by Ian Primeaux
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
With the help of new friends Emi embarks on a journey that will change her life forever — Emi by @IanPrimeaux 3/18Tweet
Emi is an imaginative and unusual story slightly reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. During a stormy night, while avoiding her alcoholic mother, Emi finds an attic room she never knew about. While she is investigating it she loses her teddy bear, a present from her father, and climbs into a chest to find it. Instead, she is drawn into the Kingdom of Vidalos on the world of Roa. Her missing teddy is now giant size and very protective of her. She embarks on a quest to the queen for help getting home and adventure follows her.
Emi is observant, smart, and compassionate. She is the perfect eyes to see the world through. The book is filled with strange dangers and an array of colorful characters. The author has a flair for storytelling. It is an epic journey that will keep middle-grade readers emotionally invested pushing through to the end. As a modern re-imagining of classic fantasy tropes, this story has the potential to become a favorite.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
by Ian Primeaux
One night while waiting for her father to get home, ten year old Emi wanders around her home when she accidentally drops her teddy bear into a mysterious chest. Anxiously going in after it, Emi falls into the chest and is teleported to a strange new world. Not long after waking up in this new world she is saved by her teddy bear who has come to life and grown several times her size. During her journey to find a way back home Emi meets several new friends including a royal guard, a scientist, and many others. Her focus changes from looking for a way home once she begins uncovering clues that her father may actually be in the strange land also! With the help of her new friends Emi embarks on a journey that will change her life forever.
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Looking up she saw a large wooden chest with an old rusty padlock. Lightning flashed for a few seconds through the attic window. She noticed that the lock on the chest was open. Curious, she removed it and lifted the lid.
She suddenly felt something pulling her down. It got harder and harder to hold onto the edge of the chest. She could feel her hands slipping. Just then she saw the lid begin to close. Afraid of her hands being crushed, she released her grip and fell down into the chest.
A rustling in the nearby bushes interrupted her sobbing. She looked up and saw a wolf like creature emerge from the forest. Its fur was pitch black.
She turned carefully and slowly to see the creature that she thought would soon end her. It was her teddy. She felt at ease but confused. The creature holding the decayed stem looked exactly like her teddy but much larger. Its mouth was sewed shut. It had the same two uneven button eyes.
“Where am I?” She asked. “You’re in my cabin. If you want a more specific answer, you’re in the Goddess Gardens.” Emi was still confused. “And where is that?” The woman wasn’t sure what to say. “Where are you from girl?” she asked with an interested look.
Ian Primeaux is a new independent author from a small town in Louisiana. His first book “Emi” is the beginning of a new fantasy series reminiscent of adventures like “Alice in Wonderland” or “Wizard of Oz” with a few components inspired by classic role playing games. Apart from working a full-time management job, Ian spends most of his free time writing and crafting extensions of the world created in “Emi” to ensure that there will always be a new story ready to be told.
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Q: Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
A: I realized that I liked to write back in high school. Anytime I had the option of doing an essay or script or anything like that for a project I would do it. It was an easy A and I enjoyed it. I decided a few years ago that I was going to try and write an actual novel. The first full length thing I wrote was about 40k words. I wasn’t happy enough with it to actually publish it so I decided to start reading more to figure out which style of writing worked best for me. Once I finished the first draft of the book I actually published I let several people read it just to get some feedback before making it public. Once I felt it was ready I got to work on publishing and now I can’t stop writing. Doing this feels peaceful, in the same way that others read or play video games to escape, half of my time awake is spent writing.
Q: Where were you born/grew up at?
A: I grew up in a small town in Louisiana. As I got older I moved to towns that were slightly bigger until eventually moving to the biggest town in the area.
Q: If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
A: I would spend it with my family.
Q: What are you passionate about these days?
A: Writing and coming up new ideas to write about. If I’m not working on my current project or I don’t have access to my laptop then I take notes on the next 2-3 stories I plan on writing. It makes the actual writing process so much easier.
Q: What do you do to unwind and relax?
A: I like to read, play video games, recently got really into arcades. Almost anything.
Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A: Once people who weren’t family members started reading my book.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: A few. The Dark Knight, Zootopia, Catch Me if You Can, Wreck it Ralph, etc.
Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A: My cat Nami.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: It was actually meant to be a video game. I went to college for game programming and it was one of my ideas. The concept wasn’t exactly the same but a few core elements were there. Since our assignments were only class projects and I felt really attached to this specific idea, I kept it to myself and decided to turn it into a series. I don’t regret that decision at all.
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
A: I plan on releasing at least 1-2 books every year. I want to use the world I created with this first series to tell dozens of different stories.
Q: Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
A: Not yet but I have several planned. There are some characters I feel I couldn’t explain as well as I wanted in the first book.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Emi?
A: I have three main characters who each go through some sort of change during the events of the first book. I plan on having them grow and develop over the course of the series. The title character Emi, is a little girl lost in a strange magical world with no one by her side except for a giant teddy bear. The royal guard, Arlo, is a loyal soldier doing anything he can to serve his kingdom and make his superiors proud. The scientist, Redrick, is a bit stuck up to the idea of magic being the most viable resource in peoples lives. By the end of the first book their attitudes and thoughts change. Some slightly, but some have major revelations.
Q: How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
A: A lot has changed since I first came up with this. Many of the ideas and characters came from another story I wrote before but decided not to try and publish. The concept of the character Emi came from a video game I tried making in college. The idea was to have two characters, a little girl that would solve puzzles, and a giant teddy bear that would fight enemies. I basically took that idea and added it to the story I had written and to me, it just worked.
Q: Where did you come up with the names in the story?
A: Names are weird. I didn’t want to use regular names like Josh and Jessica for my story but I didn’t want long random names either. For the regular characters like Emi and Arlo, I would just run through hundreds of sounds in my head until I hear something that I like. Then I just change it until it sounds like a good name. I wanted the god characters to have meaning behind their names. I did research on Latin, Hindu, Incan, and other similar languages to come up with things I liked. In the book the Goddess of water is named Marabonya, which translates to “bitter flood.”
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A: Theres a moment I get, either while I’m writing or just brainstorming on my phone. I’ll come up with a twist or story/character detail that sounds amazing. Something that while I’m typing it, it just makes me smile. Those are the moments I feel like what I’m doing is more than just a hobby or a way to make extra money. I feel like if someone reading it has the same reaction as I did writing it, then I’m doing my job.
Q: Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
A: Emi is a ten year old girl who falls down a chest into a magical land while looking for her father. When she first arrives she is a scared, lonely child. As the story goes on she breaks out of her habits and can eventually fend for herself. But for a good portion of the first book she is just a kid. A scared kid looking for her dad in a strange place.
Q: Who designed your book covers?
A: I did, since it was my first book I wanted to do everything myself. I wrote, edited, designed the cover, and published myself. I really can’t draw so I knew I needed something simple. By the time it was done I loved it. It’s a really simple design but I feel like it’s a good fit.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
A: Not at all. If there are any mistakes then they are there for me to learn from. If I don’t learn from my mistakes then I can’t make each story better than the last.
Q: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
A: I learned which style of writing best suits me. All I can do now is improve.
Q: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
A: If you’ve taken the time to read my book I just want to say thank you. Time is valuable and I appreciate you spending some of yours on me.
Q: What is your favorite part of this book and why?
A: I love it all. From the things I did great to the things I could have done better, this was important to me. I spent three years writing this on and off because I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Now that its done I can’t believe I waited so long.
Q: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
A: In a way, I put a piece of myself in every character. Not to say that each character is based on me. But most of them have a few mannerisms similar to myself. But as far as attitudes and thought processes go, I wouldn’t say there are any real people who inspired the characters.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: Probably about ten years. Most of my previous writing was in school but I always did way more than what was required. If it was a thousand words essay I would turn in a minimum of three thousand. I had the option of rewriting a scene from Macbeth for a project and did half the play instead. One teacher told me to write a children’s book for a class. It was supposed to be a few words on each page accompanied by a picture. Instead of that I wrote a five thousand word story about popcorn. Still got an A so it all worked out.
Q: What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
A: A lot of my research is on names. Specifically for god characters. I like to try and have the names mean something. I have scientists in this book so I had to make sure a few of the things I talk about are correct too.
Q: Do you see writing as a career?
A: I could definitely see myself doing this as a career. Hopefully I’ll get there one day, but even if I only sell thirty copies of every book I write, that won’t stop me writing more.
Q: Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
A: I love to read. Anything fantasy/scifi will always catch my attention. I just wish I had more time to read. I have about twenty books that have been sitting on a shelf for a few years now that I haven’t had a chance to start yet.
Q: Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
A: There’s always one main story open on my laptop. But I have several going on in my phone. My notes are full of topics, characters, places, I like to always have something to start once I finish my current project.
Q: What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
A: I wanted to do something that I enjoyed doing. Coming up with stories like this was always something I found myself doing when I was younger. Now that I’m able to actually do something with it I feel like I made a good decision.
Q: A day in the life of the author?
A: Four or five days out of the week, I mange a restaurant. But when I’m home I spend hours at my desk writing. I’ll take a break every now and then to read or play video games, but most of my off days are spent writing.
Q: Advice they would give new authors?
A: The biggest thing I wish someone would have told me was to keep going. I took month long breaks while writing my first book because I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. But once you publish it and you get your first four or five star review, it makes you regret the time you wasted.
Q: Describe your writing style.
A: In my current series, I like to be the narrator. It feels like I’m actually telling the story. But I’m open to trying out other styles. I just have to practice and do some research first.
Q: What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
A: I like to come up with a quick summary first then expand on it. A summary of the story turns into a summary of each chapter. Then that turns into my first draft. While writing the first draft I like to go back and start editing before I compete it. The more I read my story the easier it is for me to add things. I’ll read and edit something 6-8 times before I publish it. I’d say rushing through an edit is a bad idea. Especially is you are doing it yourself. Take your time and really know your story.
Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?
A: My cat.
Q: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A: Being original is really important to me. I’ve taken inspiration from other things but I try and make the story my own. I’ve compared my first book to Alice in Wonderland crossed with Wizard of Oz, but I think I’ve done a good job of not being too similar to them.
Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A: Just keep going, I know it seems like a waste of time right now but it all works out.
Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A: My first book took me three years to write. I had no motivation to keep going and took month long breaks from it. As soon as it was published I started writing my second one. I’m on track to have it released about 7-8 months after the publish date of my first one. I plan on sticking to this schedule.
Q: Do you believe in writer’s block?
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