On a cold winter night, wind howling into the desert sky, one ordinary hospital gave witness to a historic event. JJ Sherwood was born at 2:30 a.m. on December 31st, just barely managing to squeeze in to supplant New Year’s Eve. JJ has always had a flair for the dramatics.
Sherwood began writing in the womb after a harrowing incident in which Mother Sherwood swallowed a pen—and thus, destiny was born. JJ’s first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain. Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity.
Much of JJ’s childhood was spent tearing through the woods, playing out fantasy worlds, and tying Barbie to the roof so that the Power Rangers might rescue her. Middle and high school carried on this roleplaying, while college encompassed creating and refining over 250 characters in the world of Aersadore.
After escaping college, finally armed with the tools of the trade and a lifetime of development, JJ set to writing what would become the Steps of Power series: it was then that Eraydon slew his first dragon, Jikun battled the warlord Saebellus, and Taranus rebelled against his brother’s throne.
When not orchestrating the lives and deaths of the people of Aersadore, JJ’s hobbies include drawing, video gaming, wearing a bathrobe, and eating too many baked potatoes. JJ Sherwood lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with one loving and extremely patient spouse, a bearded dragon, a monk parakeet, and four cats who look far too similar.
Welcome to BloggerNews, J.J.! Do you have another job besides writing?
I do actually. I’m a maid. Just two days a week for a few hours, but it helps pay the writer bills! (And as crazy as it sounds, I love cleaning! Love it.)
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
As a child I was a ridiculously avid reader. I would go to the library and come back with 14 books. Then I’d read all day, every day. I very frequently would read a book a day and on weekends, sometimes two. I loved horror back then, plus a little sci-fi, urban fantasy, romantic fantasy, historical fiction, fiction, and the classics.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
Kings or Pawns is the first novel in the Steps of Power series. It was difficult to decide where to begin with such a rich and historical world, but I chose this point in time because I felt that it allowed readers the best impression of the world, the relationship between the races and politics, and it put them smack dab in the middle of some very exciting events and fantastic characters.
Adult readers—and not just adult fantasy readers. Anyone who enjoys intrigue, suspense, action, and strong characters is likely to enjoy the series. I don’t read a lot of fantasy nowadays and I tested the series, actually, through mostly non-fantasy readers. They loved it. I may write in the genre of fantasy, but it doesn’t lean on the fantasy aspect for enjoyment.
What types of scenes give you the most trouble to write?
Romance. I hate romance. I do. Doesn’t matter who is writing it or how, I hate it. Hahaha. So when I have to write romance myself, I am also occasionally smacking my head on my desk to beat back the agony. Fortunately I have an editor who excels in romance so she makes it look like I’m a pro.
Do you have any unusual writing quirks?
Well, I wear a bathrobe all the time—even in the summer—and I have a folding chair with a box on it for a cat to sit with me. I write better with both.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
I can’t imagine there is a writer who has not suffered from writer’s block. To find one of them must be like finding a unicorn. I suffer from writer’s block rarely, but when I do, I find it’s best to just plow on—even when the writing is horrendous. The dam over my creativity eventually breaks if I pound on it enough.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Yes, actually, and it’s a pretty awesome website: www.StepsofPower.com. We are constantly growing it to help readers fall even further into the rich world of Aersadore. Right now we’re working on the interactive map, drawn by Kirk Quilaquil, the primary artist for The Kings series. We plan to have over 100 interactive places on the map with tidbits of non-spoilery information that helps enrich the series! We also intend to have a majority of the characters drawn with bios added, summaries for the series, downloads of the first 100 pages, events we are attending in the future (like Wizard World in Chicago and Gen Con in Indianapolis), a news blog AND a fun blog, etc…! I am also very active with my followers on Twitter!
Title: Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, The Kings: Book I)
Author: J.J. Sherwood
Publisher: Silver Helm
Purchase at Amazon
About the Book:
Kings or Pawns is the first novel in the Steps of Power series. It takes place after two very significant events in the world—the continental division between the human and elven races after the betrayal and death of Aersadore’s hero, Eraydon, and the recent Royal Schism that has left the elven nation’s politics even more corrupted than was prior. The new elven king, Hairem, is determined to overcome the council’s corruption and restore the elven lands, but he has far more to contend with than just the politics within the capital: an assassin has begun killing those loyal to him, a rebelling warlord threatens the city from without, and an unknown beast devastates the king’s forces at every turn. There are multiple points of view—the youthful and naïve king Hairem; the mute and spunky servant girl, Alvena; the mysterious and arrogant foreigner, Sellemar; and the cynical, dry-humored General Jikun.