MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR J.S. BURKE
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
First, thank you for inviting me to be part of your beautiful blog! I’m J.S. Burke, author of Science Fantasy Adventure for young adults 9 to 99.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I love dragons. One day I was admiring my ceramic bowl with its odd, roundish rock in the middle. I put it there on a whim. Bam! Suddenly I knew this was a dragon’s nest. I knew dragon legends. Arak the dragon was born! He’s a misfit dreamer in a clan of boisterous dragons.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
It wasn’t planned, it just happened because of my bowl. I wanted to write an upbeat, family-friendly book that kids and adults could enjoy.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I read science research articles to improve the details used in describing my world. An accurate, detailed world helps the story come alive. Octopuses in the Dragon Dreamer world have a different life history than on Earth but their abilities are the same.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The DRAGON DREAMER series is Science Fantasy Adventure with dragons and an undersea world, for young adults 9 to 99.
“THE DRAGON DREAMER” by J.S. Burke:
A dying dragon saved by an octopus.
A deadly chain of events.
How can two misfits save the dragons?
Won IAN Best First Novel. Finalist for Best Science Fiction and Finalist for Best Fantasy.
Dragon Arak is bullied as a worthless dreamer. Determined to prove himself, he leaves on a quest, flies far over the sea . . . and crashes. Badly wounded, he faces death. A fearless, undersea shape-shifter named Scree finds and heals him, and an unexpected friendship begins. Arak returns to the Winter Festival, where dragons carve glaciers with fire and toss lightning bolts in the clouds. But a devastating illness strikes the clan. Then an undersea volcano erupts! This triggers a towering tsunami and a deadly chain of events. How can two misfits save the dragons?
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I enjoy both books equally. The Dragon Dreamer won Best First Novel across all fiction categories (including Romance, Horror, Science Fiction, etc.) Dragon Lightning won First Place for Best Science Fantasy and Best Science Fiction.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
From the ceramic bowl and then from everything I love.
Was it always meant to become a series?
I intended to write one book but left it open for a sequel. Enough readers requested another book that I wrote Dragon Lightning. Now I’m writing a third Dragon Dreamer book.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I try to write in the evening, at home, on the laptop.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I’m writing the third dragon Dreamer book, still working on the name. I’m also writing/drawing a children’s book that uses my fantasy snowflakes.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Names are very important in Science Fantasy. Dragon names sound unlike human names, often with a “D” or “K” or “R” in them. Octopus names are short and sound like the sea.
Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas often come when triggered by what I see in nature or what I find in my research.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
A love story. I’m also working on a children’s picture book.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Deleting an excellent section I’ve written because it slows the story. Sometimes I can use it in another story.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I have one trailer. It’s an interesting idea but then it’s one more thing to promote, too.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
As a writer, these books. As a person, helping someone in need.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I know how to write worlds I enjoy visiting. I love when readers love being in my worlds.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It would be nice to have at least two more dragon books, two more coloring books, and short stories in anthologies.
Have you always liked to write?
I’ve written poems and short stories ever since I learned to read, but I didn’t plan to be the author of a science fantasy series.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Start writing, study books you love, and get feedback from friends who know how to write. Once you’re published, check out several of your favorite books on Goodreads and note the ratings.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Make more artwork. I have a painting in my mind that will require new skills. I enjoy painting, drawing, and creating new jewelry designs.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I appreciate getting reviews and read most of them. I don’t respond to any, good or otherwise. Most readers enjoy my worlds. “The Dragon Dreamer” and “Dragon Lightning” each have a good rating average. “Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book” has some fun reviews, too.
For any author who receives a low rating or a negative review, I suggest they check out several books they admire on the Goodreads site. “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “The Secret Garden” have one-star reviews! I LOVE these books, and they are very well written. “Harry Potter” has more than 40,000 one-star ratings! That series also has eight movies and a theme park. Clearly this is not a one-star book! People see the world through different eyes and are entitled to their opinions.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Trying to make sure there are no errors before it’s published.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing Dragon Dreamer books III and IV and drawing mandalas for Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book II.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
I’d love to, but it’s still a work in progress.
Here’s a snippet from “The Dragon Dreamer”:
“Arak awoke to the blackness of night before dawn and looked around uneasily. He crawled out of his shelter, tucked beneath thick bushes at the base of a tree. It seemed a night like any other. But there were no crickets and the air felt stiff.
Arak closed his eyes and turned slowly in a circle, reaching out with magnetic sight. Far out to sea, beyond the dimly lit horizon, gold sparks shot into the sky. What could that mean? Fear ran up his spine like an icy claw. He had to know. Arak focused through his gem and dove into trance. There was not even time to protect the helpless limp body he left behind.
His trance-mind flew far overseas. Below the place of sparks was a circle of roiling water, bubbling like a tea kettle. An undersea volcano!
Arak fled back into his body. He opened his eyes and shook off the trance, running to the gathering circle before he was fully awake. He pounded the huge signal drum.
Danger! Danger! Danger!”
And this is from “Dragon Lightning”:
“Bright red lightning crackled above the mountain, sparkling through a dark plume of smoke. The Volcano roared with a thunder beyond any storm and sharp rocks rained down on Drakor. The young dragon gripped an icy rock ledge and shrank back into a narrow mountain crevice, choking on the thick stench of sulfur.
The mountain shook violently. Drakor’s teeth rattled together like dry bones while the earthquake rumbled on and on. He felt like an ice-fish shaken to death in the jaws of a dragon.”
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
My genres choose me. Someday I may finish my children’s picture book and write a story of a distant, long ago relative that fascinates me.
Where did your love of books come from?
Books are magic. They give us vacations in other worlds.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I love the SciFi worlds of Alan Dean Foster. He’s incredibly creative and I love his sentient ship.
I also love the works of indie authors, including “The Martian” and the many authors I’ve met online. These books are as marvelous as any published by a big press, and two now have movies or TV series in the works.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I love all my characters; I can’t write without caring about them. Arak is a misfit dreamer ridiculed by his clan of golden dragons. Drakor is a young ice dragon faced with a nearly impossible challenge: he must defeat the most powerful leader ever to rescue his clan from their super volcano island home. Scree is a shape-shifter octopus Healer who is unflinching in her work to help others, even in extreme danger.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing is more like breathing; it just is.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I’m not sure. I do love chocolate!
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I’m writing the worlds I see; “unique” is a word often used in reviews. I wrote the second Dragon Dreamer book after readers requested a sequel. Now I’m writing more of the Dragon Dreamer world.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m supportive of many indie authors. I share their book posts and links, which brings them a few sales and potential reviews. I’m accepted within indies groups, which brings a terrific feeling of belonging. The acceptance by authors and appreciation by readers encourages me to keep writing.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
“How did she survive?”
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
What’s your favorite color? Rainbow.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
Thank you so much for inviting me here! ❤
Here are a few reviews and links:
The Dragon Dreamer: “Unique Book Combines Ocean Life with Highly Imagined Dragon World”
“This is an extremely unique book that combines action and adventure with a deep understanding of real ocean life and a highly imagined dragon world. For anyone who has ever been curious about the mysteries of the depths or enchanted with dragons, this book will engage you. If you are drawn to both, the Dragon Dreamer will become your favorite book ever.” ~ Amazon Reviewer
The Dragon Dreamer: “This Book is a Real Page Turner.”
“First, this book is a real page turner. Yes, it is written for a younger audience but this reader feels it is best read by all ages. This author has touched the heart of all things real: friendship, honor, caring, and kindness. As for the writing in this book, I was amazed…crafted so well you feel as if you are in this world…I will personally recommend this book to all readers.” ~ Amazon Reviewer
Dragon Lightning: “A unique and beautiful world”
“The second book in this series is another fun foray into the world of octopi and dragons. This time, we get to meet the legendary ice dragons. Burke again presents a unique and vivid world that is both magical and scientific at the same time. It’s an adventurous tale with an emphasis on community and unlikely friendships that can be enjoyed by all ages.” ~ Amazon Review
Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book: “Fancy Unique Fun Filled Snowflake Coloring”
“Gorgeous designs and very creative images unlike any others you will find in other coloring books. J.S. Burke brings fantasy and real life animals to her snowflakes perfectly fitting them into the patterns and creating each unique flake.”
~ Amazon Reviewer
Fantasy Snowflakes Coloring Book: “Blissful Hours of Coloring”
“You can spend blissful hours coloring these kaleidoscopic designs that include sea creatures, fantasy creatures, and more. I spent a whole afternoon completely lost in the process.”
~ Amazon Reviewer
Here are the book links:
“THE DRAGON DREAMER” by J.S. BURKE
eBooks Universal: www.books2read.com/u/bWZOoq
Amazon Universal: http://authl.it/B00K9DHTU2?d
DRAGON LIGHTNING by J.S. BURKE
eBooks Universal: www.books2read.com/u/3k0nOn
Amazon Universal: http://authl.it/B01MA1ZOJ6?d
FANTASY SNOWFLAKES COLORING BOOK by J.S. BURKE
Amazon Universal: https://www.relinks.me/0996042555
Thank you so much!!!
Author and Artist