The King’s Scrolls Blog Tour: Author Interview & Book Review

TKS Blog Tour Header

Today I welcome Jaye L. Knight as part of her blog tour for The King’s Scrolls, book two in the Ilyon Chronicles. Ever since I read Resistance, Jaye has become one of my favorite Christian Fantasy writers. Today is the last day of the blog tour, but you can find the rest of the posts on the tour here.

Jaye Author Photo

About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

Hi, Jaye! Welcome to The Pen of a Ready Writer. Let’s get things started with a fun question: Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings?

I’m a Lord of the Rings girl, most definitely. I adore the trilogy and The Hobbit (books and movies). I probably wouldn’t be writing fantasy if I had not gotten into LOTR. I’ve read a couple of the Narnia books, but I just never really got into them. *hides from Narnia fans* I do like the movies though . . .

*Gasp* The Narnian in me is heading off to cry in a corner…

Lord of the Rings girl. The Ilyon Chronicles is a huge series. Six epic fantasy novels! What gave you the idea for such an ambitious project?

Well, it sort of forced itself on me and demanded to be written. It started out as only three novels, but quickly outgrew them. The initial idea came while I was reading DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul. I had just read a scene where you discover one of the main characters is a half-blood. This wasn’t a new topic for me since I’d written about half-elves before, but they were always accepted by society. DragonQuest got me thinking, what if I wrote about a half-blood who wasn’t accepted by society? And taking that a step further, what if one half of his blood was a race everyone considered monsters and soulless? Talk about conflict. That’s how my character Jace came to be. The rest of the series grew around him. I have to give all the credit to God for that. I really have no idea how it morphed from one character into such an involved series of books.

I absolutely adore Jace! I wanted to give him a hug so badly in Resistance.

You dealt with a lot of weighty themes in Resistance: treatment of those who are different, persecution, forgiveness. Does The King’s Scrolls continue those themes or develop a few of its own?

I’d say those themes continue, though some aren’t as much a focus as they were in Resistance. Persecution is definitely still a major theme, though. Trust is a big part of The King’s Scrolls, specifically trusting God even when things don’t make sense and it seems like everything is going wrong. I’d say that is the central theme of this book—learning to trust that He has a plan even when it is impossible to understand.

I love how the theme plays out in the book!

One thing that really impressed me about Resistance and The King’s Scrolls is the quality of the writing, editing, and formatting. It is even more impressive because you’re an indie author who did all of that yourself! What made you decide to pursue indie publishing?

Well . . . impatience? *sheepish look* I was young and impatient to have my book in my hands when I first decided to self-publish. Plus, I had absolutely no idea how I’d get published otherwise, and wasn’t anywhere near ready for such a thing. But now, with the way indie publishing has exploded since then, I’ve come to love it. There are so many more resources available now than there were when 18-year-old me decided to first pursue it. I would have a hard time being convinced to try traditional publishing now.

Sounds like something a lot of us young writers can relate to! What is the hardest part of indie publishing?

Having to do absolutely everything. It’s a TON of work. Many times, I don’t even have enough time to write. It’s kind of hard to be an author if you’re not actually writing. 😛 It would be nice to have others doing certain work like formatting. Now, I could hire someone to do that, but I prefer to save the money and do it myself. The sheer amount of work can be overwhelming sometimes, but, in the end, it’s worth it.

Well, you’ve done a great job of it, and I can’t wait to read your next book! (Hint, hint! Please hurry!)

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

TKS CoverAbout the Book

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?

Available on Amazon!

Buy Now

My Recommendation

READ THIS BOOK! Seriously! Read it!

The King’s Scrolls pick up where Resistance left off, but it also introduces several new characters. I adored Timothy and the other crete characters. The Altair family dynamics play a much bigger role in this book, and we finally get to meet all of Kyrin and Kaden’s brothers. Liam is so sweet and Marcus…well, there’s nothing like the conflict of duty and family to tear a person apart. All the characters are well-crafted, which makes the events in the book more poignant.

I’ll admit it. I cried. There is one part of the book…but I can’t give that away. My advice is keep a box of Kleenex handy.

New characters, new tests, new adventures, and dragons! A book doesn’t get better than this!

TKS Giveaway

To top off all the excitement, Jaye is giving away this awesome prize!

Prize pack includes an autographed copy of The King’s Scrolls, a CD by Future World Music (some of Jaye’s favorite writing music), a dragon bookmark, a stone hawk pendant (much like the ones mentioned in the book), and a few packages of Twining’s Winter Spice tea to sip while you read! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

This is your last day to enter!
Click here to enter!

Realistic Fight Scenes (Part Two): Choreographing Fight Scenes

Sword fight

So you’ve decided you need a fight scene in your book. You’ve researched fighting techniques and weapons. You’ve done your homework on war wounds. And you’ve come to the conclusion that a) the scene has to be told from the POV of an experienced fighter and b) it needs to be detailed.

This is where fight scenes can get tricky. A one-on-one fight scene between two skilled characters needs to balance your level of research and your readers’ expectations. Your research tells you a fight scenes should be short. But it falls as the climax of your book and your readers expect some sort of payoff for waiting for 200+ pages for this fight. Too short and they’ll walk away disappointed. Your research tells you all the moves that a fighter can or cannot do, but your readers’ expect to be able to follow the fight without a lot of jargon. Yet they want it detailed.

Are you thumping your forehead on the table yet?

This is where you take a page out of Hollywood’s fight scene textbook and choreograph your scene.

Every fight scene in a movie is choreographed to give the illusion of reality (though the level of success can be debatable). The illusion of reality is what you’re striving for. Perhaps the fight extends longer than it would in real life. Perhaps the movements are played as if in slow motion so the reader can follow along. But, the reader will be so caught up in reading the scene that those things won’t matter. The fight scene will still feel real.

So how do you set about choreographing a fight scene in a book?

1. Work Backwards. I’ve heard this tip given for everything from editing to outlining, and it works really well for fight scenes. Figure out how you want the fight to end first. How is the opponent disarmed? Are they killed? Wounded? Do they get away? Or perhaps win? Once you know how the fight has to end, you can work backwards to bring the fight to that point.

2. Whole Body Motion. In a fight scene, your character isn’t just moving their hands. They are moving their feet, twisting their bodies, setting themselves up for the next move. For each move your character makes, you need to figure out where it puts their body. If they just did a wide swing to their left, they will have to move differently depending on if they want to follow up with a back stroke, downward stroke, or upward stroke.

3. The opponent wants to win too. The opponent wants to win just as much as your POV character. He/she won’t simply react to what your POV character does. Your POV character will be just fighting a statue if that were the case. Have the opponent throw your POV character off balance and do things your POV character did not expect.

4. Picture the fight. This can be tricky to do depending on how your imagination works. What works best for me is closing my eyes and running the fight scene through my head like a movie in slow motion. I tweak the positions of the characters’ hands and feet. Sometimes (when I’m by myself in my room), I’ll close my eyes and pretend I’m one of the characters. I’ve heard some people like drawing stick figures. Whatever method you use, it should be something that lets you test your choreographing until it flows smoothly.

5. Write it. Once you have a clear picture in your mind, write out the fight scene. Once it is written, you can go back in editing and decide what movements are necessary for the readers’ understanding and what are implied. When you have the movement pared down to the essentials, the fight scene will flow quickly, even if it takes a page or more to tell.

These are things that work for me. Any fight scene tips that work for you?

Realistic Fight Scenes (Part One)

I ran across this blog post today, and it made me think about the fight scenes in my own book. In the post, Lisa Voisin addresses 8 things that writers forget about when writing fight scenes.

Fight Scene

I’m not going to claim to be an expert, but here’s some things I’ve discovered that help you remember to put in the 8 things she lists:

1. Think about your POV character. Someone who knows nothing about fighting will describe the fight with vague details. This can  be a good thing for you as the writer. I had a fight scene in a book that I was worried about. It involved several characters in different places in a room all fighting different people. It seemed like a lot to fit into a small space on the page, until I realized that my POV character was watching the fight and would only focus on the parts of it at a time.

If your POV character is knowledgeable about fighting, lack of details or technical fight language isn’t a bad thing either. You are in the character’s head. They’re too busy fighting to be worried about what type of punch was thrown or the fancy name for that maneuver.

2. It is a good idea to get some knowledge about bodily injuries. In a fight, the odds are high that one of your characters is going to get injured in some way. I have the advantage of having a mom with a medical degree. It saves a lot of awkward Google searches when I can ask her, “Where can I stab someone here without killing them?” or “What happens if you grab a sword and it slices your hand to the bone?” If you don’t have someone you can ask in person, Google with caution. The pictures you’ll pull up can be a little graphic (talking from experience here).

3. Show some detail, but not too much. I’m not a guts spilling on the ground type of person. I’m okay with blood gushing in a few places, but I’ve put books down before when they start describing entrails flopping around. I don’t like gore for the purpose of gore, and I usually hold back on making my fight and battle scenes as gory as they’d be in real life. In this case, I think a little can go a long way. I usually show some blood, a touch of gruesomeness, then pull back into how the character feels about seeing it. Trust your readers’ imaginations with this one. Give them a small glimpse and their imaginations will fill in the rest of the description without you needing to go into detail.

4. Don’t chatter in battle. Let’s try an experiment here. Go outside and grab stick. Start swinging it around for several minutes. Pretend you’re sword fighting. Now try to talk. Notice how it is suddenly a lot harder to breathe? And your movements become jerkier because you are trying to focus on swinging your stick AND talking?

That’s why your characters shouldn’t talk and fight at the same time either. If you have some witty banter to be exchanged, have them do it before. Get the talking out of the way, then fight.

5. Keep skill levels realistic. It’s hard to pick up a sword and even swing it right, much less fight with it. Give your characters time to train before you ask them to save the world.

6. Battles are ugly affairs. Remember that your characters will have to react to the things they are seeing. Maybe not in the moment, but it will have an effect. If this is your character’s first fight, it will hit them differently than if it is their seventh or eighth. Show your character dealing with it.

7. Keep it short. Most battles don’t last long. A minute is a long time for a one on one battle. It should last only seconds. So how do you balance a short battle with the need to make it tense and climatic? Too short and it will feel anticlimactic. I usually err on the side of short sentences and short words to create quick actions. To make a longer scene, break up the fighting with something else, like one character trying to get away or some other kind of interruption.

8. Train yourself. While I have never taken a martial arts class, I have researched sword-fighting. There are a lot of sword fighting manuals out there. Look for one written by a medieval martial arts teacher. Same thing if you need to know about archery or fist fighting. You should know more about your type of fighting than ever makes it into your book.

So how do you make your fight scenes realistic? What bothers you when you read fight scenes in books?