Today’s author spotlight is on the lovely Agnes Jankiewicz. Self-professed Sci Fi-Fantasy geek, she is a woman after my own heart. What’s not to love? Without further ado, here’s….Agnes!
- Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a recent graduate of the Contemporary Media Production program at Durham College. I currently work as a graphic designer, social media lead and SEO for a group of construction companies. I’m a sci-fi/fantasy geek and metal head at heart. A dreamer, code tinkerer and animal lover.
- How did you get started on your writing journey?
I cannot really pinpoint a time for when I started my writing journey. I’ve always loved telling stories, be it through drawings or verbally, I was just not very good at the writing part until I was in late elementary. I was always immersed in my own world, daydreaming if you will, so for me it’s just been a part of who I’ve been since the beginning.
- Are there any poets or writers who influence you? How so?
Probably my biggest influences would be J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, R.A. Salvatore and J.K. Rowling. Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling’s world building were always a big influence on how I approach my own world building and how to ask the tough questions to get all of the details right. Salvatore’s command of action scenes has always blown me away and is something I try to aspire to when writing my own.
Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds is about a couple of kids from Toronto. They find out that they’ve inherited an underwater base, which is guarding a castle with portals to other worlds. They then learn that there is a warlord from space that is after the castle. The kids have to gather an army of warriors from other worlds in order to aid them in protecting it from falling into his hands.
- How is the title significant?
When I was coming up with the title I was trying to thing of something that would be easy to search for on Google as well as Amazon. I also wanted something that would sound different. Using the names of the two places where most of the action took place seemed to fit both of those requirements so I stuck with it.
- Where did inspiration for this come from?
Much of it was based on make-believe stories I would tell my friends in elementary school. As we got older we turned it into a tabletop sort of game like Dungeons and Dragons.
- Tell us a little bit about the characters? What are they like and how did you come up with them?
My two protagonists Annetta Severio and Jason Kinsman came about in different ways. Annetta Severio was created as a response for the need for a tomboy protagonist that would not fall head over heels for the first boy she would see. I always found characters like that not very relatable. Annetta is headstrong and has a very sacred sense of standing up for those who cannot to so for themselves.
Her best friend Jason Kinsman I brought into the mix to show that a boy and a girl can have a strong platonic friendship without any sexual tension between the two. He likes to joke about a lot of the situations they find themselves in but he is also very self-aware of the things going on around them.
- Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you
I will say my target readership is the young adult audience. This is not to say of course that adults of the older variety would not find something appealing in it. In fact I believe it started off as aimed for an older audience but due to the ages of the protagonists I changed my target audience.
Belief in one’s self can be one of the most powerful tools we have.
- What is your writing process like?
Consistent. I would write a thousand words a day each day. This way the next day I knew what I was writing and never ran out of ideas or into writers block. With this new book I’m working on I’ve had to slow down a little bit due to finally finding full-time work and just over all life around me but I still do the best I can in terms of trying to find time to write each day to not get out of the groove. Even if it is just a paragraph.
- How do you go about editing your story?
I first generally shelve the project for about two weeks before looking at it myself and adding/taking out any things I deem to not make sense. This gives me some time to look at things from another perspective. I’ll then hand it over to my editor and beta readers.
Where did you find your cover artist and what was the process like?
Because my publishing journey was part of my Contemporary Media Production I was responsible for all of the design elements for my novel, website building as well as cover art. I had already had a concept in mind for a while, the difficult part was of course sewing the flag by hand and putting it all together.
- How did you go about getting published?
It was by fluke really. I was in my final year of college and we all had to pick one large project to work on for the entire year, a thesis project they called it. It was the first week of classes and I was packing up my bag when one of my college professors asked me what I had done over the summer. I told him I had been editing my novel, which at the time I had planned to self-publish at some point when I was done school or maybe to continue trying to find a traditional publisher, I wasn’t quite sure. He asked me if that was what I was doing my project about to which my response was, “No, but it can be.” After that conversation I was committed to the path and I had the unique opportunity of combining my schoolwork with my passion for writing.
- What was your self-publishing experience like?
At first it was a bumpy ride. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I had to absorb and with it being a school project I also had deadlines I needed to meet. Once I hit the publish button to receive my proof copy however and saw it come in with no changes needing to be made it was all much smoother and I was able to relax knowing with confidence that I was on the right track.
- What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
In terms of pros, I knew what was going into the novel and retained 100% control over the content that others would read. There is no wall between the readers and myself in terms of what they will see in the finished product and I love that. In terms of the cons, it is a lot harder to market and if you don’t know where to turn it can be very frustrating.
- What were the surprises? Good or bad? If so, what were they?
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were many other authors on the same path as me and that there was a community which offered support for one another. It’s a really great feeling to know that you are not alone.
- How do you go about promoting your book as a self-published author?
Because I only have one book out at the current time I’ve been focusing more on writing than I have promotion, especially over the internet. What I have been doing currently is attending conventions for both selling books and as a panelist to get my name out there.
- Is there something about the whole process you wish someone had told you before? Good or bad?
Print your manuscript and edit by hand, there is a huge difference when it comes to reading off of a screen and off of paper.
Be meticulous with editing, I cannot stress that enough. Also remember that you are not alone and as mentioned before there is a wonderful community out there that is eager to help and support you because we are all on this journey together.
- What plans do you have for the future of your writing?
I’m currently working on the sequel for my first novel that is entitled Q-16 and the Lord of the Unfinished Tower. I do not have a planned release date as of yet but the first draft is complete. The long-term plan is to turn it into a series of five main books with two prequels. Outside of this I’m reworking by website as I would like to incorporate a blog section into it.
- What are you social accounts if people want to connect with you?
You can find me on facebook under https://www.facebook.com/aajankiewicz and my twitter handle is aajankiewicz
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