Exclusive Interview + Giveaway with Melanie Ifield

_del9118-3Hi everyone! We’re kicking off another week of the Month of Giveaways with an author from Down Under! She’s one of the nicest authors I’ve ever met, and I’m so happy to be able to do this special interview and giveaway with her! Enjoy!

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1. What are your book The Age of Corruption and your Chronicles of Novarmere series about?The Age of Corruption - cover art

The Age of Corruption is an adventure/action novel for adults with the story based in the capital city of Australia. While it is the political capital of the country, this book is not about politics at all! It is about a woman, about to turn thirty, who is searching for a way to give her life purpose and fulfilment and how this journey leads her into such unexpected places she starts to question everything she is now witnessing and the actions she is taking. Fiona (our heroine) lives in an apartment block and meets the new resident one sunny morning after a big night out. However, all is not what is appears, as this new resident, Jonelle, brings with her a dark past of violent gangs, assassins and deadly friends who may wish her great harm. Fiona joins Jonelle in trying to find a murderer, and along the way gets mixed up in a whirlwind of dangerous events such as meeting Will Malone leader of a gang and getting kidnapped, most of which she has no idea how to handle.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Chronicles of Novarmere series is for everyone over the age of eleven! It is a fantasy series that begins here, in our world, where a young boy finds a dragon wrapped around a candlestick. When Nilofar the dragon comes alive, and convinces Daniel he is there searching for an artefact from another Land, Daniel offers his help and then follows him through a Gateway to Novarmere.

There is an evil wizard after them, dangerous creatures that will eat them and time is running out for them to return the artefact to the Royal House. It is a fun adventure for the young that has been enjoyed by a wide range of ages.

The series is also about Daniel’s personal journey. We meet him as a small bullied little boy who reads a lot but doesn’t enjoy physical activity. Then as the series progresses, he learns that he has inner resources of courage and strength that he never knew existed. He develops physical skills and works with friends towards grand goals like saving a Kingdom.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

It is almost impossible to explain why I love writing! There is a chance to explore other worlds of my own making; create places where the limitations only come from my own mind and the opportunity to create heroes and villains that race against each other for ultimate victories. So much fun and yet, so much hardship! Writing is full of both.

I have loved writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil in my pudgy little hand and form letters. Of course, back then one sentence usually took the whole page – but it stayed with me, this desire to create worlds from words. My parents used to read us bedtime stories and the images it created in my mind. Well, from then on I was determined to be able to do that too.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

Funnily enough, I am always asked who my favourite authors are and who has influenced me the most! I think most authors are faced with this question at some point. It never gets easier! I equate it to music – when you are in the mood for classical, you go to your favourites, or rock or dance or another style. But whoever you choose to listen to, is picked because of the mood you are in. I find that with reading. I read across multiple genres and actually have three or four books on the go at once, so I can change style with my mood. In action/thriller I love Harlan Coban and Lee Child among others; in women’s fiction I love Fiona Walker, Marcia Willett, among others; and in fantasy, I have so many favourites, I couldn’t list them here or they’d take the whole space! I love Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, Peter V Brett, Brent Weeks, Brain McClellan, Brian Staveley, Anthony Ryan… the list is very long. As I write across different age groups many influencers are present, but for Novarmere, possibly Emily Rodda influenced me the most, and for the younger book (The Chicken Liberation Army), Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven.

4. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

I read many genres but I would have to say that fantasy is my favourite. I have an entire library at home just for fantasy with a section in it for science fiction. Again, I don’t know if I have a favourite book per se, I have many. I do re-read the fantasy section more than any others, however, with close attention to Robin Hobb’s Royal Assassin series and Peter V Brett.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

Unfortunately, when I am not writing, I am trying to regain my health. I experience chronic long term illness which also affects my writing output. So I spend quite some time reading, resting and recovering from doing author things!

6. How is it like having a pet dragon named Nilofar to keep you company?the-candlestick-dragon-cover-elaine-final

I adore having Nilofar as my constant companion. He is lively and full of pranks and fun sayings. He even has his own Twitter account and is often on my Instagram account. He loves having his photo taken, so you can always see what he is up to there, or on Pinterest.

7. Would you rather live like Fiona with only parties to worry about or Jonelle with her crime-fighting, danger-filled career?

Ha ha ha! How to choose between Fiona and Jonelle? Well, Fiona’s life was at least more peaceful, I have to say. But to be honest, Jonelle and her ability to take care of herself is more enviable in my eyes.

8. In all of your books, who was your favorite character to write and why?

That is a tough one. I thoroughly enjoyed writing both Fiona and Jonelle. They are so different with not only how they react to things happening around them, but also their life experience and outlook. Fiona has been so sheltered and her life so easy. Then you have Jonelle who has carved out a life fighting people and killing them when she thinks necessary. I enjoyed writing Jonelle from Fiona’s perspective, I guess I can say. The honest fear but also admiration that Fiona has for Jonelle can shine through by writing it that way.

I loved every minute I spent in Novarmere from anyone of the character perspectives, but seeing as it is mostly through Daniel’s eyes, he gets the largest share of time which was a deliberate choice as he had so much potential and growth to do! Nilofar the little dragon was a pet favourite of mine however, simply because of the joy he has, and the way he sees the world.

9. I want to know how life is like in Australia. How different is the culture Down Under rather than here in America? If I were to travel there, where would you advise me to visit?_del9118-3

As I have never been to America, I can’t in all honesty say how different it is here in Australia to your homeland. You should come over and see for yourself! There are so many places to visit – wild open spaces of the Outback, very rugged terrain, as well as very cosmopolitan cities. I like the open spaces myself, but cities like Sydney have places like the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge – well worth the visit. And if you are quite fit, climb the Harbour Bridge! The view, I’m told, is spectacular.

10. Your books cover a wide range of age for the audience. Do you prefer writing for a younger audience (children) or older audience (adults) and why?

I don’t think I have a favourite genre or age group to write. They are all so engaging while I am writing them, I couldn’t pick one. It is more the characters that help me make a choice here. I love Daniel and Laningrin and Nilofar of Novarmere and thus that series was such a joy to write, I could hardly put it down. I also loved seeing how someone like Fiona could interact with Jonelle and that was so exciting I have ideas swimming around in my mind for them all the time.

11. Could you provide us any tips for world building, since the Chronicles of Novarmere is set in the fictional Kingdom of Novarmere? How do you create an entirely new world by scratch?

World building is not new and there are some incredibly detailed lectures on Youtube that focus on how fantasy authors put them together if your readers are interested. For me, it started with character. I found Daniel Smith, the young protagonist in the Novarmere series, and I played around with his age (he started off as 5 years old!) and where he lived. I knew I wanted a dragon in the story, so how to get someone from our world to a world where dragons are the norm? And as you say, once he was there, what sort of world was this? Mostly, I filled in characters again, like Laningrin and the Princess, and added magic. Once I had magic, I had a whole new playing field. I asked myself loads of questions as to what magic could do, what the new creatures (ruarcs and dragons) could get up to, and how would they interact with humans? Rules of world building need to be consistent, but also allow for some ‘breaking’ of them, if magic can bend those rules. It was fun to play around with interactions and allow for character growth. I also drew maps. Hand drawn maps that shows the whole Known World complete with more countries than mentioned in the first series that will allow for more development later. It also helped focus me on where my characters were and where they were going.

12. What is your go-to cure for writer’s block?

I’m afraid I don’t have a cure for writers block. When I was in the flow of writing Novarmere one book after another, I didn’t suffer from it. Now I struggle with brain fog brought on through illness and there is no immediate cure for that, either, sadly.

13. Have you written any other works? What are your current plans with your writing career?

I have written quite a bit here and there. I have a young children’s book out and I have plans for further Novarmere and Fiona and Jonelle books. These plans must all stay in my mind as I continue to battle health issues. It is a case of watch this space! I promise that I will be posting about upcoming books as soon as I can.

14. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

What I always say to anyone who has a dream, it doesn’t matter if it is writing, music, painting or whatever – never ever give up. Find your passion. Nurture your passion. Study, dream and do your passion. One day, the world will take notice and then you will have found your audience.

Thank you so much, Melanie! It was fun interviewing you!

Hope you enjoyed Melanie’s interview! If you want to check out her social media accounts or buy her books, click below!

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Melanie’s Twitter  |  Nilofar’s Twitter

And now the giveaway!

Here’s a quick rundown of the rules. The prize is an electronic copy (PDF of MOBI, of your choice) of THE AGE OF CORRUPTION. There will be two winners!

UPDATE: The giveaway will be lengthened to midnight CST 2/6/17!

  1. You must be 18 years or older or have the permission of a parent or guardian to enter.
  2. This giveaway is available all international residents!
  3. NO CHEATING!!! If you sign up via email, you must sign up via the sidebar and confirm! I’ve had to delete entries that didn’t do this!
  4. Winners must reply to me after 48 hours of me notifying them!
  5. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and WordPress.

The rest of the rules are in the giveaway! Go have fun! Best wishes!

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Make sure you share our interview and giveaway with all your friends and family! We need all your support! 🙂

Also, we are proud to announce that we are part of the DAMAGED GOODS and EMBERS IN THE SEA blog tours, and I was able to interview the amazing Jennifer Bardsley and Jennifer M. Eaton! It’s funny that I have interview four Jennifer’s already, along with Jennifer Brody and Jennifer DiGiovanni. I guess authors named Jennifer are really good! Look out for those, and I’ll back with some more reviews soon!

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