Jessica Kemery - Sweet Romantic Fantasy
Called by some a multi-tasking ninja, Jessica Kemery lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois, where she works a day job so that her dog, Rocky, can live a life of pampered luxury. The Hobbit is the first book she read, and she has been searching for dragons ever since. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, The Paladin's Lament.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Paladin's Lament is about.
This story is the Prequel to the Paladin’s Sin Series. It is an epic love story about a man who is torn between his oath to the Temple he was raised in, and the forbidden love he has found. The Paladin’s Lament happens right before he takes his oath, after being trained in magic and warfare from a young age. He has doubts about the Temple. Some things they ask him of him seem wrong, but they have brainwashed him to do as he as told, with no arguments. The Temple is a harsh place because they are training hardened warriors. There is no place for kind hearts.
What inspired you to write about a paladin who is in love with the king's daughter?
I was working in a factory at the time, and my mind would wander. I got the idea for this story while thinking about choices people make, and how people are trapped into choices at a young age. They go along, following the rules, until at some point, they reach the breaking point, and then they decide to really live instead of blindly following. It wasn’t a great job. LOL.
You live in Crystal Lake, Illinois. In which way does your living environment influence the worlds you create?
Honestly, I am influenced more by my childhood. I was that kid with their nose stuck in a book and I read whatever my parents read, which was a wide variety of sci-fi and fantasy. I had read Heinlein, JRR Tolkien, and The Elfstones of Shannara at a young age. In fact, I used to get in trouble at school for reading things that were too adult.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m told I’m a multitasking Ninja. My superpower is reading extraordinary fast. I took a speed-reading class in college and can read 600 words a minute. When I’m not trying to read fast, I can devour a book in a single day.
Tell us more about Rordan. What makes him tick?
Rordan is driven by duty and fiercely loyal. He can hold a grudge for a long time and has to learn how to let some things go. He puts aside his own happiness for duty. He also will go to the end of the earth for the ones he loves.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this story?
I absolutely adored the conflict I created in the characters. It was fun to think about how Rordan would get out of the next mess he was in. I love how thinks on his feet, and how he has faith that he will prevail, even when things seem very grim.
Rordan goes through a lot of mental anguish. Why did you create him this way?
I think it makes a more interesting character to see his origins. We get to learn about what makes him tick, and why he decides later in the story to turn away from the Temple. He’s a strong character with a sweet and sensitive inside. That is where his struggle really comes from. The Temple is trying to tear him down and make him anew, but inside he clings to what he knows is right.
This is the first book in The Paladin's Sin series. Can it be read as a standalone?
How do the other books in the series tie in with this one? This is the prequel to the series, and it can be read as a standalone. It seamlessly ties into the first book. So you could either read the prequel first or jump right into the first in series. If you haven’t read the prequel yet, but finished the three books, it's fun to go back and see how his time at the Temple made him who he was.
Why romantic fantasy? What drew you to the genre?
I just like sweet romance stories. I think that love makes the world go around, and it is never easy or straightforward. There is always a cost to love. I like to think about great heroes and the families they leave at home, the real people behind the story. I also like to approachable fantasy. I want people to feel like they could step into his world, and be a hero.
Readers say, despite it being predominantly a romance, this story is action-packed. How did you pull this off?
I like to keep things moving. A story is much more interesting if there are high stakes for the characters to pay for success.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
My best ideas just come from a flash of “Oh that would be an interesting story” Then I think about it for a few days, letting the story sit in my head. I think about what the conflict is, and why people would want to read something I wrote. I am heavily influenced by Terry Brooks. I love the worlds he creates. So then actually I think about magic, and how that works in the story, and who are the people who are fighting and what they want. I write sort of a very rough outline, so I know where we are going, but sometimes the story takes a hard right turn. I write a chapter a day, and then spend the rest of the day thinking about the next chapter and where the story is going.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I visualize my story before I write it down. My characters all live and breathe in my head. I wake up at 4 am every day to write. My 65 year old retired dad is my biggest fan, and reads everything I write. He gives me notes on what he thinks works and doesn’t.
What are you working on right now?
I’m finishing up editing my World of Ocaña series, which is a world covered in fog. The humans live on the mountaintops, and monsters fill the mists. It’s a little different, and draws from the steampunk genre, but still with magic systems. We’ve got flying birds, steamships, and a little alternative history vibe going on. It was fun to write. And then later this year, I have a series entitled The Dragon Keepers of Dumara. That series is about a girl who cares for dragons with her father. A political coup leads her on a grand adventure across the sea with a dragon prince to build an army of dwarves.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is https://www.hotmessexpresspublishing.com/ I’m also on Facebook almost daily at Author Jessica Kemery.