Please welcome Monica Zwikstra to The Qwillery as part of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 5 Interviews. Monica has submitted her novel, Alban's Choice, to SPFBO 5.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?
Monica: It was probably something to do with being able to travel. I was fascinated as a child by the idea of flying rugs, or brooms, or beds. I wrote dozens of stories throughout my school years. It was not until I was retired that I decided to do the thing I enjoyed as something more than a hobby.
TQ: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?
Monica: I would say a plantser, or a hybrid if you prefer. I plan the broad outlines but the rest is simply writing.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Monica: Time. I tend to over commit to community activities. Carving out time for myself and my writing can be challenging at times.
TQ: Describe your Alban's Choice using only 5 words.
Monica: Classic, Epic, Adventure, Mature, Bloody. (I'd have to qualify that last one with in several parts of the book it is quite bloody)
TQ: What inspired you to write Alban's Choice?
Monica: I wanted to write something that reminded me of why I love to read.
TQ: Please tell us about the cover for Alban's Choice. Does it depict a scene from the novel?
Monica: Yes. It does depict a scene from the book. The cover was created by Amy Queau of Qdesign
TQ: In Alban's Choice who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Monica: Both Alban and her sister were the easiest. Because i could relate to them both. They are two sides of the same coin. As for the hardest ... The father James. I suspect it was because saw him from the girls perspective throughout most of the book.
TQ: Does Alban's Choice touch on any social issues?
1 The girls are deliberately capable, strong, and independent young women.
2 There are a few conversations, scenes, that deal with some, social issue topics.
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Alban's Choice.
“Once the battle begins, the plans of mice and men grow wings and fly away. Instinct and training will keep one alive to fight another day.”
"What would have happened if, when I was in search for the cure, I chose to go west first instead of east? Would I have found the staff or would Darrius be dead and the staff gone? I tell you, Rayhan, we make decisions every day in our lives that change our futures."
TQ: What's next?
Monica: I'm working on a few more short stories and of course my next novel is about halfway done. It is about Twenty-year-old Jen who is at the heart of two prophecies.When the magicians of Skalea attack her land, a realm devoid of magic, and slaughter its leaders, Jen must find a way to save her family and her people from extinction.
She could fight the Skaleans’ magic with nothing but the strength of her loyal people, or she could save the dragons, secure the magic that she needs, and accept the possibility of love.
The futures of three lands depend on her.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Monica: Thank you for having me.
Trade Paperback and eBook, 270 pages
When their brothers die, Alban and her sister, Rayhan, must take up the roles of heir and wizard. While facing their own personal struggles, they must save their family, their world, and magic.
Magic has been banned in the north, the same magic that holds back the demonic myst that would devour their world.
Wizards are dying.
AND Alban’s and Rayhan’s new husbands have been poisoned.
Alban risks her life on an untried path to become a wizard so she can search for the cure, while Rayhan leads her armies into bloody battle.
With old magic newly found, battles fought, and difficult choices made along their journeys, they discover their strengths and talents.