I want to start by welcoming all my readers to the Prophecy of the Flames Virtual Book Tour. Today we have the wonderful Lynn Hardy, author of the Prophecy of the Flames series, and she has graciously offered to take time out to visit with me today. Don’t forget to checkout my Review of book #1 HERE
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Scottsdale, Arizona; a suburb of Phoenix. I grew up a few miles from there in Glendale. By the time I attended 8th grade I was desperate for a change. I longed to see more of the world.
You know the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it?” I learned the truth of that saying. I attended 7 different high schools.
After college, I moved to Boise, Idaho. I have lived in the City of Trees for 15 years. Boise is the home of my heart.
What or who inspired you to write? And how long have you been writing?
I have always loved stories. First reading them, then – in high school – writing. As a young girl, I loved to watch the Superman movies and often pictured myself as Lois Lane – dashing off into the middle of danger to get the story.
I majored in journalism in college. A professor told me: “You don’t have the ability to catch your own typos. No editor will hire you. You should change to a new major.”
Being a tender-hearted young woman, I did as he suggested. But school lost all appeal without writing. I soon dropped out of college all together. I supported my husband as he finished up his degree.
About two years after we tied the knot, my hubby and I went to a counselor to learn to communicate with each other. Christine, our counselor, asked me to write an auto-biography: from my earliest memories with as much detail as I could manage. I handed her ten pages, single-spaced, typed twice a week for the next several months.
One day, as I handed over the next chapter, Christine said, “You know, I’ve asked clients to write for me for the last 20 years. This is the first time I want to sit on the couch with a cup of tea and see what happens next in a client’s life. You really have a way of bringing a story to life.”
A couple of months later, I had an amazing set of dreams. If you changed the order and filled in the blanks, they created a beautiful story that had me laughing out loud one night and crying into my pillow the next. They were so vivid, so captivating, that I couldn’t let go of them.
I knew that this story had to be written. But who could do it justice. With Christine’s words ringing in my ears, I sat down at my computer and started a file that I called “Second Job.” It took one year to write Book One and Book Two as one massive manuscript.
How did you come up with the title and cover design?
The original title for the book one was, “Saint Alfred’s Pyre.” But every time I told someone about the book, I had to explain what a pyre was. Before I went to print, I changed the title to “Prophecy of the Flame – Love’s Dawning.”
The original cover design was created in a painting, depicting the final battle. Back then, Book One and Two were still one gigantic manuscript. When I went to self-publish, the cost of printing a 750 page book was out of my price range.
About that time, I had listened to the first two Eragon books on CD as we drove across country. Christopher Paolini ended his first book right after a major battle, without any resolution to the bigger picture.
I decided, if a bestseller could do that, then so could I. Just so happens, there’s a climactic battle scene in the middle of my story. I added a short chapter to end it cleanly. I now had two books instead of one. But I needed a new cover – fast.
The artist who created the original, unpublished, cover also did some pencil sketches for the interior. My favorite one was a mirror scene. I took that picture and created a marbled background to go behind it.
I thought the gray cover would stand out from all the dark fantasy books on the shelf. Unfortunately, gray just faded into the background. I met an artist from Tor, the largest fantasy publisher in the nation, at a convention where I was doing panels on self publishing. Mark Ferrari took one look at the book and knew I needed help.
Mark suggested the current design: A simple black background with a stylized flame and unique font. A market survey of 100 books revealed that 90% of male readers wouldn’t pick up a book with “Love” on the cover: it gave off the impression of a romance novel. So I dropped the subtitle – though it still graces the interior – and now call it, Prophecy of the Flame – Book One.
Who designed the cover of your book?
I found Yivgeni Matoussov at an online art forum. After interviewing a half-a-dozen illustrators, Yivi sent me some sketches of the Crusaders of the Light. He captured the characters brilliantly. Yivgeni illustrated both the cover and most of the interior pictures, as well.
Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?
The Prophecy of the Flame Project has begun. The full-length movie should be released in 2013. 100% of the proceeds, from this movie will go to Agape Assistance – Shelter for Families, One Book at a Time. (As does the proceeds from Book One as well as the full cast, unabridged Audio Book.)
All five books in the series should be in print and by 2017 I should be hard at work on movie four or five.
What books have most influenced your writing most and why?
L.E. Modesitt Jr. has a great fantasy series: The Saga of Recluse. I wait expectantly for each new novel. Lee wrote many books in first person before it was considered acceptable. Reading his work, prepared me for my own stories that are also written from the first person perspective.
Melanie Rawn is another favorite author. Her Dragon Prince series combines romance and fantasy in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Although my romance isn’t as steamy as hers, merely suspenseful, Melanie blazed the way for the Romantic Fantasy genre.
Mercedes Lackey is an amazing writer. Her fantasy books always contained a interwoven thread of romance. However, Mercedes’ books seemed to have a deeper purpose. She challenged some sensitive issues when they were still taboo. There are some controversial issues subtly touched upon by my work – I will leave those for the readers to discover.
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I usually prefer paperbacks. I like to hold a book in my hands, smell the paper and hear each page turn. I only purchase hardcover books for autographs from authors.
I now own my first ereader device – it does make reading easy on the go. You can even get your ebooks signed at a site called KindleGraph. But, to me, there is nothing like seeing those novels, that touched your heart, displayed on your own bookshelf.
Thank you for taking the time to share with us and I wish both your series and your soon-to-be-made movie all the best. I can’t wait to get my hands on book #2!
About the Author
Led by a series of dreams and encouraged by friends, Lynn Hardy began the journey to become an author. She stored her work in a computer file labeled “second job.” Writing began as a passion she could not contain and has become much more than she ever expected.
Lynn has attended many science fiction conventions and has had the privilege of serving on panels about writing. Renaissance fairs are another favorite event for the author. Seeing others dressed in costume (as she always is during book signings) makes her feel right at home.
The real shock came at a chance meeting in a videogame store in 2008. It took several meetings before she realized JR was a CEO and Hippocrit Games was offering her a contract: they were not just making small talk about what a great videogame her book would make. Hippocrit plans to launch their new company with the release of Prophecy of the Flame, the live action videogame, in Fall 2010.
In reality, Lynn is overcome with compassion for families who are suffering through the recession and so she has created Agape Assistance. Knowing that times are hard for everyone, Lynn wants to give back to those who join Agape Assistance in providing shelter for families who are homeless. Buying Book One will provide a book for you and a bed for them. 100% of the proceeds from Prophecy of the Flame: Book One go to Agape Assistance. (AgapeAssistance.org)
Lynn is now a stay-at-home mother of two. The road has been longer and more complicated than she would have ever guessed–not always smooth, but filled with wonderful surprises. Like most stories, Lynn is sure that her journey has only just begun.