Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author PJ Flie about his career, what inspires him, and the creative writing process that went into his new book, Legacy Of Seven.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m an author and educator. I hold a BFA in theatre where I’ve been lucky to take on many roles from acting coach to director, set builder, lighting designer, and stage manager. Born and raised in Canada, where I currently reside, I continue to create stories.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I had the desire to write a book in high school.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I’ve been writing short stories since I was ten years old.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I would say, about five years. That includes time away—it’s important to put work aside, start something else, and then come back to it with fresh eyes.
What made you want to write Legacy Of Seven?
The strength of belief is something that really is fascinating. So the book started with wanting to explore the idea of belief and what forms it can take in our society, from religion to simple truths that guide our everyday lives. What would a future world look like that was built on a similar yet different system of values and beliefs? This was where it began.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Legacy Of Seven?
Not enough time! The necessities of life demand a minimum portion of my day; no matter how much I try to put the world aside, there’s always something that needs attention. When I can clear long blocks of time, that’s when I can dive deeply into the imagined reality within the pages of my writing.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Ondreeal is a young woman who is exploring the world for the first time. In many ways, she’s the perfect character for us to journey with—as she learns about the larger world for the first time, so do we. She has an innocence and wonder that most people have when they are young.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
Zairoc is inspired by people I’ve known with deep-seated insecurity. It can lead to destructive behaviour for the individual and those around them, though it’s never seen as such. There is always the belief that what they are doing is in their best interests. But they also convince themselves that it’s beneficial for everyone. See how we come back to that idea of belief!
What is the inciting incident of Legacy Of Seven?
Ondreeal joins Otto, her adoptive father, on a trip to a trading post: connected to an arena where competitors must fight to the death.
What is the main conflict of Legacy Of Seven?
Ondreeal must learn to safely use her newly discovered great power. At first, she wields it with disastrous consequences for both herself and those around her.
Did you plot Legacy Of Seven in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I always start by writing freely to see where it takes me, usually to very compelling places. But plotting does have a use in the editing process.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Legacy Of Seven need?
Getting a book to a finished, polished state, does require several rounds of editing. I do get help with this. I often find that I need time away from a project to see it with fresh eyes. One way to speed up this process is to hire an editor. If you can find a good one, they are absolute gold!
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Writing is not writing—it’s rewriting. That’s the best piece of advice I ever received. Don’t keep it all in your head; get words down on a page. You can always revise later.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I have books two and three in the Legacy of Seven series already written out. I need to go back and finish those. Book four is already floating around in my imagination. There are so many ideas I have for this series.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
The fact that I saw this project through to completion is something that I’m proud of. It was definitely worth the effort because I do love writing. It’s not only important to create but to share that with others. That makes this first book an exciting first step.
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