Welcome to YA Books Central's "Indie Superstars" column. This monthly event will spotlight the best and brightest of the indie community.
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This week we’re interviewing Ingrid Seymour, author of The Djinn Empire series
Welcome, Ingrid, one of YABC's very own Staff Reviewers!
Melissa A. Craven: One Wish Away is the first of your latest series, but tell us a little bit about each of your previous book series as well.
Ingrid Seymour: Hi, Melissa: thank you for having me in this awesome “Indie Superstars” feature. It is an honor. To answer your question: besides Djinn Empire, I have two other YA series: The Morphid Chronicles and Ignite the Shadows. They are both trilogies, the first is indie published and the second one is published by HarperCollins. They are an urban fantasy and a sci-fi, respectively, while Djinn Empire is a paranormal romance. If you have guessed, I want to write in every genre :) I have been writing these three series in parallel for several years. Never doing that again!
Melissa: The world of the Djinn is such an intriguing change from the typical YA fantasy worlds. What was your inspiration?
Ingrid: It was precisely the fact that I wanted to read about other mythical creatures and I couldn’t find but vampires, werewolves and angels that I decided to write what I wanted to read. I figured others must feel the way I did. Since I’ve always liked the Djinn mythology, I went for it.
Melissa: Your story centers on the Djinn mythology, what kind of research did you need to do to prepare for One Wish Away?
Ingrid: I had to do a lot of research on Islamic culture and the Persian empire. Faris, the hero and Djinn, lived during Cyrus The Great’s time, so I had to become acquainted with it. Also, in Islamic culture, Djinn are believed to have been created by god alongside humans and angels. They have a whole mythos around them which is very interesting. Of course, I took liberties to create my own rules around what Djinn could and couldn’t do and how their magic functions. It was pretty fun!
Melissa: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
Ingrid: I am a part-time writer with that part being at most two hours every day. I have a full-time job as a software engineer, so that keeps me very busy. It is very hard to juggle my career and this passion of mine along with a family, but every day I simply set out to do the best that I can, and I try not to stress out about the things that get delayed and the opportunities I have to turn down due to lack of time. I can only stretch myself so thin before I break. At least that is the way I see it. For me, it’s all about keeping things well balanced.
Melissa: What processes have you gone through to get your books published?
Ingrid: My first published book was Keeper which I decided to publish myself after sending many query letters and getting no favorable responses. After publishing this book, the idea for Ignite The Shadows came to me, and I was overwhelmed with the need to write it before completing the other trilogy. When the book was done, it happened that Harper Voyager had just opened its doors to unagented authors for the first time in 10 years. They received a staggering 5000+ submissions, and I was lucky to be one of 14 people who were selected. They offered me a 3 book contract, and it was after this that I was able to snatch an agent with The Bent Agency. It’s been quite a learning experience. It taught me to be more selective about contract terms, for sure.
Melissa: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Ingrid: Yes! I have used the birthdays of dear friends, so they get a little surprise when they read. Also I have used names and descriptions of people I know. For the latter, I challenge the “victims” to figure out what character they are. It’s fun! :)
Melissa: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Ingrid: Marielle, One Wish Away’s protagonists, is a very flawed individual. She is by no means a Mary Sue. She is independent and self-assured, but she’s also angry and cagey. She has many issues which she needs to overcome to achieve happiness. I love these types of characters because they feel real. In the end, she learns so much and grows to be more understanding and happy.
Melissa: What advice would you give to anyone thinking about self-publishing?
Ingrid: I would tell them that it is a very rewarding experience, but only to do it if they like being in control and making decisions. There is lots to learn and lots to take charge of. It is not for the faint of heart, but the satisfaction is unmeasurable.
Melissa: How has your writing process evolved from your first book to your most recent?
Ingrid: The most notable change is the speed. It took me forever to write my first book (nearly two years.) Now, I can finish a book in 3 months. I would have never imagined that possible when I first began. I am also more confident and have learned not to sweat the little things. I am a champ at taking criticism and bad reviews don’t even make me frown. In the past, they used to make me fume LOL
Melissa: What is the most difficult part of the publishing process for you?
Ingrid: Marketing, for sure! All the rest seems like a piece of cake compared to the challenges of keeping my books in front of people. You write the book, design the cover, put it out there, and then it’s done, but marketing doesn’t stop.
Melissa: You have such interesting character names. Do you have a process for selecting names?
Ingrid: Thank you :) I definitely do. Names are very important to me and I have fun researching and deciding what to name my characters. In Ignite The Shadows I had the most fun, giving people names and nicknames that rewarded those readers who pay close attention. I’ve had some fans tell me how much they enjoyed that.
Melissa: What’s up next for you?
Ingrid: This year is the year of the trilogies for me. I will have three over and done. As I mentioned before, these are series I’ve been working on for years, and it’s incredible and nostalgic to say goodbye to all these characters and worlds. However, I am also extremely excited to start something new. As soon as I finish writing the last book of The Morphid Chronicles—my current work-in-progress—I will start on a duology that will be in the vein of Six of Crows. I can’t wait!
Thank you for having me, Melissa. It was a pleasure!
Ingrid Seymour loves, loves, loves to write. She's a young and new adult author. She writes in a variety of genres including romance, urban fantasy, paranormal and horror. She loves pizza and sushi, Sunkist and gum. She believes in vampires, witches, but not zombies (uh-uh, never!) She writes to loud music, daydreams constantly and spends too much time in twitter!! Find her there? ;)
Ingrid has incredible fun doing what she does, but more than anything she enjoys hearing from her readers. It's a dream come true.
Faris is a Djinn with a secret and Marielle the first master to give him hope. Will she be the one to break his curse? There is no telling. All he really knows is she's ONE WISH AWAY from breaking his heart.
When Marielle was little, she used to believe Grandpa about his wish-granting Djinn. But now that she’s older, her beliefs have changed, and things like lousy ex-boyfriends and alcoholic fathers have become her reality.
Life isn’t done shattering her truths, though, and when Grandpa dies and the Djinn he warned her never to trust shows up at her doorstep, the world becomes a dangerous, magical place she never knew existed. Reeling for her once-normal life, Marielle soon realizes there’s no going back—not when she’s become part of a mortal conflict between two spell-bound Djinn. Faris—her handsome slave. And Zet—his vengeance-hungry brother. They both want something from her. One, her love. The other one, her life.
Now she’s afraid she will die in love.
One winner will receive a signed copy of One Wish Away (Ingrid Seymour) ~ (US Only)