Literary alchemy just might be my new favorite term to describe the art of storytelling. Billie-Jo Williams, the author of the Destiny of Dragons Series, coined the phrase, and I think it'll stick. Her books are a fantasy series that focus on the internal turmoil and adventure of a mythical empire called Ay. She's penned four books so far, all of them available on Amazon and Smashwords.
According to your website, you are a literary alchemist. Please introduce yourself to everyone!
Born Shrewsbury, England, died who knows where, I’m the Dragon-riding, Faerie-liberating, Mermaid-manipulating, Vampyre-slaying, Werewolf-taming mistress of the Destiny of Dragons series. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write and can’t imagine a time when I won’t. I write for the experience and the pleasure, for it is my passion, my religion, my parent, my councillor: my identity. I write because I don’t know how not to! I’ve been an obsessive scribbler for over 20 years, with approximately sixty books impatiently waiting to be bought to life. I only self-published the first in my nine book Destiny of Dragons series last May, so I’m still learning, more every day!
You've written four books so far, correct? Can you briefly summarize the plot of the series?
The Destiny of Dragons is an epic fantasy series set in the mythical Empire of Ay. Initially conceived as a trilogy, it became so out-of-hand, it had to be split into a nine headed monster with a triple story arc (and a sabre. The sabre was particularly useful.)
The first three Destiny of Dragons books (first story arc) concern Valentin “Len” Vallely and Anastasis “Anna” Vallely, heirs to the Imperial Throne, which has ruled Ay for several centuries, at least until it’s decimated by a mysterious supernatural force no one understands or takes credit for. Len and Anna are both self-absorbed, spoilt brats, completely unworthy of adopting the responsibilities of an empire, however, they also happen to the charges of the highly skilled Commander Kai Canarbis, who believes in them unequivocally. Obsessed with restoring the Empire, with his two charges in power, Kai fights for them no matter the enormous obstacles, from allies and enemies alike.
The first three Destiny of Dragons books highlight the malady of poor leadership, stresses the need for a rational response during a struggle for survival, as well as what qualifies a leader to be worthy. However, with "A hell of a cast of characters, embedded in sharp imagery with myriad details that make their environments feel real," as one reviewer put it, the fight for the Imperial Throne is only a backdrop for a drama about human needs, identities and relationships.
The second story arc is a whole new adventure! It was launched July 2013, with one book released and the second due out 31st December 2013. I won’t give too much away about them!
In a rich tapestry of recurrence, renewal and the notion of never-ending time, where every end is another beginning, the Destiny of Dragons’ central theme is regret. What if we could do things differently? Also, just as integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. The series builds to a climatic duel, dynamically exploring the will to live, survival against the odds, triumph even in defeat and how one soul can change the world.
Angels, Arachnids, Faerie, Gargoyles, Giants, Gypsies, Spirits, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and more, there isn’t much missing from the series. Whether you’re interested in the human behaviour aspect or read merely for the sake of entertainment, suspense, mystery or magic, hopefully the books won’t disappoint. So far, four have been released upon the world from the nine book series, on Amazon, Smashwords and its many affiliates. All nine books stand completed and are to be unleashed at regular intervals over the next two years, so help us gods!
Destiny of Dragons. Are there really dragons in your books? Please say yes.
Yes! I would claim the series title actually relates to some two-legged characters, but the Cold Chaos Dragon, Gabbubunto the Earth Tyrant and Dangaoih, Lord of Light and Darkness, would disagree, and bite my head off if I’m not careful. They’re perfectly sentient and shape the course of Ay’s destiny throughout the series.
How did you come to write this series?
It forced me at blade point. No one else had written the story I wanted to read and my characters yearned to live and breathe, so I was forced to bring them to life. Actually, it was dreadful stress that inspired the series. Writing is cheaper than therapy, after all. If you read about my main character Kai Canarbis’ dreadful experiences, you essentially experience the pain I endured whilst working full time, attempting to fulfil four different roles, in an office that demanded too much from someone too young, whilst writing even longer hours in addition. I’ve always penned for pleasure, but The Destiny of Dragons: Book of Wrath was inspired by stress and then became an outlet for that same stress. Hopefully, readers can sympathise and even empathise with Kai’s issues.
How long does it typically take you to pen each book in the series?
I’ve completed books of 100,000 words plus in about three months, in the past, but The Destiny of Dragons is a bit of a diva and demands five months at least. And it doesn’t end there, as the series wasn’t published until I completed the last book, so I’m always polishing them up. They also feed into one another, so they’re constantly creating work for me!
WHY did you become a writer?
WHY isn’t everyone a writer? What do people who don’t write do!? They’re awesome readers, I suppose! I embarked upon this insatiable quest whilst living in a house without electricity, as it was easier to write than read in poor light. Prior to that, I was an avid action and fantasy reader, which was a great foundation for my own adventures.
What's your writing method? How do you get your ideas from your head and onto a manuscript?
Until I can afford a real many headed Hydra to help, I scribble on paper and then transfer to laptop (without internet access), where various files separate the many additions to numerous books! There’s rarely a moment when I’m not writing. I’ve been known to scribble on skin in the absence of paper (the horror!) From cartoons to opera, I can derive inspiration from anything and everything.
Favorite writing snack?
A never ending injection of tea is essential, but it’s a daily battle betwixt writing and taking a break, because the kitchen is on another floor to where I write. I need a Bat-pole! Food-wise, the Kit-Kat race has been sentenced to death and must be erased. Send them all to me for execution!
Any parting advice for aspiring authors?
What do I know? I’ve only just embarked upon this venture! I suppose write, write and write some more. Be confident in promotion and, be true to who you are and what your books stand for. Most importantly, be courteous with everyone you encounter, fellow writers and readers alike, for they are essential to success. Lastly, adopt advice that works for you. There are plenty of amazing people with astonishing knowledge and experience, however, no one possesses all the answers. We writers just make it all up, you know!
It doesn’t demand a Blood-Pact to get in touch with Billie-Jo Williams. Please use a Communication Crystal or ask a Messenger Fox. Alternatively (and probably a little more successfully) try these links:
Twitter: @acorok (author) and @destinyofdragon (book)
She can also be found meandering on Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr