While many of us find ourselves at home right now, Inkitt took to it’s readers and asked them which authors on the platform they wanted to know more about. We gathered those reader’s questions and put authors to the test! Over the coming weeks, 8 authors will hold reader Q&A sessions on our Writer’s blog.
First up, AdelinaJaden, known by readers on Inkitt for her Motorcycle Club series, Riders of Tyr. Let’s get into it.
We want to meet the wonderful mind behind our favorite author! How old are you? What are your hobbies, interests, what do you do for a living?
Trust me, you know me more than you think. Every writer pours something of him (if not all of him) into his work.
I am in my late 30’s and guess what! My hobbies are reading and writing. They have been my hobbies ever since I remember. I was always a voracious reader, still am! I also love origami. You could say, if paper is involved, I am interested.
As for what I do for a living, I used to be a middle school teacher, but I needed freedom in what I teach. Now I am a facilitator of educational programs in libraries and museums. Which basically means I am a teacher with my own curriculum!
Other than that, I am also a wife to an amazing man and a mother to an incredible baby that my husband and I raise with the greatest of joy.
What inspired you to become a writer? Any influences?
I am going to tell you a story because, I don’t know if you have noticed, I love telling stories!
When I was a kid, around 12 years old, I lost my grandfather and that was my first encounter with death. The idea of being gone terrified me for days. Then one day I was fine with it. My parents that saw me struggle asked how come I changed my attitude and seemed happy.
I said “I have a plan. I am going to be a famous writer and people will enjoy my books and read about me in encyclopedias. That way, I will never die.”
There is a need inside I have to sate, just like being hungry or thirsty. That need can only be satisfied when I tell stories.
About my influences, as I said, I love reading stories as much as I love writing them. “Name your ten favorite books” is a question that can keep me up at night arranging and rearranging books in ranks and keep adding to that list.
The god of stories according to me is Homer. I have read the epics again and again. My favorite author is more contemporary: Neil Gaiman. I jumped from Homer to Gaiman which I would like to think Neil himself would find flattering. My reading includes a lot of comics and that’s how I came across his work. I have been a fan ever since. Don’t think that he has not influenced my Riders as well. Neil Gaiman has written an excellent collection of Norse Mythology.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I have had that terrifying experience more than once. It’s like you are walking through a vibrant, colorful world and then suddenly everything goes white, empty. You look back and that vibrant world is there but ahead of you, you see nothing but barren land.
Everyone has their own process to overcome this obstacle. I persist. I walk through the story again and again, go over my notes, sit on my laptop even if it’s to write two words or even look at the cursor blinking. What usually gets me out of that loop of nothingness are the characters themselves.
Perhaps writer’s block in nothing more than the characters needing some vacation, who knows. But after I sit around with my half-ended story for a while, my characters are activated and they act. That’s all I need to get the story going, a spark of action.
Have the basis of your characters come from other actors or even people in your life?
All of my Riders have something from my husband in them. We have been together for a lifetime and there was no way to avoid that. I love and admire him so he is my greatest inspiration.
My Riders and their Valkyries are a mixture of people I know and people I would love to know. After I shape their personality, I look for reference in real people, models and actors for their appearance.
How do you balance it all, writing, work, raising a small child?
I am not sure I am balancing anything.
If I had to be honest, everything was much easier before our baby arrived. After that everything became chaotic and I love every minute of it! I value writing even more. As overstretched or exhausted as I may be, I still get that itch to write and I make time for it. I know this means writing is a calling and not some passing fling. That gives me the strength and inspiration I need.
It helps a lot that my husband supports my writing. That is super extra important with a cherry on top. He realizes that it’s a need for me – and frankly, that would be enough for me – but he believes in me. More than I believe in my own self!
What inspired you to create the Riders of Tyr?
I have openly said in the opening of the Riders of Tyr series that I got my inspiration from the TV show VIKINGS. Before I watched it, I was fascinated with the Vikings already. I was reading the Edda epics and was familiar with Norse mythology. That show instilled more admiration for that part of history. I couldn’t bear the bulk of the research of writing about actual Vikings. So, I thought about what the modern Vikings would look like and I got the idea of an Motorcycle Club.
Researching for that, I stumbled upon the Sons of Anarchy and it all clicked. If I ever need a short blurb for the Riders of Tyr series it would be exactly that: “Vikings meet Sons of Anarchy”.
After the series ends, do you have plans to do another?
Yes, I have something else I am working on. I got a new notebook, which means a fresh set of ideas, new research, new characters. This series I am working on is nothing like my Riders of Tyr series, it’s a completely different genre. I will say this: It involves magic. At least for the first installment, I will not stray too far from my love of Vikings.
Another connection between these two series is that the second one is a tribute to Neil Gaiman as well.
It’s bigger in a way, with a wider world-building. It will still have a romantic element though, simply because I love writing love stories.
How did you come with the idea of writing about an Motorcycle Club?
It’s weird how things stick with you. It happens to everyone but when you are a storyteller, I believe that intensifies tenfold. Everything is a potential inspiration or reference that is why nothing is impertinent.
I have no idea when or how, way before I have even thought I would be writing the Riders, I watched a documentary on the Altamont Free Concert called Gimmie Shelter. It was about the free concert featuring Santana, Jefferson Airplane, and Rolling Stone among others. The security – according to some accounts – for that concert was run by the Hells Angels’ San Francisco chapter. Does that ring any bells? Back then, I dove into the MC world for a little while.
When it was time for the modern-day vikings of my imagination to be born, I thought, how these fierce warriors could be integrated into today’s world. My subconscious offered that documentary.
Of course! Veterans of war, soldiers that have been through hell and are now requested to come back to a civilized society when they are anything but. An MC!
Your books made me understand people dealing with depression and anxiety and made me realize I should know more about these topics since many are struggling with mental health issues. When did you start learning, researching, and thinking about these topics?
I am happy that my stories can make people sensitive to these subjects. It is something too close to home since my mother is suffering from a mental illness. It took a great deal of effort to make my family acknowledge that so she could get help. The misconception of what a mental illness is, the stigma that goes with it, the guilt of the rest of the members of the family are preventing people from getting what they need.
It was difficult for me to write about those things. Especially because in the premise I have created, in the harsh word of my Vikings, seeking professional help is not always an option.
Almost all of my characters deal with serious issues in their life. Death is in their everyday life and it’s not as if you can go to therapy and admit murdering, extorting or torturing others because they are members of organized crime.
What I have created for them is a family where all these misfits are accepted and loved. That was something I could give them.
Do you have all your books planned out before you start writing or does it come along while you write?
George R.R Martin says “I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners”. The architects plan everything and the gardeners plant the seed and watch it grow. I am mostly a gardener.
I have a certain idea of what the main story of each book will be and I do have a main subplot that runs throughout the series but I mostly let my stories grow. I have the characters. their motives, their feelings, and their environment. All I have to do is press play in my mind’s view and watch the story unfold.
My stories have taken me to amazing rides and had great surprises in store for me.
A striking example is Magdalene. I have created her to be a villain, the main adversary to my main character. As I was shaping her, working on her psyche, her intentions, her motives, I came to love her. I simply couldn’t be parted from her. I wanted her to be happy. Even then, I had no intention of one of my Riders falling for her. It happened and I went along for the ride.
Do you have a character-building process? If so, which was the hardest character to develop?
Building the characters is the most work I do. I spend a lot of time imagining them, researching them, getting to know their quirks and tastes, their upbringing and interests, their hobbies, their favorite movies. Most of these things I might not use in the book but it is essential that I know them so that my character is real, deep, unique. I keep notes, I add to them and I combine things from personal experiences and people I know. I create each character individually and though I am writing romance, I do not create them to be compatible. We are not created compatible in real life after all. We just… are.
The hardest character to create was by far Rage. The idea came when I read about berserkers in Viking society. The berserkers were fierce warriors that were said to wear animal skins in battle. In fact, it is believed that the werewolf lore is based on them. They were bound to royalty as personal guards. It is told that once they were unleashed into battle, they went into a frenzy, an ecstatic rage. They savagely killed everyone in their path and they felt no pain. This was either due to drug use or due to mental health issues.
Cool, I thought. The King of the Riders should have a savage like that as a guard. Thus, the Hellhound was born. As I was creating him, Rage became so much more than just a killer. Looking for reasons he was like that, I created a man of flesh and blood, a tortured soul. There wasn’t going to be a book about Rage at first. Now, he is one of the most beloved Riders. His backstory is heartbreaking, the extreme PTSD and dissociative disorder he suffers from makes it painfully difficult to navigate his inner thoughts.
If you were to give each character a star/zodiac sign, what would they be?
My characters are Vikings so they wouldn’t have zodiac signs. But they would have birth runes.
The runes are the Norse alphabet as well as a divination tool. All the Riders bear the Tiwaz rune on their back, the symbol of Tyr, the god of valor, the arrow aiming for the sky, a spear.
Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?
Most of my readers favor Rage and I have already told you how special he is to me. But for me – and I think it shows in my books – my favorite is my first-born, my Ava. The first Valkyrie of the series was at first created to fit Bjorn, the first Rider I created. She outgrew even the wildest of my imagination.
Ava is based on the myth of the Amazons and my research of the Scythian warrior women. She was meant to be bad-ass and she is bad-ass. The thing is, Ava is so much more. She is rightfully the Queen of the Riders, her natural disposition being the one to lead with compassion and empathy.
She loves and hates fiercely, she is fearless, cunning and… fun. She does not mince words, she does not care what people might think of her. She overcame her own self by being with Bjorn.
Are you going to write about the Riders’ kids?
I do have a story in the back of my mind regarding Ariadne, Bjorn and Ava’s daughter. She is, after all, a Vasiliev from her mother’s side, the last blood of the tsars of Bratva. And a Rider brat. I mean, come on! The story practically writes itself.
Is there going to be a book about Tor?
This must be the question I have had more again and again by devoted readers!
The King of the Riders is the character that has sparked everyone’s interest. We all hate to love him and we all wait to see that gigantic asshole fall and fall hard.
Scenarios upon scenarios have been exchanged between the readers: how his Valkyrie should be, how hard he will fall, if he will ever fall, if he is gay.
All I can tell you is this. There will be a book about him.
Is there a possibility of publication in the future?
When I started posting my stories, I never thought anyone would even go past the first chapters. I was writing mostly for me and I was determined to finish what I had to tell. A storyteller always respects the need for a story to be told. As I kept posting, more people read and got passionate and invested in my stories.
Inkitt contacted me to join them and I did. Still, I never thought I would make it to their VIP Author program. And now my Riders will be on their immersive sister app, Galatea.
Being a published author is a dream that was whispered in the back of my mind but I never dared utter it out loud. Now, I am confident that if I keep writing, this dream will come true.
Read Riders of Tyr on Inkitt now, and connect with Adelina here: https://www.inkitt.com/adelinajaden