Melissa A. Joy was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in her 20s and she’s never given up on herself or her dream of becoming a fantasy author. She began building the world of Aeldynn and started writing seriously at 13. From the glorious winged Drahknyr and wise and fearsome dragons to pirates of the high seas and a world rich with history and lore, her imagination is limitless and her stories are truly magical.
Tell us about your books.
Keys of the Origin (The Scions of Balance, Book 1)
A righteous law-abiding servant to the people and a distinguished pirate are about to play their part in a foretold bid for Aeldynn’s future. Coaxed into the embrace of the ancient Nays and fabled Drahknyr, they are entangled in the masterful puppeteering of a renegade sorceress.
Endeavours of the Unsung (Tales from Aeldynn, Book 1)
From Armaran in the west to Icetaihn in the north and Zaern’Kairnell in the east, there are 10 unsung tales of Aeldyn to be told… A crystalline fortress in the farthest reaches of a treacherous glacier. A demonic fissure in the depths of a formidable gorge. Long kept secrets in a forest cloaked in fog. One pint-sized bookworm with a penchant for adventure. Covert operations at a vampire soirée. Many are the tales of Aeldynn.
What inspired you to write them?
Keys of the Origin began as an amalgamation of ideas gathered from different sources including: videogames, anime, films and TV series, and various kinds of music. A good portion of it was developed through role-playing many of my characters online with a single friend.
I was aware there were growing changes in the way the fantasy genre was being received by readers; I noticed authors increasingly veering towards the idea of making fantasy less adventurous. For me, adventure is one fundamental building block that makes fantasy what it is. I sought to keep that flame burning; I wasn’t going to allow it to be snuffed out.
I was also inspired by Tolkien as a world-builder; admittedly I found his work rather verbose for my liking, but his imagination and dedication to world-building is what I revered. I knew from the early age of 13 that being a published fantasy author was my calling; if I couldn’t achieve that, then there was nothing out there for me – that’s what I believed. I’ve been driven by that thought ever since.
Who’s your illustrator and why is she perfect for capturing the spirit of your book?
Frostnight Illustrations has been perfect for working on Aeldynn because her style fits the mood of the world and she is efficient and interprets my visions either exactly as I see them or very close to it. I have found her work to be affordable, especially given I would like to do more with the artwork of Aeldynn than just keeping to books alone.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
Anyone who loves the fantasy genre really (though I will stress the age rating is 16+). I suppose it would be primarily aimed at anyone who considers themselves a geek. Fans of Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons, videogames and anime are all potential readers.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading your books?
Open your mind to all possibilities, especially if they seem farfetched or impossible; the universe is infinite.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your books?
Aeldynn is a vast and vivid world with very complex histories and lore; if you’re going to take a peek, be prepared to be sucked in. You’re peering into another world with an incredibly in depth understanding of physics that challenges the fabric of reality as we know it here on Earth.
How has your Asperger Syndrome helped you as an author?
I am certainly proud to tell you that as an individual with Asperger Syndrome, I have achieved my dream of becoming a published fantasy author. I was 13 years old when I decided that was what I wanted to be. My debut novel, Keys of the Origin, was published in 2016 shortly before I turned 30 and also the same year I completed my degree in English Literature & Creative Writing with the Open University. At this time, I am self-published, but who knows, one day I might be discovered by an agent and a traditional publisher willing to take a chance on me.
I would like to relay to all those out there on the autistic spectrum that you can achieve if you truly put your mind to it and persevere. Don’t let anxiety and depression stop you; trust me, I know all too well how debilitating it is. Realise your talents and pursue your dreams relentlessly.
What advice do you have for others with an adventurous spirit?
I would also like to tell you that if, like me, you have an adventurous spirit, have a look into getting out to sea on a tall sailing ship. I developed an interest in tall ships when I began my research in how to create a hybrid 17th-18th century style warship, and then decided I’d like to sail on one. After my first voyage, I was hooked.
I’ve now sailed more than a dozen times, and plan on sailing much more as and when the opportunity arises. Many have said it isn’t their thing, or they’re worried about being seasick, but let me tell you there is absolutely nothing like going out to sea on a tall ship and working as a member of the crew. It’s damned hard work, but very much rewarding; and there’s something so inherently magical and calming about the sea that one can only truly understand once you’re out there. Not only that, sailing uses natural energy; wind power.
What kind of fan feedback have you received?
Here are a few quotes from Amazon reviews of Keys of the Origin:“Keys of the Origin is an immersive venture into a meticulously crafted high fantasy world, with multiple actors both mortal and immortal revolving around a layered plot that unfolds gradually.” Damien Black (Grimdark fantasy author)
“Real and honest characters with a fantasy setting, Keys of the Origin is creative, addictive, the kind of novel you want to devour. Melissa A. Joy provides a detailed story rich with history and lore, a real literary gem full of life.” – Readers Favorite
“What a book! What a world! What an imagination! What an author! It’s worth saying twice. Melissa A. Joy is a truly pioneering, emerging talent in the fantasy genre. Once you become immersed in the world of Aeldynn there’s no coming up for breath. This can be experienced no less when found at sea with the pirates of these lands. The love of sailing from the author is oh so evident when you are taken aboard the notorious Greshendier.”
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
Everyone deserves a chance to succeed in the subjects they excel in and adore the most. Never give up; however much you may want to fly that white flag of defeat… don’t!
Support Melissa by buying a book:
- Buy Endeavours of the Unsung on UK Amazon or US Amazon
- Buy Keys of the Origin on UK Amazon or US Amazon
Find Melissa A. Joy on:
- Aeldynn Website
- @DefineImagineMJ on Twitter
- Aeldynn Lore – Melissa A. Joy Facebook Page
- Melissa A. Joy Blog
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- Giving Readers a Chance to See an Autistic Character Save the World!
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- Roy Dias, Asperger Author of Sci-Fi Aspean Series
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