2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
I had the pleasure of reviewing Claimed: The Land of Schism Book 1 last week, and this week I had the honor of interviewing the author Nicole Adamz. Adamz is a talented author writing for a higher purpose of creating Christian fantasy fiction to create a space for young and new adults to explore their faith. It was a delight getting to know her better.
In addition to being a gifted author, Adamz is a small business owner. Living in Tennessee, Adamz enjoys spending time with her family, spending time outdoors, delving into fairy-tales and myths from various cultures, binge-watching Asian dramas and anime, playing board games and video games, and drawing and creating art. Read our full interview below to get to know Adamz and her writing better!
Q) How long have you been writing?
A) I started writing in the fourth grade (fantasy stories were my main interest even then), but I didn’t begin writing consistently until I was an adult. So, I’ve been on the writing journey for many years but as an author I’ve been writing for eight years.
Q) Why do you write?
A) I write for many reasons. Stories sing through my blood, swirl through my mind, and find an outlet with my words. They have to have a place to go, so they always end up on paper in some form. However, I also write with a purpose. There’s a gap in the book market, an aching need waiting to be filled. I noticed it as a youth, teen, young adult, and new adult, and adult. There isn’t a lot of Christian fantasy fiction available, and I want to help provide the generations after me with something I didn’t have much of while growing up: a place to whet and explore my faith within a fantasy setting.
Q) What inspired Claimed and its sequel Envoy?
A) There is a very long explanation for this, but the short version is that Claimed was partly inspired by a brief scene in the anime version of Skip Beat. It was no more than a few minutes long, but for me, it was a powerful scene of friendship and betrayal. I couldn’t get it out of my mind, and it resonated with me because I’ve had similar events happen in my life. Questions swirled inside of my head when I thought about the scene: what type of choices and situations had led the two women to such different paths? From there, Claimed was born and filtered through a Christian perspective of there being light and dark in the world, how they lead people to make different choices in similar circumstances, and what the journey toward faith – or away from it – is like for some people.
Q) What is your favorite thing about the Land of Schism books?
A) Um, everything? Am I allowed to answer with that? *Laughs* On a basic level, my favorite part of the series is the world itself. Each kingdom has its own setting, so nothing is ever the same. There are different cities, races, cultures, economic systems, magic systems/practices, and religious practices. The only thing that unifies them all is a belief in the light (the True One) and the dark (the Usurper). I like that all of these are portrayed through different first person narratives via two females who are completely different, and that readers might connect with one or both characters in different ways as they journey through the Land of Schism – and they can watch them grow through each challenge. On a deeper level, my favorite thing about the Land of Schism series is how the perception of religious beliefs and faith are challenged via the two main characters. The expectations that both have for their lives go completely awry. Amid those circumstances, they struggle with trying to find redemption in some way – and believing if they’re worthy of it.
Q) Do you have any other works currently available for readers?
A) Nothing that is published yet, but I have an upcoming novella series that will be released this year. In just a few months, actually!
Q) What projects are you currently working on? Can you tell me a little about those?
A) Absolutely! The novella series that I’m currently working on is something that I have developed with co-writer and friend Brooke Chastain. The series is a retelling of Little Women within the Steampunk genre that has an Asian inspired setting. The novellas will individually explore the story of each March sister in a unique way, and they will all be light, clean reads with a touch of faith in them. I also have a short story that I will be releasing sometime this year that is a bit of a prequel story in the Land of Schism series that has to do with Lucinda, a character that appears in Envoy: The Land of Schism Book Two. It touches on why she has so much anger and loathing for the Elysians. I’m also working on the outline for Rivened: The Land of Schism Book Three (to be released 2021). Later this year, I will also be working on multiple format releases for all of my current and future works and getting a system in place for those.
Q) Can you tell me about your hope and vision for your writing?
A) My hope and vision for my writing is deeply tied to my Christian faith. I want to provide reading material for New Adult and Adult Christians who are voracious readers with an appetite for fantasy and science fiction genres looking for edgy, sometimes dark but non-graphic, clean, and faith-based themed writing. Hopefully, the stories I write are ones that readers want to visit over and over again, share with friends and family, and they all meet characters who are, or become, familiar to them. Beyond that, I hope to continuously improve my writing and editing skills.
Q) Are there religious undertones to your writing?
A) My faith is a huge part of my life, so there are always going to be some sort of religious undertones in my writing, but I try not to be “pushy” about it. I always try to honor God in some way, even if it isn’t always explicitly evident in each work. I want to be able to use the talent He has given me to reach people. In particular, people who are struggling with finding or having faith in God when they’ve made mistakes, they have regrets, and they have trouble believing anyone – especially God – will truly love them. Through my writing I want to point back to Him and His ways. Even if it is one word, sentence, paragraph, or page. I want readers who might be lost, broken, or struggling to have fantasy worlds that they can briefly live in that might help address those issues from a Christian perspective.
Q) How has God impacted you and your writing?
A) God has impacted so much of my life, starting with my heart and relationship with Him. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without His guidance. My writing would not be as it is without Him either, and I actively pray about my writing. Often, I will read something in the Bible, while doing a Bible study, or listening to a sermon and inspiration for parts of my stories will take hold. I use a lot of allegories, metaphors, and sometimes analogies that revolve around God, His word, or His ways.
Q) What advice do you have for other authors?
A) If someone wants to become an author part-time or full-time, my first piece of advice is to continuously write and edit. You need to finish your first complete work even if you think it is complete crap. Congratulations if you do finish it! Let it sit there for a few weeks or months, go back to it, and objectively edit it a few times – then have someone else edit it. Preferably an editor. Writing and editing are two different skill sets. You probably don’t have both, and if you do, chances are you’re better at one than the other.
My second piece of advice is to adjust any expectations about timelines you have (not to be confused with deadlines). As fast-paced as the world is, and constantly changing, there aren’t many authors who can constantly churn out quality work. Quality matters far more than quantity, and quantity gained with quality status is years’ worth of hard work.
My third piece of advice is not to be intimidated by other authors and what they’re writing. Is their story better than yours? Maybe. Is their writing style better than yours? Again, maybe. The point is not to compare, but to learn from each other. Don’t pick up someone else’s work and immediately discredit your own – and vice versa. Constantly search for ways you can improve, and make sure you take the time to put what you learn into practice.
Final piece of advice is don’t be afraid of criticism. Someone else’s criticism is merely their opinion, and people will always have good or bad opinions about someone else’s work. Be objective if it is negative, and discern if there is a grain of truth there. Can you improve something in your writing, or were they merely complaining? Then, either fix it, or move on. If the opinion is positive, take a moment to send up praise, tip your hat at the person, and again, move on. Always move on. If you stop moving forward you will never get anywhere with your writing.
Order your copy of Claimed here and your copy of Envoy here! Follow Adamz on social media to stay up to date with her and her writing — if you are interested in becoming an ARC reader for Adamz, please reach out to her.