Author of the Varsian Kingdom series
I am joined today by author Jason P. Hein the author of The Varsian Kingdom. An epic medieval fantasy series, consisting of four books and some additional short stories set in the same world. Jason welcome, please tell us a little about your latest book.
Jason: My latest book, The Axion: A Varsian Kingdom adventure, is a stand-alone novel set in the same world as my previous 4 book saga. The book also uses three of the main characters from the original saga. It is an exciting tale of exploration beyond the edges of the known world, but quickly turns into a race against time. The three traveling companions must locate all the missing pieces to an ancient tomb to stop the spread of a great illness across the land. The only problem? The pieces are scattered across a dozen realms.
Helen: It’s great that even though your Varsian Kingdom saga is complete with four books published, there are more books for us to read in the wonderful world you created. Tell us about how you decied on imagery for the cover
Jason: The cover to the Axion shows the three main characters. The Phoenix Champion, Roldin the Dwarf, and Malock the wyvern. The fringes, or outer evils, are shown behind them. The vast expanse of desert is thought by most to be impossible to cross. In the foreground we see the sand fade into the vegetation of the newly discovered realm, The Kingdom of Duality.
Helen: It is a wonderful piece of artwork. What as the story behind the title?
Jason: The title, The Axion, actually comes from a slightly scientific (mostly theoretical) concept of dark matter and energy. This is intentional, as I plan to write a futuristic saga of books set in this same world as a science-Fantasy, and this Axion concept of dark energy will play a big role in the future technology of the land.
Helen: You had just finished your Varsian Kingdom saga, what made you write this book?
Jason: After finishing my original saga (and the prequel that goes along with it) I must admit, I felt a little lost. The Varsian Kingdom had consumed a good 14 years of my life! I’ve got so much world building done for this universe, and I love it so much, that I could hardly bring myself to leave these characters and their world behind. At the same time, I knew I couldn’t just keep writing more books to an endless saga. So, I wrote a stand-alone novel set in the same world instead.
Helen: I know how you feel. I have seven books written in my series, though only two published, and I am so invested in my characters it’s difficult to let the series finish. But all good things must come to an end as they say. What made you first start to write?
Jason: As a young child I watched movies like Anne of Avonlea and Little Women, where writing books was showcased in one way or another. For some reason, that always drew my interest, but I always assumed it was for “educated” or older people. Then, when I was around ten years old I watched a movie called “The Best Bad Thing.” The movie ends with the main character, a young girl, writing a book about her experience. Somehow, seeing a child writing a book changed everything for me. It was as if a light flipped on in my head and made me realize, “Anyone can write a book.” I started writing, and never stopped.
Helen: Writing a series is an amazing achievement. Where do you get your ideas from?
Jason: Most of my ideas start with a simple thought, some with a dream, or some with a comment that sparks a creative idea. The Varsian Kingdom started with the idea of a hero who didn’t have any special abilities, but became a hero simply because they were willing to do the right thing. It grew and morphed from there, as most stories do. My second book was sparked by a day-dream, and the third by a dream I had at night while sleeping.
Helen: It is interesting what sparks an idea, and all of a sudden you see it scrolling behind your eyes. Capturing it is the challenge. Tell us about your current work in progress.
Jason: My current WIP is the most unique piece I’ve ever written. It’s my first attempt to branch outside of my typical Medieval Fantasy genre. It will fall more into the Urban/Paranormal fantasy genre with (possibly) a sub-genre of romance. (We’ll see how the characters decide to behave).
Helen: Tell us a little about your work enviroment and how you fit writing into your daily life?
Jason: Most of the time I like silence. I write by myself, in my room, with no lights, and total silence. (Usually)but occasionally I do listen to something instrumental and fantasy sounding. Anything with lyrics is a distraction. I always find myself concentrating on the song lyrics instead of my writing.
Fitting into my day? That is a difficult task a lot of times. I’ve done anything from obsessing over my writing on days off of work, to staying up way to late after the kids are asleep, to writing a few paragraphs here and there on my phone during breaks at work. Every little bit adds up.
Helen: Do you tend to plan out your books, or are you a pantser and let the story take you where it will?
Jason: I think I’m a good mix of the two. I always plan it out and have a pretty good outline, but I start writing with full knowledge that the end product will only slightly resemble that outline. That saying, the characters take on a life of their own… it’s more true than some people may realize!
Helen: Characters do have a way of leading an author down unexpected plot lines! Do you prefer writing or editing?
Jason: I much prefer writing. It’s the creativity of writing that appeals to me the most, and the majority of that is completed by the time editing comes into play. I don’t mind editing, though. It’s just a completely different process.
Helen: Talking about characters, who is your favourite character from your books?
Jason: I’m still partial to my main character, Leila. I guess, in a way, I know her well enough to empathize with her emotions. She’s a strong character, but she doesn’t really want to be. She has to be. In a lot of ways I find that strangely relatable.
Helen: Which type of character do you enjoy writing the most? Heroes or villains?
Jason: I’m usually partial to writing the hero, but in general the most enjoyable thing for me is to write a character with a fresh and unique personality. There are always those characters that are similar to some other character in your work (or someone else’s work) but then you run into those few that are without a doubt their very own, wholly unique personality. Those are always the most fun for me to write.
Helen: Most authors are also great readers. What is your favourite book?
Jason: My favourite book is still the Silmarillion by Tolkien. The detail, the imagination, the depth… there is just so much there in such a small book.
Helen: Thank you so much, Jason for spending time with me today. I really appreciate it, and I enjoyed talking with you. Final question, what piece of advice resonated with you as you write, and what advice would you give to others writers?
Jason: Not sure who all I’ve heard it from, but a lot of people repeat it. “You can edit a bad page, but not a blank page.” As to advice, first off, you are your own worst critic. Second, unless your family and friends are exceptionally honest… don’t use them to judge your work. Third, taking criticism is hard, but we need it. Just remember (and learn) where the line is between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. If it’s truly constructive, take it to heart. If it’s destructive, throw it out with the garbage.
About the Author:
Growing up on a secluded farm in the panhandle of Oklahoma, Jason P. Hein developed a unique point of view and literary sense as a young child. With few friends and little to entertain him, his imagination ran wild! With iconic names such as C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien as literary inspirations, epic tales began to unfold inside the confines of his mind. These stories soon became the backbone for a rich fantasy land, now known as “The Varsian Kingdom.”
As years and education expanded his mind, so they expanded the Kingdom of Varsia. With the launch of “The Varsian Kingdom Series” Jason is now offering his world for the exploration of intrigued minds and fantasy readers alike!
You can find more about Jason via:
You can pre-order Jason’s novel from Amazon:
As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.