Sunday, July 16, 2017

Author Interview: Lisa Nicodemus Lyons

Meet the author! Lisa Nicodemus Lyons is an indie author, editor, and collector of unicorn tapestries. She is the author of The Alliance series, its sequel the Allegiance series, and a standalone novel, The Hunt of the Unicorn. I was first given a copy of her the first book in her series, In the Palace of Rygia, in exchange for an honest review. Little did I know that a couple months later, I would get the chance to meet her! 

If I were to pick one of my inks to describe Lisas novels, it would be Drachenblut (German for dragon’s blood). 
While there are aren’t any actual dragons in her novels, the great beasts still play a large role.

Welcome, Lisa! It’s good to have you on my blog. I hope you’re having a fabulous summer. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been a writer/editor/designer for the national office of my denomination for the past 20 years. Prior to that, I worked as a writer and editor for a small-town newspaper. My kids are grown and have their own kids now, so I guess I’m an empty-nester. But my life is so busy, I don’t feel like it’s empty.


What does your writing space typically look like?

I sit on the couch with my feet up and a laptop. If I have music playing, it’s usually Enya. And my little dog Pippin is on the couch at my side. Yes, she’s named for a hobbit.


When it comes to writing, what is your drink of choice?

Vanilla latte or homemade chai. The lattes are homemade too. But they have to be decaf, because I work all day and can only write in the evenings.


Who are some of your favorite authors? How have they inspired you?

C.S. Lewis is at the top of my list. I was introduced to him while I was ill and bedridden many, many years ago. The Chronicles of Narnia got me through a tough time and took my mind to fun places. I remember thinking at the time, “I sure would like to write like him!”

Then came Tolkien, of course, but other favorites are Bodie Thoene, Stephen Lawhead, Carol Berg, and Terry Goodkind. They’ve inspired me through the fantastic worlds and characters they’ve created and the way they draw me into their stories. Ever since I was a kid, my mind has gone to imaginary places, and it was nice to visit such places created by others and escape from the real world for a time.

Thoene is an exception, since her works aren’t fantasy, but I very much loved learning more about real people in real history through her WWII fiction. Her books inspired me to pick up some actual history books and learn even more.


Can you tell us about your books? Where would you recommend readers start?

Definitely start with book 1 of “The Alliance” series, called In the Palace of Rygia. That’s the beginning of a very long, very intense epic. The series takes place mainly in two realms that have been at war for some time. One is a realm of righteous believers who follow the teachings of the God called Eloah. 

The main character throughout the series is a man named Justus Corden, general of the opposing realm, Rygia, and leader of the war against the righteous… that is, until he’s forgiven by a man who dies at his hands. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler. It happens in the very first chapter. 

From that point on, Justus must wrestle with everything he’s known and believed, and he finds himself trying futilely to reject a call that was placed on his life long ago. Of course, there’s a woman of the righteous realm whom he meets, and there are many other memorable characters that you’ll fall in love with. The main theme throughout the series is forgiveness—especially for an enemy.


If you could meet only one of your characters, who would you pick?

That’s a tough question. Every author’s characters are like his/her children. It’s hard to pick a favorite. One might think my main character, Justus, would be the one, but I believe I’d lean more toward Turek Enfield. Readers won’t meet him until the series that follows “The Alliance.” The series is called “Allegiance,” and it picks up where “The Alliance” left off. I made it a separate series because the main characters are mostly of the next generation, and the adventures take on a worldwide scope rather than focusing on just two or three realms.


Who has been the hardest character to write and why?

Definitely Turek. He’s a bit on the crazy side. Getting inside the head of a crazy person has been quite a ride. But he’s probably the most rounded of all my characters—you never know which way he’ll lean or what he’s going to do next.


What has been your favorite thing about the self-publishing journey so far?

The control I have over everything. And how quickly you can get your books out there. On the other hand, my least favorite thing about it is the lack of advertising and exposure. Most authors are great at writing and lousy at advertising. I’m like those people. But for brand-new, up-and-coming authors who might never get a chance with a publisher, it’s so great to see your work in print (whether digital or paper). These days, you have to be a known quantity before a publisher will give you a second glance. It’s a tough market, especially if your niche is tiny, like Christian speculative fiction.


What one piece of advice would you give to upcoming indie authors?

Don’t let anyone sway you one way or another when it comes to your stories. Keep true to your own convictions and write from your own heart. Don’t try to fit your square peg into the round holes of established publishing. Just because they’re the giants doesn’t mean they’re right. Their decisions are made for the bottom line—money. Or at least the money they think they’ll make. 

I believe the statistics show that only 1 out of 10 professionally published books make good money for the publishers. Others either break even or lose money. That one popular book then carries the others by keeping the publisher afloat. This means that most authors aren’t going to get rich from their work, whether professionally published or self-published, so just do what makes you happy.


And one final question, just for fun. Pick three random characters from any of your books. Got it? Okay, now imagine they are all stuck in a rowboat just offshore of Caledron. What happens?

Oh, it would be so much fun to put in a couple of mortal enemies, like Justus and Letah. Then throw in someone for comedic relief, like Paulus the Fox. Will they kill each other or come to terms? I think in the end, the rowboat bumps against Caledron’s shores with nothing but dead bodies in it. But then, that wouldn’t be picking them at random, would it? I guess I chose them purposefully.

For random characters, I opened my first book to random pages and put my finger down. My characters, thus, are General Rolland Longsword, King Medan, and Justus’ daughter Anna. I suppose if they’re just off the isle of Caledron, Medan would try to pull the boat toward the isle while Rolland tries to pull it away, toward Rygia. Meanwhile, Anna would have to fight against Medan’s advances and lewd comments. Eventually Rolland would knock Medan out, despite the fact that he’s king. So Rolland saves the day and takes them home to Rygia, but he’d be grumbling about their situation the whole time.


Wow! I really like your answers. Thanks again for coming!

You’re very welcome! Thank you for having me!

***

You can check out my book review for In the Palace or Rygia here, and you can grab a copy of her books on Amazon!

Say hello to Lisa, everybody! Have you read any of her books yet? If so, which one is your favorite? 

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