Jay Earl Robertson liked writing as a kid, but he didn’t start writing seriously until he was around 23 years old. It was the year 2000, and he’d just started writing what would become his first novel, War of the Frozen Fire.
The novel is the first in a series of five, of which two have already been released and three more volumes are still to come.
War of the Frozen Fire is a Lord of the Rings-meets-The Elfstones of Shannara fantasy novel about the fictitious place Mystasia, which is under siege by a powerful spell called frozen fire.
“While Lord of the Rings is about a ring,” Robertson says, “[the Black Mythology series] is about a spell someone created.”
The spell creates a powerful cold fire — strong enough to attack castles and armies. The spell takes so much power, it requires more than one person to cast it, and the residents of Mystasia in the novel need to figure out who is behind it — and how to stop them. At the same time, an invisible assassin is picking off surviving noble lords, and the spell-casters are raising a powerful army, which includes orcs, medusas and nagas.
The residents of Mystasia find they need to band together with other races, were-beasts, vampires, gargoyles, etc., to overcome their adversary. The only problem? The residents of Mystasia betrayed the dark races in the past, and securing an alliance won’t be easy…
In Roberton’s second book, Blue Moon Over Wish Water, which was officially released in December 2018, the story continues on with the alliance talks, but also sees the characters searching for an enchanted lake. “The lake is only visible when there’s a full blue moon out, which is like once a year, otherwise you can’t see it or find it.”
Robertson says the characters are searching for the lake in order to create rings with the power to stop the frozen fire.
“And then from there, something happens at the end of [the second book] and the third book changes direction completely,” Robertson adds. He says he’s hoping to release the third book in the fall, the fourth in the following spring, and the final novel in the fall of 2020.
The races in his book are also unique: Robertson says his gargoyles are made of gem stones, like quartz or emerald, and the books feature a cyclops and a were-eagle.
To prevent any confusion, the books include a character index at the back and a map of the setting.
Robertson uses flashcards to plot his novels. The series follows several different characters, and to keep track, he writes all the events that happen to a particular set of characters on one set of cards and the events of a another set of characters on other cards. It’s how he follows along with which events happen simultaneously to different characters.
He first began writing the series in the year 2000, and he says he spent a long time working on it and the plot of the series. Although he first came up with the idea almost 20 years ago, he says all his readers seem to agree on the fact that his books are still original.
Robertson says he didn’t publish the first book until about five years ago. He self-published, through Virtual Bookworm, an online company based in Texas, which publishes and designs books for authors. Although they are a self-publishing company, their website says they only offer contracts to authors “who have truly exceptional manuscripts.”
It took Robertson some time to find the company, as he says many websites offering self-publishing programs to authors are scams, or simply aren’t that good.
He has sold copies of the first book across Canada, the U.S., Britain and Australia without ever really marketing it. Now, he wants to get a little more serious. He is planning on building a new website, creating a brochure with each of the books and their synopses on it, bookmarks, and mugs with his book covers on them. He also wants to take a marketing course or two, to learn more about getting his books out there.
Currently working for West Fraser, Robertson says he has lived in Quesnel for most of his life. He’s hoping to arrange a book signing at the Quesnel Library, and he has arranging several others around B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. His furthest, he says, will be in Saskatoon.
Robertson would also like to try doing some book signings in the U.S. as well. He sets up the signings by visiting the local library wherever he is and introducing himself. Some busier libraries need him to schedule the signing at least three months in advance.
In the future, Robertson has already started thinking about creating an audiobook version of the series.
Robertson’s books are available on Amazon in paperback or as eBooks. He says K-Max Games will also sell his books in the near future.