy?
I create elves and fairies that live with nature and the earth the way I imagine we should. Elves and fairies love the earth and treat her with respect. They love trees, plants, animals, and rivers. Pollution does not exist in their world.
But they also have a bit of a mischievous side. They play jokes and tease and break rules. They are honest to the point of tactlessness. They are so open with each other that secrets are impossible. If you tell one elf or fairy a secret … you may as well have told the whole community. They are a strange combination of very wise and very innocent. Sprinkled over that is hint of irresponsible.
I find I very much can relate to my fey characters.
In my novels they meet up with humans in our world and time. It is fun to create the results of such a meeting.
It amazes me when authors can create fictional worlds so different from our own. What is your approach to creating the fantasy world in which your characters live? Do you start with a map, a picture of a place you’ve visited, a character? And how does that lead you to create these fantasy worlds?
I make it up. When I was a little girl I believed it was possible that fairies lived in our yard. I spent my first eight years in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. I’ve always had an active imagination.
I love hiking in the forest and I can really imagine fairies and elves living in untouched forests and gardens. And last year when I visited Ireland it wasn’t hard to see why they believe in the little people. There are some truly beautiful places there.
My worlds are very real to me. When I go into the places I create in my mind, I can see them. I can smell them. They are real. I can make them any way I want them to be. I just have to imagine it.
I can get an idea of how I want a place to look and just create it. A beautiful park or forest isn’t hard to imagine, of course. But in my stories dragons, unicorns, and a few creatures I’ve made up, live in those forests and parks.
A Bridge in the Forest and A Promise in the Forest were recently released from Windstorm Creative. Congratulations! What does it feel like to be a newly published author?
Ah, thanks! But, um, actually due to technical difficulties, their computer hard drive decided to quit on them, the release of the two novels is being delayed a couple of weeks.
Hmmm! How does THAT feel? It’s kind of like being an expectant mother whose doctor has just told her during her ninth month of pregnancy that he made a mistake regarding the due date and she has to wait a couple more weeks. So, yeah, it’s a bit disappointing … yet still very exciting.
These books are the first two in your Dreamer’s Forest series. What can you tell us about this series?
It is a four book series. The first two novels should be read together and that is a big reason they are being released at the same time. “A Bridge in the Forest” mostly takes place in FeyTerrah (the land of the elves and fairies) and “A Promise in the Forest” is a lot of fun, this is where the elves and fairies come to the human world … and a lot of uh, interesting things happen with that!
The story is part fairytale, part romance, part adventure. It’s contemporary, takes place today. It was fun combining a small university town in the Pacific Northwest with the enchanting fey world.
Tell us more about Lily Kingman. What is it about Lily that young readers will relate to? Why will they care about what happens to her?
Most young people can relate to the feeling they are different from everyone else. Lily feels this way. Of course she IS different. One thing I made a point to NOT do with Lily is have a horrible home life like Cinderella and Snow White.
Her parents are still married after over 20 years and love each other. She has an older brother she gets along with very well. She’s happy.
But she also knows she is odd and different … she just doesn’t know why. She has best friends and has just finished high school. She loves animals. She’s not really popular. And she is a little naughty. She slams doors, though her mother repeatedly reminds her she is breaking house rules. She’s a little irresponsible. She daydreams and doesn’t pay attention in class. She teases her brother. She’s not perfect. And when she smiles her impish smile she has twin dimples that are irresistible.
When Lily finds a secret gate that takes her to FeyTerrah, she meets an elf named, Dreamer. What is one thing that Lily likes about Dreamer? Is there anything about him she doesn’t care for?
Of course when Lily and Dreamer first meet they don’t hit it off. Lily firmly believes she is human. But Dreamer and the others in the group immediately see her uncanny resemblance to a missing fairy princess.
Dreamer is immediately attracted to Lily but he believes she is lying. He distrusts her and questions her intentions. Because he treats her so coolly she isn’t sure how to act around him.
Dreamer has an unusual entrancing look about him, even for an elf. And though his best friend, Nicholas is much more handsome, Lily is right away attracted to Dreamer and is impressed by his friends’ fierce loyalty to him. Dreamer also has an unusual strong sense of honor.
Lily and Dreamer are both unaware that they are destined for each other by an ancient spell that is cast on members of the royal family of Kelyshire. The village that Lily will eventually discover is home to her father’s family.
Lily, and a group of elves, and a fairy are sent by the fairy king to find the king’s missing daughter. Is Lily forced to be resourceful along this journey? Does she surprise herself or the others along the way with what she can accomplish?
What happens is Lily’s companions notice that Lily has natural fey traits. These are the same traits that make Lily strange and unusual in the human world. Lily ends up using these skills when she and her companions are faced with danger during their quest.
When a dangerous creature attacks them and Lily saves Nicholas’ life, Dreamer’s attitude toward Lily changes. He realizes she truly believes she is only human. He also sees that she is brave and loyal. Two traits he greatly admires.
There are two other books planned for this series. Can you tell us a bit about them?
In “A Secret in the Forest” her adventures take a more serious turn. Lily and her companions discover there are more fey living in the human world. Also, a young man who Lily spurned suspects there is something not entirely human about Lily and her strange new friends. He begins to investigate Lily and her family and threatens them.
In “Moonlight in the Forest” the kings of FeyTerrah realize that their world and the Otherworld (the world of the humans) are facing changes. That the old laws governing travel between the worlds and forcing their subjects of mixed blood to choose a world may need reexamining. Once the ancient dragons discovers something new about Lily, that helps her bring an end to the spell that has bound her family for centuries.
Where can readers purchase a copy of A Bridge in the Forest and A Promise in the Forest?
They are available for pre-ordering from Barnes & Noble (either online or in the store) and from Amazon.
What is up next for you? Are there more projects we should be looking forward to?
Right now I have four Fantasy Romance manuscripts that I need to polish and edit. I hope to have them all submitted by the middle of next year. I’ve also just invented a new horoscope system. I’ve built a website for it and I’m working on turning it into a fun little reference book.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Yes. 4+5=9. (That’s the number of books I’ve written and am working on.)
I just want to add that writing doesn’t have to be a solitary or lonely profession. A lot of writers may think they are struggling alone. But thanks to the internet you can find a lot of other wonderful writers who are wonderfully supportive and encouraging and who know exactly what you are going through. Find a friendly forum and / or chatroom. It made a big difference for me.
In fact a wonderful writer friend of mine, Rhett DeVane, sent me a surprise gift in the mail for the release of my books. It was a very nice fancy designer pen … for autographs! She even searched and found my favorite color: green.
Thanks for joining us today Elfie. I’m sorry, I just can’t get used to calling you JoElle. It was great to finally get a chance to hear more about your novels. I wish you all the success in the world and I hope you’ll come back for a visit in 2008 when the next novel in this series is released.
It was great visiting with you! This was fun. And don’t worry, I love being called Elfie!