My name is Aida Jacobs, I am a thirty-three year old, self-published, fantasy author. When I am not tirelessly toiling away on my writing, I love spending time with my loving, supportive husband, and our inquisitive daughter in Minnesota where we make our home.
When did you first discover your love for writing?
Fifteen years ago during my Senior year of highschool, I found myself with a free period that needed to be filled, so on a whim, I signed up for creative writing. I signed up for the class because I knew the teacher from other classes, and I liked her. She was very animated and passionate about what she taught, and it translated over into her lessons, so I knew that I would enjoy the class regardless. However, what I did not expect was to be bitten by the writing bug. Some people are bitten by the acting bug, but once I started writing…I simply couldn’t stop.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
Thanks to Google Docs, I can write anywhere via my phone or tablet whenever I get an idea while I’m out running errands, but my favorite place to write is at my desk at home. It’s where I have all my reference materials (among which is a map I drew of the kingdom I created). This location gives me ready access to the all-important coffee maker after all, and sometimes getting up to get a fresh cup of delicious caffeine is all I need to think of a solution to a scene that was giving me trouble.
Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
Whenever I find myself dealing with writer’s block, I write fanfiction. I know that some people roll their eyes at such a thing, but I find it to be a valuable writing tool because it gets my mind off of what has me stuck and thereby forces me to think of something else so I don’t drive myself crazy by not being able to write my way out of a problematic scene right away.
Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Tolkien will always hold a special place in my heart because my first exposure to the world of fantasy was my father reading The Hobbit aloud to me when I was a child. Every night, he would read a chapter to me, and he even did voices for the various characters. It was from that first night that I became hooked on the world in which magic and dragons ran rampant. I also enjoy Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt and have often looked to those books as a guide on how to incorporate humor into an otherwise dismal situation.
What inspired you to write your Primordyan Chronicles?
This goes back to my creative writing class in high school. In the class, the students had to turn in a new project at the end of every week. It did not matter if it was a short story or a collection of poems, so long as it (or they) were original works. At the time, I had trouble grasping the concept writing a short story (it was the concept of compressing an entire plot into only a few pages that illuded me), and poetry was something I reserved for whenever I felt upset or depressed. So, on a whim, I approached my teacher a posed the concept of writing a novel wherein I would turn in a new chapter at the end of each week. My teacher agreed to my idea very enthusiastically, and I spent that night brainstorming.
I thought it would be best to stick with what I loved, and so the story that took shape over the course of the year was a fantasy with strong Celtic influences. I had no idea at the time that I was in fact writing the very first draft (there have been many drafts since that first one) of what would eventually become Dragon Guardian: Fire which serves as the cornerstone for my Primordyan Chronicles.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
In Dragon Guardian: Fire, the reader is introduced to Marin Draconya, the half-elven princess and protagonist of my series, as she is literally thrown into a life and death situation from the very first page with no explanation at all from her father mere minutes before her entire family is slaughtered. Upon surviving by the skin of her teeth, she is later rescued by Nicodemus, a powerful wizard, who explains to her the truth of destiny to become a Dragon Guardian–a rare mage with the power to command dragons as well as the powers they wield–and restore peace to the war-torn land of Primordya. Accompanied by her loyal companions, Marin then embarks upon her quest to merge her soul with the Fire Dragon, the first of the four Elemental Dragons, so she can acquire his power and begin achieving her destiny.
In Dragon Guardian: Water, Marin now finds the powers of the Water Dragon awakening within her. However, before she can join with the second dragon, she finds herself abducted by pirates! As though that were not troublesome enough, the land of Primordya finds itself facing a new, impending war upon its shores in addition to the constant threat of Nahga–leaving Marin’s companions unable to rescue her. Alone in the middle of the ocean, Marin must find her way back home if she is to have any hope of achieving her destiny, but this seems a completely impossible task when she finds herself suddenly bereft of her powers.
Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
They are all my babies! They are each precious and special in their own ways, and I love them all for the different facets that they add to the story.
Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
Nothing is impossible!
Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?
(The following is a teaser from Dragon Guardian: Fire)
“They’ve picked up the girl’s scent.”
“She couldn’t have gone far. Lucky thing since the sun is rising higher.”
“Stay close on their tails. Remember…Queen Nahga wants the half-breed brat alive.”
Marin’s blood ran cold and she was filled with a renewed burst of adrenaline as she leapt to her feet and rushed deeper into the woods at a full sprint. Yet, for all her fear and adrenaline, Marin could not deny the fact that she was growing weary any more than she could ignore the burning of her lungs or the sharp aches in her sides. However, she dared not stop. The howling of the large beasts chasing her coupled with the mental image of them sinking their teeth into her flesh provided more than an incentive to continue on her mad race for survival.
She did not know where she was going, and at that moment she did not care. She had to live—if only to ensure that the sacrifices made by her family had not been in vain.
She had to live!
It felt as though she had been running for hours, but in reality, Marin had no idea how much time had passed since her escape. While the grey of dawn had been chased away, she was in no position to see where the sun hung in the sky. Even when she finally burst out of the woods, she paid the sun’s position no heed, choosing rather to find a place to hide. Happening to glance over her shoulder as she ran up a hill with the intention of crossing the river which awaited her on the other side, she did not see the adolescent, auburn-haired girl kneeling in her path.
Kneeling just past the top of the hill, the young woman—no doubt a resident of the nearby village of Metallum—had been in the process of gathering berries for her family’s morning meal, and she let out a surprised squeak upon seeing the sprinting girl barreling towards her. Turning her gaze back at the surprised sound, Marin saw the girl too late and collided with her head on—causing the both of them to fall to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs. Marin’s cloak fell from her shoulders as she struggled to her feet but she paid it no heed.
“What the blazes?” the girl demanded in an annoyed tone as she glared up at the wild-eyed girl before gathering up her basket of berries.
“Run!” Marin screamed breathlessly.
“From what?” the girl asked in confusion.
Marin did not take the time to answer. Rather, she sprinted down the hill until she came to the Flumen River into which she then jumped and allowed the rough, swift-flowing water to sweep her downstream.
“What was all that about?” the young girl muttered to herself while shaking her head before her gaze fell upon the fallen cloak. Deciding it best not to allow the perfectly good article of clothing to go to waste, the girl simply shrugged and picked up the cloak before tying it around her own shoulders. Then, with her freshly picked berries in hand, she turned…
Just as a large, black, seemingly incorporeal wolf attacked her.
The massive animal of living shadow leapt into the air—throwing all of its great weight against the girl’s slender frame and knocking her to the ground. The girl screamed, but to no avail. Fueled by the young woman’s terror and relishing in its potency, the beast ripped out her throat. The other shadow hounds closed in upon their dying victim and mauled her face and arms as the young woman made a last, futile effort to protect herself–the grass running red with her blood.
It was then that the dark elves burst through the tree line and sprinted up the hill towards the hounds.
“Stop! Get off!” The elf pulled a bottle from his small satchel and uncorked it–allowing a blinding flash of light to escape and make the hounds vanish without a trace.
“It’s too late,” another elf said. “She’s dead.”
“No… we’re dead when Nahga discovers this!” another snapped. “She wanted us to bring the girl back alive not as a half-mangled corpse!”
“Just bring the body and blame it on the hounds. It is their fault.”
“He’s right. It’s better than coming back empty handed.”
“I hope you’re right…for all our sakes.”
The dark elves took the girl’s mangled body, wrapped it in a large piece of cloth, and began dragging it back to where they knew Nahga would be waiting.
What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing your Primordyan Chronicles?
I would have to say that my biggest challenge was finding the courage to self-publish after being rejected by every publishing house to which I submitted my work. Naturally, every rejection I received over the years made me question my writing skills because no matter how much I tweaked and revised Dragon Guardian: Fire after every rejection in attempts to make it better, publishing houses still turned me away. But then, after a nearly fatal medical procedure, I decided not to waste another moment waiting for someone else to decide my work was worth publishing. Life is short, so I took matters into my own hands, and now my books are available on Amazon, Kindle, as well as bn.com. It still blows my mind to go to either place and find my work there for all to see!
My biggest achievement would have to be developing a small clutch of fans. I would have been happy with just one person who enjoyed my stories and my characters, but…as it turns out, there’s more than one. I’m not pretending to have a legion, not by any means, but the limited number doesn’t make them any less important to me. I treasure and appreciate every, single one of them, and I can only hope that they will continue to enjoy my writing.
What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing your Primordyan Chronicles?
I have learned that I am deeply attached to all my characters because they have been part of my life for so long. This was never made clearer to me than while I was writing Dragon Guardian: Water and I killed off one of my characters. The death was necessary to the plot, but that did not make me grieve the loss any less.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
If you truly believe that you have a story that is worth telling, then do not give up! Even if you have to go the self-publishing route because publishing houses don’t believe your story is worth their time, do not give up. If you truly believe that your story is good, then don’t let anyone tell you “no”.
Anything else you would like to say?
While it’s good to have a basic idea for your characters, never set all of their details in stone. While they exist only on paper, characters still have life. They must be allowed to grow and evolve organically as their story progresses or else they, as well as the story, fall flat.
And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I have two more books planned for what will be the core of my series. I am currently writing Dragon Guardian: Air, and the one to follow will be Dragon Guardian: Earth. After these two books, I plan on writing a prequel as well as a few “sequels” which will focus on characters that served secondary roles or who were simply referenced to in the four, core books. I’m really looking forward to expanding upon the world I created and further fleshing out characters that have either only been referenced to in passing or have yet to have their true moment in the spotlight.