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Interview with J.V. Hilliard, author of The Last Keeper

1) Hello J. V. Hilliard! I am so glad that you could join me today. What is your genre and what drew you to it?

My genre is epic fantasy, with a bit of dark fantasy twisted in it. The genre of fantasy adventure or sword and sorcery have been passions of mine since I was a child. In elementary school I was read The Hobbit by Tolkien in one of my English classes and the story opened my eyes to the fantasy world (and genre) in general. That Christmas I received my own copy of The Hobbit from my uncle—and the basic box set of TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons game. My family started playing the game and from that time on, my love of all things sword and sorcery grew. I am also a long time role playing game enthusiast, so shared experiences from my various Dungeons & Dragons campaigns have always been at the heart of my work.

2) Which character of yours is your favorite and why?

I love Sir Ritter of Valkeneer, perhaps because he is an adaptation of one of my Dungeons & Dragons characters, a ranger cut from the molds of Aragorn and Drizzt. He’s unique, and a bit of a muggle to coin a Harry Potter phrase, as he is of mixed blood (known as trollborn) and is looked down upon by both societies because of it. He’s a deadly shot with his bow, Silencer, and is a natural but quiet leader. So many of his scenes are reimaginations of what happened to him in our D&D adventures.

3) Do you prefer writing dialogue, action or other scenes?

Action scenes, please! I love the action and magic, and I think most epic fantasy fans will agree. Blend in some magical weapons, legendary beasts and a good political intrigue and there is the beginnings of a classic sword and sorcery series.

I also think if you write action scenes well, your head is always in front of your fingers, and you feel the rush of adrenaline as you are typing out the scenes. Gets the juices flowing.

4) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

By far it is the escapism. I get enough “realism” from my day job, so being an author allows me to escape into my own creation and see through the eyes of my characters. I want my readers to do the same .

5) What is the one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your writing journey?

I would describe them as the “basics.” I do a ton of non-fiction writing for my day job (speeches, policy briefs, legislation, etc.) but not fiction writing. I needed to learn pacing, dialogue, staying within POVs for characters and the like. It was breaking from one habit and jumping into the next.

6) Which book villain would be the hardest to defeat?

In my books? Graytorris the Mad of course! He’s the arch villain and with his powers of necromancy knitted into his frayed ends of sanity, he makes for a powerful foe.

In others, Smaug from the Hobbit or perhaps the Borg from Star Trek. Although my personal favorite is Darth Vader.

7) What book protagonist would you love to talk to if he/she/they were real?

I think Faux Dauldon, the red-haired rogue, falsely accused of crimes that someone else committed, but brave enough to help Daemus Alaric, the last Keeper, even if it means she’s putting her own life in peril. She’s a complicated character with many layers, wanting to run but wanting it all to end, distrustful of others but seeking trust, etc.

I think she’d be my choice, even if the conversation may be short…

8) Name one of your favorite authors.

J.R.R. Tolkien—he’s the granddaddy of them all in my genre and you can spend a lifetime studying Middle Earth and still not know everything he did. A brilliant author and man.

9) What is one book that is currently on your To-Be-Read list?

I am currently reading A Garden of Lies by indie author Zack Pieper. I was on his podcast show a few weeks ago and he told me about it. In truth, he had me at “Werewolf.”

10) Villain, hero or “show steeling” side character? Which would you be?

Unfortunately, I think I would make a better villain than anything else. Some demons don’t know their demons, but this demon does. My dark and twisted personality I think would play better to the audience as the villain, easy to root against but still love in the end.

11) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.

The Warminster series begins with book one, The Last Keeper, currently available through most distribution channels and as a paperback, eBook and audio book. Vorodin’s Lair is the second book in the Warminster series, a continuation of the story of Daemus Alaric, the low Keeper from the Cathedral of the Watchful Eye. It is due out in July or August of 2022, with the third book in the series due out around the holidays of 2022 or quarter one of 2023.

A young boy’s prophetic visions.

Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad.

An elven Princess with a horrifying secret.

Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings.

A terrifying force of evil.

Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence.

Will the entire realm fall to its knees?

The Last Keeper is the first book in The Warminster Series. With gripping, epic action and heart-pounding adventure, you’ll love this new adventure series.

12) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?

13) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)

For TikTok, Twitter and Instagram I can be found @jvhilliardbooks and on Facebook you can search for me as J.V. Hilliard.

14) If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?

I want to thank them for their support and ask them to reach out to me through my social media channels or website to let me know what they like and don’t like. I am open to suggestions and always keep an open mind for constructive criticism.

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