Caught in a deadly conspiracy to forge the next Emperor of the Ethian Galaxy, an ancient rite demands blood… After twenty-two years being held captive on an Outlander world, the long lost Prince Adar Zahn is finally brought back to his true home, but without any memory of his past. As he searches for the answers about himself and what is expected as the Emperor’s sixth son, Adar discovers how difficult trust is to find and that the truth can be worse than a lie. On his journey of discovery, he is left with questions about himself, a growing foreboding about his family, and a rising urgency to discover more about a vaguely mentioned Blood Feud. Can he unravel the mystery that surrounds him before it’s too late?
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Interview with Dawn:
Tell us about the story. Where did you get the inspiration for it? How long did it take you to write it? Do you share any traits or likes/ dislikes with your characters? Where is your story set? A fictional place or somewhere you’ve visited/ lived?
This is a science fiction epic series called Emperors of Ethia, and Blood Feud is the first book of that series. I have three core books planned, but have enough story for far more. I even have an outline for a prequel novel and several short stories. These other works helped me a lot with fleshing out the backstory for the series.
The inspiration for this series came from many places. The show Prison Break, the Sherlock Holmes stories, Farscape, Star Wars, Star Trek were very heavy inspirations for this series, and if you look close enough, you may see some of those parts emulated in the story.
I will say, though, that I had the main character Adar long before the plot for the series, and actually Markus came very shortly after Adar. To me, they are a package deal. You can’t really have one without the other. They are a symbiotic pair where they play off each other, making each other better or worse depending on the situation.
I have always had a deep love of science fiction, so it was very natural for me to come up with the backdrop of the story where Adar and Markus became even more alive and real. I relied very heavily on my very active imagination (and science fiction passion) and life experiences to create the world of Ethia and the story of Emperors of Ethia and the characters. I won’t say it wasn’t difficult, because there were some very frustrating parts of writing this series, because essentially I chose to come up with an all new galaxy with its own government, culture, and technology. So I spent a great deal of my time trying to figure what would work and the resulting consequences of these things, such as the Remakers.
I also struggled with how to write this story. Should I just have the story form Adar’s point of view? Should it be first or third person point of view? Eventually I settled on having this story from many people’s points of view, because while this is mainly Adar’s (and even to a large extent Markus’) story, I felt that it was important to understand and see Ethia from other people’s points of view as well.
My favorite characters are, of course, Adar and Markus, but there’s something I love about each of my characters (even Zorren). I find that each character has parts of myself and other people that I know. I can’t say that one character is this person or that person or myself. These people in my story became their own selves so much that I actually view them as very real and allowed each to have a heavy persuasion on the story. I relied on my characters to tell me how they would react in any given situation and even sometimes asked their suggestions on what do next. I will say that Markus has been by far the most fun to write. He’s the kind of character that I think we all secretly wish we were (at least I do), and as I write him, I am usually laughing my ass off, especially when I do scenes with Markus and Adar together.
When you write, do you map out the story or go where your characters lead?
I usually have a loose plot outline that I write with. I have major events planned out with possible other events leading to them, but I rely on my characters a lot when plotting. They tell me if a situation works or not. I spend a lot of time diving deep into my characters’ heads in any give situation and let them lead the way. I usually come up with some amazing things this way and some of my best inspirations came from writing like this.
How long have you been writing?
I first started writing fanfiction for Harry Potter. I was such a huge fan and decided I wanted to write some of it myself. After a little while I decided to try my own stories and since then, I think it’s been about thirteen years since I started writing. Though I will say that I did write quite a bit when I was a child. I was always writing stories or poems, but it dropped off as I grew older. I picked it back up in adulthood because after reading so many amazing stories, I felt inspired to tell my own story.
Any current projects you want to tell us about? Maybe a hint or two?
I am currently working on a nonfiction book called A Writer’s Wings. It’s basically a book combining many inspirational quotes that I have relied on the past several years as well as some life events that have led to me becoming a better writer and a better person.
And, of course, I am working on the next book in the Emperor of Ethia series. I am in the second draft process so the story is coming alone very well, and I really think that it will be even better than Blood Feud. I have really great things and big events happening in book two that will shake up the Ehtian galaxy for a very long time to come! And yes, I have a title for book two, but I’m not telling, yet. 😉
What was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, and I love it!
Who’s your favorite author?
I don’t have a favorite author really because I love a lot of different authors. Some include: J.K. Rowling, James S.A. Corey, Christopher Moore, Jim Butcher, Avery Dawes, and the lovely Denise Wyant! [Thanks for the props, Dawn!!!]
What is the last movie you saw?
It took me almost ten minutes to come up with an answer for this question because I very rarely have time to go see movies or watch movies at home. I don’t even watch much TV anymore. I spend that time either reading, writing, or spending time with my family. I think the last big movie I saw in theaters was The Last Jedi and the latest movie I watched at home with my son was Benji Off the Leash.
Are we more likely to catch you reading a paperback book, hardcover book, or on an e-reader?
I much prefer paperback!!! I only read ebooks at gun point! Lol… well, I do have a Kindle I use, but only if I can’t get a book in paperback or even hardcover.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
A day at the beach! That’s why I am moving to Florida!!!
You’re stranded on a desert island. What are the three things you can’t live without?
Just three? Man, I guess that would be a copy of Lamb by Christopher Moore, a notebook and a pen.
Milk chocolate or dark chocolate or no chocolate *gasps*?
Anything chocolate!!!! I love the taste of milk chocolate, but have recently switched to dark chocolate anytime I can because it’s far better for you. And it tastes pretty darn good, too!
What is your preference? Coffee, tea, or soda?
Tea! I love a hot cup of tea, especially when I am writing!
If the zombie apocalypse hits and you’re in Wal-Mart, what’s the first thing you grab?
A shopping cart so I can throw everything I run past into the cart that I can grab and then get out of there as fast as I can! But I would definitely make sure I hit the candy aisle and load up on chocolate on the way out!
Dawn’s Author Bio:
Cynthia D. Griffin is passionate about learning. Her favorite way of doing that is through reading and writing. While science fiction is her genre of choice, she enjoys any writing with captivating plot and deep characters, as well as intriguing non-fiction. She is currently writing a science fiction novel series, but also has several speculative fiction and non-fiction works planned. She resides in Florida with her husband, son, and spoiled-rotten dog. You can find out more about her at cynthiadgriffin.com or come chat with her at @Awesome_Dawn.