Do you have a favorite character? It was pretty difficult to decide, because I have a cast of very loveable, precious problem children, but I have managed to narrow it down, yes. Bellator is my favourite character, not only because she is awesome, but she’s also very complicated. To write a character that is seemingly good, but struggles between her own selfishness and ingrained loyalty to her cruel master was very interesting for me. There have been many times when I realized that she was lying even to me, and it’s taken a lot to finally pry the truth from her so I can write her accurately. Adding to that her sharp, clever mind and awesome fighting skills, and she’s very difficult not to like, even when she’s being a brat.
Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all? I’ve had a few, actually, but the most important of these is Annalyn. When she was first introduced, she was a random tavern maid in a small town they passed through. But the white hair fascinated me, and I ended up giving her a much bigger role in the story. It definitely was part of the major change that happened between the second and third versions of the story.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence? It depends on my mood whether I like silence or listening to music. I can easily do both. Music definitely if there are other distractions around.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you? I do a bit of both. I like to create skeleton outlines, but it can’t be rigid enough where it leaves no room for change.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing? I hired two, actually. The first was for content editing, and the second right before publishing for line and copy editing. I also extensively self-edit my work. I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
What have you learned during your self-publishing journey? It’s not easy and it costs money to do it well. Also, advertising sucks.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena? If you’re going to self-publish your book, do it with excellence, even if it costs a bit of money, and you’ll automatically stand out. Quality is your goal. Quality in the cover, the content, the title, the advertising. Everything. Reach as high as you can, even if that means you’ll fall harder. And when you fall, get up and keep reaching.
Besides writing, do you have any other passions? I do! I’m actually also an artist. I mostly sketch concept art for my stories, but I have been known to do a painting every once in a while.
(As it turns out, Bellator is the subject of many drawings, as she tends to be pretty awesome!)
I share my art on Instagram as HerMajestyMJ (https://www.instagram.com/hermajestymj/
What’s next for you? I’m actually about to embark on a year long trip around North America with my parents and ten of my siblings, during which I plan to finish the second and third books in the Darkened Destiny series. So that is pretty exciting!
Azaria M.J. Durant
(Darkened Destiny Saga #1)
Publication date: July 29th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
An ancient power long kept dormant stirs in the shadows once more as one boy embarks on a quest to earn his freedom and the freedom of his world!
Magic has turned to myth, the Vaelhyreans of old to legend, and the power wielded by the ancients has long been forgotten. However, with Ealdred, a mere half-breed slave boy, myth becomes real, the forgotten remembered, and the power of legend is reborn within him.
Ealdred is merged into a world of mystery, brimming with deceit, where the remaining Vaelhyreans are in a desperate fight for their very survival. When Ealdred is kidnapped by the power-mongering dark lord Zeldek himself, he must make a choice; to commit his newfound magic to Zeldek’s service or die. But when he meets Bellator, clever yet treacherous servant of Zeldek, an alternative is presented to him: to escape from Zeldek’s stronghold and embark on a quest to find a cursed arrow and free the Vaelhyreans from the spell that keeps their powers at bay.
Yet how can he survive in a world where magic is illegal, half-breeds are hated, and the four countries are on the brink of war?
Azaria M. J. Durant is a young, passionate writer of fantasy with plans to branch out into sci-fi and dystopian. She enjoys writing stories with action, adventure, unexpected plot twists, and fleshed out characters that challenge gender roles and expectations.
Azaria lives in Atlantic Canada with her family, cats, and dogs, and her big dreams to travel the world. In the moments when she isn’t writing, she is sketching concept art for her stories, participating in community theatre, or curled up with a good book and a bag of mint chocolates.