Saturday, February 1, 2014

Interview of Author Andi O'Connor

Displaying Andi 3.jpgAW: Tell us about yourself…
I am a writer, a daydreamer, and an avid reader and book lover. I absolutely adore Elves, and I am genuinely distressed that they do not exist. I love hand-writing letters, and I am a firm believer that receiving said letter is one of the best forms of therapy available. I love physical books, none of this newfangled eBook stuff.  I love vinyl records and Jameson (neat). British Comedies are my main form of visual entertainment, though The Lord of the Rings and Notre Dame football finish a close second.  I am an avid ballet dancer, and I am convinced that if everyone took ballet, the world would be a much more joyous place.

On a serious note, I am the author of the series The Dragonath Chronicles and The Vaelinel Trilogy as well as several short stories. My latest novel, Silevethiel, was named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013.  I am a member of Broad Universe, the National Writers Association, and the Boston Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. I currently reside in Pennsylvania with my husband (The Man), son (The Monkey), and four dogs - yes...four.

AW: What genera do you write and why?
If you couldn't guess based on my statement about Elves, I'm a fantasy writer. I became a fantasy junky in my early teens after reading Terry Brooks, who I am proud to say is still my favorite author and main inspiration. When I began writing, fantasy just seemed natural. It is what I am most familiar with and what I feel gives me the most flexibility in regards to world building and character creation. I love that I am able to take my readers to worlds where they can escape reality, yet not entirely. There are many things in fantasy that we can relate to and apply to our lives and society. I think that is what makes fantasy unique and in some ways more complex than other genres. The characters, no matter what they are, are still 'people'. They are like us in many ways and face similar personal and situational obstacles. Because of this, they intrigue a tiny part of us just enough to think that maybe, just maybe, they exist. That is the true magic of fantasy, and why it will always be my favorite genre to write.

AW: Tell us about your book….
Displaying Silevethiel Front Cover for Web.jpg
Silevethiel is a young adult fantasy suitable for old and young readers alike. Like most of my work, it has an underlying message of empowering women and other minorities. An exiled princess, Irewen Donríel, must rise above the frail, dependent woman she was raised to be in order to unite the four elf races and stand against the king who betrayed her. 

For good measure, here's the blurb:
Following her father’s murder, Princess Irewen Donríel is betrayed and left for dead in the forests of Mistwood. Rescued by the elf prince, Laegon Elendell, Irewen awakes an exile with no home, no country, and no people. But as the horrific memories of murder and betrayal return, she realizes that the nightmare is only beginning.

The world of Vaelinel is failing—its fate bound to her in ways no one fully understands. A mysterious elven prophecy may provide her with some answers, but continuously hunted and fighting for her life, Irewen quickly learns that unearthing the truth will be more difficult than she ever imagined. Can she accept Laegon’s love and the friendship of the Wood Elves, or will she stand alone against the terrifying evil now threatening to destroy the entire world?

AW: What was your inspiration for this book?
I'm a huge lover of animals and wanted to incorporate the bond many people feel with their pets in my writing - just on a larger, magical scale. I came up with the idea for the Protector/Guardian bond where elf and lion can sense and speak to each other through their magic. The characters of Irewen and Silevethiel were born, and I began writing. Initially, it began as a short story but morphed into a book.

AW: Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
Silevethiel is actually my favorite character. She is not the main character and actually flits in and out of the story where she's not seen or heard from for large sections. Because of this, a few people have commented that they don't understand why her name's the title of the book. Surprisingly, her small role is exactly why I chose her name for the title and feature on the cover. Despite her comparatively small amount of actual participation in the story, her character is extremely crucial. Although we don't actually meet her for a while, she is discussed quite frequently by the other characters and acts as sort of a mysterious, unreachable presence that no one really knows, yet can't live without.

The leader of the Guardians, Silevethiel is wise and experienced. She is revered by everyone in the community, elf and lion alike. She's the strongest of the Guardians, both magically and physically. She's rather serious and aloof, yet has a playful side to her, which we get a glimpse of in her reactions to Brégen, one of the other guardians. She's reserved, seemingly one who doesn't let anything bother her and is always fine, but there is just a touch of sadness lurking in the background.

AW: Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
Honestly, I didn't have difficulty with anything in Silevethiel. It was my NaNoWriMo project for 2012, and the words just flowed. The plot is straight-forward so it was comfortable to write, and the dialogue, especially the witty humor between Laegon and Brégen, came naturally. I wish everything flowed as easily as Silevethiel!

AW: What project(s) are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the 2nd book of The Dragonath Chronicles titled Awakening, which will be released in 2014. I am also in the process of publishing one of my short stories, Redemption, in eBook. There are plans to build this into a series of short stories following the main character's journey from prisoner to revered leader.
AW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?
I must hand-write everything out first in my notebook before I type it up, which isn't necessarily a quirk, but I must - and I repeat - I MUST use the same pen. When the ink runs out and I don't have the exact same pen to replace it, my world ends - especially if it's a different color. I can't even begin to express the trauma. I also must take notes in pencil and absolutely have to sharpen it before I throw it away.

AW: Do you have any advice for writers out there?
Be yourself. Don't write for money or fame. Write because you have a message you want to share. Write because you want to inspire your readers, whether they be 2, 200 or 2,000. Most importantly, write from your heart and never stop.

AW: Where can we find you? (facebook, twitter, blog, website, etc)
You can find me on Facebook at and on my website at

AW: And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? (your website, publisher, amazon, etc)
Before I answer this last question, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ashley's Bookshelf for hosting me and giving me and so many other wonderful authors the opportunity to share our thoughts with you. It has been a privilege! Sláinte!

Signed copies of all my books are available on my Website!


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