Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Today we’re in for a very special post as a part of Olivia “Livy” Jarmusch’s blog tour for her new release, The Rebellion, the second installment of her Tales of Tarsurella series! Not only is this the first blog tour Authoring Arrowheads has been involved in, but also the first Author Interview! So, without further ado, let’s meet Miss Livy Lynn! 🙂
Author Interview with Livy!
Q1: When did you first feel that God called you to be a Christian author?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and telling stories to myself and my friends, just for fun, but I didn’t quite envision releasing them to the world to read. I had been working on Crown of Beauty Magazine (www.crownofbeautymagazine.com) for several years, and my sole focus was ministry. I wrote articles, released magazine issues, hosted conferences, and published several devotionals. But it wasn’t until one summer a few years later that I was hanging out with my cousins and I read them the first few chapters of The Coronation.
They responded positively to the story, and wanted to read more, which caused me to think, “Hmm, maybe some of our Crown of Beauty girls would enjoy reading this?”
I enlisted a few Beta Readers, and after hearing feedback about how the story touched their hearts and lives, I could tell God’s hand was definitely on this! I started thinking about the power of fiction, and how Jesus always taught in parables. I thought about fairytales and just the power of story in general, and how stories have been passed down from generation, to generation, to generation, and how much they influence our lives. I slowly started to come to the realization that telling a beautiful story, giving an example of what it looks like for a young person to let God write their love story, could be far more effect than just writing another book about purity, and wagging my finger at people, telling them why we need to do things God’s way. Instead of telling them, why don’t I show them? Amazing examples on display through the power of story are sometimes far more effective than preaching, or talking someone’s ear off on a subject. (Which I have been known to do, haha!)
Q2: Out of all the characters you’ve written about, who is your favorite and why?
It is SO hard for author’s to pick favorites, but if I had to narrow it down, I actually have four favorites. Two are characters which haven’t been revealed to the world yet (sorry folks, haha!) but one of them is introduced in The Rebellion (The Tales of Tarsurella #2)! Her name is Jane Akerly. She’s the daughter of a witty scientist and has quite the wacky imagination of her own. She desires to be a novelist, but she’s far better at getting lost in daydreams, than she is at actually writing. Because of her uniqueness, she faces a lot of bullying at school, but she dreams of adventure in far off places, and someday (maybe) she’ll be living them. 😉 I think the reason I love Jane so much, is because I poured a lot of myself into her.
One of my other favorite characters, is from Regal Hearts. Emma Bates. She’s another one of those somewhat awkward, doesn’t fit in, has a great hatred of pop culture, fights to go against the crowd, kind of a girl. Emma is far more rude and sarcastic than I am (and she’s pretty grumpy too! Haha) but beneath her rough exterior, she has one of the biggest hearts, which you’ll get to see unfold. I think I enjoy writing about Emma so much because, unlike Jane, she is VERY different from me, and it’s always a great challenge to put yourself in the shoes of a totally opposite personality type. (You can actually read Regal Hearts Episode 1 for free on my website! Just sign up for my free email updates, and I’ll send it to you as a gift! ❤ http://livylynnblog.us14.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=52a89184eecb2e965d9ddfa27&id=4e615b60ba)
Q3: Has a scene you’ve written ever made you cry?
I can’t say that I’ve ever had physical tears streaming down my face while writing BUT there were a few moments I got a little choked up! There is one scene in The Rebellion, where every time I read it, I clutch my heart and make a terribly pained face and mentally apologize to my readers and characters and everyone involved. But then I may or may not release a tiny, evil little laugh afterword.
Q4: The Coronation features a large family of Royals. Did you grow up in a large family as well?
No, actually I didn’t! I only have one sibling, and he’s four years older than I, so after he moved out, it was almost like being an only child. I have a lot of friends with large families, and I love all the fun and joyful chaos happening in their homes, so I thought it would be a blast to create such a large family and place them center stage in Tarsurella.
Q5: The descriptions you wrote of the castle and landscapes in The Coronation were truly beautiful. What advice would you give to authors who struggle with writing descriptions?
Aw, thank you! One piece of advice I would give for writing descriptions is to see the room, person, scene, etc, whatever it is you’re describing, as vividly as possible in your minds eye. If you’re not naturally a very visionary person, Google is amazing for finding image inspiration! Find an image, and just study it for a few moments, thinking about all the elements you really want to pop and what you might focus on. Then think of a few adjectives to describe them. (Even pull out the trusty old thesaurus, if you like!) I like to imagine my writing as if I’m physically filming a scene in a movie. What is the camera focusing on? A camera doesn’t focus on everything all at once, and you don’t have to either. Try to focus on one thing at a time and only highlight details that will truly enhance your reader’s ability to see the movie playing out in their mind.
Q6: What’s your go-to snack when you hit writer’s block and need a pick-me-up?
Oooo fun question! I feel like snacks should always be on hand (even when you’re not struggling with writer’s block, haha!) but I love sneaking downstairs and raiding the pickle jar. (I know, weird. Haha.)
Q7: What has been the most random experience you’ve had as a published author thus far?
Hmm…I think some of the most “random” moments come when readers message me fun thoughts they have about my characters throughout the day. I always get a good laugh out of their adorable comments and the things they think of! One of my favorites so far, is when a reader found something in her science book that reminded her of Tarsurella. I just think it’s so cute that readers actually enjoyed the story enough to think about it again during other “random” moments in life!
Bonus Book Review for The Coronation (Tales of Tarsurella #1)
Introduction and Structure
The Coronation is a contemporary YA novel centered around the lives of a royal family of eight siblings: Addison, Bridgett, Chasity, Hope, Asher, Jillian, Millie, and Willie, as the eldest brother, Addison, is preparing for his coronation. The story is told through numerous points of view, ranging from a few of the older siblings to palace workers and new friends of the royal family. The changing point-of-views throughout the novel were not difficult to follow, though I did think that some characters (i.e. Asher) should have received more attention than others (i.e. Millie or Jillian), as their roles had a larger impact on the plot itself. Some of these instances of POVs did not necessarily drive the story forward in my opinion and could have been edited out. Additionally, I noticed a few misspelled words and instances of two characters names’ changing spelling (example: Theodore to Theodor) within a couple paragraphs.
The plot of The Coronation was creative in that the royal family eventually gets bombarded with a tragic event that occurs at Addison’s coronation. I felt that the lead up to the tragedy, as well as the climax, were well written and described, but the aftermath fell flat. It seemed like the main problem surrounding the event was solved too soon with little conflict or action revealed to readers by the “good guys”, so afterward we received the kids’ take on the events. In the aftermath, I would have really liked to see more revealed about the bad guys and accessories to the crime, to better understand their motives and the possible grudges they held over the royal family.
Bridgett, Hope, David, Millie, and The King’s personalities shined the most in my opinion, and I related to each of them the most. Millie was adorable, and the King was full of Godly wisdom, which I greatly admired. I liked Addison’s and Chasity’s personalities as well, though I think they were both a little rash in developing feelings for their love interests. Throughout the book I developed a slight distrust in Vanessa, Lilly, and Hanson based on their actions toward the royal family. Overall, my favorite scenes included Hope and David, which had adorable chemistry together! All of the characters had realistic dialogue as well.
The content was clean, and the characters relied heavily on God for guidance, though it did not come off in a “preachy” way. The scenes where the scripture and God were mentioned appeared natural in conversation and were a delight to read. There are numerous references to pop culture, which I also enjoyed, and I loved the incorporation of the backstory for the fictional band, Kinetic Energy which visits the palace. It was also interesting learning about the secret passageways in the castle. The descriptions of the landscapes and castle were beautifully written and made me feel as if I were visiting the palace myself. It was also fun to see how the family reacted to real-life problems for celebrities, such as the paparazzi, rumors about their dating lives, and facing scrutiny from those who don’t know them personally.
I’m sticking to the Goodreads rating system’s star description and giving The Coronation three out of five stars, meaning I liked and enjoyed it. Though I loved the first half of the book and was on the verge of meriting it four stars, my interest waned after the climax, though I still enjoyed the remainder of the book. I’m curious to see what happens next for these characters in The Rebellion!
Thank you to the author for providing me with a free paperback copy in exchange for an honest review! Overall rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars.
Check out the Tales of Tarsurella series on:
Further connect with author Olivia Jarmusch at the following: