Interview

Orlando Fantasy Author Gives A Different Take On Fantasy And Describes A Labyrinth Adventure From A Different Perspective

A local author is taking fantasy by the horns and is giving a different perspective via the character’s point of view. The Obsidian Series of fantasy books she authored takes a character on a labyrinthal journey through a world governed in an usual way with a resource being key here through the series. Emilyann Allen’s works include The Labyrinth Wall, The Haunted Realm, and The Forgotten Dream. Book 4 is in the planning process. The premise is as follows:

Araina’s isolated teenage life is forever altered when she witnesses a man emerge through a rippling wall into the dark labyrinth she calls home. As a result of the stranger’s arrival, Araina’s Creators have unleashed a series of magical attacks using the labyrinth against its inhabitants. Now Araina must decide if she will trust potentially deceitful allies in order to reach safety on the other side of the labyrinth wall.

She also has her trademark Coloring Novels which is a new innovative publishing format that would help engage young readers minds even more so. Emily personally felt it to be rather therapeutic in times past where she herself had combined both reading and coloring. Apparently, this idea has received some positive feedback. She has launched this brand in 2017 and is available via Ebook and paper publication.

Why is it referred to as the “Obsidian Series”?

Great question! The most evident reason readers will notice is that obsidian is what Araina collects for her Creators in the story. Basically, obsidian is what she depends on to survive. In addition, we see obsidian again through the series and it has other meanings metaphorically too, but I don’t want to spoil all that for anyone who’s still reading the books. 🙂

When you brainstormed your first book, what influences did you initially take to form your first story?

The Elf Queen of Shannara and The Hobbit are two of my favorite books ever. They are both epic fantasy, so I knew I wanted to write epic fantasy.

Ever since I saw the movie Labyrinth as a child, I’ve been fascinated with labyrinths. The movie Labyrinth, labyrinths in mythology, and stories like Harry Potter were inspirational. What a playground for imagination? Anything could be lurking around the corner. So, I’ve always been interested in writing in the setting of a labyrinth. But then I thought, “What if an entire civilization was living in a labyrinth… and they didn’t know anything different? What if I wrote a story from the perspective of a girl within a labyrinth culture?”

I began to think about the characters in this world and thought, “What if I explore a character that never had a childhood because they are actually a creation? So, as a writer I am forced into a very strange perspective of someone learning to understand themselves and others for the first time?” And of course, where better to explore all of this than in a labyrinth, a place that holds so much mystery and possibility?

And writing the book was exciting too! The Labyrinth Wall was written during my brief time living in a semi-truck and traveling the country. It was an adventure!

What imaginative story series inspires/influences the fantasy world in which you write?

When it comes to making a fantasy world, I was inspired to create my own creatures and species like Tolkien did for Middle Earth or Rowling did for Harry Potter. I love elves and hobbits so much… but for this series, I wanted to establish new creatures that haven’t been seen before. It has been fun visualizing and exploring possibilities in my mind that we don’t see in real life. The creatures seem to manifest their own stories, cultures, and histories… I love letting all of that play out in my thoughts and then stream into the books. Also, contrary to typical epic fantasy stories, the writing style of the books is influenced by Hunger Games. They’re fast paced and action driven.

Are these serialized stories or complete works?

There are currently three books in the Obsidian Series and there will be a fourth as well. The fourth book will be the final for the series. While I do try to provide helpful prologues, they’re best read as a series and in order.

I am assuming this is a series, so if you were to advise others wanting to delve into a universe of multiple series of books of the same world, how would you advise them to map out their synopsis/outline?

Excellent question! I’ve done some workshops regarding storytelling and dealing with a series, but I’m still always learning. Any advice is always subjective. So, personally, I like to have a full story arc concept. I’ve got the beginning and the end. In my mind, it helps to have some sort of construct that enables you to break the story down into sections that can be their own micro story. For example, Rowling uses each year at Hogwarts as a book with its own micro story, but they all build and add to the main overall series story arc.

Perhaps you’re at the very beginning stages of this whole process with your overall concept, but haven’t started writing at all yet. If so, I recommend you sit down and write out bullet points, the first being the start of the story (the last will be the ending) and use the bullet points between to flesh out key events between the beginning and end. Perhaps start with 30 bullet points. When you’ve got that done you’ve got at least 30 chapter topics started. If you truly feel your idea is meant to be a series, not a single book… then work from there to identify where you think you see the opportunities for micro stories.

How do you map out your series since there are multiple books in the Obsidian series. Or…are they separate stories? How would you sell someone on reading your books. What would you say that would be most engaging to people about your stories and to be a page turner?

Thank you for asking! It is a series with one main connecting story arc. While I do try to provide helpful prologues, they’re best read as a series and in order. The current Obsidian Series books are The Labyrinth Wall (book 1), The Haunted Realm (book 2), and The Forgotten Dream (book 3).

People get excited about a few key things regarding the series… Readers like the reverse concept of experiencing a labyrinth with a character living in one as a native rather than some stumbling into one. People tell me they haven’t experienced a labyrinth from that perspective before.

I also find that readers enjoy being able to explore a unique all new fantasy world but with a fast pace and dystopian (Hunger Games) feel. It’s just new and different. Below is a reader review from Amazon I appreciate very much and think is very insightful. 🙂

Ericka’s Review:

Thrilling fantasy – unique and original

The Labyrinth Wall is a thrilling fantasy with an original plot, creative content, and heart-thumping adventure. The mysterious labyrinth is used in a unique way in this story, so there is no predicting the events that occur throughout. I would definitely describe this book as a page-turner, filled with action, drama and humor in all the right places. There is also a deeper meaning to the characters and the story overall, and I think this is a great book for adults and teens alike in displaying bravery, determination and perseverance. The fast-pace of the story was great and kept me captivated the entire time, and I read this book rather quickly. This was my instruction to the Obsidian Series, and I will be reading the other books in the series to see what I have missed so far. If you are in to fantasy and mystery, even if you have read other labyrinth books, you should pick this one up.

Link to the review.

 

Do you have any new projects you’re working on and/or would like to plug?

Obsidian Series book four (the final book in the series) is my big focus right now. It’s bitter sweet, because I don’t want to say goodbye to the world and characters I’ve spent so much time with and that mean so much to me. But I’m a firm believer in honoring a solid story arc. So, book four and finalizing the series is my focus.

I’m also working on more content for my blog and interacting on social media. It’s a pure joy connecting with readers, writers, and new friends in general through the blog and my social media pages, so I look forward to more of that. Here are links…

https://emilyanngirdner.com/blog/

https://www.instagram.com/authoremilyannallen/

https://www.facebook.com/authoremilyannallen/

In addition, I’m also a designer (I designed the book covers for the series). I recently created many new designs and adapted artwork I’d already done for the series into apparel and other goodies on my website at the link below. 🙂

https://emilyanngirdner.com/shop/

Thank you so much for this interview, Tony!! It’s always a pleasure chatting.

 

 

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Native Floridian who his highly passionate about all things 80s retro, geeky, sci-fi, and just about anything pop-culture. Tony enjoys writing about this very topic as well as immerse himself into the culture by attending events. There's nothing more fun than rubbing elbows with other interested cohorts of the craft.

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