Friday, January 10, 2014

Interview with Molly Evangeline!

Welcome Molly Evangeline! It's an honor to have you over for this interview.

Thanks for having me!

First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you choose to become an author. (Or to better phrase the question, why did the writing life chose you?)

Well, I’m twenty-five years old, a homeschool graduate, and started writing when I was eight. My mom is the one to thank for that. She’s been writing since she was a teen and wrote a lot while I was growing up. Seeing her collect pictures from old magazines for characters looked like so much fun I had to try it myself. Once I started writing there was no stopping. I’ve always had a very active imagination, and creating stories is the perfect outlet for that. Now I write full time as an indie author and publisher with a couple odd side jobs like making and selling jewelry on Etsy. A few months ago, I decided to start publishing under the fresh new pen name of Jaye L. Knight and focus predominately on Christian fantasy, which has become a huge passion of mine since writing Makilien.

What inspired the Makilien Trilogy?

Lord of the Rings, definitely. I probably wouldn’t be writing fantasy at all if I had not discovered the world of Middle-earth when I was thirteen. My trilogy started out as an extension of the pretend adventures I’d have with my brothers. Makilien was basically me and was the typical real-world girl ends up in a land like Middle-earth. The original series had five books, though I only completed three. It was all for the enjoyment of myself, my brothers, and my cousins who I liked to read it to. Then, sometime after I got into self-publishing, I decided I wanted to do something with Makilien and completely revamped the story, added a few new characters like Torick and this version’s Sirion, and wrote a whole new plot for book three.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to your writing?

Crazy as it may sound, actually writing is the biggest challenge for me. I love creating stories and characters, but getting it all down on paper can be really hard. I’m prone to bad, prolonged bouts of writer’s block, usually as a result of health problems or other outside stress. Once I get out of the habit of writing daily, it can be really tough to get back into it.

If I were to force you to choose a favorite character from the Makilien trilogy, could you?

That’s tough because I love so many of them, but I’d have to narrow it down to . . . Halandor and Sirion. They have a special place in my heart. And if I really had to pick just one, I’d probably go with Sirion. He’s such a dear character to me. In the end, looking back, I think his character, struggles, and journey were really at the heart of the trilogy.

Are there any other activities you enjoy besides writing?

I’m very creative, so I enjoy most activities that involve creating things. Sewing has been one of my favorite pastimes for several years. I love to design and sew historical and fantasy costumes (I made each of three Makilien cover costumes and their accessories). I also love to take part in historical reenactment of the 18th century. I dabble in digital painting, but I’m not very good at it, though I’d love to be able to paint my characters. One thing that takes a lot of my time lately that’s not spent writing or editing is making jewelry for my Etsy shop. I’ve always enjoyed putting together jewelry designs, and I’m very excited to now be making a bit of profit on it.

If there's one thing you'd like readers to take from your writing, what would it be?

That God is working even in the darkest, most troubling circumstances. I think that is the one underlying theme that comes through in everything I write. Just the other day I read a note in my study Bible that says God’s way is always best, even when He takes us through the wilderness. That’s been something I’ve had to rely on heavily in my own life and is important in my writing. I’d love it if readers can see what my character go through and how God works through their circumstances and understand that Romans 8:28 is true when it says God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purpose.

Can you share a favorite quote from the trilogy with my readers?

It’s been a while since I’ve read through it, but one quote that always sticks in mind is one from Torick to Elandir and Elmorhirion: “You two are the bane of my existence.” It always makes me chuckle because it is so Torick.

What is your opinion on the new Hobbit Movies?

Personally, I love the movies. Watching them made me positively giddy, and I talked about them for days. I’m not a diehard book purist. I like things a certain way, but I’m very good at letting books be one thing and movies be another. I am still so in love with Middle-earth that I will take it any way I can get it. Seeing the first Hobbit movie was like coming home after a really long time. I almost cried, actually. While the movies have their flaws (and what movies don’t?), I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them and can’t wait for the third one, although I’m going to hate for it all to be over again.

Tell us a little bit about your upcoming series, the Ilyon Chronicles. Any sneak peeks?

I’m currently writing book four of six and editing book one, Resistance, which is scheduled for publication this spring. I had labeled it as young adult, but I now realize it fits better in the recently emerging “new adult” category, so now I’m labeling it “clean new adult.” The whole series started with inspiration for the main guy, Jace. He’s a half-blooded former slave/gladiator who most of society believes is soulless and no better than an animal. He struggles more than any character I’ve ever written, but I’ve connected with him better than any other character. In many ways, he’s a lot like me, though our personal struggles are a bit different. The series is really to tell his story as he struggles with his fears and searches for the truth, but I have an insanely large cast so there are many other storylines entwined with his. Here’s a scene near the beginning of the book between Jace and his mentor that really showcases Jace’s struggle.

A mile into the forest, he opened up again. “Why aren’t my prayers answered?”
Rayad’s forehead creased. “What do you mean?”
“I didn’t want to fight. I didn’t want to give in to anger, again. I prayed to Elôm for help.” Jace hung his head. “A moment later, I hit Morden.”
Rayad sighed. “Unfortunately, just because we pray not do something doesn’t mean we always won’t. We are imperfect and always needing to grow. You’ve believed in King Elôm for little more than a year now. Give yourself time. He is working in you, and eventually, looking back, you’ll be able to see it. And remember, our growth is never complete here. Look at me—I trusted in Elôm when I was a boy, but I’m not even close to all I’d like to be. You know me. I can be impatient, stubborn, ill-tempered, but I know Elôm is still working in those areas.”
Despite these words, Jace bit back an outcry of frustrated desperation. They didn’t relieve the churning in his mind or offer a definitive answer to his questions.
“What is it, Jace?” Rayad asked quietly.
Jace swallowed, throat squeezing around his words. Was he even ready for the answers? “What if my prayers aren’t heard?”
“King Elôm hears all the prayers of His children. He hears yours.”
“But . . . what if I’m not one of His children. . . what if I have no soul?”
Rayad pulled Aros to a halt. Niton stopped beside him. Jace squeezed his reins, waiting almost fearfully for Rayad’s response.
Voice calm, yet strained, Rayad asked, “Is that what Morden said to you?”
Jace stared down at Tyra who looked up at him, so calm and patient.
“Jace.” Rayad’s voice was deathly serious now. Jace looked at him. “It is not true.”
Jace matched his tone as he looked Rayad in the eyes, ribs throbbing where his heart hammered into them. “How do you know? You’ve always told me that, but how do you truly know? Everyone believes ryriks are soulless.”
Rayad’s breath seeped out quietly. “Because I don’t believe Elôm created an intelligent race of people without souls. And even if He did, you’re not a ryrik. You’re only half, and I fully believe the human part of you has a soul.”

Any advice for the self-publishing/aspiring authors who read my blog?

Read a lot and never stop learning new ways to improve your craft. There are always things to learn and areas to improve. I just had what I call a “writing growth spurt” thanks to reading through Camy Tang’s writing blog and Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. It has really helped me make Ilyon Chronicles the best work I’ve done yet. Also, when you get into publishing, make sure to do your research on how professionally published books are done—how their covers look, how they’re formatted, etc. Unfortunately, no one really pays attention to the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” There just isn’t time to do a lot of research before deciding to read a book. If it doesn’t catch my eye, chances are, I’ll pass over it. It is imperative to have a well written/edited book to be successful, but it won’t mean much if it isn’t visually appealing. Do everything within your ability to create a book that at least comes close to rising to the standards of traditionally published books.

Thanks so much!

And I've asked Molly if she would swing by and answer any questions that you ask in the comments below. Also, I'll be giving away an kindle version of Truth to one random commenter/question asker on this post. I will be purchasing this book as a kindle gift because I already have the complete trilogy, but I do want to support the author.

And good luck to you, Molly, as you continue your writing journey!


  1. Thanks for coming today, Molle Evangeline! Why did you choose to write Christian Fantasy?


    1. Hi Ryebrynn! Once I got a taste of fantasy with Lord of the Rings, I completely fell in love with it. I particularly love the freedom it gives me. I can let my imagination totally roam free without having to worry about historical accuracy. And I think there is something special about Christian fantasy that allows you to present certain themes in a more powerful way than some other genres. I've been touched personally by fantasy books by other Christian authors more than any other books. I hope I can touch people in the same way with my own books.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post and 'meeting' you, Molly!

    What is your favorite thing about writing fantasy?

    One of my favorite things about writing fantasy is the freedom to be able to do pretty much whatever you want to in terms of setting, without having to stick to certain boundaries like Historical Fiction writers have to.

    1. That is definitely my favorite thing about fantasy too. I love historical fiction, but research can be frustrating and so confining. I love creating my own worlds and cultures while still maintaining a historical feel.

  3. Okay, now I *have* to read these books. I've read some of Molly's pirate novels, and I really did like those.

    Ooh, my thoughts EXACTLY on the Hobbit films! That was the perfect way to put it, Molly!!

    Well, honestly, I didn't think I'd have a question for Molly after such a thorough interview, but I find I do wish to know this: How long does it normally take you to finish one book? From the original conception of the novel to the final publication?

    1. It really depends on the book and what is going on personally. My first Ilyon book took 11 months to write from my very first idea for it, the second book took 8 months, and book three took 6 months. With how stubborn book four is deciding to be, I'm probably looking at a year. So on average, as long as I don't hit any horrible snags, I can write a book in 5-12 months. Publishing depends on the amount of editing needed. I used to publish my books pretty quick after finishing them with only two or three edits, but I'm taking much more time with Resistance. By the time I publish it this spring, it will be 3 years since my first inspiration for it.

  4. Hi, Molly!

    So, my question for you is are you an outliner or a discovery-writer? And what is your process from plot bunny to paper?
    I'm a discovery-writer, but I'm trying to learn how to outline.
    Nice "meeting you"! And I love LOtR, too!

    ~Robyn Hoode

    1. Hi Robyn! I'm a discovery writer with a little bit of outliner in me. :) I write a lot of notes and have a general outline (mostly in my head) of how the whole story goes. I need to know how a book ends before I can get very far. Sometimes I'll have a vague outline for a couple chapters if I want to remember how everything is supposed to fit together. But I don't like to do detailed outlining. I'm sure it would help in many instances, but I'm too impatient and like to dive into a story and see where it goes. That's how I best discover who my characters are. With Resistance, I started writing the first chapter the day after I had my first seed of inspiration, and I've never looked back. :) When a story idea first strikes me, I'll write down all my thoughts about it and then name the main characters. My mind doesn't like to go further until they have names. Then I'll just start writing, providing I'm not in the middle of a different project, like Ilyon Chronicles. It's been quite a while since I started any new stories. I look forward to it after this series is finished.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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