Hello Readers! I’m pleased to welcome Darryl A. Woods, Author of The Summoned Ones, newly released adult epic fantasy, for an interview on Books Teacup and Review. Check out more about the book and author in this post.
The Summoned Ones: Book 1 Flight to Bericea by Darryl A. Woods
Publication Date: February 29th 2020
Publisher: Bresford Ridge Publishing
Genre: Epic Fantasy
The Bericean army was in Malabrim for the ninth straight fighting season. Over the past 9 years, Zybaro, the leader of a small band of unknowns, had evolved from his days as a minor usurper of a tiny kingdom. Now, almost the entire country of Malabrim was under Zybaro’s control, and his army was large enough to easily challenge Bericea’s army. Still, Bericea continued its raids into Malabrim, hoping to stem Zybaro’s methodical progress and thwart his tyrannical means of control. Zybaro had seized village after village, forcing anyone capable of joining his army and enslaving all who remained in deplorable working conditions to supply his army.
This latest conflict with Zybaro had pushed General Darnon to a decision, one he had resisted making for over a year. Though he still held grave reservations about the Prophecies, he was willing to support the clerics who would attempt the summoning. The details of the ritual had recently been discovered in an ancient tome. The clerics were confident they could bring forth the Summoned Ones of Prophecy, those mysterious beings who would aid Bericea in its time of greatest need.
Darnon also had concerns about the location of the summoning. It would have to take place farther into Malabrim than they had ventured in many years. And even if the ritual was effective, it would be a great challenge to get the Summoned Ones safely back to Bericea, in addition to the soldiers sent to protect them. However, Darnon felt that morale was so low, if they survived this battle, he owed his troops the hope the summoning ritual could bring.
Join the soldiers of Bericea and the Summoned Ones through a life-or-death struggle. The Summoned Ones was made up of a small college aged group of friends from a small Kentucky town near the Daniel Boone National Forrest, who find themselves somehow brought to a chaotic world through magic. Their epic journey will push the Summoned beyond the limits of their endurance. This unlikely group will discover many truths about themselves and experience another world beyond their imagination.
Darryl A. Woods is a storyteller who hones his craft entertaining coworkers. He also enjoys regaling family and friends with stories of his upbringing in rural Ohio, of the motorized contraptions his father fabricated, and of the timber cutting and sawmill work he did with his father-in-law. With an appetite for reading fantasy, it was inevitable he would choose to write about an epic journey in a world dominated by magic and sword fighting.
Can you tell readers a little about your book, The Summoned Ones? What they can expect from the book?
The reader can expect friendship, betrayal, battles, leadership, love, an evil protagonist, swordplay, personal growth, self-reflection, greed, evil creatures, horsemanship, creativity, magic use, and a treacherous journey.
Can a group of college-aged friends from a small Kentucky town actually be the Summoned Ones of prophecy, called to a strange world filled with magic and devastated by war? Can they save the lives of the desperate inhabitants and help them defeat a wicked tyrant? Their epic journey will push them to the limits of their endurance. This unlikely group will discover truths about themselves and experience another world beyond their imagination.
During their journey, they will explore this new world, discover new talents and previously hidden abilities, develop friendships with people they couldn’t have dreamed possible, and will be forced to take actions they would have never considered in less dire circumstances.
The Summoned Ones is a portal story that thrust an eclectic group of college-age friends into a chaotic world. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I have been a huge fan of fantasy for years, and I can’t remember a time I wasn’t a storyteller. So, when my wife encouraged me to write a book, the genre was a given. I often daydreamed about how I would react to situations in books I read, ones that led to modern-day people thrust into a world completely foreign to anything they could imagine. This let me explore their emotions and how their experiences would determine certain reactions to situations.
What inspired you to create a fantasy setting, a world filled with prophecy, magic, and war?
Once I had decided to set modern-day people in a world of magic, I needed a way for them to get there. The idea of being summoned by a magic administered from a fantasy world came about. I then needed a reason for them to enact the ritual, and the prophecies of a desperate, war-weary people came to be.
What type of characters do you love and hate to write? What is your favorite quality in a protagonist? Does anyone in real life inspire you to write them?
I enjoyed all of the main college-aged characters, each for different reasons. They vary so much in personality and what motivates them that it kept things fresh as I moved from storyline to storyline.
The most interesting aspect of the protagonist is his complete lack of empathy. Power and control of others are his only motivations, and he can never get enough of either.
I would say that there’s a bit of my brothers and me in the Renard brothers. My father was a machinist and we were all taught a great independence when making household repairs.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing The Summoned Ones?
I guess I faced the same challenges that many authors do. Is this good enough or should I tweak it some more? Is the pace right for the situation? Will anyone like this? Should I react to the suggestion from an early reader that I really don’t agree with?
I had two situations that were not typical of a lot of authors. I have been a storyteller for many years, so plot, character development, and scene development that many authors struggle with came easier for me. I spent far more effort on the pace of the story, of balancing narrative and dialogue, getting the right mix of detail and the big picture. I suspect these come natural to other authors.
The other situation was that I had a relative and a good friend who was my editor. Her 30 years of experience, willingness to work with me, and quick turnaround made my work far better than it would have been otherwise.
What is the most interesting aspect of The Summoned Ones?
The portal aspect of showing modern-day people dealing with a fantasy world certainly allowed me to explore their emotional journey. I also liked the in-world characters dealing with the Summoned Ones. They treated them with a great deal of reverence, having heard stories of them all their lives but believing them only to exist in lore. But then I was able to show strong friendships develop between modern-day and fantasy-world characters.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
That was a long journey filled with expensive mistakes and wasted time. I decided to pay a firm to help me publish so that I could continue to write. I spent a great deal of time researching a company that would just do the work, let me retain the material, and I would keep 100% of the royalties. The company started out well enough, but soon sold out to an entity that was simply a vanity publisher. It was an expensive lesson in terms of both money and a great deal of time.
I was forced to research each step of the process to make certain that this new company was being honest with me. I eventually learned enough that I fired that company and recreated all material at far better quality, then published on my own.
What are your most favorite and least favorite things about being an author?
My most favorite is having characters and scenes spring to life out of thin air as I write. One character in the last chapter came to life only as I developed a storyline that I had expected to write completely differently. It forced me to go back and add to already written scenes to set up this new character and the scenes he inspired. In the end, I felt his scenes and character were among the strongest, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing them.
My least favorite is the grind of editing and promoting. It is purely a rinse-and-repeat process that you must commit to doing every day. Even these have great moments of accomplishment, such as having advance readers really enjoy that latest scene, or spending 10 hours over a weekend sending out review requests and hearing back from several of them.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Very early on in my writing, I was in a restaurant when an idea struck me. I talked the waitress into a pen and jotted my ideas down on several napkins. When I got home and typed it into the story, I discovered that I edited the material far more thoroughly going from handwritten to the keyboard. I like the improved quality so much that I wrote in longhand every page of the book after that.
I would even do a few handwritten edits. I would print the chapter and then make corrections with a pencil. I think the left-brain, right-brain thing kicks in and you see clearly things you miss editing on the screen.
What is the next project you’re working on?
The Summoned Ones is the first book of a two-book series. My next book, Perilous Path, is the conclusion to the Flight to Bericea story and is about 70% complete. By complete, I mean written, professionally edited, and read by 20 advanced readers. I’m planning on being done by the end of summer with a release in November 2020.
I have the overall plot of the next two book series in Bericea thought through. I have also written the rough drafts of two scenes I had to get out of my head.
Can you describe The Summoned Ones in five words?
Epic war and magic journey
And the last one, top three tips for aspiring authors.
- Make time to write.
- Don’t be afraid to publish.
- Believe that your work will be enjoyed by many.
- And a fourth tip I’m stealing from a good friend. Never feed chili to the dog.
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