Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Page Turner Book Tours Presents: 'Airion: Return to Zire' by J. S. Council

Title: Airion: Return To Zire
Author: J.S. Council
Series: Airion Series
Genre: young adult epic fantasy
Publisher: self-published
Formats available: paperback, ebook (HTML, Kindle, Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm doc, plain text (download), plain text (view)

Book blurb: 

Aside from his outward appearance, Kobi is a normal thirteen-year-old boy. Living with his mother, his father, and his identical twin brother, Raili, with whom he spends most days at the cove watching dolphins and whales feed, he is happy with his life just the way it is. But his fourteenth birthday is coming and Kobi has no idea how much his life is about to change.
     When Raili is pulled through a puddle in the floor of their second floor bedroom by a monster armed with poisonous, spiked tentacles, Kobi goes in after him. What he finds isn’t Raili, but a new world all together, buried beneath the ocean. With a bounty on his head that has been there since he and Raili’s birth, Kobi will have to learn to fight or die before he can be reunited with Raili again. Everything he knew to be true was a lie.
     People he loved and trusted are not who they seem. He isn’t the normal boy he thought himself to be. A transformation is coming. Raili is gone. Blood is shed. Traitors lurk, waiting for their chance. War is inevitable. The fate of the world of Airion rests in his hands. The Wiseone speaks. Failure is certain.

About the Author:

“Although I didn’t fully commit to making writing my life’s work until my sophomore year of college, I have always been a writer at heart. I was the only student in class to get excited about school papers, even asking to write a few for extra credit on occasion. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in creative writing – fiction. After graduating, I moved to Japan, where I wrote most of my debut novel, Airion: Return to Zire, and all of my second one, Airion: Light and Dawn – the first two of a four-book series. Japan was a peaceful place to just sit and write, but life there was also filled with adventure. However much I loved it there, I had to return home to do what I love most. Write.”

With thanks to J. S. Council for this interview. Read all about her new book; her likes, ambitions and sources of inspiration; and her joy of writing...

Welcome J. S. Council. Can you tell us, what is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

I wish I was lucky enough to write for a living. I am working my way up to that. But, for now, I am Tenant Services Coordinator and Conference Room Manager for a building management company. It’s not nearly as cool as it sounds. Ha ha. I solve problems all day, which isn’t the worst job one could have, by far.

What books have you written so far?

Although I have been writing for a while now, Airion: Return to Zire is my first published novel.

What works in progress do you have?

Well, book 2 of the Airion series, Light and Dawn, is in its third stage of editing now. I am currently searching for beta readers and editors to help polish it (if anyone is interested, please email me at jscouncil@yahoo.com).  By late summer I hope to have finished the cover of the book and by early fall I hope to release Airion: Light and Dawn to the world. In the meantime, I have been constructing book 3 of the series, Airion: Strange Ruins, in My Journey (my writer’s journal). I hope to release this one next year.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

From conception to birth, Return to Zire took me about 4 years to complete. I liked writing and I did it often, but I honestly had no idea how to write a novel. I floundered through it as best as I could with only an idea in mind, until I finally reached the end and thought about publishing it. It was only then that I realised I had done it all wrong! I went back through it, over and over, changing, cutting, adding, fixing, sweating, crying and praying, and then doing it all over again until I came up with something that I could be proud of. Airion: Light and Dawn I wrote in six months. J

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

My method of writing evolved from book 1 to book 2, but I like the method I used with book 2 much better. First, I brainstorm the settings, characters and plot, etc, and then I plot my story in My Journey. Once I have all of the characters more or less mapped out, I begin writing, using My Journey as a guide to keep me on track and ward off writer’s block. It works like a charm.

Why do you write?

Hmm, good question. Well, since Junior High, reading has always been a means of escape from the world. I always admired the people able to think of such good stories to tell. Then I tried it. I found that writing can be even more therapeutic than reading. There is something about creating life on a page that others will enjoy and dive into that feels so right. It’s nice to know that I can be someone’s escape route.

How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first short story when I was nine years old. It was a class assignment and the prompt was, “You are going home after school and you see a mysterious wall, and you look over it. What do you see?” Somehow my characters ended up running from a living snowman and jumping over the wall to land in another world, although they didn’t know it at the time. My teacher loved it so much that she read it out loud in front of the class. I was so embarrassed and so proud.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

I don’t really have a set time that I write, as it’s either in the morning before work, during my lunch break, or in the evenings after work. I find that I am not very good at writing at home, so I usually find a bookstore cafĂ© or coffee shop to sit in, and write for a few hours. I did most of the editing for Airion: Return to Zire in the local Borders by my house, before it closed down.

Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?

I think my favourite character from the Airion series is Black Master Rick, the master blacksmith of Zire, and best friend of the King and Queen. Rick is so calm, cool and collected, so strong and loyal, and a great dad to Kobi when his son feels like he is losing everything. I feel that I am most like Winiki, the Princess of Zire. She is a rebel and doesn’t allow anyone or anything to hold her back from what she wants to do. When I created her, I based much of her dialogue and many of her actions on what I would do in that situation.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

I would have to say that reading was my initial inspiration for taking writing seriously. When I read Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling and started following her as a writer, I started using her success as my motivation. I still aspire to be as successful as her.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

I think that a well thought out plot, good setting placement and strong, logical characters make for a great novel. In some books and movies that I’ve seen, the characters are made to do things that are irrational or unintelligent just for a rise in conflict, drama or suspense. Personally, I don’t like it when the dramatic pull of a novel feels forced. I believe a novel should be realistic, even if it is fantasy or science fiction. I believe a writer should write to the flow of the piece, and not force it to go places that it naturally doesn’t want to go. 

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?

I have never based a character’s personality on someone I knew, but I do have a habit of collecting extraordinary names that I come across. If I meet someone with an interesting name, I will ask him or her if I can use it in one of my novels. They always say yes, and I write the name down in My Journey until I am ready to use it.

If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?

For sure, I would want Zoe Saldrana to play the part of the Zirian Queen, Kai Ventra, and Brad Pitt, with the body he had in Troy, could play the Zirian King, Sai Thayne. Dwayne Johnson could play the part of Black Master Rick. Viggo Mortensen might be a good Captain Kaiyen Vorex and Sean Bean could make a good Sir Alick of Zire. William Moseley would be a great Trayn, Prince of Zire, and the up-and-rising Jaden Smith could tackle the dual parts of Kobi and Raili. Taylor Lautner would be good to play the role of Trayn’s best friend, Kloud, and Ian Somerhalder could play a truly villainous role by playing Balin, Sub-Leader of Cella. Orlando Bloom could play Bran, one of the advisers to the king. I’d also like to see either Jada Pinkett Smith or Halle Berry play the role of Heal Warrior Kimi. But, I fear the roles of the younger ladies in the piece would have to be completely new because, although I can think of some people who might play the part very well, they are, alas, too old or too young for the parts of Winiki Kaio and Salina Vorex.

She loves boots!
Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?

My favourite animals are dolphins. I love cran-apple anything. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favourite movie series, among many others. My favourite color is royal blue; Florence and the Machine is my favourite band at the moment; and Breath of Life by Florence and the Machine is now my favourite song.  The top of Mount Fuji is my favourite place to date; it’s breathtaking up there. And I love boots! ^_^

When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?

I think what I didn’t want to do is a shorter list. Ha ha! I wanted to be a doctor, an actress, a marine biologist, a palaeontologist, a crime-scene investigator, an archaeologist and zoologist. Can you tell how much I love science?

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?

I have many dreams. Yes, some of them have come true, like living and working in Japan for two and a half years, and learning the language and culture. But my dream of being successful enough as a writer, to make it my sole source of income, is still a work in progress. I’ll get there.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

Well, I would tell him Airion: Return to Zire by J. S. Council is a must read! :P Then, The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkin and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling would give him a great outlook on a few different ways we see this world.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

I love characters with quiet strength and authority. Characters that don’t have to force people into knowing that they are important, they just are, from their natural sense of duty and understanding of what needs to be done in a situation. Whitestorm, from the Warriors series by Erin Hunter, was that character for me. He wasn’t a major until the sixth novel in the series, but he had my attention from the beginning of the first one.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Easy. Harry Potter. It was the best idea of its age and very well written, hence its success. I really wish I had thought of it first. Ha ha!

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

Stephen King, Shakespeare and Bram Stoker.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

I self-published this novel. Due to my inexperience of the publishing world in general, the self-publishing experience was much more difficult that it should have been, or will be when I self-publish Light and Dawn.

How do you find the marketing experience?

Marketing is, by far, my least favourite part about self-publishing. It takes a lot of time away from writing and there is no guarantee that you efforts will bear fruit.   

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

I would suggest keeping a writer’s journal when you first start writing. It was the best advice I received from my very first creative writing instructor. Even if you realise that isn’t how you work best, I would still try it. Also, be ready for opposition. It will come from friends, family, critics, reviewers and many other places. Just remember to learn what you can from it and leave whatever is not helpful behind. When publishing and marketing your book, it is good to make friends and acquaintances who have experience of the writing world. Those connections are invaluable.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

Yes, I do, The Council Blog. I do mostly spotlights and updates on my blog. I’m pretty new to the blogging world, so I’m still getting into the groove of things. I’m thinking about taking The Council Blog into another direction; maybe do some book reviews, showcase some local writing talent and things like that. We will see how that goes. I’m excited about the change.

What other hobbies do you have?

Ha ha! I am a very proud dork. Documentaries, medical shows, and National Geographic are 80% of what I watch on TV.  I also love animals, Anime and Japanese culture. I can speak Japanese pretty well, although I don’t practise as much as I should. My mom is a singer and vocal coach, and I have been singing with her since I was very young. It is fun, but I do get a bit shy singing on stage. On top of Japanese culture and singing, drawing and dancing are passions of mine as well. I can dance all styles, including ballet, contemporary, Jazz and hip hop. Basically, I find interest in everything.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

I would like to have all four books in the Airion series finished, published and doing well. I would like to be planning, writing or in the process of publishing book one of my new series.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with all that cash?

I would buy my mother a house anywhere she wanted to live, put money away for my future children, help in the efforts to save and protect endangered species, and keep writing as much as I could.

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less… or you can do a poem – anything...
Option 2: Icy fingers crept up his spine as he realised someone or something was in the room with him...

Icy fingers crept up his spine as he realised someone or something was in the room with him. Eyes blindfolded, he could hear the hiss of its breath escape its teeth. Hands bound in front of him, he tried to turn back and run through the door he was just forced through. It was locked. He screamed for help, panic rising in his chest. The hissing breaths grew louder and were coming out now in short, rhythmic spurts. It was laughing.

Book excerpt:

“If the Cellians just wanted us dead, why didn’t they just kill Raili instead of taking him?” asked Kobi.

“That is the question, isn’t it?” said Kaiyen slowly. “If they only wanted to use his power, wouldn’t they have taken them both?”

“Not necessarily,” said Rick, fist to his chin. “Having both would probably be too dangerous to risk. They may have been afraid of being destroyed from the inside if they worked together to free themselves. Even with one son of the prophecy, they could cause considerable damage, or so they may think.”

“But Raili would never do that though,” Kobi protested. “Dad…I…I mean, Black Master Rick. You know Raili; you know he wouldn’t do anything like that.”

“It may not be his choice,” said Kimi. “The Cellians can be very persuasive.”

Kobi’s heart sank. “What would they do to him?” he asked, not wanting to hear the answer.

“Whatever they had to,” said Kaiyen. “That is why we must focus on a plan of rescue, before RailiSaio acquires the powers they seek.”

“On our fourteenth birthday,” said Kobi.

“Yes,” said Kai Ventra. “Almost all Airians change on their fourteenth birthday. Along with the natural changes they undergo, such as growing gills, they also acquire unique individual skills, allowing them to thrive more than most others in that ability. These abilities can be anything from designing exceptional clothing to controlling the elements.”

“The stronger the ability, the harder it is to control,” said Kaiyen. “No doubt Cella is depending on this.”

“It won’t work,” said Rick.

“Agreed,” nodded Kaiyen. “But there is another matter that must be discussed, if I may.” Questioning eyes turned to Kaiyen. “Lady Sara,” Kaiyen continued after a swift nod from the King. He was addressing the old woman seated beside Kimi, “have you seen anything in your Kubec about a traitor in Zire.”

Whispers filled the room. “You go too far, Captain,” said Bran.

“What are you saying,” said the advisor to Bran’s left.

“Silence,” said Sai Thayne. The talking ceased instantly. The King’s questioning eyes fell on Kaiyen then turned to Lady Sara. “Wise One?”

“This man possesses a tainted heart,” said the old woman, her eyes gazing into the diamond block. “His treachery dives deep.”

“Do you know who this man is?” asked Kaiyen.

“I see not his face nor his rank,” said Lady Sara, her brow creased and her hands resting on the Kubec. “However, he knows all that we know and some we do not.”

“It is as I thought,” said Kaiyen, “Zire’s traitor has resurfaced.”

Book links:

Where Airion: Return to Zire is available:



Author links:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting me and supporting my Book Tour. I had a blast!


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