You’ve heard of his speculative fiction, now let’s get to know this interesting author.
Welcome to Date with a Debut Author! A Bookstr series where we meet up with a new author to get to know them, their writing process, and their book.
This week we had the pleasure to meet PJ Flie, author of Legacy of Seven: A Guardian Rises, to learn more about him, his debut novel, and his interests.
Date with a Debut Author gets you up close and personal with the debut authors you should be looking out for each week. So, are you ready to get to know PJ better? Let’s go!
Conversation Over Coffee
Since we’re just getting to know PJ.
Serena Knudson (SK): Based on your bio, you are very passionate about theatre and teaching other artists. What has been your favorite part of being an author so far?
PJ Flie (PF): I have much more creative control. Theatre is collaboration, which can be wonderful. However, there’s no guarantee that everyone will have the same creative vision. In writing a novel, I’m the one responsible for creating that world and bringing those characters to life. There’s more responsibility in this, but also greatly rewarding and exciting!
SK: What other writers or books inspire you?
PF: Growing up, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World, because those stories, like so many others in the speculative genre, had poignant messages that I reflected upon for a while after reading them. What would it be like to live in that reality? What would I do in the same position? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the brilliant humor. Harlan Ellison’s writing.
SK: What was the biggest obstacle you faced while writing A Guardian Rises?
PF: Time. It takes time to write a novel, then revise, and revise again. I need large chunks of time in the day and throughout the week to get into a prolific creative flow. Life is what happens when you are making plans or writing. The key is to put enough of real-life aside for long enough to immerse oneself in the imaginary world. That’s not always easy or possible to do.
SK: Do you enjoy listening to music while you write? If so, what music do you prefer listening to?
PF: No. Too distracting. Each piece of music has its own tone, mood, and style. If that’s not exactly what I’m trying to convey in my writing, it can influence my creative direction, which I don’t want it to do.
SK: As a science fiction author, I am sure you see a lot you want to change in our world after all the world-building you have done yourself for Legacy of Seven. What is one thing you wish you could change in today’s world?
PF: That’s a hard choice—though if I have to pick one, it would be empathy, not only for each other but for this world. It really is the starting place to solving many of the challenges that face humanity.
Let’s Get Intimate!
Don’t you want to learn more about this talented author?
SK: As an author and someone who works in all aspects of theatre, what are the most important elements of good storytelling?
PF: First and foremost, characters! On stage, you can get away without a set, use only basic costumes and simple lighting, but you need an actor to breathe life into a character. It’s the human journey, in whatever form that may take, that we relate to. We want to see that character overcome obstacles and see them succeed or fail. In those moments we can learn more about ourselves and the world we live in.
SK: The names you chose for the characters in this series are unique, such as Ondreeal, how did you choose names for each character?
PF: My story has the feeling of classic fantasy, at least, on the surface. As a student of history, studying medieval culture and literature, this felt like the best place to start. I then delved into Central American history. From there, I took what I know about how the English language evolved. The names come from one, or all three of these influences.
SK: Has publishing the first book in this series changed your writing process for future novels?
PF: Yes and no. Taking a piece of writing to a final product does make me realize how to smooth out some of the rough spots in a first draft before they become areas of need. However, there’s a freedom to the initial process that I never want to lose; spontaneity and a willingness to trust myself and my characters to not only begin a compelling journey but see it through to completion.
SK: What came first for you, the plot or the characters?
PF: Oh. I think I’ve given away that answer with my thoughts on the elements of storytelling. Definitely characters; it’s their experience of the world that helps me to build that reality, and accompany them on their journeys.
SK: Is there a character you wish you were more like?
PF: Well, I’m going to cheat here and pick two. Ondreeal because she has such strength and resilience, just like the amazing women in my life that I’ve had the privilege of knowing. Also, CD-45 who represents the inner child in all of us sees the wonder and beauty in life. It’s also where a good sense of humor lives—in that sense of play.
Fun and Games
Now that we’re well-acquainted with PJ, here are some fun questions and what he had to say about them.
SK: If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would you ask?
PF: I would be very tempted to ask: what are next week’s winning lottery numbers? Ha! But I would probably settle on: what are the steps to creating a utopia for everyone?
SK: If you could write a spin-off about a side character, who would you pick?
PF: CD-45. That would be a very fun story to tell.
SK: What would your perfect day look like?
PF: That would consist of travel and food. Something like, breakfast in England, Lunch in Italy, and dinner in Japan. Of course, a day spent traveling with the ones that mean the most to me. But that’s how I remember the world, through food!
SK: If your series was chosen for an adaptation, who would act as your characters?
PF: Ondreeal: Adolescent Robin Wright, Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek, Phoebe Dynevor, Rita Hayworth. Combine them all. Can’t pick just one.
Sir Francis: Patrick Stewart.
Vere: Morena Baccarin. Gal Gadot.
Trick Mark: Harrison Ford, Christian Bale.
Zairoc: Edward Norton.
SK: If you could spend the day with any fictional character who would it be?
PF: Gandolf from Lord of the Rings, he’d have some interesting stories to tell, and probably some really good advice, though it might turn out to be infuriatingly cryptic. Or, Sherlock Holmes, it would be fun to play Watson for a day.
SK: What are some of your favorite book recommendations?
A world filled with magic, wizards and, enchanted beings—or the ashes of a highly advanced civilization? The truth is much more complicated.
In PJ Flie’s Legacy of Seven: A Guardian Rises, Ondreeal has lived her whole life on the farm with her callous adoptive father. She longs to see the world and witness for herself the magical wonders that fill it—and she’ll soon get her wish, thrust into an adventure that carries her to heights she never dreamed possible, and to the depths of despair and loneliness. Ondreeal can never become the hero the world wants her to be.
But will she become the hero it needs?
PJ Flie has a BFA in theatre and currently works in all aspects of theatre production in his home country of Canada where he also creates his stories. As an author and educator, PJ loves working with the next generation of artists.
Read more Dates with Debut Authors here.