I pull my car in next to the river, park, and head for the quaint tea house that’s a favorite in the area. Readjusting my straw hat and pushing the ribbons out of my face, I pull open the white door of the building that looks like a house from a century or two ago.
Inside, a smiling face greets me at one of the tables-for-two. Yes, today I have the privilege of sharing with you another interview – this time not with a book character, but with the author of the fantastic series that I’ve been following avidly for the past few years: Jaye L. Knight, who penned The Ilyon Chronicles.
As I sip my peppermint tea and Jaye sips her English Breakfast tea I ask her a question I’ve been wondering about for years.
“So, the editorial process is essential for an author publishing her works. As an editor myself, I’m particularly interested in this stage. Can you describe how your editing, formatting, and final touch process usually goes?”
“The process has definitely changed for me over the years. When I first started publishing, I couldn’t afford editors or proofreaders and I didn’t really know anyone who could be my beta readers.”
I grin. “Yep. I hear you.”
“It was pretty much up to me and my mom to get my books ready to publish. We certainly weren’t perfect, but I had to start somewhere. Thankfully, I now have a much more thorough system. I usually go over my manuscript three or four times and then have my mom go over it. Then, once I’m satisfied, it goes off to my group of beta readers. Once I their feedback, I go through another round of editing. Sometimes my mom will go over it again as well. When I think it’s finally ready, I give it a final read-through out loud to catch anything that just doesn’t read smoothly. I then send the final version to my proofreader. While I’m waiting for her edits, I usually order an initial paperback proof copy to start getting the cover just the way I like it. As soon as I get the proofread version back and apply the corrections, I format the paperback, and by that time it’s usually ready for publication.”
“Nice. It’s really an interesting process – though it’s hard work.” I take another sip of tea and reach for a strawberry. “One part of books as a writer, editor, and reader that’s most important to me is the spiritual side. This comes across both in the message of the book and in the life of the Author. Books are an excellent tool to teach and illustrate the Kingdom of God–which I believe Ilyon Chronicles does very excellently. Can you share about your own spiritual journey and how God has worked in your life?”
“I grew up in a Christian home. I think I was saved when I was eight years old, although I can’t be sure I truly understood at that time, so it might have been a few years before I really knew what it was to be saved.”
“I hear you there, too.”
“My faith was always important to me, but it didn’t really hit me how important it was until I was about nineteen. I went to a Building 429 concert with my family, and hearing the lead singer speak really changed my life. It made me want to live my faith wholeheartedly. The year or so after that was one of the best times of my life. I went through some hard things, but I really grew during that time. That was a really good thing, because the years since than have been pretty difficult. I’ve struggled with a lot of health problems that took years to figure out. We’ve also gone through some very hard things as a family, and personally, I’ve had times where I’ve struggled with a lot of depression and anxiety. When I was nineteen, I felt very strong and excited spiritually. The last few years have been more of a season of feeling my brokenness and neediness for God. It’s been a time where God is teaching me to rejoice always, even in pain, and to be still and wait on Him.”
“I can relate to that as well. I’ve had the times of spiritual excitement and passion for God as well as the times of feeling utterly inadequate and broken. I think God does that to bring us more nearly into the fellowship of His sufferings…that He may truly be ALL in our lives. And that goes for all that we do. Along the same lines, what are some primary spiritual messages or thoughts that you’d like readers to take away from Half-Blood?”
“A lot of the story of Ilyon Chronicles has come from the brokenness I mentioned. Life is a huge struggle. The older I get, the more clearly I see it. So often, things don’t make any sense, and so much of life seems so cruel. One thing I’ve constantly had to remind myself is that, even when I can’t see it, God is still working in the background. He has a plan. That’s the message I want to share with Jace’s story, not only in Half-Blood, but in the entire series. He came from a place of ultimate darkness and brokenness, but God was always working in his life and had a plan for it. I hope that can be an encouragement, especially for anyone who is suffering.”
“Amen. It is. I think that theme came out very strongly in the story. Think of how spiritually strong Jace will be because of the sufferings that God brought him through! He is our hope.”
We drain the last drops of tea. “Thanks so much, Jaye. This virtual tea chat has been most enjoyable. I hope we may meet non-virtually very soon. And – congratulations on Half-Blood.”
“Thank you so much! And I hope we can meet non-virtually as well.”
I adjust my hat and turn towards the door. She follows.
“Wait…. is that a dragon I see out there??”
Attribution: Photo 1 By SiefkinDR (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons; Photo 2 By Thomas Quine (Casa Loma tea room) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons; Photo 3 By Simon Q from United Kingdom (Brewhouse Tea Room Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons; Photo 4 By David REVOY [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons