I'd like to welcome fellow Desert Breeze author, Jennifer Hartz, to the spotlight this week.
STEPH: I don't know much about Conception. Can you tell us a little about the book?
JENNIFER: Hey Steph! Thanks so much for having me on the blog this week. The series of Future Savior is a combination of all the stories I love. Whether they came from books, television, or movies, little elements from my favorite things crept into my own fantasy story. "Write something you would love to read", that's the advice I followed while developing The Future Savior Series and I'm glad I did because I love the results.
The story of Conception, book one in the series, revolves around Christina Vaughn, a seemingly ordinary person who is thrust into an extraordinary situation only to find out she's not as ordinary as she assumed. She is sent to a fantasy-like world and as Christina makes her way through her amazing adventure, she learns a great deal about her unbelievable past. She discovers that she has unimaginable powers which she must quickly learn to harness. She falls in love during a journey that has her battling horrific monsters and struggling with her remarkable destiny, a destiny that involves saving the people of this world.
STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the book?
JENNIFER: The Future Savior Series is the byproduct of a ridiculously long commute. I have an hour and a half drive… one-way. That's three hours in the car! One day, while driving, I started to daydream about interesting characters and the fantastical land of Meric. I would let my mind conjure up different storylines for my mystical characters, pulling out the things that really worked and filing them away in my memory bank. For three months these daydreams continued until I finally realized I needed to sit down and write.
STEPH: I see that it's a fantasy. What attracts you to that genre?
JENNIFER: I love anything speculative, I always have. Even when I was a little kid my favorite stories involved fairies and unicorns and leprechauns… things that you just don’t see every day! Stories, in any medium, that are normal bore me. Why would I want to waste my time reading or watching a story about someone that does the same boring stuff I do every day? No thanks. I want my imagination stretched to the limits, wrapped around a couple of Saturn's rings, then brought back and plunged right into the heart of Mordor.
STEPH: How many books do you have planned in the series?
JENNIFER: The story of Future Savior that is milling around my brain is huge. One book simply couldn't hold all of the ideas so naturally it became a series. However, there is so much that happened in Meric before Christina ever arrived that I could easily produce two or three prequels. But for now I'll stick with Christina's story which is the five books in The Future Savior Series that will be coming out over the next few years.
STEPH: Do you have a certain process to develop your characters? Do you cast your characters? If so who are the leads?
JENNIFER: I think it is important to make characters as realistic as possible, that way people can find something in them to relate to and connect with. Even fantastical characters need to have realistic actions and emotions otherwise no one would want to read about them. Sprites are really cool because they have wings and fly, but would anybody care about Luka if she didn't have her snappy quick wit? Probably not. Many of my characters have personalities similar to people I know in real life. This helps me to keep them as realistic as possible.
As for casting my characters, I did not have particular actors in mind while writing Conception. It was only after the story was complete, and I started milling around author loops and writing chat rooms, did I start to think about who would be great in the roles.
Hands down, without a doubt, and no questions asked Shaw would be perfectly portrayed by Kellan Lutz. If you don't know who he is, he plays Emmet in the Twilight Saga.
I've had a slightly harder time casting Christina, but my mind keeps bouncing between either Allysa Milano or Kate Beckinsale. I guess it depends on my mood, but both of these ladies are fabulous.
Charis is such an interesting and intriguing character that I'm not 100% sure who I would place in that role, but Carla Gugino, the Pocahontas guru in Night at the Museum, keeps popping into my head.
Finally, I place Zak Efron in the role of the obscenely handsome Elf Prince Jonus.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write Conception?
JENNIFER: Like I said, I had been daydreaming about the story for about three months before I placed my fingers to the keys. When I finally sat down to write, having such a structured skeleton in my mind to work with was very helpful. I was able to pound out the entire first novel in just under two and a half months.
STEPH: Do you have any hobbies you'd like to share with us?
JENNIFER: Well, writing is my hobby. I work full-time as a teacher. I also coach softball and volunteer at my church on the child care team. But above all of that is my wonderful family. I have a great husband named Chris and an amazing two-year-old son, Vaughn. They were gracious enough to lend their names to the lead character of Future Savior, Christina Vaughn.
STEPH: You know I'm a Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" fan, right? Team Edward or Team Jacob?
JENNIFER: The girls I teach at school always ask me this question and I can't help but answer, "Team Emmett!" Obviously I love Kellan Lutz since that's who I would cast as the lead in my own novel, but if I had to pick between Edward and Jacob, I've got to go with Edward. He's Bella's true love and poor Jacob just won't take the hint! Get over it Jacob, she's in love with someone else!
Thanks so much for having me on Desert Breeze Publishing's blog today! I had a blast! If the readers out there would like to learn more about Future Savior, they can swing by my website. http://jenniferhartz.com