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Interview with an author: J.V. Hilliard

Let's give it up for J.V. Hilliard, the author participating in today's interview.

Born of steel, fire and black wind, J.V. Hilliard was raised as a highlander in the foothills of a once-great mountain chain on the confluence of the three mighty rivers that forged his realm’s wealth and power for generations Hilliard’s earliest education took place in his warrior uncle’s tower, where he learned his first words. HIs uncle helped him to learn the basics of life—and, most importantly, creative writing.

What got you into writing your own stories? Covid had me scratching becoming a novelist off of my bucket list. With my primary work closed for nearly a year, I had time to finally dedicate to putting my thoughts on paper, which became the outline of the Warminster Saga.

What genre do you write?

Epic Fantasy & Dark Fantasy

Tell us about your WIP.

It is my 3rd book in the Warminster series, known as The Trillias Gambit, which launched in May of 2023.

How would you describe your writing style?

I am a quintessential planner. I map out plot intersections, character arcs and eventually write "backward to forward" so I don't leave out any parts. It's my way of ensuring an air tight plot and story arc.

What comes more easily, plot or characters?

The characters come much easier to me than the plots, but their generation informs the story. I visualize my heroes and villains, and then build the story around their unique characteristics, background and abilities.

Do you cross over genres or do you only stick to one?

I will cross over eventually but for now I'm concentrating on fantasy adventure only.

What is your "writer's den" like?

It is my study, filled with wall to wall books, a desk for planning, several white boards and of course a cozy seat next to my laptop.

How do you get into the flow for writing? Do you have any rituals?

I often will listen to music or re-read the latest chapter I've written to get me into the spirit of writing. I also write best at night when everyone is asleep.

What is your personally most significant achievement as a writer, and why? Finishing book one was my most significant achievement. I know I will become a better writer as I publish more, but the first was a lifelong dream.

What would be the greatest achievement for you to aim for as a writer if anything were possible? Seeing the Realm of Warminster translated onto the silver or small screen in the form of a movie or series.

What are you most grateful for as a writer? My readership. It's great to hear what they like and don't, what they want to see next and who their favorite characters are. It's motivating.

Do you have a day job? What is it? I am DC defense and tech lobbyist

Do you read the same genre you write? Why, or why not? I sure do... it's escapism that I seek when I read and my genre definitely helps me escape the real world.

Do you read fellow indie authors' works? Why or why not? Of course I do. In some cases, it's for entertainment and in others it helps to find inspiration for my stories.

Is there an author who inspires you? Tolkien, Stoker and R.A. Salvatore are my biggest influences.

Give us three fun facts about yourself.

  1. I am ambidextrous

  2. I own multiple businesses

  3. I write for NFL draft magazines as a hobby.

What's one of your funniest experiences? I once did impromptu stand up at an open mic night and got invited back to open for future acts.

What is something about you that few people know? I only sleep about 4 hours a night, which I've turned into an asset for my writing and other businesses. A blessing and a curse.

Do you have any hobbies? Dungeons & Dragons, amateur NFL scouting and I collect many things, from sports memorabilia to militaria.

What's your favorite holiday?


What's your favorite season?


Do you have pets?

Two, I have a red fox Labrador Retriever named MacLeod and a Siberian Husky named Thor

Find out more about J.V. Hillard here.

Featured Book: The Last Keeper, book one of the Warminster series

Why would you like to feature this book?

It's the first in the series and thus necessary to read the rest.

Who was your favorite character to write and why? Sir Ritter of Valkeneer. He was modeled after one of my old D&D characters so I was already in his head. It was truly a memorialization of character arc.

What was your favorite scene to write and why? The Battle of Rillifane's Meander. In part this is my favorite because I lifted it from a true to life dungeons and dragons campaign, but it sets off the pace for the rest of the series.

What was the spark that started this book? I had recurring nightmares as a teenager as the main villain, whom I've embedded into the novels as my "big bad evil guy."

At heart and beyond the various sub-genres there exists but three types of Fantasy: quality Fantasy, unique Fantasy, and quality unique Fantasy. Which is The Last Keeper? Beyond all question the third. As I stated when starting the book, despite blind seers and Elven Princesses being not uncommon in Fantasy games and world mythology, Fantasy literature seldom employs them and I have never seen them used jointly. Yet not only does J.V. Hilliard employ them with all the deftness of a skilled juggler, they are but two strands in the marvelously deep realm of Warminster he has woven from the auguries of the mythosphere.
“Crimson flags borne on horses of white, see them ride, ye children of light." – The Ballad of Eldwal A realm of many distinct cultures and races, religious sects and cities. I thought I had seen all types of elves and elvish cultures, yet Princess Addilyn Elspeth of the Vermilion elves, the highest of elven castes, and her Raven Elf champion and friend Jessamy Aberdeen proved me wrong. Indeed, I was wrong about much for J.V. Hilliard's authorial mastery lies not only in creating such a vast world but in writing a story that is impossible to predict and thus keeps the blood bumping with its many unexpected twists and turns right until the last syllable (for while cliffhanger endings drive me mad I cannot refute their effectiveness).
Bottom line? If ye seek true escapist and unique Fantasy that uses old tropes and fresh tools in new ways look no further. Blending the high morals, epic magics, vistas, and battles (including the finest naval battle I have ever read), sense of mystery, and stakes of J.R.R. Tolkien with the treasonous and devious Court Intrigue popularized by George R.R. Martin, the kingdom of Warminster is a realm where dark and seemingly separate plots – both political and arcane – are in fact linked by the vengeful mind of a fallen Keeper of the Forbidden, Graytorris the Mad.
“The blade of betrayal, the sharpest of weapons, is wielded not by your enemies, but by your friends." – Warminster the Mage A madman whose plan is just beginning and may only be stopped by the odd alliance between Princess Addilyn, Last Keeper Daemus Alaric, trollborn Sir Ritter Valkeneer, and, should true justice prevail, a pair from House Dauldon. Cultures separates them, custom would keep some apart, yet the world depends on them. May the Ancients and the light of Erud guide you, my friends, until book two of this most excellent debut series comes out. A book I shall most definitely read for, while I naturally would not rank Hilliard's skill as matching that of J.R.R. Tolkien, the Warminster Series carries on the same high tradition of skill, wonder, and escapism which The Lord of the Rings began.
Amazon Review by Erurainon

What was the most interesting random fact you researched for this book? How medieval castles cleaned their privies.

What's the message you worked into this book?

Redemption is a choice, not a right.

The blade of betrayal, the sharpest of weapons, is wielded not by your enemies but by your friends.
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