THE KING'S JEWEL SERIES by Belinda M. Gordon
Belinda M. Gordon!
I just had the pleasure of reading Tressa’s Treasures (The King’s Jewel Book 1). What a great story! Your dialogue flowed seamlessly and the characters’ personalities leapt off the page. You also have two other published books in this series, Xander’s Folly (The Kings Jewel Book 2) and Deaglan’s Deception (The King’s Jewel Book 3) Although they are connected, did you originally set out to write each book to stand on its own? And can Readers expect to see a book 4 in this series in the near future?
Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. I began writing Tressa's Treasures as a standalone while at the same time knowing the story lent itself well to a series— because of the mythological four treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann. By the time I finished writing the first book I had decided to write the series. I had a loose idea of how the overarching story would end. Each book has been plotted separately and can be read on its own. However, to get the most enjoyment out of the story, it's best to read them in order.
The fourth book will be the last in the series. I'm calling it Sophia's Song and, as the title suggests, we will finally learn what makes Sophia so special! I'm working on the book now and I'm excited to get the story out there. I'm looking at a December or January release date.
Was there any particular early experience when you learned that language had power and that you would be a writer? And since hindsight is 20-20 vision, if you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
In elementary school, I wrote a little story about me and a boy I had a crush on. Before I knew it, my girlfriends asked me to write similar stories for them. As a teenager I wrote poems, as teenage girls tend to do. But I always dreamed of being an artist, not a writer.
I could easily read a book a day in high School and reading at that age is a wonderful way of learning about places and things you would never experience otherwise. Through all that reading I learned a lot about the rhythm of the written word and its power to take you out of your own little world.
If you read a lot of books eventually you will come across the few where you think, I could do better than that. Somewhere in my 30s, I decided to test that thought and tried my hand at writing novel length fiction.
I don't know what I would say to my younger self, at that time being an author wasn't even on my radar.
Do you think publishing your first book transformed your process of writing in any way? If so, how?
I wouldn't say it has changed my writing process; but it has changed my writing. Going through the editing process on a manuscript that you've put your heart, soul, and endless hours into can be gut wrenching but also amazingly educational. It brings to light any bad habits in your writing, mistakes you repeat over and over; all writers have them. And while the editor's red marks all over your work are painful, in the long run if you learn from your mistakes your writing will improve significantly.
You write romance/fantasy based on Celtic mythology specifically from Ireland. What kind of research is required to convert established mythos into a new tale, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
First let me say that I'm in no way an expert on Celtic mythology. I was familiar with some stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a mythological race that ruled over Ireland and who were eventually forced underground to the Otherworld. I wanted my main character to be part of a prophecy and the four treasures associated with these people lent themselves perfectly to that idea. From there I looked for nuggets of other myths to flesh out my version of the Tuatha Dé Danann who are also known as the Sidhe (shee).
This type of research and world building is a lot of fun and you can get stuck doing it forever and never write a word of the story. I did my original research after work and in my spare time for about two months before I began writing. But as stories and plots progress and various other types of Fae came into the stories, I did more research to make those characters in some way relate to old myths about them.
I've also tried to interject some of the old myths into the storyline of the books. In the third book, Deaglan's Deception, there is a scene where an old man is telling a story to a group of children. The story he's telling is from Celtic mythology. The second book Xander's Folly, has the closest connection to actual myths. I don't want to spoil the story, so you'll have to read it to find them!
What draws you to this genre and provides inspiration for your book(s)?
I enjoy reading urban fantasies or contemporary fantasies where fantastical things are happening here in our world. I like imagining that all these things are going on right under our noses. On top of that, in my humble opinion, romance makes everything better!
Writing fantasy is so wonderful because you can create your own worlds, your own people, and your own science (after all what is magic except for made up science?) You can also explore different issues in a way that's more abstract than in the real world. A theme that runs through the entire King's Jewel series is Tressa and Xander's interracial relationship and the Fae's prejudice against humans.
In Tressa’s Treasures, book 1, what was your hardest scene to write?
Early in the book there is a scene where Alexander comes to Tressa's grandmother's house for dinner where they are formally introduced for the first time. I must have rewritten that scene 20 times. Usually, if I'm having that kind of trouble getting a scene to work, it's the pretty clear sign that I should cut it out of the story. But my two main characters had to meet formally— there was no cutting it. It had me caught up for quite a while because I kept rewriting it instead of continuing with the story.
The scene went through many changes and in the end, I was thrilled with how it came out. It taught me a valuable lesson; I don't stop to fix scenes while I'm writing the first draft of the story. I just right through to the end and then go back and do the rewriting.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? Can you give us an insight into your main character, and what does she do that is so special?
I don't base my characters off people, or at least I haven't so far. For most of my characters I start with an archetype and build on that to make them unique. For example, I add quirks to their personality and decide how they will interact with other characters. I also like to find photos of models or actors to remind me what the character looks like.
Tressa is as Sidhe with two things special about her: she is a healer and she is the King's Jewel. The King's Jewel refers to the youngest child of the King's youngest child and something I made up. Not to give too much away but in the series, there is a prophecy about the King's Jewel. When it began to look like Tressa would not be the one to fulfill the prophecy she came to the Human World to escape the constant reminders that she was a disappointment.
Your stories take place in Northeast Pennsylvania [when they are not in the otherworld]. What made you choose this particular location?
In 2001 my family and I took a trip to Ireland. Shortly after coming home I had reason to drive north of Williamsport and was struck by how similar the rolling hills there resembled what we had seen in Ireland. At the time, I thought this resemblance might be what drew my Irish ancestors to settle in Williamsport. Later, when I started writing the first book, I thought it made sense that the Fae would want to settle here too.
Another less romantic reason is because I live here and that makes it easier when it comes to describing and really understanding the location.
I have to say; all your book covers are gorgeous. Mega Congratulations about Book 1 winning a book cover poll! As an author, how much importance do you place on the cover and do you think it plays an important part in the overall buying process?
Thank you! I work with a fabulous freelance cover designer by the name of Wesley Goulart.
Book covers are quite possibly the most important factor in getting someone to buy your book. Even more so, in my opinion, then the blurb. If most people are like me, they scan the covers and when one looks interesting they read the blurb. Without a good cover, they may never get to the blurb.
I've recently heard a statistic that only 20% of books are sold in bookstores. This tells me that not only do you need to have a good cover, and needs to look good in a thumbnail size for people purchasing online.
Lastly, the million-dollar question, are you working on another book and can you tell your Readers where they can find you online?
I am working on the fourth and final book to the King's Jewel series. The first three books are available in paperback and e-book. Right now, they're available on Amazon but by mid-August all three books will be available wherever books are sold.
Readers can find me on several places online. Here's a list so they can pick their favorite:
You can read a free sample of Tressa's Treasures HERE