A Conversation with A.J. Norfield…

Welcome back, friends! Time to meet another author. A.J. Norfield is a fantasy writer and nature enthusiast–who also has some great advice on how to fight a predator with your bare hands. You can check out his debut novel, Windcatcher, currently running as a promotion on Amazon until 27 May. Go check it out!
Q (Infamous Scribbler): On a scale of climbing out of bed to climbing Mount Everest, how much of a challenge do you find it to be a writer–and why?
A (A.J. Norfield): That depends on so many aspects in my life! Sometimes I feel like I can leap the tallest buildings when I’m writing my story, other times the smallest anthill seems like an unconquerable mountain. I write for fun, but there is a lot of discipline involved as well. That discipline helps you continue to write even on those difficult days.
How I see it, writing is usually not the obstacle, it’s normal life around it. If I sleep well, I tend to find it easier to write, are the days busy, then my head will hit the keyboard snoozing before I can type my third sentence.
So, let them come those mountains and they can witness themselves if I clear them in one jump, or that I just thank them for the magnificent view and fall asleep at their feet.
Q: What is the worst piece of writing advice you ever received?
A: Writing advice? What’s that? I think I’m lucky to be well informed by the many sources on the internet and the wonderful communities on the various platforms. This road to authorship has been my own adventure, a search to what works well for me. Thankfully I was able to stay away from most of the indie author pitfalls and was able to put my investment of time and money where there’s a real return of value.
I expect there’s still much to learn as well, but fortunately no one has yet come forward to give me bad advice, at this point.
Q: Which emotion do you find hardest to write, and why?
A: Oh, that is a difficult one. Love is complicated, a lot more than happy or angry. Sadness can be difficult to describe in all its depths. The challenge I find is in the complexity of all those emotions being present in your characters. Can you make them laugh, when they’re grieving? Love, when they’re angry? That internal turmoil that everyone feels inside, which is already so hard to express in our own daily lives, let alone to put it in (elegant) words on paper. Still…challenge accepted!
Q: What is a genre you have never written, but think that someday you might possibly attempt?
A: I like toying with the idea to go full science-fiction after my initial series is done. Dragons in space anyone?! (IS Note: Why yes, please!!) I have some fun ideas. But with 5 books planned out to be written in the Stone War Chronicles, it will be quite some time before I can focus on anything else.
Besides that I would find it extremely interesting to write a well-crafted children’s book.
Q: What was the most challenging part of your latest work to write, and how did you overcome it?
A: My second book introduces a second main character. A strong female character, who will travel her own road during the events of the war. However at the same time, Raylan and Galirras–their journey continues as well. Since I’m a writer that writes beginning to end (I do not write separate scenes that I can switch around…at least not often), I found it difficult to keep switching between the two main storylines. Especially as one story unfolded in my mind at a quicker pace, than the other. In the end I decided to focus on one storyline first, complete that and then go back to continue the other.
As a result the story of the female character is now as good as done (first draft), which means I can soon get back to Raylan and Galirras to see how they can overcome their (new presented) obstacles.
Q: What animal could you fight with your bare hands–and win?
A: A dragon of course! Just kidding, I would never slay such a marvelous creature. As I work in the field of zoos, aquaria and conservation, I’m well aware of the danger animals can pose to us humans. Animals, especially predators, do not kid around. Anyone that can fight off a wolf, bear or shark with his/hers bare hands and life to tell the tale is extremely lucky in my opinion. The trouble is in the unpredictability; sometimes it best to stand your ground, other times you only survive by fighting back or running the other way as fast as you can. Shout at a bear, or play dead, stomp a shark on its nose and poke him in the eye, go berserk and strangle a wolf or a mountain lion.
One thing is for certain, if my kids would be in danger, I don’t care how big the threat is, that threat is going down…or I’ll die trying.
Q: What are you currently reading?
A: I’m reading Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire, #8) at the moment. This book is taking quite some time. Although I love the Temeraire series (it is one of my inspirations, together with the Dragonriders of Pern (IS Note: I love that series!), I feel less connected with this book in the series in comparison to the previous books. On top of that, I stayed away from dragon books (my favorite, duh) as much as possible, as I didn’t want to pollute my own storyline.
So…I’m ashamed to say Blood of Tyrants has been lingering around the house for more than a year now, but lately I’ve been making an effort to get toward the end and be done with it. And although I love reading, my writing has often taken priority during the last few years. If I wouldn’t it would be decades before I’m able to finish the books in my own series.
Q: Your bio states that you have loved dragon-fantasy stories all your life. What is it about this genre that captivates you?
A: As an admirer of nature (and animals in particular), the idea to have such a powerful, often intelligent creature next to you is just thrilling. Imagine your hand sliding along the warm scaled skin, feeling the muscles run below it. The lines of the tail, neck and horns. Magnificent wings that can block out the sun and if you’re lucky, to be invited up into the air. Be one among the elements, the rush of blood and adrenaline as together you dive-bomb down to ocean waters, to pull up at the last moment and feel your stomach go all the way to your toes. That kind of power and freedom is very alluring.
During my years as a falconer, I was able to build up a bond with one of the real world’s most magnificent creatures. And, I think my admiration of dragons and birds of prey might very well be intertwined, as I often use my experience with the birds as inspiration for the human-dragon bond in my books.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: Book II in the Stone War Chronicles series. ‘Wavebreaker’ will continue where ‘Windcatcher’ left off. It seems to have become quite the project because of the two storylines and I’ve been debating with myself if I should split book II in two parts. If I don’t it will be quite a lot of pages. As I mentioned, ‘Wavebreaker’ will introduce a new female character, who will soon find out that the world is a lot bigger than she ever expected and that not all places will have the watergoddess to watch over them…
‘Wavebreaker’ is planned to be released in 2016, if all things go well.
Q: Anything to add?
A: Windcatcher will run its first ever discount promotion on Amazon from the 20th of May till the 27th of May. So be sure to grab your copy if you’re looking for an action-packed dragon adventure.
~ ~ ~

A.J. Norfield

Author Bio
A.J. Norfield lives with his loving family on land but below sea level. He tries not to worry too much about climate change and the melting of the polar ice caps. His wife and two rascals of children keep him engaged and grounded in life while he pursues goals of publishing a story that has been stuck in his head for years.
As a longtime forest and mountain enthusiast, he often wonders about his flat surroundings and how to escape them. In his free time, if available at all, he enjoys a wide variety of gaming, reading/writing, drawing and socializing. His interest in (dragon-fantasy) novels has followed him throughout his life ever since he was young enough to read. It was this interest—with a number of broken nights thanks to his daughter’s sleeping schedule—that eventually lead to his current undertaking to write his own dragon-fantasy series ‘The Stone War Chronicles’ and put it out into the world.
Inspired by established names like Anne McCaffrey, Terry Goodkind and Naomi Novik—to name only a few of many—he is ready to show the world what he has to offer.
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