Meet L. J. McDonald, Rising Royalty in Fantasy

If any of you have been following our September Sylph Series, you might know that I have a badly disguised obsession with sylphs. Considering L. J. McDonald has created my beloved battle sylphs, you could say I’m head-over-heels for her, too.

I’m ecstatic to have L. J. on the Dorchester Community Blog today talking about her latest book in the series, writing, and her fabulous life. And this isn’t any ol’ stop for L. J., it’s the last stop in her Queen of the Sylphs blog tour! She’s been a busy lady, and I’m honored that she’s concluding her tour right here with us. So read on, and celebrate her sensational sylph series with us!

Welcome, L.J.!

  • In one sentence, how would you summarize Queen of the Sylphs?

A story about love, betrayal, and the danger in giving your heart to the wrong person.

  •  Queen of the Sylphs is the 3rd book in your Sylph series. In what ways does it differ from The Battle Sylph and The Shattered Sylph? How do you feel writing a debut differs from writing a sequel?

It’s different in that it’s more of a mystery. The characters are trying to find out what’s happening in the Valley and there’s a lot of tension because no one knows who the real enemy is.

Writing a sequel is different from writing a debut. In a lot of ways, it’s easier. You don’t have to create the world. It’s already there. Instead you can focus on getting into the meat of it, since your readers are already familiar with it and you don’t have to explain quite so much what the world is like.

  • In a previous interview, you mentioned that you wrote The Battle Sylph while away from home on a domestic operation with your military unit. Can you tell us a little bit about your time serving your country and how this influenced your books?

I’m a Resource Management Support clerk in the Royal Canadian Air Force (we just got that title back after a few decades of not having it). Currently I’m working for an Army Reserve Intelligence unit in Ottawa, which is fun and different. I’m a Master Corporal and I basically run the administration office and handle all the finances for the unit.

I’ve worked for a bunch of very different units in my career and was posted to northern Alberta for seven years before I got to come to Ottawa, where I hope to stay. I’ve been all over the country and the U. S. on exercises and operations and I’ve also been overseas in support of the Afghanistan mission for six months.

Being in the military has affected my writing in that I have a better idea of how fighting men work and think. Also in how tactics work, which affects my combat scenes.

  •  What’s your favorite line from Queen of the Sylphs?

I have a bunch, but my absolute favourite is one that I can’t actually put here. It’s way too much of a spoiler. It’s the last line of chapter nine if anyone wants to open the book and look it up.

  • In your acknowledgments you site your husband, Oliver, as a source of inspiration for the Sylph series. Are there any specific characters that you based off of him?

No. I try very hard not to create characters based off of real people. I don’t want someone to go ‘hey, I don’t like that.’ Or get upset if I kill them horribly or something down the road.

  • If you could be paired with your very own sylph, what kind of sylph would it be and what would it look like (both in its natural and chosen form)?

I’d actually like to have something like a fire sylph. The kind that loves creativity.  It would likely look like a little ball of fire bobbing in the air. Or like a little girl made of flame. Of course, one that doesn’t set fire to everything…that would be annoying.

  • Battle sylphs worship females, but in Queen of the Sylphs this trust and adoration is shaken by a cunning character. Do battle sylphs then lack the ability to differentiate between “good” women and “bad” women?

Sure, just as much as anyone who gets into a bad relationship does. How many of us have found ourselves involved with someone who looked really great at first, but then turned out to be a nightmare? It’s not the fault of the person who’s looking for a relationship, but that of the person who betrays it. That’s what happens here.

  •  You mentioned in one of your blog posts that the structure of bee hives inspired the power grid in the sylph universe. Can you tell us a little bit about this?

Well, it’s a very structured society and really, not a human one at all. Every sylph has a very specific, unquestioned role, from the Queen all the way down to the lowest sylph. No one resists it – at least, no one who stays in the hive does. Bees are rather like that, and like bees, in their world, that kind of organization is vital to their survival.

  • If you were given 24 hours to spend with one of your characters, which would it be and where would your day be spent?

I would love to sit down and have a nice long talk with Leon Petrule. Perhaps over coffee.

  •  If a famous fashion designer wanted to base their next line off of your books and the “sylph look,” what do you imagine the garments would look like?

Well, there are the uniforms the battlers wear, with the deep blue jackets and pants with gold trim, and the high collars. Carefully fitted stuff that likely shows off their broad shoulders and nice butts quite well (laugh).

  •  When you’re not writing, what is it you do for fun?

I knit a lot, and draw. I also play computer games. I love World of Warcraft (and yes, I’m on one of the Roleplaying servers. Woohoo, Argent Dawn and the guild Agency) and DragonAge II. I also read voraciously. I always have my kindle with me.

  •  Words to live by:

Kindness is never a waste of time.

For more on L.J. McDonald, visit her Web site or delve into her books!

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One Response to Meet L. J. McDonald, Rising Royalty in Fantasy

  1. Kaya H says:

    That was great! I love the series I cannot wait for Queen!

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