Blog Archives

A World of Magic and Mysticism

J.V. Hilliard Author Interview

The Last Keeper follows a young magician with the power of prophetic sight as he tries to stop the destruction of his world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I have varied inspirations for the story, but the vast majority of the worldbuilding and plot lines were a result of twenty years of playing Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop role playing games.

During the planning process for the series, I was able to memorialize several of my unique campaigns and many of our characters, villains and “cryptids” and wove them into the greater story of The Last Keeper. I took inspiration from those adventures with friends and family and used it as the basis for the story. Thus, I had a built-in and battle tested geography, political system, pantheon of gods (that I refer to as “Ancients”) as well as backstories for each.

The exercise made for a ready-made world that I just needed to launch with book one.

Daemus Alaric has many challenges to overcome as a result of his prophetic sight. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The storyline of Daemus came to me in part by a set of recurring nightmares I had as a late teen, and I used some of the imagery to create the conflict between Daemus and the novel’s villain, Graytorris. In my dreams, I was visited by a similar entity to Graytorris that claimed to be a “guardian angel” of mine and was here to reward me if I followed his requests.

When I took that true-to-life experience and flung it into a world of magic and mysticism, it was easy to supercharge it into the metaphysical battle between protagonist and antagonist. I even used some “scenes” from my own nightmares, like the scene in the prologue near the placid pool shrouded in fog as the basis for Daemus and his first contact with Graytorris the Mad, in their shared dreamscape.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The book is a classic sword and sorcery novel, steeped in the spirit of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Dungeons and Dragons. At its heart, it highlights themes such as betrayal, struggle and duty. Betrayal in the form of a staged coup to topple the rightful king of Thronehelm; struggle in the form of a burgeoning war, but also struggles against Graytorris the Mad and his plot for revenge; and duty, in the form of service to kingdom as well as forbidden love between two main characters, Princess Addilyn Elspeth and Sir Ritter of Valkeener (racial tension).

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Book two, known as Vorodin’s Lair, is in editing now and will be available in late summer while the third book, The Trillias Gambit is nearly done and will enter the editing process later this year. I expect it’s release around the holidays of 2022 or early 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A young boy’s prophetic visions. 

Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad. 

An elven Princess with a horrifying secret.

Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings.

A terrifying force of evil. 

Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence.

Will the entire realm fall to its knees?

The Last Keeper is the first book in The Warminster Series. With gripping, epic action and heart-pounding adventure, you’ll love this new adventure series.

The Last Keeper 

In author J.V. Hilliard’s The Last Keeper, the realm of Warminster is thrown into tumult with a treasonous act and flight of their powerful Keeper of protection. The sudden occupation of marauding raiders feeds into the prophetic vision from one of the last Keepers with the gift of Sight, the destruction of Warminster. However, if the vision of the young Daemus Alaric can be interpreted correctly – and in time – order in the realm might be maintained. With the aid of the seer princess, Addilyn, and the field leadership of Sir Ritter Valkaneer, a talented Longmarchers captain, Warminster is poised to defend itself against the return of the traitorous Graytorris.

This wonderfully detailed medieval fantasy tale is filled with dramatic action and adventure. The characters are well developed and easy for the reader to connect with. The story’s pace is intense and keeps you on your toes the entire time. I was always wondering what would happen next and found this book to be unpredictable.

The element of magic introduced in the initial chapter is not explored with much depth, but it is believable and helps the story progress. Hilliard expounds on the hierarchies of race, status, and class in each of the sub-worlds that the three principal characters inhabit, adding an intriguing background to the characters in the story. There is a large cast of characters introduced, lending to the epic feel of this fantasy story, but I felt that they were hard to keep track of at times, even though each character does play an important role in the story. It never becomes clear who will spearhead the overall defense against Graytorris’ encroaching threat to the realm, but it is patently evident that there is more to come in what is sure to be a compelling series.

The Last Keeper is a riveting epic fantasy novel. Readers will find the non-stop action and adventure as the characters all come together from their separate worlds to be invigorating. This opening book to the series will really grab the attention of readers who enjoy metaphysical fantasy.

Pages: 419 | ASIN : B09NB2L871

Buy Now From Amazon

Under an Azure Sky

Under an Azure Sky is a fantasy novel written by Wil Chan. It is Book One in the Elysia Dayne series, of which I immediately became a fan. The main protagonist is Elysia, a tortured soul who has lived a highly traumatic life. She harnesses her hatred for dragons to become a dragon slayer, which turns out to be a less-than-ideal career choice for the young woman. However, she develops a specific skill set that allows her to pursue other thrilling adventures. Her heroic nature finds her responsible for rescuing Princess Isabella, who was kidnapped and held hostage by goblins. The two find themselves on a very tense journey back home which eventually develops into a beautiful love story.

Wil Chan is a highly talented author with an exciting writing style. His imagery and ability to create an immersive world will impress readers. He has clearly put a lot of effort into this project. He also composed the music for the book trailers, which shows that he is an all-around talented person.

The storyline has elements of fantasy, sword and sorcery, and adventure wrapped up in a complex journey Elysia must navigate. Her feelings of loss and betrayal run deep, and it is dragons, the creatures she once loved, that have caused this change. Readers see and feel what Elysia endured and will want to root for her as she starts to develop feelings for Isabella.

Chan’s worldbuilding is thorough; he gives readers detailed information allowing them to be fully engaged in the storyline. While the beginning of the book instantly hooks you in with the traumatic events that unfold, the main plot takes a slow burn approach while remaining entertaining all the way through. The LBGTQ+ representation is excellent, especially in tandem with the theme of goblin culture in this creative book.

Under an Azure Sky evokes emotion in the reader, and the quality of the author’s writing is one to praise. Fantasy readers will love the familiar elements; those looking for action and adventure will not be disappointed.

Pages: 448 | ASIN : B09MSMJ3F7

Buy Now From Amazon

The Dream Walker

The Dream Walker by K. J. Simmill is the account of the escape of Íkelos, the Father of Nightmares, from his centuries-long prison and how the Mystics, people throughout the various lands who hold special powers like those of prophecy and healing, worked together to save all the lands from his chaos and destruction. Some, like Zoella, have to learn what their powers are and how to use them, while others use their knowledge and understanding of the last time an event this disastrous happened to find a way of getting ahead of Íkelos. The most important powers seem to be those dealing with prophecy.

Author K. J. Simmill is an extraordinary story teller, creating a richly detailed world that will transport you into the book. K. J. Simmill thought of everything when developing her world providing details for every instance and immersing readers into her vision. This makes for an interesting read, especially for voracious readers of the epic fantasy genre, as they will not only understand what’s going on during the story, but also why things are working the way they are and why they’ve happened the way they have in the past and the present. The character development also shines in this novel which allows the reader to really relate to a specific character in the book. The reader really gets to see the characters develop throughout story.

The Dream Walker by K. J. Simmill is a riveting and powerful epic fantasy novel. Readers of science fiction and fantasy alike will find the story and characters memorable and engaging. From beginning to end, this is an entertaining sword and sorcery adventure that you won’t be able to put down.

Pages: 547 | ASIN: B08KXMTG87

Buy Now From Amazon

Remedy

Rob is surrounded by darkness; a darkness that encompasses everything in its path. He cannot see, but he knows he is not alone. There is something approaching, of that he is certain. It does not seem possible, but the shadows about him continue to grow darker. As his fear begins to grow more intense, Rob realizes that the entity that pursues him is one he cannot face. Every sound around him heightens his ever-growing terror. Then, somewhere in the abyss, Rob recognizes what looks like the smallest hint of light. If only he can reach it in time.

Remedy: The Forgotten Legacies Series Book Three, by author K.J. Simmill, takes readers on the adventure of a lifetime with the book’s main character, Rob. Virtually every interaction he has and every problem he must solve on his way to his final success is fraught with danger and described with an incredible amount of detail. The imagery Simmill creates for science fiction fans is simply stunning.

The richly detailed dialogue enhances the story line allowing readers to be immersed in Rob’s plight, while not overwhelming readers with too much. Simmill uses dialogue in order to maintain the integrity of the story and enhance the readers’ ability to visualize dynamics between characters. The story’s narrative provides beautiful imagery while giving insight into how the character is developing and advancing the storyline.

The character of Taya will captivate readers while eliciting sympathy. This character endured things that gives the novel added elements of surprise and horror. Details given by Simmill are chilling and will keep readers on edge.

Remedy: The Forgotten Legacies Series Book Three, by K.J. Simmill has characters that are unique, strong-willed, and memorable. I highly recommend Simmill’s work to anyone looking to follow a new and promising author. Fantasy and science fiction fans alike will enjoy this swiftly-moving powerhouse of a novel.

Pages: 533 | ASIN : B074Y8GQXC

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: