Sunday, July 16, 2023

Jay S. Willis


Interview with Jay S. Willis 

Author of

The Sphere Saga and The Arcana Chronicles


 Please tell me a little about your current work in progress.

I am currently working on Order of the Sphere which is the first book of the second trilogy of my Epic Fantasy Sphere Saga series. This book introduces a new Point of View character who will shed light upon part of the world which has not been explored in depth. Order picks up after the conclusion of the first trilogy and follows the rebuilding of the city of Kaharna after the establishment of a new government after the theocratic apparatus which had been in power for three millennia was toppled.

Where did you get the idea for this book or series?

The Sphere Saga began with a piece of digital artwork called Sunset Mood that featured a beautiful massive golden sphere in the middle of a city. It captivated me and I couldn’t stop pondering why the Sphere was there and what purpose it served. The story sprouted from there. Once I decided what purpose the Sphere served the story of a world attempting to suppress magic in order to prevent a second magical apocalypse fell into place.

Do you write in more than one genre?

I generally write Fantasy but dabble in Science Fiction.

Tell me about something that you believe makes your writing unique or worthy of attention.

In my Sphere Saga books the perils of Magic, Faith, and religious zealotry faced by the people of Legacia mirror many of the international problems we face today in the middle of a global pandemic; fractured families, strained political rivalries, and an ultimate threat to humanity’s very existence. Magic has always enthralled me and all my stories revolve around magic in some form. I endeavored to create a magic system which not only evokes wonder but also presents some provocative concepts to make my readers think and question. The conflicts and issues addressed in the Sphere Saga are all cloaked in shades of grey. Balance is the ideal. Moral absolutes are dangerous.

Is there anything about your personal history or personality that manifests strongly in your writing?

The Sphere Saga is heavily influenced by The Wheel of Time, The Mistborn books, and far too many other stories that have impacted me through my life. Magic plays a role in all my writing but The Sphere Saga revolves around the Magic System which drives all facets of life on this world. Planning Legacia stemmed from an amalgamation of my love of reading Fantasy throughout my life and from my college education. My undergraduate degree in History and Political Science with a heavy emphasis on Medieval Europe and my Juris Doctor degree from Law School provided me with an extensive array of knowledge. In college I completed Independent Studies on The History of Magic and The History of The Spanish Inquisition and I had an abiding interest in mythology and religion. Legacia developed as the culmination of my real world education, years of enjoying Fantasy and speculative fiction, and many years of playing Dungeons & Dragons.

What else would be helpful for readers to know about you?

I’m an attorney for over 25 years and have worked in almost every facet of the legal system from Defense Attorney, to Magistrate, Judge, and now as an Assistant Prosecutor. On a more personal level, I love boardgames.

Excluding your own work, what underrated author or book would you recommend that more people read? Why?

Ghost Rider by Neil Peart. The lyricist and drummer for Rush wrote a travelogue which chronicled his long motorcycle journey which allowed him to heal and come to terms with the death of his wife and daughter. It’s a poignant story written by a brilliant honorable man able to to survive great tragedy in his life.

Which of your books do you most highly recommend? Why?

Dawn of the Sphere which is the second book in the first Sphere Saga trilogy. That book is chronologically set three-thousand years prior to the events of Dream of the Sphere and War of the Sphere. Dawn of the Sphere chronicles the lives of the three most powerful mages in the world and how they cause The Conflagration, the magical apocalypse which almost destroys the world. Axamar, Lornai, and Vrom and their relationships with one another are at the very heart of the entire series.

Which break, event, decision, or fortuitous circumstance has helped you or your writing career the most?

In 2015 I was working through one of David Farland’s online classes struggling with revisions on early drafts of Dream of the Sphere. I decided to go to Gen Con in Indianapolis that year to attend the Writer’s Symposium and spent a few days with David Farland in person at his lecture series. That trip spawned my Middle Grade/Teen book Blood is Thicker than Magic. Walking away from Dream of the Sphere to write another book from start to finish allowed me to develop my writing skills and better hone my craft. In hindsight, I recognized that I wasn’t yet ready to complete the first trilogy in my Sphere Saga and do it justice. Had I not allowed myself time and distance and worked on my writing craft I never would have been able to complete the Sphere Saga books.

What question do you wish you would get asked more often?

What’s music has influenced you the most?


Do you have a catch-phrase or quote that you like? What is it? And why do you choose it?

Perhaps the most important quote from my Sphere Saga series is “Magic is Life.” Without offering too much detail and avoiding spoilers, that phrase is part of the fundamental core of the entire series on several levels. I love reading and writing about magic and my worldbuilding for the Sphere Saga revolves around the magic.


Thanks to Jay for participating.

I received a text from a friend today who said he was reading Smoke and that it was keeping him interested so far. The only other one of my books he has read is The Shrinking Zone, which he professed to enjoy. If he liked that, he'll love Smoke. Of course, if he wants serious adventure, he needs to get into the Tomahawks and Dragon Fire Series. 

Speaking of that series, the pace in Book 6 is picking up as the elements for the last act come together for the great clash, or series of clashes, as the case may be. The second major battle is lost and won. Although I purposefully avoided a detailed description of it, I did provide enough to justify a character's emergency action. It's interesting to question the decisions a general makes and deconstruct them to furnish a critical role for my fictional characters to play in the outcome of the historic drama.

Another AI Smoke image that doesn't quite make it -- unless its about dating androids and weird hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment