Thursday 3 March 2016

Q & A with A.J. Norfield

Stone War Chronicles #1
by A.J. Norfield 

Far away from home, under the command of his brother, Raylan and his squad must retrieve an ancient relic stolen from their kingdom’s trading partner—the Tiankong Empire. 

Traveling deep into unknown enemy territory to complete their mission, Raylan learns that the ancient relic holds unexpected life; a creature buried in legends, one not seen in their world for more than two hundred years. 

With their enemies closing in, Raylan and his friends search, desperately, for a safe way home. Danger lurks around every corner: Warriors larger than any man, predators stalking them through the night and soldiers determined to hunt them down. Leaving them all little choice, except to keep moving as they strategically plot—and skillfully fight—their way back to those awaiting their return. 

ebook, Kindle Version, 386 pages
Published October 30th 2015 by LowSea Publishing

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap:  June 26, 2016

About the Author
A.J. Norfield lives with his loving family on land but below sea level. He tries not to worry too much about climate change and the melting of the polar ice caps. His wife and two rascals of children keep him engaged and grounded in life while he pursues goals of publishing a story that has been stuck in his head for years.

As a longtime forest and mountain enthusiast, he often wonders about his flat surroundings and how to escape them. In his free time, if available at all, he enjoys a wide variety of gaming, reading/writing, drawing and socializing. His interest in (dragon-fantasy) novels has followed him throughout his life ever since he was young enough to read. It was this interest—with a number of broken nights thanks to his daughter’s sleeping schedule—that eventually lead to his current undertaking to write his own dragon-fantasy series ‘The Stone War Chronicles’ and put it out into the world.

Inspired by established names like Anne McCaffrey, Terry Goodkind and Naomi Novik—to name only a few of many—he is ready to show the world what he has to offer.


Q & A with A.J. Norfield

1. Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Raylan find himself in a situation, he doesn’t necessarily wants to be in. Drafted into the kingdom’s army, he was weeks away from returning to his beloved seas…until he was sent off under the command of his brother; to retrieve a stolen relic from their kingdom’s trading partner—the Tiankong Empire.

He’s a curious person, with a positive look on life. He enjoys the world around him, but values his freedom. He would rather not have the responsibility of anything if he can avoid it. But that promptly changes, when he discovers what the relic truly is and all of a sudden his priorities in life change drastically.

The bond with his brother, Gavin, was strong when they were young. But, at the time, Raylan always felt he stood in the shadow of his more responsible brother. Over the years, since Raylan left his home to sail the seas, the bond deteriorated, but to him it seems even now that Gavin’s shadow still falls over him to keep him down.

The rest of the cast is build up from different backgrounds. A strong female presence is there in the form of Xi’Lao, ambassador of the Tiankong Empire, although she might not entirely be what she seems. The archer duo, who both grew up in the northern forests, an escaped slave that has not seen his home for almost seven years. There is plenty of them to like (and some to dislike!). To meet them all, I would invite everyone to read the book and see for yourself.

2. Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
With the risk of falling for the years old self-publishing mistake: I designed my own cover. I have dragon icons in mind for each of the five books that I am writing in the series. Each book introduces a new “main” character and dragon. I found it a great challenge to see if I was able to come up with something interesting. I recently did a revamp of the original cover and with the help/feedback of the Goodreads community (awesome people) I ended up with a cover that I’m very happy with.

I do think I will eventually let the covers be redone, perhaps in celebration of the third book coming out, but that will not happen for a while. In the meantime, I hope that people find the cover intriguing enough to check out the book and enjoy the story that I have written for them.

3. Describe your ideal writing spot.
At home I really only have one writing spot. The attic, behind the computer. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. Sounds horrible, right? But, it’s a good spot, with two kids running around the house and a full time job, it’s a place to get some peace and quiet, even if there’s not a lot of time to spend on writing. The challenge is to get into the zone, to hit that spot where your fingers will flow and the text comes out without (much) effort, before my face hits the keyboard because I fall asleep.

Although, now that I think about it there is one other spot, where I do love to write: The exit row in an airplane. Enough legroom to open my laptop, earplugs and a seven hour flight, it really does wonders for my story progress. 

4. What is the best advice you have been given?
On the point of writing, the internet is full of good advice. Character development, avoiding writing pitfalls, you name it.

In life I have been lucky to have met many people that cared about me, each providing their own kind of wisdom to me. I have learned to listen to my wife on parental advice, she is such a great mother. I have learned to listen to my kids, who see the world through such different eyes still.

Still if I would have to pick, I would say ‘respect’. Respect yourself and respect others. If you do not wish something to happen to you, do not do it to someone else. We are all very different, which is a good thing or else the world would be a very boring place.

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have had ranges of ideas about what I would like to be. I loved to draw, but was not very good at it. Professional gamer, or programmer, digital artist. At one point I even wanted to be a pastry-chef. As I grew older, I found biology one of my main interest. Animal behavior and large physiology kept me interested through a study of wildlife management. I worked as a falconer in a zoo for some time—a period I hold very dear in my life. The interaction with those animals now founded the base of how I perceive the bond between dragon and humans in my books.

For years I had the idea in my head to eventually write a book, but I never knew the story. And I guess that wish—to tell a story—has been in me from the start, as I recently found old comic drawings that I did when I was much younger. I kept it to show my kids later, when they will ask the same question: “Dad, when did you want to become a writer?”

So now, with my non-profit job in conservation, my knowledge on the animal kingdom and the story that came to me years ago, I spend my time writing, and discovering about writing, and publishing. It’s like a whole new job next to my normal job, and can sometimes be quite a lot to take on. Still, I feel good about the creation of the first book and I look forward to completing the other four in the series that I have in mind…now if I only could find the time!

6. Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Paperbacks for sure. I actually do not own an e-reader myself. I have been thinking about it for years, but the smell of paper is just too charming for me to move away from it. Hardcovers are beautiful, but paperbacks are travel books. I always have one with me on my trips abroad, mostly Discworlds novels, although I am sad to say, I only have one left in the series to read now…

7. If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Indestructible. It would mean I have a great skill to use in protecting and saving others from danger. Although I would love to fly as well, or have laser eyes…and adamantium claws! Errr, do I really have to choose? ^_^ 

8. What book are you reading now?
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik. I love the Temeraire series, such great bland of history and my favorite fantasy genre, dragons. I have to admit, though, that I have not picked it up in quite some time…as I feel I need to stay away from other dragon fantasy novels, in order to keep my own storyline as pure as possible. The fact of which annoys me to some extent, because I am curious to see how the story plays out for Temeraire and Laurence.


  1. I would think writing in the attic and walking through the woods would let your imagination run wild. LOL I like the cover art. Do you have the final say on the finished product?
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. I don't fully understand your question about the final product, but I'm glad you like it. The cover from start to finish is my work and I feel great about how it turned out.

      - A.J.