Reality Skimming

Interview with Aida Jacobs

Fantasy has always been a large part of my life. From the first moment my father read The Hobbit aloud to me as a child, I was completely hooked on the genre. Every book I've read since then, every video game I've played, and every film I've watched has only increased my love and fascination for the world of dragons, elves and other mystical beings. It should therefore come as no surprise that I would want to make my own small contribution to that vast world with a world of my own creation.

Interview by Lynda Williams

Tell us about your relationship with reading, writing and fantasy in particular. Did you always know you wanted to write as well as read?

My love for fantasy was kindled by my father. Among the many books he would read to me a chapter at a time before I went to bed as a child, The Hobbit was one of them. After that I was hooked. I had honestly never made the conscious decision to pursue writing as a career until my Senior year of high school during the creative writing class I took as an elective. Up until then, I had always preferred to simply read and live vicariously through the characters on the pages. When I wasn’t writing essays or doing other homework assignments, I would occasionally dabble in fanfiction for my favorite books and anime, but it was not until that creative writing class that the idea of becoming a published author really pushed itself to the front of my mind. From the first moment I started scratching out my heroine’s character description in my notebook, I knew in my gut that this was a dream I wouldn’t be able to walk away from.

How did the Dragon Guardian series hatch?

Hatch…because dragons hatch from eggs. That’s cute!

The Dragon Guardian series (the very first draft of Dragon Guardian: Fire in any case) originally started off as my creative writing project during my Senior year of high school. The students in the class were required to submit a new written piece every week (or in the event of the student choosing to write poetry, three new pieces). We had free rein. Occasionally, Ms. Skacan, our teacher, would give us a prompt for an assignment to be done and turned in by the end of class, but for the most part, she allowed us to work on our weekly projects.

Even as inexperienced in writing as I was at the time, I knew myself well enough to know that short stories on a weekly basis would be the end of me. It’s not that I don’t like them, because I do (and I greatly admire anyone who possesses the skillset for them), it’s simply a matter of not being able to condense a story into a length that would only take up a few pages. It was at that moment I came up with the idea of writing a novel during the course of the year. The chapters would of course be my weekly submissions for the class, and when I approached Ms. Skacan with the idea, she very enthusiastically told me to run with it. After that, the idea for Marin, the sassy redhead that would become my protagonist, popped into my head and I spent the entire weekend getting to know her in my mind. Thus began the first of what would be the many pages of notes that I reference back to on a continual basis.

That was fourteen years ago.

Since completing the original draft of Dragon Guardian: Fire (of course, at that time, the title was Celtic Princess) at the end of my Senior year, I continued working on it over the years to come. I continued tweaking and revising the plot while fleshing out the existing characters and adding new characters to the story. With each revision, the world of Primordya began taking shape in my head, and led to my eventually taking the story and its characters out of the Scottish setting in which they were originally dwelling, and placing them in an entirely new world. With each revision, the world I created grew ever bigger and more detailed, and I eventually realized that it was going to take more than one book to tell the fantasy epic I had created. This of course meant adding more to my notes yet again in order to further flesh out the world of Primordya as well as the characters that call it home. It got to the point where I had to draw a rather large map simply so I could keep straight in my mind just where events were taking place in my story, and while my artistic skills are sadly lacking, the map nevertheless gets the job done which is all that truly matters in the long run.

On your blog, you describe the thrill of getting a fan letter. How would you weigh up the joys of creation and getting feedback? 

Nothing can describe the surreal euphoria I felt when I held a copy of Dragon Guardian: Fire in my hands for the first time. After the fourteen years it had taken me to get to this point, finally having my creation become a tangible reality completely blew my mind. Having always believed that my story was good, I couldn’t help but feel that my opinion was biased since I happen to be the story’s creator. As a result, I value any and all feedback…though, I naturally hope that all feedback I get is positive. But, there is something to be said about getting that first fan letter…especially one as adorable as the one I got from my young fan. It just goes to show that the fantasy genre touches a wide audience, and I am extremely honored that I was able to contribute in my own small way.

Which of your characters is currently claiming most of your attention, and why?

As of right now, two characters are currently being mulled over in my mind. One would be King Gareth, who was introduced near the end of Dragon Guardian: Fire, so I’m still getting a feel for him and getting to know him in my head. The other character that is frequently demanding my attention is one that I created specifically for Dragon Guardian: Water (which is the book I’m currently working on), and whom I am very excited about introducing into the plot. His name is Virgil the Obscure, and while I can’t divulge too many details about him without giving away key plot points of the story, I can in fact share that he is a very suave and dashing pirate. While I still haven’t gotten to that point yet, I have nevertheless written out several scenes in their entirety that feature him and added them to my many pages of notes. As I said, I’m very excited about him, and I hope that my readers like him as much as I do.

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