Publisher: Vulpine Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: 02 03 2021
Price*: Kindle £2.99 (GBP)/ Paperback £10.99 (GBP)
Kindle $4.10 (USD)/ Paperback $12.99 (USD)
Pages: ~ 294
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: Meleena never quite fitted in among her fellow aquatic Meruyans, always skipping school to hide out and marvel at the natural world around her. So when she wins a place on the coveted Council Apprenticeship team, no one is more surprised than her.
As she embarks on a tour of the nations, Meleena’s curiosity catches the attention of the Warix, a race born with the power to control wind. But she is unprepared for the secrets she uncovers as she explores this new land. The Warix are locked in a deadly civil war, and her own people are being oppressed and exploited with no way out.
Desperate to resolve this tangled conflict, Meleena sets out to locate an ancient weapon sought by both sides. Can she unite these warring peoples in time to save her own?
The debut novel from J.B. Lesel throws you headlong into a diverse world where the elements take physical form to shape the lives of all. Perfect for fans of James Cameron’s Avatar, and The Last Airbender.
Interview with J.B. Lesel:
What inspired to write a book?
At the age of sixteen, while on a beach vacation with my family, I finished reading the final Harry Potter book, and my first thought was— if she can build her own fantasy world, why can’t I? I picked up a notebook and pen without leaving my beach chair and wrote the first two chapters of what later became Born of Wind, so many years later. The first scenes have evolved over time, but the bones and echo of that passionate start still remain.
The inspiration snowballed to include, what’s a world I would love to enjoy spending time in, and life lessons I myself picked up as life moved forward. I’ve always been motivated to improve the world through my ideas, teaching love and acceptance. As a youth, I often felt out of place in the world, and wanted to share with others who also felt that way, let them know they aren’t alone. In the case of the main character, it’s her unique connection with nature, and the obstacles involved in staying true to herself, while also learning to let others in and accept them for who they are instead of shunning them.
The book is young adult fantasy, so the characters are working through a lot of firsts, with all the drama of the quick growth that needs to take place in us as we leave childhood for the adult world. It’s a difficult time, as we re-define our place in society, with sometimes contradictory expectations for happiness and success. Knowing what careers to pursue, navigating first love, and so many new responsibilities, young-adulthood is really a fascinating time on many levels.
How the characters were “born”?
The main hero, Meleena, and the main villain, General Malotus, along with his assistant, Yulah, were born in a simple form that first day on the beach, when I passionately began creating.
To nerd out a bit: for character and plot, I created a thought exercise based on the psychology concept of “Karpman’s triangle” which explains interpersonal conflict by placing people into a rotation of dynamics based on their relation to each other: Perpetrator, Victim, Rescuer. By chaining a few together randomly in a string, for example: PVVRP, I could create a “character conflict blueprint”, brainstorming the interactions. Who is doing the perpetrating? Or is the victim, interacting with the character’s experience? Thus, a second character, or a web of them, is born in relation to the first strand. A hero tends to most often jump between rescuer and victim, whereas a villain is most often the perpetrator. To get even nerdier, it’s like RNA matching its letters to form DNA. I eventually named a character Arenay as a nod to this process.
What research the author did?
Before continuing their story further, the worldbuilding would engulf the initial characters. Over winter break in college, I traveled around New Zealand for a month (summer down there) and I kept a journal for research. Wherever I went, I drew warped versions of strange insects, plants, unique landscapes, and scribbled ideas about plot or characters.
One particular day, I visited a national park where they drop you off at the northern tip by boat, and then you hike south back to the main road. I was truly inspired and this day eventually made its way into the book. There’s a chapter where the heroes encounter a huge basin that floods in high tide, with a confusing sign at a way too-early fork. When the characters deal with how to cross the remaining river safely, well, that happened to me. It was all so ridiculous, like something out of a fantasy story! So now it is, and it’s all but replaced my real memory of this event.
Since then, I’ve continued to travel and also volunteer on field biology projects, such as macaws in the Amazon, Peru. It’s my other great passion, which inspires me to keep writing and creating fantasy worlds.
On the digital level, I read broadly and often: fiction and even non-fiction, for greater ideas about the world. I took notes on several fantastic craft books, and what I liked and didn’t like about novels, like how descriptive to be, pace, tension, stakes, word choice, style, everything. And yes, also YouTube: there’s a few serious writing craft channels on there, such as Just Write and Lessons from the Screenplay. Also, the website, Better Novel Project is fantastic. Also, interviewing/hanging with scientists to add realism to my world: field biologists, a battery chemist, to name a few. Much love and gratitude to them all.
A day in the author’s life?
Well, an ideal day is when I wake up early, do some yoga, have breakfast, and then get to work on writing. I also like to sit outside, or even go to the park to write. I definitely think better outside. Doesn’t work on later drafts, of course.
But I have other obligations, freelancing in data analytics, and family duties. I now visit my father every day, as this past year, he has developed rapid ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) a debilitating disease which has rallied my two siblings and I to provide support for him and my mother. The book is dedicated to my dad, who was also my committed only beta-reader over many awful early drafts over the years (while serving for 45+ years as lawyer for the City of Los Angeles; his clients included the zoo and animal shelters).
The writing process?
It took some time to get the learning curve down, both in finding the discipline to write, as well as forming a writing technique. I used to “overwrite” a ton of passionate fluff that would later need to be cut down mercilessly, but my method evolved as I focused on learning craft, and now I tend to underwrite and have to fill more details in later.
I like to ruminate on ideas for a while and keep a digital journal in my phone as ideas strike me. I often take nature walks to think through problems, then implement the ideas throughout the book as needed. All my book projects are made on Scrivener, a very useful writing program for organizing all the chapters and random related content and ideas. I couldn’t imagine writing a book without a program like this.
About the author: J.B. Lesel is a fantasy writer living in California and sometimes in the forests of Germany. When she’s not writing or lounging like a cat, she has an unusual hobby of volunteering abroad with strange wildlife. She has a Master of Science in Psychology, working in content writing and data analytics. Born of Wind is her debut novel.
Website: https://jblesel.com/ / Facebook: @jbleselofficial
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