1. How did you come up with the character of Olivia Tremaine?
Olivia and Rowan both came to me in a dream one night. It was a very strange sort of choppy moment between two people, but it really defined who they were to one another. The girl was maybe a bit younger and very determined, and the man was sort of a protector for her, but there was something more between them and they were struggling to come to terms with it. Olivia was the one in my dream who actually had the courage to say how she felt first, and I think that kind of stuck with me from then on as I began writing their story. Rowan might be the stronger and the tougher of the two, but Olivia is definitely the driving force in their relationship and the glue that keeps everything together.
2. What's the significance of the title, The Guardian Wars?
The series had a lot of different titles before I landed on "The Guardian Wars." In fact, I had written first drafts of all three books before I was able to pick a title. I wanted it to sort of foreshadow what the books were leading up to, even if you only get a glimpse of the bigger fight in Part One. I always felt like the thing that set Rowan and Olivia's story apart from other dystopian's is that instead of being together because they are trying to save their world, they're trying to save their world SO that they can be together. The war affects everyone, but it sort of stems from Rowan and Olivia's instincts to stick together and save one another.
3. What are the challenges--and what do you enjoy most--about writing books in a series rather than as stand-alone novels?
I think that writing a series is sort of like running a marathon. It's a very long and trying task, and there have been so many points where I had to convince myself to keep going. In the end, though, it's really rewarding, and as a writer it's sort of a dream. It's a lot more work than just a stand alone book, but at the end of each final draft, I didn't have to close the cover on their story. I'm able to keep building their relationships and create more obstacles for them to overcome. I also feel that some stories need more than just thirty or so chapters to tell. Rowan and Olivia just happened to need a bit more.
4. Do you have any advice for other authors who are interested in self-publishing but haven't taken the leap yet?
Self-publishing seemed like a very impossible thing when I first started researching it. I had submitted my book to so many agents, and I had gotten so many requests for more and even full manuscripts. They all seemed to like the story, but because the market had been so saturated with other dystopian type books, no one wanted to represent it. Don't take no for an answer. Believe in your work and even if you get told "No" a hundred times, don't let that make you feel that your work is inferior.
5. What would you like readers to know about book two in The Guardian Wars?
The Guardian Wars: Part Two has a lot more action that Part One. There's a bit more romance as well, but the important thing for readers to remember is that Rowan has essentially started a war that is much bigger than he is. Even though our main characters have found one another, their battle isn't over. It's just starting, and it's much scarier than they really ever imagined. Part Two will definitely have you on the edge of your seat a bit more than Part One, but in the end there's still that famous question, "What do you know?"