Interview with Jacqueline Towell and Sharon Legge Pen, authors of Greek mythology inspired The Convergence Series
The Convergence Series: Deliverance presents itself as a tale of self discovery and survival, revolving around the themes of identity, choice, courage, family, love, and war. The young adult novel series combine elements of romance, fantasy, science fiction, magic, and adventure. The title of the series refers to an event, known as the “Convergence,” which is a time of apocalyptic proportions where two opposing planetary systems would converge into one.
The main character of Deliverance is Athena, who wakes to find herself released from Chaos, a prison realm where she has been trapped for the last thirty years. She is saved from that prison by Hephaestus, who also helps her acclimate into Olympian society. Gradually, a love develops between them. Meanwhile, the events surrounding the looming “convergence” is bringing Olympus and Atlantis on the brink of war. Athena finds out she has a gift of prophecy, which enables her to see visions of a chaotic future. She must decide between doing what is right for her kingdom or following the orders of her king —— and she must choose right.
What was the inspiration for this book?
When we started discussing ideas for our first book, we knew that we wanted three storylines that had elements of science fiction, suspense, action, mystery, love, humor and little chaos. We wanted the story to have elements of magic, advanced science and technology, and for the characters to have extraordinarily long life expectancy and unique physical powers. I knew that I didn’t want to write about anything that has already been done to the point of exhaustion, and at the time no one was doing anything with Greek Mythology, and never from their point of view. Always having a passion for this subject we chose them, bearing in mind that many of the historical accounts just didn’t seem to set right with us. So, we tried to see things from their point of view, and things just grew from there. We did keep in mind that our story was going to be different from any of the other stories that have been written or movies made about this genre.
How long did it take you to write?
Let’s just say it took a few years because of all of the research and different genre’s we gleaned inspiration from, then we wrote the book. Then as we realized we made War and Peace look like a comic book and we couldn’t publish that big of a book we started breaking it up into a series which took another year. However, we had already laid a lot of the ground work in the years prior to this. We had started developing the characters, locations, and plot several years prior. When we finally decided to start writing this book, it moved very quickly.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I do set a plot prior to my free-writing stage, but my cowriter tends to just flow with an idea. I think about where I want the book to go, and what challenges or plot twists I want to incorporate into the storyline prior to starting my free-writing process. However, once I start the free—writing process, I will go with an idea to see where it takes me. Some of these ideas work better than I originally planned the scene to go, those are the scenes that I keep in the book, however, some are not good and they get scrapped. I like to think of my free-writing process like cooking spaghetti, you pull out a piece, throw it against the wall and see what sticks.
What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
Science-fiction and fantasy is a genre that I love. l have loved watching these types of movies and reading these types of books since I was a kid. I love thinking about extraordinary possibilities. I have also, always been drawn to and had an interest in ancient history, ancient civilization, in pagan cultures, and of course the Greek gods. l think what is special about this particular genre is that there is so much literature out there, such as ancient tablets, and ancient scrolls, so there is a lot of material to work with.
Who do you think would enjoy this book?
I think there is a wide range of people that would enjoy reading this book from young to old, and anyone that enjoys reading science—fiction, suspense, and romance.
What books have influenced your life the most?
As a child I loved the goosebumps series, they were fun, scary and filled with magic and science fiction. This was the first book that influenced me to want to be a writer. However, it was Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series (which is my favorite book series) that made me want to seriously consider becoming an author. I wanted to create a work of art the way she did, she still inspires me to be better in my writing skills.
What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
Computer. I type fast and when I am free-writing, my best inspiration comes when I am in front of the computer.
What do you find is the easiest and hardest thing about writing?
For me the easiest thing about writing is coming up with the storyline, free—writing and developing the characters in the book. I have a pretty good process down for developing this and by the time it comes for me to start developing the scenes, this is probably the easiest part for me. The hardest thing about writing is grammar. I still have a hard time with it to this day. When I am free-writing, which is my initial stage of writing, I don’t worry about grammar, spelling, anything really. It is all about getting my thoughts written out. However, going back through that and turning it into a work of art, and catching all the imperfections can be hard. This is where my co-author Sharon excels. She is able to catch any mistakes and really improve on scenes that l start. But, even with a new set of eyes, things can still get missed.
What are some other reads you recommend right now?
One of my favorite books that I read probably once every two years is Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series. She is my mother’s favorite author and one day she handed me a book and I was hooked, I love her writing style and kind of feel through reading her novels, she has taught me how to write and develop a story line. I love her creativity and the characters she develops in each of her books. That’s the standard I set for myself now.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I was in the third grade and I decided I wanted to be a writer. 50, l started working to develop a story called “There is something in the woods”. I still remember the story plot to this day, even though I never actually finished the book. We did not own a home computer at this time, so I spent all my time writing before school and when my teacher allowed free time. I had to save my work on a floppy disk and eventually the floppy disk was destroyed and my work was lost. My mother, who also serves as my co-author, raised my sister and l on stories about her childhood and stories passed down from our ancestors. We could lay in bed for hours listening to her tell stories before bed. I think this created a love of storytelling at a very young age.
What inspires you to write?
Writing for me, is my creative outlet. I love to create storylines and thinking about possibilities, it plays like a movie in my head and it feels good to write this down and put it into a story.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
My style of writing has improved greatly, my grammar and my ability to draw people into a scene and hold their interest.
What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?
The writing skill level is a big part of the book in my opinion. When I read a book, I want it to intrigue me (meaning not the same old story line), I want the dialog to be mature and easy to follow, the writing to capture my interest and make me want to keep reading, and challenge me (meaning l like having to look up a word from time to time that I may not know). I think it is important to have a strong storyline and well defined characters, because readers fall in love with the characters and that is what will keep them wanting to read the book even if the writing skill level may be weak.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t get discourage if your writing isn’t going as planned. Don’t let anyone come between you and your dream of becoming a writer. Even if it takes ten years to complete, don’t give up. If you can, get feedback on the project prior to publishing. Don’t be afraid to scrap what you have an start over, if that is what is needed to improve your story, do it.
The Convergence Series: Deliverance is available via Amazon.
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